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Watch Octave One Give a Live Performance Masterclass at Point Blank London

Here at Point Blank, we’re always looking for ways we can link up with special artists and industry professionals to show you how the very best operate. We’ve recently sat down with the likes of Fred P and MJ Cole who gave the kind of insight that only their vast experience can glean. In keeping with that theme, our latest masterclass is with Octave One, who demonstrate the kind of slick intuition with a live set up that a quarter of a century in the game will bring. Take a look a below at their incredible live performance at our London studios and listen out as they talk us through their set-up, “The Mothership”.

Lenny and Lawrence Burden recently dropped into our London Studio and treated us to a live performance of their gorgeously soulful techno. The video gives the perfect vantage point to watch what the brothers get up to behind the controls of their incredible array of hardware. They also give us the inside scoop on what their live set is about, telling us why they eschew computers, what the art of performing is to them and how to make the most out of the interaction between person and machine. The pair get technical about their gear and we learn why they call their Akai MPC 1000 “The Brain”, as well as how their set up is designed to allow as much lossless experimentation on the fly as possible. Finally, the veteran duo share their thoughts on the possibilities available today vs when they started out, and why the most important thing to learn is how to fail.

Octave One have been a part of the techno landscape since 1990 when they first started releasing on Derrick May’s legendary Transmat label in Detroit, and soon after their own 430 West imprint. Initially, they were focused almost completely on recording, with Lawrence taking care of the DJing and travelling, but when a tour demanded they play live, Lenny devised the show in just two weeks. When on-stage he found he was struggling to get around all of their gear, Lawrence stepped in to help with the mixing and effects so Lenny could focus on sound-creation: an arrangement that still exists to this day. In the years since, Octave One have become synonymous with live, analogue techno. Their set has evolved with technology but they still play with hardware only and every set is defined by feel and the injection of the human element to sequenced music – an approach that has seen them play every big stage in techno, and forge longstanding links with institutions like Tresor and Berghain. In 2008, after the release of ‘Summers On Jupiter’, they stopped releasing, saying they had nothing left to say through music. A smattering of old tracks and one-offs would follow, before their touring schedule inspired their real return with ‘Burn It Down’ in 2015. Between the record’s riotous reception and their seminal Boiler Room performance from Moscow, the band’s legendary live set has never been so in-demand.

Want to up learn how to built sets like these? On our BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree you can learn everything you need to know about music production including mixing & mastering, composition and music business, and in our Electronic Music Performance you’ll be taught how to tailor your set-up and play live like the best of them. The module is developed by Saytek, a hardware aficionado and celebrated live artist in his own right. We also offer an online alternative, in the form of our new online BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree. You can also check out our full range of courses here. For more information, contact our course advisors on +44 20 7729 4884. If you are a resident of the USA, you can reach us on 323 282 7660. Check our contact page for more options.

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