MATRIXSYNTH: Yello Performing Live with No Cables?

Friday, October 28, 2016

Yello Performing Live with No Cables?

video by Yello

Update: Note the following does not express the opinions of the site. Readers are free to send in what they want, and readers are free to leave their opinion in the comments.

The original post:

Remember the image to the left of Boris Blank of Yello with his synth setup from this previous post? What we couldn't quite see is the setup appears to be missing some very important cabling. That of course, is forgiven for promo shots, but take a look at the second image below captured from the live performance video above.

MATRIXSYNTH reader D' Naab 136 of Analogue Renaissance, caught it and sent it in. He had the following to say:

"I was a bit gutted yesterday that I was unable to attend the first 'live' performance of Yello yesterday in Berlin. Even more so when I saw the first attached picture. Wow, full modular setup + Oberheim two-voice + Modor + ... . However, found the lack of patchcables in (and going out of) some of the modulars a bit strange, but that picture was from during the buildup and thought most still had to be connected...

This morning I saw a movie from last night on their page. No change in patches and apparenly they can play the modorf without power,midi/usb and audio plugged into it.

Quite happy I did not spend the money on this charade."

The 3rd image below is from a video on German TV also in via D' Naab who mentions: "None of the modulars and synths or even the mixer have power."



  1. Why do they needs cables or power? - it's mostly just set dressing for on stage presence.
    Everything they need there is coming from Logic...

  2. The sad truth of electronic music. Pressing "play" on a sequencer can be classified as live set?

  3. There is Native Instruments' S88 at 0:14 which is powered and being "played".

  4. I am truly very, very disappointed that Matrixsynth (which I read & respected for many years) is publishing such a biased article!! I was at the 4th Yello concert in Berlin, Sunday 30th of October, front row in the middle. The discussion of what is actually live, depends on the semantic meaning of "live". The music of Yello by its very nature is indeed a studio production; it is created, overdubbed, multilayered, mixed in Logic Pro 9. It is simply impossible to re-create & perform every single note, every single sound of their studio work live on stage. If Boris had to play everything live with his own 2 hands, it probably wouldn't sound like Yello anymore. I have no problem whatsoever in hearing some preprogrammed backing tracks running along. However there were many "real live" elements in the Yello concert: the brass ensemble, the guitar, drums, percussion, backing vocals, the 2 guest singers, all the vocals by Dieter & Boris, and the improvised song which they made in front of our eyes with their Yellofier app, they were all absolutely 100% live. The concert was fantastic, one of the very best I have ever seen. I do believe that the modular synths were simply there to trigger a sequence of sounds in one single song at a time, so each was probably featured just once in the setlist. And yes, there were power cords, there is no question about that. Boris has replied that the pictures without cabling were taken during setting up, so this article is pretty pointless. I was very happy to meet Boris after the concert. He is a very honest, modest, authentic and hard-working gentleman, and he doesn't deserve to be attacked in such a way.

    1. Live using 2 hands..

    2. I didn't share my opinion in the post. D' Naab 136 did. I just post what people send in and what's out there. To be honest with you this one almost didn't go up.

      That said, it is what it is. If Boris would like to share his perspective, I'd be happy to hear it and share it.

      Things are always subjective of course. For example, here's one way to look at it:

      I think it was pretty cool of Yello to take the time to showcase all the gear for the audience even if it wasn't used. It's a nice tribute to the hardware, and that tribute wasn't necessary, but they did it anyway. It showcases the gear we love with others that might not be familiar with it, and too me that is a good thing. They could have easily just had their laptops and a MIDI controller, but they didn't. Instead they took the time to have all that gear set up so people could be reminded of the great gear used to make music.

      But, if D' Naab 136 and others are disappointed that the gear wasn't actually used, that is their opinion and I can definitely share it both on the site and in opinion. It can be both ways.

      I updated the post on top to hopefully balance it out.

      On a separate but similar note, I recently saw The Orb perform live with essentially just laptops and a couple controllers. For all I know they just hit play and danced around like they were doing something, but I loved it anyway. They created the music after all. The tracks did sound different from the albums, so I'm guessing they were live - likely just remixing things.

      And let's not forget Kraftwerk live.

  5. nothing wrong with playing from computers but faking like this is obviously bs


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