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M4Sonic shows us how dance music improvisation is done

As the phenomenon known as EDM (an acronym that has many long time players on the dance music scene scrambling for the sick bag) continues to sweep through American adolescents and vast stadiums, there is one pressing question. What happened to the talent required to play live?

The arrival of such airbrushed figures as David Guetta and er – Paris Hilton on the DJ circuit has left many wondering why people are paying huge sums of money to go see them ‘live’. Guetta is notorious for leaving his turntables off and waving his arms about like he’s auditioning to play Jesus, while the farce that was Paris Hilton’s DJ debut saw her creatively waving a flag and pouting while the music changed automatically.

While respected producers such as Deadmau5 dive into print at the drop of a mask to insult performers and fans alike by claiming any idiot could do what he does on stage, it is refreshing to see that not all technological advancement is geared towards sanitized, pre recorded perfection. In fact a whole new generation of interfaces are out there, allowing more scope for live improvisation than ever before.

Just look at this video by M4Sonic, an Australian producer. The buttons you see are all triggering individual sounds within a computer that the artist has made. Some are short and simple drum sounds, others are vocal snippets, others are bass synthesiser sounds and yet more are samples from existing tracks. As his hands fly around the controller (this particular one is known as the Launchpad) he is literally creating a fluid, live piece of electronic music on the spot.

There are many musicians out there with this kind of talent. And surely if artists are commanding huge audiences and astronomical fees, we should expect them to be actually doing something beyond pre recording everything in the studio, buying in pyrotechnics and waving their arms about. Rather than let ‘EDM’ artists get away with being the 21st Century Milli Vanilli, should we not demand the wow factor of someone who has fused technology, art, craft, and live performance into one penetrating matrix?

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