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Re: Looping with other musicians, new tools=new results

>Drummers are harder to deal with in this respect, as they are used to being
>the band metronome, but I've even met kit players who can follow a loop...
With my band, I feel we've made a transformation over the course of a year or so, from the point of realizing that a purely intuitive approach would not quite work in situations where the loop, once established, needs to direct the tempo (but fails). The change (gradual, required lots of practice, argument, frustration) had more to do with conscious realization as to where each band member directs their mental focus for obtaining the pulse. Normally, this is the drummer (for all, including the drummer) - and it was only logical to expect the drummer to have the most difficulty in tuning into an extraneous source for tempo - AND do this dynamically, I.e., only at the when such a tempo-dictating loop is in fact running.
Over a year or so, we feel we have it at the point that this focus switching occurs quite naturally, and moreover start becoming somewhat successful at playing to the loop in such a way that it sounds natural (by pulling/pushing on the rhythm and tempo deliberately) rather than slavishly and robotically obey its dictated pulse. It's exciting to play with the idea that there's an infinite number of ways to be 'in lock' with a loop (the results varying from awful to quite wonderful)
I guess my point is, our choice has been to spend significant time and effort in learning how to play to tempo-fixed loops, rather than invest effort and technology into how to manipulate them on the fly into submission to our own, imperfect time. In conjunction with this we made the choice to not 'can', but always establish the loop live - in this way, we have a natural initial tempo upon which the loop is built, and are able to keep things a little more dynamic and risky than with a canned loop.
The hardest are loops established for a limited amount of time at the beginning of a song, that only reappear much later in the song again. Once you're 'unlocked', it's amazing how much one (or all, if in a band) can drift while in the conviction that you're not. I imagine we'll have that down one day, too.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, August 30, 2003 3:28 AM
Subject: Re: Looping with other musicians, new tools=new results

>>>"If you're playing with other musicians, and the collective tempo
shifts, and you've already recorded a loop with tempo-dependent
information, then I don't see how you can "adjust" the loop. "<<<

So why try? why not adjust the musicians? When it comes to playing along
with Loops, some people 'get it', some people don't. If you have a listen to
my duo CD with Jez Carr - 'Conversations', he clearly 'gets it' dispite
never having done any looping at that point himself. He just understands
that the establishment of the rhythmic framework is down to the looper.

The alternative is to use loops that don't require other people to be in
time with it - I quite often put down loops of all kinds in group situations
that even if they are rhythmic, aren't dependent on other following the same
rhythm. That's a tricky one to explain, but it works. At the risk of turning
this into a plug for my CDs, my next album is a duet CD with Theo Travis, a
looping sax/flautist, and we're quite often both using fairly rhythmic
unsync'd loops without any sense of them being 'out of time'.

I had a gig last weekend with a keyboardist call Patrick Wood who likewise
was great at hearing where a particular loop was going, what it implied or
didn't about the rhythm of the piece and responded accordingly. As a result,
we had a great gig! :o)

Drummers are harder to deal with in this respect, as they are used to being
the band metronome, but I've even met kit players who can follow a loop...

BTW - at the gig with Patrick, it was very nice to meet up with David
Swain - it's always fun to put a face to a LD personality! :o)