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Re: What would loopers do without power?

Travis said,
"I'm not saying you'll transfer the cliches from the old instrument to the 
new one, but for any instrument there are things that are easy to do, and 
those are the things that will become the new cliches.  They'll just sound 
different from the ones you've been foisting off on your audience with the 
old instrument.  When people change tunings on a guitar, for instance, 
often carry over the same muscle movements and if those movements don't 
sound "bad" in the new tuning, they keep them in the their "new" playing, 
sometimes unintentionally."

I hear what you are saying, Travis, but there is also something to be said 
taking on brand new things precisely because you have limited skills on 

What I mean is that frequently when given incredible restraints in our 
a very creative musician will figure out all kinds of new things to do 
on that limitation.

As an example,  for weight reasons,  I recently embarked on a long tour 
only my looper and my pitchshifter.
I was forced to leave my distortion pedal and my multi-effects unit (with 
modulations, delays and reverbs)

I had to live with a dry sound and it forced me into making  a lot of 
musical choices that I might now necessarily make.
I think, in the long run, that it really helped my musicianship to have to 
contend with this limitation (my own personal one
as I had really grown to love my distortion and multi-effects pedal).

Additionally,   a while ago I did a duet gig with Henry Kaiser at the 
Luggage Store Experimental Series.
Henry asked if was comfortable doing the gig without not only my loopers 
faithful companions of the last
13 years)  but also without any amplfication, whatsoever.

I'd never done this in such a setting (free improvisation) and I certainly 
had done something like this in over 13 years
in any musical context.

It was great, though,  because I really had to recontextualize my playing 
accomodate not only the
loss of sophistication in sound design , but also, physically to be able 
play everything that I play
at a volume equal too, or less than,  the acoustic guitar that Henry 

I had to get really creative and I had to step outside of the box of my 
musical comfort zone.

I wasn't always comfortable doing it, but it really changed my head around 
and I think some cool
things resulted (you might have to ask Henry and the audience for their 
on it, but it seemed to go over okay).

And lastly,  one can never underestimate the power of inspiration in 
that can be created by shifting to a new instrument,

One could sit back and be cynical about Per Boysen leaving his instrument 
main expertise, the electric guitar to start playing Alto Flute for,
surely,  for a couple of years at least, the sophistication of his playing 
on flute couldn't match the sophistication of his electric guitar playing,
but I've played with Per a few times (and listened to him concertize) 
several times during this process and he has been on fire
with creativity and just sheer love for what he's doing.

It really translates into his performance and the music he makes and I, 
one,  am actually glad that he made that switch.

Of course,   one of the true tricks of the master at anything is to 
continually recreate the 'Beginner's Mind'  that the Buddhist Meditation 
refer to:    that quality of excitement and inspiration when we are new to 
any experience (from being on a honeymoon to getting a cool new
stompbox pedal or looper).   An uninspired or uncreative musician can 
get into ruts in their playing (and at my age, I've noticed dozens
of contemporary musicians that I have known have completely quit playing 
because they couldn't get past that hump of overfamiliarity with what
they are doing.

   A master, on the other hand,   has the ability to continually reinvent 
themselves, I feel.
It's why I can go see Bill Frissel everytime he plays here in Santa Cruz 
while on tour.................it's always a fresh experience.
He can even play in what I consider to be cliched styles of playing and 
them fresh because he's so good at being
creative and so good at recontexualizing different genres with his playing.

So,  if sticking to one thing floats your boat and makes you inspired to 
play the best music you can...............more power to you.
But, as a wise man once said:  "the truth is one but the paths are many".

And not to be too trite (lol, or cliched)   'the proofs in the pudding', 
no matter what path a musician takes.