Performing electronic music

 15 February 2013

Andrej Bako is one half of electronic music duo Loop Ellington, which he set up with Andy Diagram. He spoke about how technology has enabled him to create and perform music in an affordable way.

Using technology to make music 

"Loop Ellington is a table full of electronics and a trumpet. We're inspired by Duke Ellington's work, and we mash it up with loops – a sort of modern-day interpretation.  

"Affordable technology enables musicians to perform with electronics. It's a very powerful tool."

"There are elements of jazz, but it's very much using new technology that exists, and new sounds.

"A lot of technology out there is now affordable, be it laptops and audio interfaces, or controllers that are actually designed for live performance.

"These things have enabled musicians to perform with electronics, using computers, synthesisers and effects. That's a very powerful tool. You can manipulate it all live, and make decisions in terms of structures."

Making music with samples

"I do most of the drums, bass, and percussion – those things are basically coming out of the laptop. There are all kinds of samples, drum machines and synthesizers that I might have written some parts for.

"With my equipment, I'm able to trigger these things when I want them to come into the song.

"What you can actually do with any of those parts is infinite. I can change the timings, and I can change the sound. I can completely mangle it up.

"All those adjustments can be done on a keyboard, and with knobs and faders.

"Andy, the other Loop Ellington musician, plays the trumpet. The trumpet goes into different sorts of delays and machines, and also software that he's written – so he can play a trumpet loop, and then after four bars it'll just play it back to him.

"Then he has the option of recording again on top of it, and again on top of it, so it creates a big sound."

Performing live with electronic instruments

"When you're dealing with something like a computer, it's difficult to fully improvise with it like you would with an instrument.

"Electronics give you a huge palette of sound you can use."

"With an instrument, there's no delay between feeling and playing it, whereas electronics does require that things be set up a little bit beforehand.

"But saying that, electronics does give you a huge palette of sound you can use.

"Our songs can last from five to 20 minutes. We've got basic elements that go into each song, but how they interact, and how the overall structure of the song takes place, is based on how we're feeling at the time."

Find out more about Loop Ellington on Andy's website

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