When I first started out making electronic music (back in the late 80s), I made a number of pieces incorporating live instruments, sometimes incorporating very basic live electronics. However, at the time I was somewhat wary of more involved live electronics – work in this area tended to involve very complicated bespoke set-ups, which tended to mean things had a nasty habit of going wrong, and also usually only happened once, since no-one else had the same kit.
Things have changed a lot since then, and the possibilities for live performance have really opened up. I’ve done a lot of performance work over the last few years, usually semi-improvised, and usually with others. However, I must say I do still have some doubts – whilst the laptop is perhaps the most amazing portable sound-creating source ever, it is definitely somewhat lacking as a performative instrument, even with the addition of performance interfaces etc. It doesn’t stop me, as you can see in the picture – Nick Rothwell (left), Adrian Smith (right) and I in the Cellar Bar, Bath, as part of the Staging Sound event 2008. But one of these days I’ll put my laptop away and dust off that trombone (no, that’s not a euphemism)..