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Loopin' in SD

Here in San Diego, we don't often get a chance to see live looping 
(compared to the California Bay Area, Seattle, or New York, anyway),
so when Jim O'Rourke came to town, I took the opportunity to catch his
show at the Casbah.

The Casbah, btw, is yet another venue in San Diego worth investigating
for scheduling a loop-oriented show (hint, hint Andre :)), even though
it sort of has a reputation of being a punk/"alterna-rock" sort of place.
It appeared in a video (a song by Lucy's Fur Coat) that got played on
one of MTV's shows.

Anyway, the lineup for that evening was:

Electric Company
Jim O'Rourke

Creedle - One of my old roommates' buddy plays guitar, occasionally sings,
and writes for this band.   I guess one could call it a punk band that
sneaks in Crimson/Zappa-like odd-meters and dissonnance; and breaks out
with sudden tempo changes and free-jazz freakouts for good measure.  This 
has been a fixture in the SD scene for some time now and has a nice local

Electric Company - The first of a succession of one-man looping acts.  I 
know if the abrupt transition from, comparatively speaking, more 
rock band stuff to a more blatantly electronic direction confused anyone -
especially those who came to the Casbah primarily to check out live rock
bands.  Actually, there were some confused faces as folks tried to figure
out what the Electric Company man was doing and how.  What I personally
heard was definitely more experimental than the acts that followed; with
different sounds and phrases flying in and out of hearing and being panned
to different spots in the stereo field.  The music was almost militant in
its avoidance of melody and focus on rhythm (lots of cool drum and bass 
beats, btw), though the beat did not stay constant.   The tempo in fact 
shifted nearly as often as a new set of sounds was introduced.  It was the
first time I actually saw somebody play a mixer like a musical instrument 
quite an experience for this converted guitarist. :)

Oval - Basically a guy with a Powerbook and a hard drive who specialized in
ambient sonic washes.  My friend said it made her feel like she was 
in an ocean. :)

Jim O'Rourke - He also used a Powerbook as a sound source but also had 
an analog synth module of some kind with lots of patch cords and an 
guitar fitted with a pickup.  From time to time he popped in a fresh 
presumably to load in new sounds.  Towards the end of the performance, he
began to play his guitar.  The guitar didn't have a MIDI pickup as far as
I could tell yet whatever he played on it was clearly being repeated by the
analog synth in a succession of loops.   He concluded his performance with
a "SimpleText" solo.  For those of you who don't own Macintoshes, they come
with a simple text editor that supports text-to-voice (I used to get a kick
having the "Funeral voice" read an article on psychoacoustics to me).

The most pleasant surprise of the evening was that many of those who came
to see Creedle actually stayed and appeared to enjoy the looping shows,
despite the one crack by a guy standing behind me who said "I wanna see
what video games that guy is playing!".   The act I enjoyed the most was
Electric Company - I'd love to try my own hand at that kind of music