A small group of young musicians, most of them school students, are redefining the way music is played live. Christening themselves the Laptop Orchestra of Louisiana, or LOL for short, a group of seven students set about to change the landscape of music as they know it. They write, produce and, most importantly, play their music almost entirely on digital instruments. Today, the team uses everything from the Nintendo Wii to Apple iPads and Macbooks to video game joysticks. The closet genre that the Laptop Orchestra of Louisiana could be classified in would be science-fiction movie scores. Most of their music, however, sounds completely original and otherworldly. Other similar groups have sprung up, such as the Stanford Laptop Orchestra, which is shown in the video below.
The team’s experimentation with sound has blurred the lines between music technicians and musicians. Members of the Laptop Orchestra of Louisiana are extremely tech savvy and most are seasoned programmers. They program the software that generates the sounds in their pieces much like a composer would develop a song. When the group is playing an improvised piece, members of the orchestra are often coding on the fly, modifying the sound by changing the structure and logic of the software generating it. Although the group occasionally uses analog instruments like trombones and violins, most of its music is electronically synthesized.
We are big fans of musical acts that push the envelope when it comes to music production. All great music comes from a background of experimentation, and the artists we truly celebrate today are the ones that, decades ago, decided to try something new. This group of young musicians is doing just that. Their method of producing music may be unorthodox, and even perhaps even offensive to some musical purists, but we believe such groups are on the crest of the wave, so to speak. It may very well be that in a decade or so, laptop orchestras will be commonplace and groups like LOL will be celebrated as pioneers in the field.electronic music, entertainment industry, experimental music