This book is meant to be both an introduction to using computers in live music performance, as well as an advanced practical guide to this growing area of modern music. More and more musicians and bands working in a wide variety of different musical styles are using computers and software as part of their live performance rigs these days, but there is little information available comparing the various possible hardware and software setups, the musical advantages and disadvantages of each, and how to get started using computers to perform your own music live. This book is meant to fill that gap.
It also features numerous interviews with contemporary performers who are using computers in genres ranging from experimental underground electronica to big-budget rock and pop, explaining how they use computers to perform their music and their exact equipment setups. In trying to give a taste of the widespread changes computers are bringing to live music performance, I have included many other voices besides my own in these pages, many of them active laptop performers in the California electronic music underground.
Although the primary focus of the book is on the practical side of how to use computers to perform live, I am also very interested in the deep changes that computers and the Internet are bringing to the process of music creation and how this is affecting our relationship with music more generally. In addition to my own reflections on these topics, scattered throughout the book, I also tried to explore this topic with the artists I interviewed.