Old 06-09-2009, 12:22 PM   #1
fieldswn
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Default Electronic Music Live Performance Using REAPER

Here is the recording of a live performance I did last Friday at the Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts (DCCA): http://www.williamfields.com/music/w...2009-06-05.mp3

It was done entirely within REAPER. Here are some technical details:

- Running on a Intel Core 2 Quad desktop PC.

- Single MIDI controller: Kenton Control Freak Live.

- MIDI sequences are triggering various VST and VSTi. Mostly Surge, Battery 3, and Vanguard.

- The MIDI sequences are processed through a series of custom JS plugins, which allow me to control velocity, duration, transposition, etc...

- An additional JS plugin remembers the last few notes played, and re-introduces them randomly. (There is a "Randomness" knob, where 0%=normal, and 100%=all random notes.)

- Another JS plugin allows me to "freeze" and repeat the last few notes played, along with a speed control (quantized, of course).

- Another JS plugin is similar to the above, except the notes continue to change, so effectively, it quantizes all incoming notes. It also has a speed control.

- An additional JS plugin controls the "density" of notes. So, for example, at 50%, only half of the notes coming in from the sequence -- or generated by the other JS plugins -- are actually played.

- Another JS plugin allows me to do key changes, based on the circle of fifths. I only used it a few times in the performance. I hope to use it more in the future.

- I am controlling the sounds in two groups: drums and melodic sounds. So, I can control only the drums, or only the melodic sounds, or both at the same time. (For this I am using MIDI controller buttons assigned to custom REAPER actions, which select all tracks in a particular group.)

- Each group is running through a parent folder track that has a number of VST and JS FX, with various parameters controlled by knobs: reverb, delay, reverser, compressor, timestretch, auto-pan, bit reduction, etc..

- I am jumping between sections of the song by hitting MIDI controller buttons assigned to custom REAPER actions.

- I am using project tabs, so I can load the next track in the background, and sometimes play two tracks at once, beat-matching them together. (I also have a MIDI controller button that switches from one project tab to the next, so there is minimal use of the mouse or keyboard.)

Anyway, I thought these details might be of interest to the crowd here. Your feedback and questions are welcome.

Thanks for listening,
-Bill
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Old 06-09-2009, 06:08 PM   #2
the all new rob
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Interesting stuff. Is it aleatoric? I'm trying to get a sense of how much it's composed versus performed but it's hard to tell.

The feel that kicks in at 6:00, are you changing the tempo there or is that sequenced that way against a constant pulse? (my guess is that the pulse is remaining constant and you are subdividing differently but I can't really rewind it on this embedded player to listen harder)

very interesting panning going on.
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Old 06-09-2009, 07:28 PM   #3
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Ok I didn't listen to the whole thing but what I did hear was very cool! Your performance methodology using Reaper is very impressive!
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Old 06-10-2009, 03:13 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the all new rob View Post
Interesting stuff. Is it aleatoric? I'm trying to get a sense of how much it's composed versus performed but it's hard to tell.
Thanks. It's a bit hard to explain. The composed parts are just loops. Any time you hear some sort of cycle repeating normally, that is the "dry" composition. Any time you hear the normal loop get "messed up" somehow -- either by delay, reverb, timestretch, repetition, randomness, transposing, etc -- that part is live.

I am inspired by jazz, where the music/theme is firmly established for the listener before it is broken down and manipulated in various ways by the performers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by the all new rob View Post
The feel that kicks in at 6:00, are you changing the tempo there or is that sequenced that way against a constant pulse?
Yeah, that's kind of an odd beat. The first half of the bar is straight, the second half is in triplets. (I think.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by the all new rob View Post
very interesting panning going on.
That panning is thanks to the JS plugin: Till/Transient-driven Auto-Pan v1.1 (Master).

Cheers,
-Bill
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Old 06-10-2009, 03:44 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fieldswn View Post
Anyway, I thought these details might be of interest to the crowd here. Your feedback and questions are welcome.
Great sound and music!
How do you come up with your stuff - tinkering with different equipment?

Can't say I'm an expert in making electronic music, but I do enjoy listening an occasional Aphex Twin/Plastikman/Chris Clark/Biosphere/Christ etc.

Good material on your website too...
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Old 06-12-2009, 06:05 AM   #6
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Very interesting. Maybe we should really have a separate subforum about reaper and liveperformance as suggested somewhere else..

could you explain a little more how you jump to sections while playing back the project?
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Old 06-12-2009, 07:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hereander View Post
could you explain a little more how you jump to sections while playing back the project?
I have a custom action for each section: Live Jump 1, Live Jump 2, etc..

Here is an example of what it looks like:


So, basically, to jump to the third section, it...
(1) Captures the current track selection state, so it is not lost.
(2) Moves to the first item in the first track.
(3) Moves over two items to the right.
(4) Sets the time selection and loop points.
(5) Restores the track selection state.

For this to work, the first track always has to contain an item that is the length of the section that you want to loop. Something like this:



Also, if you want it to jump in-time with the music, you should have "Smooth Seeking" turned on.

It may not be the most elegant solution, but it works.

-Bill
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Old 06-22-2009, 12:15 PM   #8
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This is amazing - I wish I had been there.

Sounds fantastic, and I really like the creative license you're able to afford yourself.
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Old 06-22-2009, 01:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fieldswn View Post
Also, if you want it to jump in-time with the music, you should have "Smooth Seeking" turned on.

It may not be the most elegant solution, but it works.

-Bill
Thanks for sharing this!

What exactly is this setting 'smooth seeking' you're referring to?

Thanks again.
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Old 06-23-2009, 06:50 AM   #10
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Thanks for the great feedback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SiKo View Post
What exactly is this setting 'smooth seeking' you're referring to?
On the "Options" menu: "Smooth Seeking (seeks at end of measure)".

You can also tweak the settings on the Snap/Grid settings window.

-Bill
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Old 03-17-2010, 02:31 AM   #11
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tried this out yesterday, works amazing an really opens a door to more creativaty.
I added the play action to the jump-action, so I can do some retriggering stuff.
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