[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index]

loops in a new light

hey all,

this being my first post to kim's marvelous world of the loopy, i'd 
like to recommend to y'all something i've come across:

'eberhard weber : pendulum'

it's a great disc on the ECM label, number 1518. weber is better known for
his side-man work as the bassist for jan garbarek (and others, i suppose).
he plays a six string electric upright (helluva tone! it's that silky
smooth sound that warms you to sleep - the 'walking on air' tony levin
anyhow, the pendulum disc is weber's curiosity with loops/overdubs and
solo performance in action.

excerpts from the liner notes...

'solo pieces for single instruments are actually not my favorite music. i
have always preferred orchestral sounds. strangely enough, i came across
the double bass, of all things, that awkward instrument which, according
to conventional understanding, can produce only dark, low tones.'

'obviously the first thing was to drag the instrument itself out of that
murky cellar; to make it as easy to play as possible so it could serve as
a solo instrument...'

'a desire to put all my musical ambitions and my function as a bass player
under one hat made me enter the world of the loner. however in my case
playing alone does not mean sending individual notes meaningfully into
space. basically, there is nothing wrong with it, but who wants to spend a
whole evening listening to individual tones, deeply fraught with meaning?
i'd rather make music with the help of certain aids, that permit me to
carry on a kind of dialogue with myself and liberate me from the isolation
of a solo performance - at least acoustically.'

'the discovery of the echo unit was a turning point for me. being able to
store sounds, tones, rhythms, and bass lines quite spontaneously during a
live concert, and to replay them at will gives me almost unlimited
exploratory pleasure. this is fundamentally different from using
prerecorded tapes, because you can give free rein to your spontaneous


he continues to describe his previous album, titled 'orchestra', which i
don't have but am searching for, and the album pendulum.

basically, pendulum could have been an album of overdubbed bass tracks. he
mentions that he's taken quite a lot of time and liberty in composing the
disc's nine tracks through the echo unit, meaning that if a certain loop
needed extra time to execute, he'd take quite a while to do it right.
so, it's not an album of spontaneity, (sp?) but one of composition through
the use of loops. 

and, while we're on the subject of loops, his uses of them are admirable.
the bass isn't incredibly varied in tones; he doesn't use any effects
except reverb and possible a thickening chorus (but it could be the
natural tone of the bass - it's great, whatever it is!), but he does use a
bow to some interesting degrees.
so, he uses the looping concept to establish backgrounds, lines,
percussive noises, and chords, and then runs several different melodies
over the top of it all. 

theoretically, it could have just as well been a sixteen track production
of bass overdubs played one at a time... it sounds that good. i don't know
what unit he's using, but it's probably the echoplex.

i highly recommend it to all interested in the bass (whether for tone or
for technique or for style) and/or loops. 

**  Dan Howarth, History/Music, Unversity of Arizona, Tucson. **
**  http://www.u.arizona.edu/~howarth (under construction)    **