After a couple hours of Ecstatic Music, I needed a break. Little did I know I would miss something good: John Matthias, Adrian Corker, and Andrew Prior. Fortunately, I only missed their first piece, What Happens, and got to see the second, Cortical Songs. The latter is for solo violin, played by Matthias, which is then processed by MAX/MSP through Ableton Live--two of the prominent live processing programs out there today. One of the patches is designed to mimic the way neurons fire in the brain, hence cortical songs. When a "neuron" fires, it triggers a some process but also influences neurons around it to fire also. While I don't know if you can actually hear this process, it's a viable method for making electronic music sound more organic.
In listening to the recordings, I've realized that I was mostly transfixed by the how and so ignored certain details of the actual performance. The violin, for instance, has this jittery, nervous tone to which I didn't pay as much attention in performance. But I kept it at 3; what good is a good performance without significance.
If you can get past the beginning, it gets a little less noticeable as the loops and processing come to the fore. Maybe it's worth listening to; maybe I'm mostly interested in how they do it--the production.
John Matthias: Cortical Songs/Mercedes the Dancer
They played this while I was out getting food. It's more song-oriented with electronics providing atmosphere. Similar violin tone needs be overlooked, but aside from that, quietly beautiful, melancholic. Harmonically, like something out of 6 Feet Under or Tears for Fears' Mad World.
John Matthias, Adrian Corker, Andrew Prior: What Happens
Addendum: Here is a link to the recording at nonclassical
. Still not the greatest violin tone but better. I should also mention that these guys have worked with Radiohead in some fashion.