Fully Live Electronic Contra

September 3rd, 2022
contra, music
Contra dance traditionally has live music, which I think is key to why the music and dancing have been able to stay tightly coupled as they've both changed over the decades. Over the past ~14y, however, there have been a few different approaches to pulling elements of electronic music into contra dance:

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For years I've wanted to add a "fully live" type here, where all sounds are initiated in the moment by the musicians. I now have something in this category I'm reasonably happy with:

Even though there's a lot going on, it's all live. Cecilia is playing fiddle, bringing in an octaver effect at 0:16. I'm playing piano with my hands and drums with my feet (note the drum pattern changes at 0:16 and 0:47). I'm also playing bass (starting at 0:16), where the beat of the drum initiates the notes and the piano left hand chooses which note to play. And then I'm using a breath controller (measuring how hard I'm blowing) to pulse a supersaw that, as with the bass, follows my left hand.

There are still places where I don't quite have the sound I'm imagining, where listening back makes me grimace a little, or where I can't yet do as many things at once as would sound best, but I'm excited about Kingfisher, and this is a really fun area to explore.

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