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Re: Looping and Composing

I don't know about the term "serious"; sometimes I'm pretty silly...
[dodging fruit].

I use the loop process as a start.  The setup -
compressor/fuzz->loop->effect->PC->Speakers->etc - remains intact in
the living room with easy access to the other instruments and the home
stereo/video/TV setup.  In a way it's like the family piano in an
electronic way, in that I can just walk up to it and lay down a track,
close the loop, and let the loop run for an indeterminate time.  I
also have a mike and other things besides a guitar that I put into the
loop.  It's a way for me to instantaneously do an audio kind of
"I-Ching toss".  The more transparent I am to it, the more true the
"throw" is, and so forth.  And so it begins to have a spiritual edge
at times.

Since I have an interest in the insertion or incursion of
ambient/looping into popular music, it so implies that these loops
used would be repeatable, as in the case of repeated performance.  If
I was going to perform the material live, repeatedly, in a "set" a
club owner didn't have to perform a leap of faith to allow me to
perform ("JUST like on the tape?"), it was going to have to be
something I could also remember.  I don't compose in the parochial
sense (no written staffs and such), I envision the piece as a Whole
Thing, which can be dissected mentally in the layers that would (in
part) also constitute the loops for the piece, and the other
instruments.  I draw in this way: the pencil doesn't often touch paper
until I have an Entire Vision of what I'm going to draw in my mind's
eye.  So it goes for my music, at least at this time, and as far as
I've dared to analyze its process.

Thanks to Our Pals In Sacramento I take the bus, which in Los Angeles
means a lot of keeping to yourself, keeping people from thinking they
even want to bother you (on occasion), and waiting.  In those spans of
time, while walking in rhythm, perhaps, or just standing, I'll be
thinking of the piece, over and over again.  If the piece lasts the
day, since for some reason I'm not distracted from it throughout the
day (even when I was working at a music company), then it survives to
be worked with, experimenting with moves for it that "work", that
express the feel of the vision itself..  Sometimes I start out with
the base loop running on the Ol' Time Machine for days at a time, and
mentally or physically work with possible melodies to go with it.  One
thing I've found quite interesting is that, when one goes into another
room, while the loop's playing, it's possible to "hear" different
songs entirely.  On occasion inspiration for variations on the piece,
or complete other songs altogether (in one case, a suite), have
emerged from this process.

It continues to be a journey I continue to enjoy, without at any time,
I assure you, feeling like I know EVERYTHING about what I'm doing.  I
was very influenced way back, by Robert Fripp's discussions of what he
initially termed "Roscotronics", and some of the marvelous material
done with Peter Gabriel and Daryl Hall; and, while I know that
eventually producers may eventually pick up on looping, I question
everyone and their sister being able to Put This Stuff Together
equally as well, if at all; so I think we all still have quite a lot
of fun at least to be had with looping in general.

I think of it this way in terms of the most desirable-to-most
possible, which some might call best-to-worst:

On the top,  Successful use of looping / ambience in pop music,
whether the public notices or not (probably not, if it's "real"

On the bottom, you've got ambient music you can continue to enjoy
listening to, if you like that sort of thing. :)

So it's a win-win situation.  Situational-ambient music may be coming
into a vogue level with some people as well, where folks in far-flung
regions of the world can order a CD and turn their living rooms or
cars into Other Than What They Are, if for a short period of time.  I
have a lot of good feelings about that too.

Stephen Goodman  * It's... The Loop Of The Week (this week, Phil
EarthLight Studios    * http://www.earthlight.net/Studios