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At what point does karaoke begin?


Billster

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I've not been gigging for some time because of issues with finding the right band members. My music is a jazz rock blend (link in signature) which I feel requires a keyboard or second guitar to bring together. I would also like a second melodic voice (horn or such). I suppose the second guitar or keys could provide melody, but two guitars is a style of its own.

 

I have a friend who plays guitar, bass, and also a Charlie Hunter style 8 string (3 bass/5 guitar strings) He has a solid drummer, but his band is semi-disintegrating because the singer is planning to leave town (just after completing a CD :mad::( ).

 

Anyway, I don't know how the drummer feels about click tracks, but if us three (guitar/guitar hybrid/drummer) played with a computer filling in certain parts, and other songs just us three, would that make an effective nightclub show, or would the computer tracks be a distraction.

 

Also, since I build my recording tracks in the computer, how would a show with me and my laptop look? I would tweak the arrangements to feature a guitar performance, so I'm not standing there comping while the computer plays a pre-recorded keyboard solo. Keep in mind, this is not a rock & roll show, but something more esoteric (pats self on back :D )

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I think it's o.k. to use sequenced or prerecorded stuff to fill in the blanks, but I'm not sure if it's a good idea to have it for solos.

 

I thought about it, and I remembered a band called "Mike and the Tape Decks". It was two guys and a tape deck. They had prerecorded solos and they would say things like:

"Go Tape Deck Go!",

during a solo. I suppose you could do it if you made fun of the fact that it was prerecorded.

 

As for using it for keyboard parts etc. Most people won't even notice! Just try to be subtle.

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Have you considered, or tried, real-time looping, as well?

 

I think that live, real-time looping (and creatively manipulating and effecting said loops), used along with canned loops and sequencing and such, would greatly diminish any "karaoke" stigma that you are concerned with. And as far as using tracks and sequencing with your trio- with a Hunteresque 8-string player in the line-up, what makes you think you'll need the laptop? ;) Seriously, if it's necessary, and it works, go for it! Most folks thought it was cool that Rush used pedal-controllers and sequencers and all that... it's a "brainiac"-thing, yeah, that's the ticket! :cool::thu:

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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Caevan - mostly I want access to different timbres to move the arrangements along. I think 45+ minutes of guitar can get overbearing in club setting where the patrons aren't expecting (or likely to walk in on) the next Mike Stern.

 

I especially think 45+ minutes of me carrying on with guitar instrumentals can be overbearing, unless there's some more texture.

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I do not use sequences at this time but I have discussed this often... the temptation. I want a Boomerang phrase sampler but I can't find a used one and it's $400, which I don't want to spend.

 

As for others, I note many acts these days using tracks. There is a part of me that resists this. However, I do not think that hardly any of your audience will care. Or even know. I know a band... there is no drummer. It's all done through the keys guy, who is in the back (where the drummer would be) and he does it in Cakewalk. Plus plays keys. (Drum tracks sequenced.) Everybody loves them. Of course, the female singer is gorgeous and a fantastic singer. Trio, they also have guy on lead guitar.

 

I saw a guy Saturday using his keyboard, one man band type dude. I could handle that okay. Kinda. But then he stood up and just sang without playing a note. He has a helluva voice but heck, it's just karaoke. He kinda lost me there.

> > > [ Live! ] < < <

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Hmm. Tough spot there. More and more people are finding it "acceptable" to use sequenced backing tracks nowadays and while I can understand that it's easier than finding good bandmates, I think it compromises the performance. Even if mainly by limiting the drummer to following a set tempo onstage and limiting the band from spontaneous improvisation because they have to follow a sequenced arrangement.

 

On one hand, maybe if you're playing out a lot using sequenced tracks that'll help you find the right "live" person who might see your band and offer to join you. On the other... personally I refuse to "settle" for less than what I want in terms of band members and I think this has been a good thing for me in the long term. Because I don't accept it as an option to use a sequencer or drum machine, it's always forced me to be more diligent about finding people. Before my band got together, rather than sit by myself in my studio programming tracks, I'd go out to the clubs and try to see other bands that had good musicians. Bands usually don't last forever, they break up or people quit or they're looking for side projects, and it's good to be in the loop when that happens so you can snag the best musicians. My band came about as a result of one of my favorite local bands splitting up.

 

Yes it can be frustrating to go out to the clubs and watch other people play when you could be playing yourself. But in the big picture I think it pays off. Just my 2 cents.

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Lee brought up a seriously crucial point there- the innability of a sequencer, looper, or anything pre-recorded to interact.

 

I believe that there have been some devices- MIDI, hardware, maybe software- that allowed an external source like a drummer or other musician to trigger and dictate the tempo in real-time, but I'm not too up on all of that. That could help some there, perhaps.

 

As for the concern of 'too much guitar', use guitar synth, or creatively applied effects, or both, to feed a looping device! For example, a flanger with lots of feedback but little sweep or depth for a reedy, synthy tone (a T.C. Electronics Chorus/Flanger pedal excels at this) being "swelled" by a noise-gate with an attack-delay being followed by some pitch transposition and rhythmic delay can sound like anything but a guitar. Or a guitar-controlled synth generating a good Hammond B3 patch fed through some nice 'verb and a Leslie impersonator could be cool...

