I am in the process of making a new solo set. My solo concert in the past two years involved a lot of found objects processed with computer.
Then, I fell in love with no-input mixer and analog synthesizer while I was doing the 100 Strange Sounds project. As I got more acquainted with analog instruments, it felt natural to try a performance involving more circuits and less objects.
The first attempt was done at the Asheville Electro-Music Festival in May 17. The “premiere” was exiting, but also revealed things to improve. Let me share what I observed and learned from the recording made by Project Ruori.
- The second half of the performance is better than the first half. Beside the sounds, compare my posture at 4:00 and 14:00. Fourteen minutes is a long time to get into the zone. I need more practice and confidence.
- I should use stage monitors in large rooms. For found object performances, I turned off the monitors for feedback issues. I realize that doing the same is not good for this kind of performance. The electronic instruments sounded too far and muffled.
- Ditch the speech intro. My intention was to gradually change my speech into music, but it did not work. I tried this in other occasions, but it did not work well, either. As my undergrad teacher advised to me, start the show with music.
- The cabbage intro needs more preparations. I was expecting this kind of visual and sound, but the vegetable did not crush well due to the poor choice of the cabbage and limited table space. Perhaps I should cut the cabbage a little bit prior to the performance?
- Electronics part could use a better dynamic change. Some transition to softer part sounded as mistakes. Perhaps this problem is related to my observation 1 and 2.
- According to the audiences I talked to, the offstage melodica ending worked well. I should try to end the set by eating the mutilated cabbage in smaller venues.
Please stay tuned for videos of my future performances. Feel free to comment/mail your suggestion to improve the sound and visuals. I expect to become comfortable with this set by the third or fourth show. I will prepare and practice, but some things are only learned from performing on stage.