During the C-19 lockdown in spring 2020, after going through some old hard drives I came across a folder name Vi-MATERIAL that had loads of tracks, images and videos.
Vi was what i called myself from around the time of my first few live gigs the first of which was 2003 at the Blackout stage at Ashton Court Festival and Mutant Textures at Cosies in St.Pauls which was put on by Mark Slater at Qujunktions.
My technique was basically this. I player live electronic synths and tone generators, sequenced and mixed live. I rehearsed and composed tracks in the weeks or days before gigs, and then played them live, usually only once. I recorded tons of CDs of these rehearsals, sometimes doing different mixes of the same programmed sequences.
I used synths like the Doepfer 404 ( I had 3 at one point), Novation Bass-Stations and Drum-stations, FX units (usually cheap Zoom ones), filters, etc ALL powered by the doepfer MAQ, a MIDI sequencer. I also had a MFB sequencer for when the 3 channels of the MAQ ran out. I didn’t use modular gear mainly because 19inch rack gear was cheaper and I prefered them. I’d have to write down settings in this book and recall them when I was playing live. Some synths had memories so you could punch in #58 and then it would all reset to that sound. But some synths like the 404’s were properly analogue so I made some charts that I would fill out the settings of each dial on. I have got a small modular rack now and I like things like envelope followers which I incorporate with using 1/4 tape and samplers. So much modular stuff now sounds the same to me.
I also employed tone generators which made fat bass sine waves and could be used to make crude ring modulator sounds, some of them coul deven be triggered by CV controls.
I ended up playing only a dozen or so live gigs, sometimes supporting people like Pole, Murcof and Laurence English and took part in some Qujunktions events like quwack and the venn festival.
Whats follows is a scrapbook collage of tracks, ideas, posters, art works and videos from this period.
None of the tracks were ever mastered properly or even at all. I never had decent studio monitors. I just made stuff with headphones and often checking/playing through the Cube PA to try ideas out. All the CDs still exist and I am planning on digitising them. I always thought that my levels were way out and that I’d need a multiband compressor to get them nice and fat and tight. I never got that far.
But the method was always the same, a strict use of live, improvised (improv-mixing) electronic sound, making material for concerts only and only playing tracks once.
Often, when I could, I would put the L/R audio signals through an oscillascope and project it (yes, I really did think I was Panasonic).