the sight below – process part 200
Live sets are usually tricky to translate into a recording. Most likely when any artist is mixing live electronic music, the tendency is to adjust the sound and balance of instruments according to the acoustics of the room, the speakers available and setup (stereo, quad, etc) and multiple other factors (like the number of people in the room). Ultimately, what sounds great live might not sound that interesting when you record straight from the main soundboard and play it back at home, in headphones or home stereo system. It is one of the main reasons I seldom record live sets – they just rarely translate well into the recorded format. I remember last year somebody recorded a bootleg of our set at Sonar festival in Barcelona. It’s been floating on the Internet for a while and I must say it’s a pity, as it is definitely not representative of what we sound like in a live setting. Part of the beauty of live performance is the physicality of it –like when listening to a very dense, textured wall of guitar noise with sub frequencies at 120db’s…ah, beauty!
Anyway, based on this previous experience, I’ve become more aware of this and have decided to start recording lots of The Sight Below (or solo) sets. I usually tend to record in subgroups, at least 4 channels worth of stems. That way I can master the recording later in my studio and adjust levels of stems, eq the mix, compress, and translate what sounded great live into what would sound great in a recorded setting. I definitely do not try to make it sound like the published works (album or ep’s) – part of the beauty of live performance is to experience either new material or new arrangements of songs. Otherwise you might as well just stay home and play the record.
When Rayna asked me to write a new piece for Modyfier I decided recording and mastering a live set for her blog was the way to go. I’ve been an avid reader since its inception and feel really honored to be writing piece #200. I prepared this live set for an event at the Seattle Art Museum called SAM Remix. It was a very special event in which I created visuals that would interact/react with the music. I was also performing in quad sound for the first time and it added a new level of depth to the music. Of course, this last aspect is very difficult to translate into a stereo field, but with that in mind, I hope you, the reader, enjoy this live set. Hats off to the folks at Modyfier for creating such an amazing body of work and happy #200!