Visual improvisation with electro-jazz

I did my first gig on Friday with John Law's new group, Boink! It's a departure for him, but also for me.

My brief from John is to a "another instrument" in the band. So I can't just do that VJ cliche of banging on some clips, letting them run and generally messing about; I wouldn't be another instrument, I'd just be like moving wallpaper. I need to synchronise, respond and improvise with the rest of the band, while still make aesthetic sense.


I reckon there are two key challenges here. Firstly, this is live jazz, which means no click-tracks, and pretty common changes of speed and time signature. So if I'm sync'ing with a beat, I've got to do it manually, and be prepared to change often. Secondly, although I've prepared thoroughly and I know the tunes and their structures, this is jazz man. The musicians can head off in any direction they like, and I've got to follow. If, like on Friday night, they take a tune that (on the recording) sounds lovely and delicate...and they blast it into a kind of jazz-infused prog ballad, I have to adapt my visuals. But what I'd prepared was all lovely and delicate. I need to make a much more flexible visual instrument, which is what I'm working on now.

Next gig is at the Vortex, London, on Feb 18th.

And here's a review of the live album.