I recently watched an interesting video with Saytek on how he does his live performances and got a few ideas for my own.
I started out by creating kick, bass and pad loops in Reason, and imported them into Ableton Live as clips. I then created additional parts with the internal sequencers on the Volca Bass, Beats and Sample and used Ableton Live to sequence the Volca Keys and Waldorf Rocket. I love the Volca Keys but the internal sequencer is pretty useless in my opinion.
All the hardware synths go into Ableton Live for real-time FX processing and mixing (no multi tracking was involved). I set up the Korg nanoKontrol to control volume on the kick and a couple of other tracks, to be able to fade them in and out.
I played around with the parts for a while and set up a few scenes in Live to outline the arrangement. I maximized the width of the master track in Live and typed in notes along with the scene names to guide me during the performance – a cool trick I picked up from the Saytek video. I mapped one of the buttons on the nanoKontrol to “Scene Up” in Live and used it switch scenes during the performance.
All in all I think the setup worked out pretty well. The notes really did help me bring more structure to the performance but they are also somewhat constraining. I will probably not use performance notes moving forward – I prefer to improvise… after all, making good electronic music is all about fortunate accidents!