Soundevotion Competition entry discussion.

Your SDCompo tunes played live

Re: Your SDCompo tunes played live

Postby tenfour » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:46 pm

We're not looking necessarily for jam songs. In fact we really want to avoid extended "jams" as much as possible. We're hoping to fill the set with clever melodies, moments, harmonies. I think we develop a certain style sometimes in a tracker that, when we try to play it live, might just make the audience stop dancing for a moment and say "wtf, what IS this stuff?? It's cool!!"

Also keep in mind I will have to spend significant effort in arranging the songs, so what we perform will not be like it is in the compo.

In a perfect world where I have all the time in the world, I would listen to literally every song in SDCompo history. But I just don't have that kind of time, which is why I'm asking for any nominations at all.

Cheers!
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Re: Your SDCompo tunes played live

Postby organic io » Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:55 pm

gilli wrote:
edit: grammar, since I know Scott is watching.


:P

I'm not that bad, am I?????
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Re: Your SDCompo tunes played live

Postby tenfour » Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:27 am

Added my selections to the original post, along with some other maybe-interesting info about the project and sdcompo.
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Re: Your SDCompo tunes played live

Postby organic io » Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:33 pm

tenfour wrote:Added my selections to the original post, along with some other maybe-interesting info about the project and sdcompo.


Very cool. Any update on whether you've got a date set or anything like that? :D :D :D
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Re: Your SDCompo tunes played live

Postby tenfour » Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:44 pm

I'm currently arranging the songs. I have generated about 250 pages of sheet music in the past couple months. I have also decided against 2 keyboards, so the group should now be: Drums, bass, keyboard, guitar, sax.

I have transcribed about 17 sdcompo songs, but I need to make more refined parts for the musicians. I have also rendered some variations of songs in order for the musicians to practice along with the original recording. For example I have renders of all the songs with no bass. Another with no drums, etc.

So all in all, just lots and lots of work to prepare everything. I am working with a saxophonist. We think we have a guitarist, but we're still looking for the drums & bass. They are the most demanding parts...

This is the most annoying part of the whole process because it's just boring labor, arranging the parts, and dealing with people's holidays.

I am guessing we'll start rehearsing in November or so. Performance early 2014 :) I'm trying to be realistic here...

-Carl
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Re: Your SDCompo tunes played live

Postby organic io » Mon Sep 23, 2013 2:34 pm

tenfour wrote:I have generated about 250 pages of sheet music in the past couple months.


It all sounds really impressive. You are one committed dude! Keep up the good work, and I can't wait to hear the final result :D
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Re: Your SDCompo tunes played live

Postby tenfour » Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:24 pm

First, I am taking suggestions for a group name. I have been calling it "sdcompo live" so far, but I am not sure I really want to use "sdcompo" in the name. First of all I don't feel I have the seniority to use it like that, but also if I declare this an official sdcompo project band, then I should probably not monopolize the set list with my own stuff. Also a jazz quintet is really not the appropriate instrumentation to represent an online tracker competition :)

---

Project update: Our first rehearsal will be Oct 27th, but only between guitar, sax, and me on keyboards. My latest milestone has been to figure out a good keyboard setup. It's kind of incredible the amount of work this is requiring. It's about the only thing I work on other than my job. The keyboard parts have been especially challenging, and I've had to write a few custom scripts to help with the performance.

The current keyboard setup goes like this:

I will have 3 keyboards: 2 for "normal" playing, 1 for effects and triggers like claps / percussion.

They will all control Renoise. I have created a .xrns containing instruments for all the songs I'll play. It's a lot of tracks and effects, and a big challenge was to figure out how I will quickly switch between them all. One of the scripts I wrote manages this. You define a mapping between songs / midi devices / instruments, and you can use midi CC to switch between songs and instruments within the song. Some advantages I gain with this:

  • This is way easier than cycling through a big flat list of 75 different instruments all the time.
  • I can switch instruments for all devices using a single CC, so there's less button mashing going on.
  • It allows me to map the same instrument for multiple songs, while still keeping the instrument numbers together.

Then, I decided to use MachFive3 as a sampler, instead of Renoise's default sample player. A few reasons:

  • It lets me use pitch bend
  • It lets me route audio to a specific renoise track. Sample-based instruments always play to the current track.
  • It has scripting options that are more suited for live playback. I had to write a custom script to create some nice effects. For example on chotoro's "Shadow on the Moon in the Sea of Shadow" (http://www.sdcompo.com/entry.php?e=558), there is this nice "Nee---maah----staaaah" vocal sample. I wanted to be able to trigger those 3 syllables by playing 3 notes in a row on the keyboard. But I am playing them in chords as well, so there needed to be some kind of way to not trigger the next sample if i'm playing notes within a chord. Anyway MachFive3's scripting engine lets me do basically anything I want, sample-wise.

Each of those is pretty much a must-have. But that last point is really the kicker for me. The point of playing sdcompo songs live is to provide the opportunity to give tracker compositions a human element. So we don't want to play with a click track, we don't want to be locked into a key, we want the opportunity to be as expressive as possible. Basically we don't want the limitations of the software setup to cause limitations on our performance. With enough time and effort, this current setup seems to be pretty limitless.

I have a few midi keyboard controllers, but I still need to buy another one.

