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Re: Looping in London 10-iv-97
Dr M. P. Hughes wrote:
> David O'Torn - I mean Orton - said
> >>Just a brief note to say I will be adopting a solo loopist stance on
> >>10th at the the Clock Tower in Croydon, London (UK) from 1pm till 2pm
> Another UK looper! Does that make, oh, about 3 of us?
> Dr Michael Pycraft Hughes Bioelectronic Research Centre, Rankine
> Tel: (+44) 141 330 5979 University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ,
> "Wha's like us? Damn few, and they're a' deid!" - Scottish proverb
3 in London! And one, me, feeling isolated from you all in the
Because I don't use the same looping software and the same looping
hardware that most of you use . . . let me explain.
Though I am a professional musician, in 1983 I became a computer addict
and began to write my own source code. The first extremely simple
program I wrote was a BASIC program to play Bach's Prelude in C
(well-tempered) on my /CPM Toshiba machine that played on the primite
built in speaker . . . not very sophisticated . . .
But then, in the next few years, I began to take college programming
classes in the following languages: LISP, C, BASIC, Prolog, Logo,
And tho I then had no MIDI setup, I was fascinated and quite creative in
writing looping "space" music that used a combination of aleatoric and
constraining devices to create a patterned music that was based on chance
patterns . . . my favorite composing influences, were Steve Reich, Terry
Riley, Philip Glass, etc. all of whom I became extremely interested in
and how they "looped", while I spent 9 years writing classical music
reviews for the Pasadena Star News. My most challenging writing about
the concerts I attended were about LaMonte Young, John Cage, etc. I even
attacked Cage at a party in Pasadena, in his honor, by approaching him
and asking "Why don't you believe in patterned music!" His charming
response to me was by smiling and saying while extending his hand in a
most disarming manner, "Perhaps when you know me better!" I find him
socially delightful, but though I didn't tell him, I still disliked his
music immensely. But I did find people like La Monte Young, whom I
interviewed, and Steve Reich . . . very intrigueing indeed . . .
So during those using, I began to form theories and opinions about
looping (For loop1 = 1 to 4 . . . . .next loop1)! that were reflected in
my composition source code. And then, about three years ago, I bought my
first polyphonic synthesizer, an old Kurzweil K1000). Years previously,
I had obtained an early Roland monophonic synthesizer, and took classes
at Pasadena City College on a Moog) . . .
Well, I installed MIDI cards in PCs, the next couple of years, sold some
computers (I had picked up many in thrift stores) to the Electronic Music
Laboratory I became involved with at LACC (Los Angeles City College),
began to both continue with the aleatoric music source code I both wrote
myself and was a consultant on with another programmer from IBM, on and
on and on . . .
It's to long to tell all this, right?
But to shorten my background story: I continued to be obsessed with the
principle of looping, and how, in recursive usage of looping (ala "Godel,
Escher, Bach"), I could gradually change the musical sound loops ((MIDI
now on a Kurzweil, Roland W-50 drum machine, Cakewalk software), as they
So, we arrive at this week, and I am in the midst of creating a memorial
looping piece (with my sometime composing partner) based on
"Heavens-Gate". It has both an elegaic sound similar to Albinoni's
famous funeral piece, and Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings", and a
recurring space music feel . . . .!!!
Well, anyway, I'm isolated here in Hollywood, from you guys and I read
your messages about certain looping software and hardware, and I wonder
how I relate to all of you with the way I came into looping (writing my
own software, etc.) without much knowledge of what was going on at the
Guitar Center, etc., but instead, developing looping concepts in my Ivory
Tower and musing on Steve Reich's music, etc. and how to do something
similar with computer source code which I was writing . . . it did work
and sometimes the bugs in my code produced the more interesting sonic
results than my cleaner code . . . .