Attempting to breath new life into the "live performance as electronic music listening experience genre", Peter van Hoesen, definitely no slouch when it comes to stamping his authority on the world of machine funk-cum-synthetic grooves, has framed this particular listening escapade under the auspices of a back-to-basics approach, if discarding the laptop for hardware can be considered such a move. The prime motive is to allow for a sense of improvisation which couldn't possibly exist using only software so, with that in mind, how does van Hoesen do?
Well, there's a wonderful sense of progression and equilibrium from start to finish and a space between the various components which emphasises the funk and negates any waywardness. This is how it comes across on record though, which begs the question; what was it like to actually witness at Tresor last July? I've always thought that live acts, whether using laptops or hardware, have to work very hard indeed to avoid the crowd's energy being sapped. This depends on how they are presented of course. Those which made their names in the nineties: Underworld, Orbital, The Chemical Brothers and, to a lesser extent Leftfield, outgrew their studio selves to a large extent, achieving a lot of their fame on the basis of their gigging. The setting is also very important. Going to a venue which is primarily geared up to the live experience is almost always better than the club PA, where the energy of the crowd directed at a stage/podium, instead of at each other dancing, has never truly worked from where I'm standing.
Does any of this really matter when listening to such a set outside it's area of conception though? Well, van Hoesen started using this new approach at Japan's Labyrinth festival last year and has found it to be a very fertile context for unveiling new tracks which remain exclusive to his performance, so it would seem that now there is one very well-defined live side to his output as well as a studio one. It remains to be seen how these two elements develop and if they ever merge, but for now, on the basis of this recording, there is a vitality and direction which is very much on the up. van Hoesen's performance emits a tangible dynamism and, although the jury's still out as to whether the context makes any difference to the listener, this collection is one which delivers.
|Artist: Peter Van Hoesen
Title: Life Performance LP
Label: Tresor Records
Tracklist01 Hyperion02 Subjects from the Past03 Exacting Reward04 Carbon05 Challenger06 Assembly07 Azur08 Deceive / Perform09 Turmoil10 Causal Condition11 Force Withdrawn12 Protocol13 Ascending14 Arrival
Our rating: 7.5/10