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loonness monster

Howdy Folks,
                          The recent threads of "music description" and
"what do they
hear?" ,along with the associated responses, have prompted me to thunk a

thawt or two about my own reationship with looping......not that I can
a very objective position in the process..... but here goes.
                            I started looping publicly as I recall in
1979 in a duo with
me on a Wurlitzer Electric Piano and electric 6-string and my partner on
electric guitar and fretless bass(thru an analog Echoplex), routed
2 half track reel to reels at 7 1/2 IPS (positioned at varying distances
with the microphone-stand/capstan technique) and looping the signal back
thru my Space Echo. I wonder why I ever thought that I should perform
this stuff live in public and quite honestly 18 years later, having
played parties,
talent shows,record stores, art gallerys,coffeehouses,chiropractors
open mike nights, college lunch rooms,store openings, and some gigs I've
probably forgotten,..I still wonder. Not that I could ever stop looping,
that is...but public performances of ambient works particularly, often
point out
the inherent hazards of being the purveyour of a style that if done
well, is per
Eno, "as ignorabe as it is listenable". The more rhythmic nuances
brought into
play, the more readily received the work is as a rule. Really subtle
stuff is for
the most part not capable of being discerned in live performance
even if you ban the blended drink noise, a la Fripp. Marrying your sound
another media helps some people to relate to the music, regardless of
random the relationship may be in actual design. The soundtrack "bin
is viable since that's where the average person has encountered music of
this style and dynamic. The movie is also the last place they shut off
internal dialogue, in a relatively quiet space, while being exposed to a
industry standard sound system.....it helps alot. If the world of sound
looking to augment with music, is like many people's in this society,
music of this style is of limited purpose for you. Some "new age"
locals ( chiropractors, birthing centers,) utilize this style of music
to enhance
their office atmosphere, but live performance is of limited need or
as I think about it ,my last live gig was 2 years ago this coming
October for an
artist's reception at a gallery in Denver. I suppose that this vexation
in booking
gigs is ongoing for all artists dealing in esoteric styles, but
sometimes it
seems that the devices we use can create an uneasy aspect for the
to appreciate as being a "live" performance.  Unique textures we love,
don't always translate to someone who simply wants to see you "play"
instrument , and there are a surprising number of these people out
After noticing people putting their heads down on the tables to enjoy
the music,
one coffeehouse told me that people didn't order as much when we played,
a marketeting plus, for that kind of venue.  Considerations such as
these along
with the personal cost aspect of performing ,by definition, "unpopular"
make for a persuasive argument to keep this music in the studio. The pay
play reality is harder to come to terms with as my family and I get
older. The
number of artists who manage to achieve any degree of sucess from their
related work (of a non-ambient vein) is growing as the technology gets
familiar to the listening public. However I don't feel the same optimism
for the
ambient side of the loop house, as it where. The audience for real,
thoughtful loop texturing is a limited one, probably containing more
than a few
fellow loopers in it's ranks. In that loopers are good listeners, that's
not a bad
thing, however the tour attendance figures could be a bit small. Perhaps
just a twisted marketing ploy away... Batman battles the
"Loopster"...thrill to
the stage magic and kinetic thrills of "Loopdance"...one ticket----two
17 different loop artists, it's "Loopalooza 98"......then every kid will
want a
hand held portable looper as seen in "Home Alone '98-Looped Again".
 After all... to the uneducated ear a closed loop sounds the same as a
constantly triggered sample...right? I have surely digressed..pardon the
ramble..loop on.


Bryan Helm