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Re: loopness monster
Bryan Helm wrote:
>Some "new age"
>locals ( chiropractors, birthing centers,) utilize this style of music
>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
>gigs is ongoing for all artists dealing in esoteric styles, but
>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
I know this feeling. Years ago, my brother and I played at a Halloween
"installation" at the Claremont colleges. Dressed in costume, we created a
collage of spooky sounds using guitars and synths, all while strange slides
were being projected on the wall behind us. Personally, I thought the
occasion (ie. Halloween) and the music and the slides fit really well
together. However, there were many people in the crowd (loud, obnoxious,
beer-drinking types) who could not stand there and listen to such sounds.
They kept shouting "Come on, lets have a jam -- play some songs".
Now, I'm not claiming that my ebowed, delayed guitar textures are the
greatest thing since sliced bread...but there IS an expectation by many
people, whereupon if you are standing in front of them with an electric
guitar, they expect you to break out a blues jam or at least some display
of "technique" or "music" that they are familiar with.
Anyways, we responded to this situation by ignoring these people and
continuing on with our amorphous sounds (needless to say, we did not get a
lot of audience appreciation) -- but I realized: For a performance to
succeed (from both the performer's and the audience's perspective) the
music must be appropriate for that particular time, place, situation, AND
Now when Jimi Hendrix played his guitar with his teeth, or set it on fire,
as a part of his performance -- it worked! That is, it worked at Monterey
and Woodstock, but I'm sure we can all think of hundereds of venues and
situations where he would have gotten thrown off stage. Nowadays, any
joker with a strat & Marshall amp, playing 500 notes per minute can satisfy
a typical rock audience. But what audiences are available for us loopers?
Well, that is the question we have to answer, and in part, I think we have
to CREATE our own situations and audiences. That is, we need to find out
what works, and build upon that until....maybe some day....we will be
playing LOOPAPOLOOZA's (that's a great one, Bryan!) or filling stadiums for
loop performances. That is, perhaps, sound spaces will become a standard
of expectation among certain audeiences.
This leads me to question what the FUNCTION(s) of loop music is...A culture
formed around rock music, because rock concerts performed a function:
whether it was to allow someone to achieve a mental and emotional epiphany
in a concert setting, or whether it allowed a teenager to get out of the
house and "break rules", etc....In any case, the rock concert performed a
function -- and it seems to me that this was initially driven, or at least
facilitated by the TECHNOLOGY. That is, we didn't have any rock concerts
until electric guitars and high-powered guitar amps were invented. Then,
Cream and The Who (etc..) did what they did and it took off from there.
The same thing has happened in the electronic music arena. Low-cost synths
and drum machines of the '80s "facilitated" the rave scene of the '90s.
So, what will low-cost, high audio-quality looping devices "facilitate" in
the years to come? That is for us to create. Bryan, you seemed to have
experimented in almost every type of venue/setting....Which ones worked?
Why do you suppose it worked?
IMHO, looping devices are good for the following functions/settings:
1. Inner reflection -- meditation. I don't mean to sound New-Agey, but,
as in rave music, repetition is condusive for this. Sometimes I sit
listening to my own loops for hours, and can be good for self-reflection
and encourages feelings of being "present".
2. Performer -- audience interaction. Since the performer can get loops
going, then have some time to do other things -- perhaps creating ways to
get feedback (ie. sounds, signals, etc.) from the audience, real-time, and
incorporate them into the performance.
3. As Bryan, suggested, combining sounds with other mediums, perhaps even
having them "interact" with each other.
4. Installation settings, where the music is not the prime focus.
Just some ideas...thanks for your post Bryan, and don't lose faith in your
music, just because your audiences aren't ready for it! It is up to us to
create the transition from loud, crowded, alcohol-laden rock festivals to
________________ (please fill in the blank).
P.S. Put me down for 2 of the hand-held, portable loopers!
AVIRIS Experiment Coordinator
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