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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yeah, the "interaction" factor would be my concern as well. seems like you would be limited in terms of improvisation if your arrangements are set in digital stone.

 

my .02 would be to hold out for the right person.

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I've never been happy with guitar synths.

 

As to interaction, I saw Shakti last fall, and McLaughlin had a laptop just beind that he tapped up some loops on at the beginning of most pieces. Any idea what software he might have been using?

 

Metaphor alert!

If this thing were a sandwich, I'm the ham and cheese ( :D ), the drummer and bass are the bread, and maybe the computer is mayonnaise, but only in a few bites!

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Sonic Foundry\'s Acid is a really simple, effective looping software. it's a blast to play around with.

 

you can hear what i've done with it *spam alert*

here: http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/icons/icon2.gifSoju

 

you can go from really simple to really complex, it's all point and click. a total blast to play with, but i've never used it live.

 

i'm a point and click MASTERMIND :D

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in my case, karaoke probably begins at a point somewhere after the 12th beer (if I'm still standing that is :D )
- due to recent cutbacks, the light at the end of the tunnel has been SWITCHED OFF
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The point where karaoke begins is usually the point where I pay my check and leave. :P

 

---

The point about no interaction is a very good one, and is probably the biggest down side to what you're talking about.

On the other hand, used sparingly, your computer is really just another instrument - a tool to be used to create the music you want. As long as you (and your friends) are enjoying the music, and enjoying what you are doing, what difference does it make? When the right person(s) comes along, plug them in instead of the laptop. :)

May all your thoughts be random!

- Neil

www.McFaddenArts.com

www.MikesGarageRocks.com

 

 

 

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You first have to determine if the music you want to perform will go over well at all. I didnt listen to your tracks, but read your influences: Mike Stern, John Scofield, Jeff Beck. I really dig all of them. I just don't hear that stuff in clubs here in Fort Worth. I'm not too keen on Beck's recent electronica stuff (where sequences dominate), but Stern and Scofield still really tear it up.

 

I am a keyboard player. I've got all the home recording and the midi crap. It's fun, but it leaves me cold. I need to play live with other musicians. When I play live though, Im pretty old school. I want to play my parts, and if an arrangement has to be pared down, so be it. Call me old fashioned, but I think live performance and recording are different art forms. I love hearing Hendrix's studio creations and I love hearing his live performances. They were both outstanding in their own ways and both were honest. I dont get that same vibe when I see lip-sinking or hear phantom musicians. Because of corporate demands for absolute reproducibility of the live performance, many of the shows out there are just choreography, lights, and backing tracks. That sucks.

 

My suggestion is that you look for a keyboard player that wants to do fusion live. You'll have more fun and won't risk feeling guilty. :)

 

Steve

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Thanks for all your thoughts. I think I'm leaning towards just a splash of computer enhancement, but then the decision becomes "is it worth the extra gear, just for one or two tunes?"

 

Steve123 - No venues for this stuff in Fort Worth? Boston area may be good for this, because of the schools (Berklee, New England Conservatory, etc.) we have a big variety. Some of the clubs are exclusively jazz, with touring acts many nights, locals on others. Some venues do "Jazz brunch" or Jazz Thursday" Your primarily a keyboardist? Willing to relocate for a primordial, no-pay, may lead to nothing gig? :D

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I do a solo act with backing tracks and I have no desire to work with a band. The backing tracks are an art unto themselves. I play a lot of lead so the single "strum and sing" thing won't work for me. You hear a lot of people with cheesy tracks who don't know anything about sequencing or samplers but you also hear a lot of cheesly guitar players. My backing tracks sound like a band and are part of my art. I have more freedom to strech out and play things differently every night since I alwasy know where the "band" will be.

 

Also I get more work than I ever did before since I started working solo.

 

Another important advantage is that I have total creative control and don't have to listen to 4 emotional basket case, egomanic, "I should be star by now", undependable musicians!

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I'm primarily a keyboard player, and I can tell you that things have come a long way from hitting start on a sequencer and playing along (although it has always been more than that).

 

I find the term "acceptable" to be slightly bothersome when talking about how someone chooses to perform music. Def Leppard is much more tightly slaved to a click track than Depeche Mode...but does it seem that way? Back in the eighties, I personally started and stopped a sequencer for frickin' Iron Maiden.

 

Anyway, you can be as constrained or unconstrained as you want to be, limited only by monetary outlay, desire to learn, and the PITA factor.

 

The sweet spot for many solo and duo guitar guys that I've set up systems for comes in the form of Ableton Live. Live 4 with a foot controller is about as flexible as you are going to get. You are working with audio data, and you can speed up or slow down the tempo by tapping in REAL TIME without stopping the playback. Or you can transpose tracks, sections, or antire tunes without changing the tempo. Most examples I've seen outside of my own circle have been in the dancey arena...actually our very own Craig Anderton is quite the Live artist...but it certainly isn't limited by genre.

 

You can change stuff measure by measure, or the whole thing can be preprogrammed. And yes, I don't think What The? would be best served by any sequencing or loops, but not playing with humans does not necessarily mean giving up flexibility or spontenaeity, and I think that saying that it "Takes away" from anything is a matter of perspective, not a given.

 

Check out Ableton Live...they have a free demo for Window and OS X. I do not work for them, nor do I sell the product.

"For instance" is not proof.

 

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