Live Performance with Modular and Esoteric Electronic Instruments

Last night I performed at the Goethe Institute in DC as part of DC Listening Lounge’s annual event Sound Scene. My usual performance rig as PraxisCat is Serge format modular synth panels (4U), and a Ciat-Lonbarde Dousk.

Modular synthesizer instruments are usually known for their studio capabilities, but in terms of live performance they were often avoided because from a traditionalist perspective making them “repeatable” is a difficult task. Those who embrace more improvisational methods in terms of electronic and experimental performance though have embraced them for just this element of unpredictability, myself included.

The big thing is keeping an open mind in terms of musical performance if one does tend to take on both modular instruments, as well as more esoteric instruments. This is both true for the audience and performer. Performance will never be the same twice, and the nature of the music itself will sometimes pull one outside of their comfort zone.  Noise, varying frequencies, arrhythmic music, are all likely elements when seeing somebody with a modular instrument perform.  This is likewise the case when one brings in esoteric electronic instruments as well.  There is an embrace of the beauty of chaos in music.

The great thing about performing with such instruments is the fact that what this can bring is a sense of newness with seeing an artist each time, even though they may be using the same equipment their approach on that given night may wildly vary.