Samples, loops, guitar pedals, distortion, sampling and expert sound men have made it easier for musicians to perform live feats without human players. As a culture we’ve become accustomed to the production values of hip hop and various electronic musings that minimize the use of physical instruments. In the slightly more condensed world of bands, Low-fi was a hot deal for a spell and very much en vogue, some known commodities to replace the human player are drum machines and effects pedals. Vintage bands such as The Jesus and Mary Chain with their use of samples and drum machines have proven that key roles can be filled with machines. (The world of shoegaze is built on a similar ethos.) No longer is the argument so black and white about whether music from machines is real music, we live in an age where machines can make music that gets into your bloodstream with the same affect as that which features live performers. But how far can an artist take that concept? Vintage artists such as Martin Rev and Alan Vega pushed boundaries to their era’s extremes, so much that audiences would pelt them with broken glass. What is an audience willing to pay to see live? What is performance measured by? All kinds of frustrated do-it-all musicians have attempted to replace would be bandmates with devices and programs, this can be a slippery slope, but then again every day we are moving closer into a new age. An interesting thing happened in Hartford, Ct. a production of Richard Wagner’s four-opera Ring cycle has been postponed due to technological advancements in music..
As time passes technology is only going to get more intense and intrusive. Are you ready to make out with the future?