  • Roland FP-9 digital piano. This is too heavy to take to performances, and isn't really good for anything other than piano playing. For example it has no controllers, no pitch bend or mod.
  • Alesis QX-49. This thing just feels terrible. It has the right features but the keybed makes me sick to my stomach to play.
  • Korg microkey 37. For such a el-cheapo controller, the keybed is really great, and it has 3 octaves. But has very few controllers (does have pitch/mod though!). No sustain pedal is a problem. And the keys are smaller than normal so I find it slightly awkward. Considering using this as my 3rd controller though.
  • Novation Impulse 49. Surprise, the one that cost twice as much as all the others is the best. I will definitely use it. Keybed feels great, has tons of features and programmability. No complaints.

So I'll be going shopping soon, probably this week. Heck I probably need other gear too like a rolling cart, maybe one of those fancy double-decker keyboard stands... with a place to put the laptop and hardware ... :(

So much work!!!
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Re: Your SDCompo tunes played live

Postby chunter » Mon Sep 30, 2013 1:18 pm

I won't fault you for simplifying arrangements to make them work in simpler gear- you seem to be putting a lot of effort into it! At least now we know how much gear it takes to play our songs live...
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Re: Your SDCompo tunes played live

Postby tenfour » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:24 am

Small update: Had our first rehearsal yesterday. We still don't have a full group though so not much to say, no recordings to share. We tried Big Truffle in Little China, The Devil's Portrait, and SCA Type 2. All are a success! It was really satisfying to hear some results, to hear how the synths mix with acoustic instruments. Right now we just have guitar (Damiano), tenor sax (Angelo), and me on keyboards. These guys are really monsters and they really love the SDCompo tunes.

And I finally have my entire keyboard rig plus all the software set up. I will be using 3 keyboards:

  • Novation Remote SL MKII 61 - this is my main, right-hand keyboard.
  • Novation Impulse 49 - this is my left-hand keyboard.
  • Korg microkey 37 - a small extra keyboard. Right now it's only used for triggering the genius vocal samples Chotoro crafted for SCA Type 2.

Next rehearsal is next month. We should have a drummer by then. Still looking for a dream bass player.

-Carl
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Re: Your SDCompo tunes played live

Postby organic io » Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:03 am

Awesome, sounds like it is progressing really well. It's really cool to see that someone is taking on such a project, not because they have to, but because they enjoy it and want to contribute something to society. :D
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Re: Your SDCompo tunes played live

Postby tenfour » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:33 am

Second rehearsal was yesterday, this time with a drummer. Wilfried is a bossssss on drums, it's great to have him. And we found a bassist that's interested in the project for next week. So if all goes well with him, it means we have a full band. Seems then we're staying on task, probably performing live sometime in the spring.

We have worked on 6 songs so far:

  • SCA Type 2
  • This is Rabbit Country
  • Big Truffle in Little China
  • The Devil's Portrait
  • If Only It Were You
  • Chinese Identity Conflict

They are progressing, but need a lot of polish. So far the results are really sounding very promising.

Only 2 composers are so far represented (me & Chotoro). After next rehearsal, we'll continue to expand and try to venture further from jazz, testing more limits.

The goal for next week will be to polish these 6 songs and try to make a simple demo. Not pro-quality, but just "something" we can use to start poking around for venues. And also to finally post something of substance here. Till then!
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Re: Your SDCompo tunes played live

Postby tenfour » Mon Dec 02, 2013 6:14 am

Dream bass acquired, and now my dream band is in motion. We recorded rehearsal yesterday and so I can share a couple recordings here.

Big Truffle in Little China:
Original: https://soundcloud.com/tenfour/big-truf ... ttle-china
Live: https://www.dropbox.com/s/klp3osth9t9t9 ... ruffle.mp3

This is Rabbit Country! ( Chotoro, http://www.sdcompo.com/entry.php?e=282 )
Original: http://www.chotoro.fi/musik/this_is_rabbit_country.mp3
Live: https://www.dropbox.com/s/lihwy75izq9gi ... abbits.mp3

If Only It Were You
Original: https://soundcloud.com/tenfour/if-only-it-were-you
Live: https://www.dropbox.com/s/oxnqvvmuarz1k ... %20you.mp3

The Devil's Portrait:
Original: https://soundcloud.com/tenfour/thedevilsportrait
Live: https://www.dropbox.com/s/s265fliz5y9yn ... rtrait.mp3



Due to holiday season we probably won't rehearse until mid-January or so.

-Carl
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Re: Your SDCompo tunes played live

Postby gilli » Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:31 pm

I hope more people check for the updates you make here.

I listened to all rehearsal versions and it's interesting to hear those known songs being played by a band. I really feel that the live version of "if it only were you" adds some great things to the song. Especially the guitar impro is impessing.

And of course you can hear that it's a bunch of talented/pro guys who can play what they imagine in their heads immediately.

Keep up the great work.
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Re: Your SDCompo tunes played live

Postby Airmann » Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:01 pm

Hey Tenfour,

I really like the songs that you've posted. Moreover, good sound quality already.
Wish you success with the live performances.

I'd like to mix (audio/mix) / master one of the songs. Would this be possible ?
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Re: Your SDCompo tunes played live

Postby chunter » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:51 pm

Sorry I didn't listen to them earlier, it sounds great and can't wait for more! (Also, impressive recorded-in-the-room sound.)
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