December 15, 2009

Masters of the live-sets...

For me the idea of the "live-set" has always been an odd one. For those unfamiliar..

"Live-set refers to any performance of electronic music that is generated live out of a bank of equipment or a laptop rather than played from a pre-recorded medium (such as vinyl or CD.)"

The electronic dance scene has always been pushed forward by DJs. The guys at the front testing the new music on different crowds, educating and directing the scene. DJs now having access to so much recorded pieces of music and sounds from so many different countrys and decades.

Even though livesets have been around for a long time there seems to be an increase in artists getting booked, maybe because of the internet etc, after producing just a couple of good tracks. Not comfortable with DJing, not a natural performer, a lot of times these artists stick to playing there own tracks and loops and bang "...PLAYING LIVE" is put on the flyer!!

In my experience, at the moment most are:- sounding flat in the club, the artists are not vibing off the crowd as the 50mins - 1hr20mins set is mostly pre-planned.. it feels like somebody should be taking care of the crowd, letting them get involved and really experience something and not just having somebody throw music at them. But with limited sounds and emotions to choose from... there doesn't seem to be many directions for the artist to go!!

Anyway the title wasn't meant as an attempt at sarcasm.. There are a few guys at the moment that are playing livesets and are doing it at an extremely HIGH standard!! It feels like, instead of making their music and then trying to somehow piece it together to show it to a crowd, they are always concentrating on working on bettering their performances.. Keeping the music as spontaneous as possible by controlling as many effects and mixing on the fly as much as they can. They are also releasing some amazing tracks, which do an amazing job of capturing a snippet of the emotion of their live performance, but also gives other DJs the chance to use their music in different ways. Its like they are using their releases to get people excited about going to see themselves performing, rather then using the livesets to try and promote themselves and their new album or latest release.. The right way around if you ask me..

Three examples that need to be heard live!!!..

Deadbeat.. (Already mentioned in the review of him playing in Barcelona last month) an adopted Montrealer who has been releasing dub laden minimal electronics since 1998. Heres him playing last year at the Elevate Festival..

  Deadbeat Live @ Elevate Festival, Graz Austria - 08-11-2008

Shackleton.. Originally from Bristol, Shackleton has been carving out his own brand of eclecticism with intricate, snaking percussion, hypnotic melodies, seriously deep bass lines and dubwise sensibilities..

Shackleton Live at Sonar 2008

Carl Craig. very different example from the other two but just had to get this up on here. Amazing, one of the best things Ive seen. He was in Barcelona last month.. Sit back, get comfortable. Here he is at Cite de la Musique, Paris last year. Click for full video (taken from


  1. Some real hot tips there and no mistake!

    Im off to see Deadbeat tomorrow at Berghain, cant freekin wait! The Mole will be playing live also which will be interesting.

    It is a shame tho how there are soo many artists tho who play their stuff but cant connect to the crowd.
    Technology has come a long way since Kraftwerk invented their live electronic shoe and blew ppl away with some thing they never heard.
    Now everybody has access to technology that lows them to jam live nd vibe of a crowd like DJ

    D.O.P was the best example i heard of an act vibin' from a crowd, but thats easily done with an MC with such energy as that guy ;)

  2. The Carl Craig orchestra is simply mindblowing! i remember Jeff Mills trying this concept a few years back but for me it didn't quite work, but this is some next level shit...totally immersive hairs on the back of neck shit. respect to the one and only Carl Craig.