How MPCs Reinvented Live Music

It’s safe to say, categorically that our world is changing. Fast. Millenials may be the first generation history to be more comfortable with rapid upheaval in communication and culture than a static culture. Nowhere is this more apparent than the electronic dance music scene and a big mover of this is the rapid advances in mobility and cost effectiveness of technology. As more producers and DJ’s move into the realm of playing live and away from simply dropping tracks, we’re seeing usage of technology in new and novel ways.

The most obvious example of this would be the humble MPC (Music Production Controller) which dates back to as early as the late 80’s.The design actually hasn’t changed much. Essentially, an MPC is a box that has a series of programmable buttons onto which can be mapped to any number of sounds. The brilliant thing about this is it gives you a degree of control that is unparalleled using regular DJ apparatus; from totally rewriting the track from scratch to merely sequencing it in a different way. In the same way that the syntheziser completely revamped the sonic aesthetic of artists in the 70’s and 80’s, the production controller has allowed singular artists to completely reinterpret their live show from the ground up greatly assisting the rise of the bedroom producer.

Artists like Lido, Porter Robinson and Madeon (remember his ‘Pop Culture’ mashup on the Novation LaunchPad?) are leading the way in this new performance aesthetic that allows a single person massive control in shaping and controlling tracks. As technology continues to advance we can expect this process to become even more organic and integrated with features such as motion/light sensors and ROLI’s Block series already allowing artists to interface ever more gracefully and smoothly with their devices.

Perhaps in the future artists will function more like conductors using their hands (and perhaps eventually thoughts) to guide their music to new and more spectacular heights.


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