Live. Electronic. Music.
August 2, 2007 4:58 PM   Subscribe

Prohibited Beatz (YouTube) is a documentary about acclaimed drummer Jojo Mayer and his "live electronic" group, NERVE. It features commentary on the concept of reverse engineering in music, the "Cabaret Laws" of New York City, and lots of excellent sounds as well. [A little more inside]
posted by rollbiz (15 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Some other live instrument/electronic instrument hybrid music (YouTube playlist goodness):

Sound Tribe Sector 9- Live at the Tabernacle 12/31/05

Benevento and Russo Duo- Various Clips
posted by rollbiz at 4:59 PM on August 2, 2007

Mas YouTube? Si!

Sometimes, KJ Sawka does it all by himself with a drum kit and a sampler. Sometimes, it's a little more elaborate. How'd he do it?
posted by rollbiz at 5:20 PM on August 2, 2007

Perhaps its just me, but the idea of live drums in Jungle and Drum and Bass seems kinda contrary to the whole spirit of the music. I don't want to hear that live sound if I'm listening to D&B -- I wanna hear looped breakbeat samples and tight cuts and edits that may well go into wide variations and flights of fancy, but that ultimately are being made up from that same small group of samples that comprise the original break, along with possibly an additional small group of single hits.

Instead of actually adding something to the music, for me, a live drummer actually takes away something that's right at the heart of what -- for me, at least -- the music is supposed to be about. And that's the art of sampling, or drum editing, of being sufficiently disciplined to create something new and compelling from either a new, found object, or by doing something original and innovative with a classic break that we've been using since early hiphop days.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:58 PM on August 2, 2007

posted by chunking express at 6:39 PM on August 2, 2007

And holy shit that KJ Sawka guy is nuts.
posted by chunking express at 6:41 PM on August 2, 2007

I agree with what Jojo says about the state of jazz today and how the real innovations are happening in the underground scenes like his. BTW his drum solo clips are awesome!!
posted by janetplanet at 6:44 PM on August 2, 2007

Battles are my favourite live electronic hybrid band right now. They are incredible live. See them if you get a chance....
posted by Jon Mitchell at 7:00 PM on August 2, 2007 [2 favorites]

Sorry if I'm being pedantic, but all of this stuff just goes to show how stupid trying to apply genres and categories to music really is. A hybrid between 'electronic and live' doesn't make much sense in any other terms except in genre-world (which does not describe the world of music as it actually is), since the vast majority of live music is somehow altered electronically anyway. This includes a lot of 'contemporary classical' (ok I'm already being forced to genre-ize, even in my own argument - oops) - what I'm saying is that electronics are used in a pretty sizable proportion of music - so the term 'electronic' is bunk, always has been, and videos like this prove it. Battles rule, too.
posted by mike_bling at 7:38 PM on August 2, 2007

Sorry if I'm being pedantic, but all of this stuff just goes to show how stupid trying to apply genres and categories to music really is.

You're absolutely correct...But who (including possibly you and definitely myself) would bother to take the time to check out the post if there wasn't some genre-related description of what Jojo and Co. were doing? Besides...Music, like most things, begs for a universally coherent description. Genre at its functioning best would be just that.
posted by rollbiz at 7:44 PM on August 2, 2007

See also Keiretsu
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:35 AM on August 3, 2007

Speaking of cabaret laws, I am reminded of a club in the east village we used to visit in the late 90s where I heard the best funky breaks. The place had really big signs inside with two instructions: "no dancing" and "no pot smoking." Both were being flagrantly disregarded.

The place got shut down after a year or so.
posted by exogenous at 6:16 AM on August 3, 2007

My position is somewhat opposed to PeterMcDermott's. I love the idea of Mayer's reverse engineering the Amen Break and playing it live. As a (failed) drummer myself, one of my problems with sampled drums is the overly manufactured sound that goes more to technique than feeling. Call me an empath, I guess.

How can Mayer's re/creation of the machine sound created from the Winston's Amen beat "take something away" from the sound of "what it is supposed to be"? I'm not sure I understand. And it's not like Mayer is saying--hey, skins & wood, this is better!--it sounds like he is paying homage to the d&b/jungle creators.

I know a few drummers who could also probably match this, but it is a task to keep up that meter. Yes, the edits and loops display a great skill, too, but they can be assembled in leisure and while they take a fine eye/ear to match the various other tracks assembled, ultimately they are mechanical skills that one day will be able to be programmed (if they are not already possible to do so) by the novice. Whereas, the Mayer feat, hmmmm, not so easy to try this at home.

This is not a swipe at d&b/jungle/editing/producing by any means. I am a fan of the endless Tony Williams loops created on magnetic tape by Teo Macero (and of course, master drummer Tony Williams) and I listen to a fair amount of recombinant DJ music.

But to say that somehow the live performance "takes something away"? I just don't follow.

As far as the NY Cabaret law--"May we see your cabaret license Mr. Davis? Uh hunh, You're Under Arrest."
posted by beelzbubba at 8:26 AM on August 3, 2007

Completely impressed with Jojo Mayer, who I learned about when spish wrote about him in the flapjax post last May on Drummerworld.

Check out the Mayer videos there as well.
posted by LeLiLo at 9:27 AM on August 3, 2007

that kj sawka is a machine. one guy reviewing him claims he's done an entire freaking 12 hour set that way.
posted by juv3nal at 10:10 AM on August 3, 2007

THANK YOU for posting this. Jojo is the shit, He's the bomb. He's the shitty bomb!
posted by spish at 8:50 PM on August 3, 2007

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