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Re: Dangerous (learning) curves (was Fast & Trashy, Slow and Chaste)

>ArsOcarina@aol.com wrote:
> >
> > > Just 'cuz you have 31 flavors at your disposal doesn't
> > mean you have to use 'em all . . . all of the time . . . in every tune.
> >

Interesting topic, this thread.  I seem to undergo this sort of epiphany 
every few months!

Actually, at my clinic at this year's Loopstock I discussed just this very 
thing.  As loopists, we on this list are genuinely curious about varied 
various looping techniques, their process and result, and about the gear 
used to achieve all of this. And, within the "realm" of digital audio, 
in sound production and treatment, we are somewhat at the mercy of 
technology (or so it might seem at times).
Through all of this we sometimes forget it is about music, not music 

I was recently asked to return for a performance at a 
where I had done a solo looping show several weeks ago.  At that show, 
thinking of being "impressive", I took the whole kit; four basses, ebows, 
rack (with JamMan and two rack processors), pedal board (with TWO DL4's 
an AdrenaLinn) MIDI controller, even a CD player with random sounds and 
"soundbites" from CNN and such for "found" vocals, all run in stereo.....  
And, I played it all...bass treatments, backwards stuff, percussion, 
muti-looped mayhem and madness.
And..for the most part...the audience could care less.  Through all of my 
concern with fx pathes, loop banks, MIDI controller and pgm changes, beat 
synced delays and whatnot, I failed to make any genuine contact with the 
audience. I was much more captivated by my blinking LEDs and my own little 
footpedal ballet,  that I mght as well have been playing a pre-recorded 
The audience was not "impressed"(save for but a few, who mostly enjoyed 
array of pedals and blinking lights), in fact, they were generally 

Imagine my surprise at being asked back!

So this time I switched things up.  I went back with only a fretless bass, 
DL4, a DI box, and a pignose amp...all battery operated!  Needless to say 
this put the emphasis back on my own musical, and looping, abilities with 
limited technology.  Because I could focus on the music, not the gear, I 
able to engage the audience and it was a wonderful night...and some really 
fantastic looping music was made. In fact, having LESS gear, and fewer 
"options" made the whole thing somehow more creative...and yes, this time 
the audience was impressed, but by the music, and the loops, not by the 

Now, I am not against fx or "big rigs"...but I have found that creativity 
does not always lie in  myriad of options.  And, sometimes scoping down 
uncover possibilities which otherwise would have been missed. I too have 
been mesmerized and amazed by Bill Walker's work...so obvious he has spent 
incredible amounts of time working with his gear that it seems so 
natural and in tune with his performance.  I also memsemerized and amazed 
'Dre's work with just a guitar, EDP and amp.
And what Steve Lawson might be doing with 12 EDPs and 7 DL4s just leaves 
in speechless!

Yet, in my own playing, the more buttons I have to push, the more switches 
and knobs which might require tinkering (and they seem to beckon you, 
they?), the more options I have, then the less focus I have on the music ( 
and throw MIDI anything into my equation and you are looking at a meltdown 
of catastrphic proportions!).

I have been, for some time now, on the brink of getting an EDP, or 
(or both), yet always back off.  For now, I am using my JamMan, an 
version with Bob Sellon's new chips, and have spent alot of time working 
with it. I know it, I can play it like an instrument (and I don't NEED 
MIDI!)  I use my TC M-One for fx, as I know that machine also...and can 
it quite well.  With those, my bass, my hands and imagination, I hvae been 
doing some really cool stuff.

My Adrenalinn, on the other hand, is fairly new and I don't know it that 
well.  When I bring it into the mix, the "gee whiz" factor takes effect 
I am bombarded with more options....the music tends to lose focus and 
continuity.  And in a performance, I am always tap dancing the MIDI pedal, 
or spinning those little dials for a new patch (which is very infrequently 
the RIGHT one), and whatever dialogue or rappor I might have with the 
audience is shot; enter the "gear-gazing zone".

Then there's all those cables...........


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