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tag: live performace

New Pedal at Dusk

A live ambient performance by half of the Japan-based duo Lullatone

This elegant, beautiful video tracks from various angles a test drive by one member of the act Lullatone on a newly acquired reverb pedal. As the sun sets, the pedal is put through its initial paces, segments played on a keyboard and then through the reverb, all set to layer as loops. Those individual layers are barely distinguishable from each other, so peacefully do they accrue as a singular, solitary spaciousness. At times the high notes bring to mind Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois’ production for U2. Throughout, both the video and the performance it documents are marvels of simplicity.

This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended live performances of ambient music. Video originally posted at YouTube channel. More from Lullatone, the duo of Shawn James Seymour and Yoshimi Tomida, who are based in Japan, at lullatone.com and lullatone.bandcamp.com.

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Distressed Tape

A live, rough-textured ambient performance video from Hainbach

Just yesterday, the musician Hainbach released a short video, barely five minutes long, of a noise-informed, texture-rich ambient performance. The instrumentation on this is simple: cassette playback, which Hainbach controls four channels on, and an effects unit. The piece develops in two primary ways: as the relative levels of those channels are adjusted, and as the various effects are put into effect.

A loop of murky, sodden, melting melody, seemingly on piano, is warped beneath the distressed qualities of the tape on which it was first recorded. Wafts of white noise, much like the flapping of a flag in the wind, surround that piano, while other lines slowly make themselves present, notably an echoing rhythm.

This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended live performances of ambient music. Track originally posted at Hainbach’s YouTube channel. More from Hainbach, aka Stefan Paul Goetsch, who is based in Berlin, at hainbachmusik.com and hainbach.bandcamp.com.

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Small Box, Big Sound

A live modular synthesis performance by State Azure

In the expanding realm of live synthesizer performance videos, even the more informed among us sometimes can’t see the ensemble forest for the module trees. Despite the assembly of knobs and cables in this video, uploaded by State Azure, the activity is limited to just two pieces of equipment packed into a tidy little box in the foreground, two little modules designed for the manipulation of sound. The slight twists and adjustments on State Azure’s part align in various ways with interstellar spaciousness, wind chime chill, and dusty static, though by no means are all the correlations self-evident. There’s an understandable disconnect between how something so small can make something so vast, something so compact can make something so internally varied and vibrant. But still, watching those manipulations unfold in no way diminishes the elegance of what transpires sonically. It’s a graceful series of maneuvers that direct the sounds from start to end.

This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended live performances of ambient music. Video originally posted at YouTube. More at stateazure.bandcamp.com. State Azure is based in Southampton, U.K.

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Synth by the Water

A live ambient performance by Hainbach

Perhaps testing the outer limits of the definition of the word “performance,” this short video from Hainbach has been added to my YouTube playlist of fine live ambient sets. The inclusion can be attributed to its combination of beauty and function. The beauty relates, beyond the elegant visual setting, to a sequence of lulling passages, to layers of momentary drones and shimmery effects, unsettling loops and beatific surface noise, fantastical stereo play and naturalist field recordings. The function comes from the occasional intrusion of Hainbach’s hand, as he raises the prominence of an element, or plays a motif on the device’s keyboard. In a brief accompanying note, Hainbach sets the scene, and attributes some of the sonic source material: “Recorded on the beach the Lighthouse Festival in Porec, in between soundcheck and my performance on the beautiful modular floor there. You can hear birds from Brno, voices from Prague and the sea.”

This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended live performances of ambient music. Video originally posted to Hainbach’s YouTube channel. More from Hainbach at hainbach.bandcamp.com and hainbachmusik.com.

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Listen to the Stars

A video by U.K.-based State Azure

This seven-minute performance video by State Azure focuses tight on a few modules in a larger synthesizer rig. There is no mess of spaghetti wires. There is a limited set of blinking lights. There is a single hand adjusting knobs on a single device. The accompanying liner note references some on-screen technical details, some off-screen support equipment, and some minor post-production activity. Otherwise, “Starfall,” as the track is called, is just this: a blissfully thin expanse of near-static time, a live ambient performance in which a seeming hush is nudged into the foreground and left to sway slowly this way and that, to pause for a moment, to let little details linger. It’s the music of a planetarium after hours. The lights are simply from the music equipment, not the stars, and those are more than enough.

This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended live performances of ambient music. Video originally posted to State Azure’s YouTube channel. More at stateazure.bandcamp.com and soundcloud.com/state-azure. State Azure is based in the U.K.

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