Sunday, August 17, 2014

Will you recognize change when you hear it?

Technicians think they understand how rapid technological advances affect our lives.  After all, everyone can see the impact of cell phones and the internet.  There are subtle changes that occur when a younger generation embeds technology as a foundation of what they do instead of as an supplement. What happens when a new generation makes that technique a standard part of their toolbox?

Tools available for everyone...
Billy Joel and Jimmy Fallon recorded their own Doo Wop version of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" using an iPad App on TV in 2014. The two of them performed all six parts. Joel and Fallon first looped 4 backing tracks live and then sang two part harmony. I was blown a way that they were willing go do this "on their own" in front of a live studio audience. It is doubly amazing when you consider how many folks will lip sync a performance.


Their act was a super example of how technology makes the complex simple, enabling new types of creativity without getting in the way. A lot of the (technical) press talked about how this  performance counters the common statement that Tables and Phones are only used for content consumption. This ignores more interesting aspect how new technology is being used in the arts without much of the audience understanding the sophistication of the performance.

We watched and Listened...
My wife and I went to the Strathmore music hall the last night to see a "tribute show". Margo MacDonald, performed her version of "Private Life". She recorded at least 6 backing tracks 13 loops including vocals and percussion. She then switched on and off while singing. I believe that Ms. MacDonald also added additional tracks during the performance. You can see the type of thing she does on her you tube channel and in this video.



Most of the audience had any idea what they just listened to. I was pretty much the only one who stood up at the end of the performance. Later I explained to a couple of the folks near me what just happened. They had no idea why what I was talking about or why it was exciting.

Do people see the future when it's happening?
It will be exciting to see what people will do when they start building using this new world as a base. I hope I'm attentive enough to recognize the magic when its in front of me.

2 comments:

  1. A couple friends pointed me at similar and past efforts.

    There have been of this since the 70s. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frippertronics and late era Midnight Special: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2wGj73hjTc These are related to what's happening now in the same way the "car phone" is related to the "cell phone". People could see the benefits of a mobile device but they didn't necessarily see the impact across society.

    This type of work is happening other genres: hip-hop group called uhnellys http://www.uhnellys.com You can also look at folks like the "Open Loop Ensemble" that use retro tape controlled by iPads to give you modern capabilities with a retro performance vibe.

    Thanks for the info!

    ReplyDelete
  2. KT Tunstall was doing this in her live performances of "Black Horse and a Cherry Tree" in 2010-2011.

    ReplyDelete