Next week is going to be huge for my music project, and for me personally as well! It will be the first time that I perform live in front of an audience with a bigger setup. I've had a couple of smaller gigs in the past, but they have been in a much smaller setting.
„Shopping Bag“ is a dance performance and installation premiering at the Kulturkirche Stralsund on 12.8. at 19h and 13.8. at 15h.
This project is different than everything else i did before, especially because I will perform my music with a group of dancers, and, what's even more important to me as an artist, tt is a commissioned work in which many aspects are given by the director (even though I do have big freedom in doing it).
I have been waiting for such a moment for a long time, so of course I want the performance to be outstandingly good and successful all the more.
The whole event will take place abroad, more precisely in the Kulturkirche St. Jakobi in Stralsund, a small lovely city straight at the east coast of Germany.
The performance will last about 1 hour and its story is about todays world of consumption and luxury. All tracks are already written and arranged. I will use this week to practise - primarily the transitions between the pieces running on the Pyramid sequencer, and the quick coordination of the Perfourmer settings.
I have coordinated the songs with the director of the performance, Bernardo San Rafael. There are different phases, each of which will be accompanied by a special piece of music, partly sound collages, partly tracks. In the process, and this is new for me, there will be interaction between me, the music and the performers. I'm sure I'll write a separate blog post about this after I'm back, it's going to be exciting.
Here's a little teaser that the dancers created to promote the performance:
Gear structure and why I've choosen it this way
But what is already creating excitement in me beforehand is the logistics and the resulting set requirements. You probably know my setup from previous posts. There's a lot of stuff in it. Too much for a transport that should remain affordable.
There is also an aspect that made the choice of gear even more important. After the premiere in Stralsund, I will perform the set at various other events, including a bar in my canton of Zurich and an event in Copenhagen.
These requirements forced me to develop the set on a limited selection of equipment from the beginning. "Unfortunately", my choice fell on the 3 biggest lumps in the rig:
Vermona Perfourmer MKII (Main Synth) 6 KG
Elektron Analog Rytm MKII (Sample Player, Drums), 2,5 KG
Novation Peak (Pads), 4 KG
Squarp Pyramid (Sequencer) 1,6 KG
Strymon Big Sky (Reverb) 0.6 KG
Electro Harmonix Gran Canyon (Delay) 0.4 KG
Empress Compressor, 0.3 KG
Cables, Cables, Cables
That's quite a lot of stuff to transport (and the venue offers a mixer so I don't have to think about it on top). The problem is that everything has to go in the cabin if it's not to break or get lost (imagine the current airport situation ...).
Perfourmer: I actually took this synth in the rig because it's concept of direct access seemed to be made for performances like this and i just can't wait to see if I'm right or wrong on this idea. The 4 synth strips are super flexible to use.
Analog Rytm: I asked myself if Digitakt would have been the better choice this time. AR is nearly double of the DT dimensions. But - even I could do most of the sound design similar way, the Analog Rytm is so much better to perform. A huge plus for this approach.
Novation Peak: Oh yes, I wish this could be a smaller piece. I don't even use it on all tracks.
Music gear transportation
Another problem is that my airline only allows one small piece of luggage, which is under the front seat, plus one large piece of hand luggage (name it).
For the Vermona, I bought a case for transport and cut the foam in it. Unfortunately, there are no transport boxes made specifically for this device, but this case is great and the dimensions fit exactly under the front seat (I hope). Check.
I will store the rest of the setup in a special producer backpack that I bought 3 years ago but have never used. The whole piece may weigh 15 KG. The equipment comes to around 12 KG, so luckily I still have a little reserve for smaller personal items.
In case you are wondering about the clothing I will wear during the stay in Germany :D I already have it shipped there. They have been transported in a check-in luggage with one of the group members. Otherwise, I would have had to check in another piece of luggage myself.
Here's a little gallery of the bag:
Is it worth to have so much music hardware to carry around?
So. This post gives you an idea of the show concept before I played it. I will write a review when I'm back and I made my experiences.
But there's already one big question that I have to write down even I dare to say it loud, but I really wished a couple of times, I could simply shrink down the entire hardware set into a tiny laptop and do the sound design with a lightweight controller.
Even I LOVE the drum sounds that the Analog Rytm MKII creates, for the sake of easier travelling and more flexibilty, I could do the sample and drum management, plus the entire effect processing and the sequencing with a laptop and LIVE and just add the Vermona as the "Real" main synth to the set.
This sounds maybe stupid after I'm a big defender of music hardware. But I believe that one has to adapt to the respective circumstances and should not forbid oneself to think about other, maybe fresher solutions. I will surely sit down when we finally made this project and think about some attempts for a future set to get it a bit more streamlined and efficient.
How do you feel about this question? Maybe you made your own experiences, I'd be interested to read your comments below.