Sarah Hutchinson
Sonic Performance Development Blog
Previous/Existing Performance: 
The first stage of research was to explore pre-existing performances which interested me. I was initially unsure how I would present my music in a performance as I have always worked within a DAW with heavy audio editing to create my music. I had to do a lot of research into to equipment I could use to perform live. This stage of research kickstarted my own ideas of how to present my performance in a way that fits my pre-existing musical output. Below are previous performances which I wanted to base my own performance on:​​​​​​
Initial Performance Plan:

In the same way as King Krule’s ‘Hey World!’ is structured and focused on the aesthetic nature of each location, I planned my performance to be recorded in 4 different places and edited together into 1 video. The outcome was planned to be a mini acoustic/stripped back set of songs from my discography that would be uploaded to my website and instagram. I initially chose 3 tracks from previous EPs I had released and proposed 1 track be a new song/improvisation. 

The 4 tracks I proposed to perform were:
An Ear To The Carpet (from I Wish: My Nose Would Stop Running)
He Didn’t Eat Me (from EP)
Hip Replacement (from Cement Hacks)
New song (yet to be written. Perhaps an improvised piece)

As each of these tracks were composed using micro montage techniques and heavy audio processing - I wanted the performance versions to be stripped back and built on a much simpler basis. Much like the Caroline Polacheck live stream, the main feature of each performance would be the vocal performances with additional instrumentation that could be played live such as: guitar, violin, mini dulcimer and piano. Additional processing of the performances were planned to be implemented live (loop pedals/hardware audio processing) or in post production of the video if the live attempt wasn't satisfactory. The track 'He Didn't Eat Me' has a heavy focus on percussion, I planned to do this in an acoustic manner, perhaps through multiple field recordings which would be layered up together, then perform the vocal and other instrumentation live. These performances would be a mixture of static performance and moving (as in walking between locations). 
Equipment I would need for this: 
Laptop, audio interface and microphones for capturing the performance (if static).

Field recorder (Tascam DR-07X) for moving performance and field recordings.

Hardware such as loop pedals and other portable audio processing equipment. Currently I have a basic loop pedal and Polyend tracker.

Portable power sources.

Camera to film the performances.
During this next stage of development I started doing some in depth planning on how previously released tracks would work as live performances. The first track I tried was 'He Didn't Eat Me' which immediately proved very difficult to translate into a track to be performed live due to all the micro-editing on the original version. I exported stems from the original track out to be programmed into my Polyend Tracker in the hopes I could remake an alternative version of the instrumental for a backing to the live vocal on top of but this also didn't meet the standard I wanted to present the performance as. I decided to drop this track from the set and focus on the other two pre-existing tracks 'Hip Replacement' and 'An Ear To The Carpet' as these tracks were written in a more acoustic manner and focused much more on the vocal performance. 
Leading on from this, I started to devise a live setup consisting of acoustic instruments, a loop pedal and the Polyend Tracker mentioned above. When setting up this kit I improvised some study/practice pieces in a static environment. Below are recordings of this process edited into one video: 

The next issue to solve was how to take the performance outside and on the move. Power sources for the loop pedal and Polyend tracker and portable amplification was the main concern. After a bit of research I found a portable power station that attaches to a DeWalt drill battery (which I already had). This would power all my non battery devices such as the loop pedal and Polyend tracker. For a portable performance the kit needed is listed below.
Kit Specifications:
Tascam DR-07x (audio recording)
Blaxx loop pedal 
Sanyo portable dynamic microphone
Portable Power Station 200W + Dewalt 18v Battery
iPhone (visual recording)
Polyend Tracker​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
During rehearsals I immediately ran into a few problems with my setup. The mic I was using started to develop a loud buzzing sound, the logistics of moving around whilst recording vocals and pressing the loop button would create unwanted noise that would the add the the loop feed, the microphone could only pick up sounds right next to it (you can hear in the videos that I would have to put my face up against the mic to get a loud enough recording) and generally it was difficult to record video footage of the performances at the same time. I had to have a rethink about how I'd perform on the move. The first step was to order some additional kit - a phone holder that could be attached to my head so I could film hands free, and a jack to female XLR so I could use my better microphone to record into the loop pedal. Unfortunately this meant losing the lofi quality of the Sanyo microphone but would ultimately provide better recording to be looped. 
The updated kit list is:
Tascam DR-07x (for recording pedal output)
Blaxx loop pedal 
Tascam DR-05x (for recording input into the pedal)
Portable Power Station 200W + Dewalt 18v Battery
iPhone (visual recording)

Additionally, during this stage of developing a live performance I found that performing completely improvised pieces had a better outcome than trying to recreate pieces I have composed previously. This is because I'm a bit of a control freak when it comes to the EP pieces - I like to micro edit the tracks and do many takes of vocals and for the live performance this wasn't possible. 
Below is some rehearsal footage - rehearsals were very much about getting to grips with the kit and finding a good approach to creating interesting improvisations.
Where to go next...
Moving on from the rehearsals, I knew I needed to have a bit of a think about how to move forward with presenting this work in a way that was more in line with my sonic signature and tastes. Whilst the walk about concept was an interesting idea, at this stage of using it I didn't think it was interesting enough in practice as a performance. I moved back to a more static environment with it for vocals and only used it on the move for capturing percussive performance of objects around the house. 
I moved from the idea of the performance being totally live to having the recorded performances be more of a demonstration of how I would use them in a compositional context. This allowed for overdubs and additional recordings to be implemented into the final video making the tracks a more interesting listening experience. 

This track demonstrates the walkabout setup I devised. I allowed overdubs of the vocals and additional instrumentation.


This track is improvised in a live setting with post editing of reversal of the original performance and reverb.


This is the combination of two improvised performances. The base layer is using the loop pedal to layer vocals. The top layer is pre recorded vocals manipulated through the Polyend tracker.


This is a Polyend based track using sounds recorded during a mechanic session of a race weekend. Towards the latter half of the track, there are clips of the sounds being recorded for use with the Polyend.

Whilst the outcome of this project changed from a completely live 'on the move' performance to a combination of live recordings performed in mainly static environments, it reflects my sonic signature and matches my previous output as srah. The video documentation is very DIY. Whilst I like this aesthetic, it could definitely do with some more careful planning and more time editing. The walkabout setup I've devised is a good start but needs a lot more planning and potential kit upgrades for me to be able to use it for creating music that fits with my sound.

Overall, this project wasn't completely successful but a very beneficial learning experience and moving forward I hope to be able to use it as planned.