Richard Devine Live Modular Performance At Binary Society 07

This video, via Danny Kim & Distortion Productions, captures a full live modular performance by Richard Devine at Binary 07, in downtown San Jose on October 29th, 2016.

Devine is accompanied by visuals by Tim Thompson.

Devine has a new album out, Sort/Lave. To learn more about his background and approach to modular synthesis, see our recent Richard Devine interview.

11 thoughts on “Richard Devine Live Modular Performance At Binary Society 07

  1. Pretty good, but how long must we pretend that EM is something thats interesting, let alone exciting, to watch? As much as I enjoy much of the music, and have been doing it myself for a very long time, I would rather watch a food show. This is not to take away from this fine work, or any other “performance”, but EM is a recording medium. Watching someone operate a modular synth is boring as fuck.

    1. You are welcome to speak for yourself. However, “we” enjoy the music just fine knowing that it is performed live and that it is music that we produce and love. I booked everything for Binary Society from experimental, ambient, synth wave to acid techno, all performed live. But it was always presented in gallery or lounge environments where people could absorb the music without all of the commotion of a circus show. Many of the people in attendance are producers themselves. I also make it a point to book visual artists to accompany every performance. In this case, Tim Thompson hacked a security camera to provide the visuals during Richard’s set.

    2. Yowza! A scathing attack on live performances of electronic music!
      Heh, I kinda understand where you’re coming from. As a kid, I felt that an art museum was the most boring place in the world in which to observe art. But at least here, in this YouTube concert, it’s apparent that the producer wanted to be sure the audience was entertained by either the music, the musician, or the smoke and light show and projected images. Ideally, perhaps even all of the above! Maybe the camera team didn’t capture this event as well as it could – they might have been keeping out of the attendees’ way. I wasn’t there, but I sure as heck wouldn’t have passed up a chance to attend. The music alone was phenomenal, and I may just extract the soundtrack for later listening. Mr. Devine’s new album is a joy to experience as well!

      1. As the producer of modular synth events, it is a challenge to create a show with genuinely talented live performers and match it with theatricality that will entertain them, as you surmised correctly. For this show, there were around 225-250 people in the audience, which is a good size crowd for this type of show. Certainly the largest crowd we ever had for Binary. We transformed the Trianon Theater, which is normally a classical Viennese-style concert hall with no speaker system. We brought in a Funktion One sound system, raised a 15 foot projection screen on freestanding C-stands because there was nowhere to mount anything or drill holes.

        Yes, you are also correct that the camera operators were instructed to stay on the wings, dressed in black and out of site. I had an HD camcorder that I wanted to mount above Richard’s setup to project on screen, but with all of the tasks that needed to be done, there just wasn’t enough time or hands on deck to make it happen. Glad that you enjoyed the video and thanks for your response.

    3. I think smidi is right, to a point. I watched this video and very much enjoyed most of the music, but as a perfomer Mr. Devine leaves something to be desired, for one simple reason: I didn’t see any of his actions on stage produce a single, clearly audible result!

      I have performed techno live for many years. Like most people who do what I do, much of my material must be preprogrammed or prerecorded. In electronica this is a forgivable performance sin – it is necessary to be sonically palatable. What I do differently is carefully select the elements that I wish to perform live, based largely on visual impact. And when I perform something that has a dramatic effect on what my audience hears, I accentuate those movements. Oh, and I smile once in a while.

      In this video I see a pre-patched modular with all the knobs buried under an ocean of cables. Richard digs down and tweaks them constantly, but we just can’t discern what function those tweaks serve.

      The visuals are essential here, and even though they’re executed they can’t save a dry performance. Still I’m glad this show happened, and I don’t think that the shortcomings I’m identifying here are necessarily inherent in the medium or the genre. I just feel that Richard’s music is excellent, and his performance style is drab.

  2. Smidi: why would you use ‘we’ when the rest of your statements are informed by personal experience ? As for the rest of your comments – they seem to dismiss any possibility that the rest of the audience and society might find this ‘exciting’ or ‘valuable’ ? While you state don’t want to ‘disrespect’ artist, the quotes around the words performance seems to imply just that. Having been to many shows, the audience and artist have been anything but bored and while there was not a pole or lie detector present did not “pretend” to enjoy anything.
    To counter your implied and explicit value judgments:
    A) Live shows are live for a real artist. Does prerecorded pretense happen? yep but that’s a risk for most genres today.
    B) they provide community and interaction. Other human beings interacting face to face.
    C) they allow discovery of sound and other artists. Events can showcase a multitude of artists.
    D) modular is a medium that defies permanence. Performance with a modular has been stated by many to be challenging and very much a difficult task.
    E) food shows to use your example can be just as filled with the same if not more pretense than a simple document of an electronic event. Sure iron chef could be exiciting but this comparison is switching to a personal preference rather than an argument for superiority. If ‘we’ are to really understand why – perhaps concrete examples as to why this example would be a more valid use of time for every single human being. Remember you are arguing that this ‘stop’ – how does your preference for food shows stop the world from continuing this practice?

  3. I just came here to say I really enjoyed this live performance of Electronic Music, and in fact, enjoy very much any time an electronic music producer performs live. I hope to see them more often in towns and cities around the world.

    Warper in NYC has been organizing monthly live music performances for years and it is never short of a lot of fun. People sit down to watch orchestras play concerts that could be perceived as “boring” to those with lack of appreciation for the arts. Not sure how this performance is different, there is as much chaos involved in both examples above.

    Maybe smidi just needs to losen up and dance, move, enjoy the moment? Watching someone operate a modular synth live is awesome.

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