Imagery, video, text – whatever its form, ephemeral media is a thrill to experience because it’s forever fleeting. Teeming with the threat that if you look away, even for a second, you could miss it entirely. With his completely improvised performances, Russian-based musician Anton Maskeliade brings this elusive principle into the genres of electronica and contemporary pop. Using his whole body, he creates new soundscapes on the spot with 3D MIDI controllers and bit-crushed drum machines. Never the same song twice.
On the hunt for a tool that would help make his live shows more spectacular and interactive, he discovered Leap Motion. “During my live performances, I feel like a wizard making magic,” he says. “It’s incredible feeling, like I can materialize the music with my hands. Leap Motion puts interaction in a new level. The artist becomes more interesting for the audience to look at.”
Using an AKAI MPD32 Controller, Maskeliade connects his Leap Motion Controller with Ableton to reach into musical streams and control the flow. “Using the Geco MIDI plugin,” he says, “I can easily choose the exact parameter the Leap Motion will change or trigger.” In the video at the top of this post, you can see Anton performing a live piece on Russia’s Electrichka Train. (You can also listen to the original track that he created on his Soundcloud.)
However, Maskeliade’s performances with Leap Motion go beyond Geco MIDI. With his background in projection, web, and graphic design, he’s used the device to directly manipulate visual experiences with Resolume 4 VJ Software. “My live set has diverse ‘spells’ with video synchronization. It looks really astonishing. When an absolutely new wave of technology suddenly becomes available for everyday people, it develops humanity – it expands the mind and enhances the senses.
“I’m happy to be a part of it.”
UPDATE: April 2014: Zipping down the highway in a Soviet-era Zaporozhets auto, Maskeliade mashes up video, audio, and fencing with the Leap Motion Controller.