I thought I'd try a new approach with this one: no guitar, and two synths as the sound generators. So I wasn't completely on new ground I figured I'd do the Bureau of Nonstandards working method and remix on the fly in Ableton Live. I've been listening to a lot of beat-oriented stuff, and considering how abstract the synth can get, it seemed like a good idea to have some strong beats to drop in, but some preliminary tests sounded like they wanted a kind of post-human broken-machine-talking-to-itself fractured beat--the kind of thing that makes sense after some repetition, or after it's heard against some other context. So I worked up four or five channels of different drum machine sounds (secret weapon: Kawai K3M bass drum) and broke the patterns apart, across channels. I could mix and match fragments, have them at different lengths and sounds for variety, and have something for the audience to grab onto. Synths: Bleep Labs Nebulophone (mostly in Hypernoise mode) and Moog Filtatron.
The set itself seemed like a swimming upstream: In the event, the synths we doing different things than I had done in rehearsal, and I had to roll with that but it held together. It was great hearing the massive bass drums through the club's subwoofers. And apart from one screwup (I hit the timeline and stopped the Live set in the middle), it worked. People dug it. I fixed that mess up in post, extending that piece.
Now I've put it out: http://mauricerickard.bandcamp.com/. Give it a listen.
Not a bad show, though perhaps betraying a lack of quality time with my performance setup: some of Live's behavior was a bit annoying in this context (resetting audio channel inserts to their default state when I changed scenes, rather than keeping them consistent with the last change--it makes logical sense, but wasn't what I needed in the moment). More annoying, I'd not really absorbed my last-minute decisions about what piece should go where, and ended up triggering a demo I'm still working on, but which borders on the trite in places. Since I triggered it, I just went ahead with it, but it wasn't ideal. Similarly, the winging-it approach to the set list was not the best move; the set was disjointed in a way that didn't work. Other low points: uke drifting out of tune, Kalamazoo E-string out of tune, and the inevitable distractions of getting everything to work together.
So what went right? WRCT staff were just great to work with, and it was nice to see Michael Johnsen and Margaret Cox there before the set. In the set itself, I got out of my own way occasionally, like in the Rhythm Ace piece, where I felt the on-the-edge-of-overload guitar speaking clearly, and extended the piece to follow it. Admittedly this might have become tedious for the casual listener.