Music that you hear onstage is ultimately the only thing that counts, right?
As an audience member, how does Gesture work for you? Are they part of the act, and do they enhance the music in some way? What makes good gesture and what makes for bad gesture? Is it necessary to have it?
What do we think counts AS gesture?
What does the word Integrity mean in a performance? Is it too ‘serious’? Does it matter?
And, does the collectivity of the band onstage play a part in the reciprocity of listening/appreciating their music? If we work on this ‘glue’ do we acknowledge that the nature of playing on stage is to give as good as possible a performance for the audience for them to appreciate the music, or do we really care? Does it matter to the audience ultimately how you look as a group? How does it affect the music?
There is a very old existing argument that still carries on. How do you represent computers onstage? How are the musicians/technicians interacting with it and does it matter whether you can see what they are doing when you watch them? Does it make one feel better when you can relate to a musical gesture and know what has made ‘what’ sound?
Cue in the argument that nothing matters at all and that the less is better. For after all, you’re at a gig not to watch people play but only there to listen to their music..(?)..
Through my own experience with my own instrument I do believe that gestural connotations are necessary. They don’t have to be big. It could be pushing a button. You work with what you have, to make music. For me, as a cellist, I have an instrument that requires a certain amount of movement to make any sound. So what you see becomes attached to a certain sound. There is an amount of satisfaction I think when an audience can go with the ride a bit and not get lost. But also, a satisfaction with surprising the audience with something they were not expecting. There is much to play with.
I guess if you go all the way up to the top of the pop game you are giving people a big heads up to huge production, a grandeur heading towards magic. The big sensory overload involving your visual, aural, smell(?), and perhaps touch. Well, with touch you are playing with titillating the audience. You can see people stretching their arms out because you’ve come a little closer to them and now all they want is to ‘cop a feel’ and they will have had the best evening of their lives.
Unfortunately for electronic music, it isn’t so easy to get such an affected audience. It is seen as an underdog in the grand scheme of things and one that excites a possibly very small group of listeners and watchers. But really? That small? Why is it that it hasn’t attracted larger groups?
I have noticed an awkwardness in performance like as if it were the last thing the musicians have ever wanted to do. Not just electronic music but in many other genres. I am guilty of it myself, but I can see how this quandary becomes evident here. The ‘Bedroom Musician’ whose room is the adoring world has just been catapulted into the real limelight, and by crap, S(he) has to do something quick. Best hide behind instrument (my own guilt) and let instrument speak for itself. But then that begs the question: What is making that instrument sing?