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re: Looping Strategies

Some thoughts in response.  I hope you don't take offense, but I have 
some problems with categorical statements even though I understand many 
of your observations about looping approaches.

> "the syndrome of the One Man Band" 
"the syndrome of the One Man Band" is only a syndrome if you make a 
value judgment on the 'validity' of this as a musical art. Speaking for 
myself, I often use my guitar synth to construct a song form with all 
the typical accompaniment drums, bass, keys, pads, etc - the Repeater 
allows me to then solo over four simultaneous loops. Those loops can be 
mutated, reversed, etc for variety. I prefer creating all loops live 
except for a 'canned' drum loop, which in my mind fades quickly into the 
background. Yes - it's a one man band if you look at it that way. And if 
I understand you correctly, layering does indeed present a problem when 
a loop gets too 'dense' (vertical motion?).

> "Sound Designer".This is the second Stade.
OK, I might be in 'stage two' this week.  During a looping set, I will 
sometimes go with a simpler theme - for example: a wash of sound or 
minimalist theme w/ no drums that evolves over time by varying feedback 
level.  The technology allows you to take a very simple soundscape and 
create a mood or to serve as a bed to improvise over.  

But again it seems you're making a value judgment on your 'sound 
designers'. The problem IMO, may be that you have left the audience out of 
the equation.  Hopefully the performer is trying to engage listeners at 
some level, because 'performance art' can't really exist in a vacuum. Many 
artists, in different mediums (painting, film, music) are confrontational, 
even abusive just to elicit a reaction in the observer.  I happen to love 
effects and of course my guitar synth is really the same thing...  You 
obviously find effects, even looping devices to be cliche, although I bet 
it took you some time experimenting with them in order to reach your 
conclusions.  Also, the audience may not be as quick to label either the 
one-man-band or heavily processed sounds as cliches, especially if they're 
chatting with friends or people-watching.  

> play briefly the begining,the middle,and the end of the track and if i 
>can notice the same loop there and there, then i quit... 
You've expressed your preference and your method of excluding a whole 
genre of performances.  You've made a perfectly valid statement, and we 
all agree that no one has the time to listen to much of the sh** that is 
'released' on the internet and readily available for download. 

But because you use a specific screening technique, I wonder if you are 
still willing to invest the time required see how a work evolves in real 
time or just find it easier to decide what you *don't* like and avoid 
listening to those genres.  Many of my peers tend to exclude new or 
unfamiliar music -just like parents have done with the music every new 
generation adopts as their own.  I also know people that just can't sit 
still and listen to music anymore - I sometimes have to actually force 
myself to do this.

> Musicians, not "Mad professors" 
Some of us profess to being musicians first - other performers surely 
wish to create a 'mad professor' persona.  Others here just want to 
entertain/amuse people.  I remember Paul McCartney saying that the 
Beatles thought of themselves as 'entertainers' because the concept of a 
rock star hadn't even emerged.  You are obviously a musician, but are 
making some sweeping statements about motivations for looping and the 
artistic merit of different approaches and applications. 

> i don't intend to shift to Guitar for the sake of Looping (no offence)
None taken - but bass is a great instrument for looping, especially 
since looping can expand an understanding of musical roles not typically 
associated with the bass.

Sorry - this got a bit too long - I presume we'll see other comments 
about your observations.

Dan Ash
White Plains, NY


> Subject:
> Looping Strategies
> From:
> Jah Jast <jast81@yahoo.com>
> Date:
> Wed, 23 Jul 2008 07:26:36 -0700 (PDT)
> To:
> Loopers-Delight@loopers-delight.com
> First of all sorry for my Pidgin English.
> I'm gonna be unpopular i'm sure but here is some thoughts about Looping. 
> At the first Stade the aspiring Looper is animated by what i would call 
>"the syndrome of the One Man Band" .
> More than Ego (though it is a bit) this is often a problem of lack of 
>confidence along with technique which leads him here.(Tracy Chapman can 
>do a great Song with just an acoustic guitar and 3 or 4 chords no more...)
> The loop strategy here consists in Layering part onto part and try to 
>simulate a band.
> Soon he realizes that as fun as it is,it is a sterile way.
> Then he tends now to become a kind of "Sound Designer".This is the 
>second Stade.The cause here is often a problem of lack of Inspiration,if 
>the one of technique is now improved...
> Accumulate all type of effects is now the Quest.The goal is to sound 
>like a synthesizer even if he plays flute.The loop strategy is now again 
>Layering part onto part onto part....But to be convincing,that requires 
>time (and patience for listeners)...
> And you are stuck in a "vertical motion" (which is not the case with a 
> This is why i have some problems with the layering Concept.
> Every time i listen to Loopers (less and less) i play briefly the 
>begining,the middle,and the end of the track and if i can notice the same 
>loop there and there, then i quit... 
> I really appreciate an approach like the one of Dennis Moser for example 
>and incidentally he uses (very) long Delays more than "pure" Loops, if 
>i'm not wrong.Indeed the horizontal Motion is saved here and Layering and 
>effect processings are not constrictings.
> In fact, i bielieve that a good way to understand WHAT is Looping is to 
>begin to work with short delays and little by little ending with long and 
>finally,conventional Loop techniques.
> The survey of Krispen Hartung was necessary cause it reminds us that 
>first we pretend to be Musicians, not "Mad professors" and there is a lot 
>of work to do on our Instrument.
> PS: I'm a born Bass Player,and i don't intend to shift to Guitar for the 
>sake of Looping (no offence).Thanks.