Watch: BinkBeats performs truly live electronic music

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Watch: BinkBeats performs truly live electronic music

About a month ago, a relatively unknown producer named BinkBeats released " target="_blank">a very intriguing video (brought to my attention by Potholes In My Blog) in which he covered an electronically produced track completely live. Specifically, he took Erykah Badu’s Madlib-produced jam ‘The Healer’, and recreated each individual sample using a real world instrument. He then performed the entire track live with the assistance of some basic MIDI looping technology. It’s an incredible idea with an immense amount of preparation behind it, but it was difficult to relate to Stoney Roads, so it went un-posted by us. Now though, the same producer has recreated ‘Getting There’ – a track from Flying Lotus’ most recent album. This sparked some thoughts and as it turns out, these videos couldn’t be more relevant to the electronic dance music scene.

We recently posted an article about debunking the concept of live electronic music. The conclusion drawn was that having an MC, a drummer, a sampler and a big light show is nice, however it doesn’t make a performance live, despite what PR and marketing companies would like people to think. BinkBeats’ performances prove that electronically-composed music is able to be performed completely and truly live. It’s certainly been done before, but the videos are a timely reminder of what all these ‘live’ shows have the potential to be.

The amount of planning required for a performance like this would be monumental, but it’d certainly be worth the pay-off. Watching BinkBeats perform his interpretation of ‘Getting There’ on a sample pad could be interesting, and as part of a DJ set it might catch my ear. But observing every sound as it reveals itself through direct human interaction with a musical instrument is gripping. Not only is it pleasing in its aesthetics, but the music’s live nature adds an exclusivity to a performance. Absolutely anything could happen, and it might never happen again.

I shouldn’t have to explain the appeal of live music though; it goes without saying. In fact that’s what makes this whole situation so strange. If it’s possible to play electronic music with a truly live set-up, why isn’t it being done everywhere? The first answer to that question that might spring to mind is “money”. BinkBeats is doing all of this in a studio, not on a stage. Taking a polished show on the road with all of the equipment required for each track would be ridiculously expensive, and a logistical nightmare. It’s not impossible though. With all the over-the-top ‘live’ shows we see today, it’s obvious that that the money is there. It’s true that many of the acts making that kind of cash are catering to an audience perfectly happy to put style over substance. However it defies logic to ignore the remaining market who would undoubtedly pay good money for a live, large-scale performances of electronic music.

While DJ sets will always have a place in this scene, the potential for one hundred per cent live electronic music performances is just not being taken advantage of. In a way, the whole idea seems counter-intuitive. One of the advantages of electronic music is that it exists outside the many barriers of real world instrumentation. Playing synths completely live and reverse-engineering sounds and samples is certainly not necessary for the performance of electronic music. However, doing these things provides a completely different experience for an audience. Something beyond big beats and bright lights.


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