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Re: Ravel as a looper

Kim Flint wrote:
>I agree. Looping is more than just repetition. You need evolution and
>development as well! I went to see the Orb the other night. They're an
>excellent example, with elements repeating and changing and coming and
>going. There were many moments were a nice ambient soundscape would be
>going, with lots of subtle bits thrown around the surround-sound system,
>and a few moments later I would notice that a thunderous percussion part
>would be going too except I never quite noticed where it came in. It just
>sort of built up out of nothing into prominence. It would loop for a 
>mutate, maybe disappear, maybe become something new. The whole performance
>was great. The Chemical Brothers also played to demonstrate that a) the 
>is really good, and b) it is indeed possible to be louder than Metallica
>without being anywhere near as entertaining.
Akkk. The Orb cancelled their Seattle show, so now the only way I'll be
able to see them live is via Lollapalooza, a less than enticing process.
But, yeah, they are masters of this stuff.

Somebody mentioned Conlon Nancarrow in this thread. Amazing stuff. One of
his player piano pieces, Canon X, has a very interesting loop-based
structure. It's basically a canonic structure, with the theme playing with
extremely short note values in the highest register. of the piano, and with
very long values in the lowest register. As the piece develops, the low
voice gets faster and higher in pitch, while the upper voice gets slower
and lower, until they cross in the middle of the keyboard. I'd like to see
a lopping device that could do this...

Also, Erik Satie's name came up. His piano piece "Vexations" features a
brief passage for piano to be played 840 times. It was eventually performed
by 11 pianists working in shifts over the course of 3 days. But I think
part of the intent of this piece is what happens to the pianist(s) while
actually playing the line for that long, I don't think that sampling the
line and letting it loop would be quite the same.

As a project for a music class some years ago, I wrote a MAX program that
played Terry Riley's In C, in which each virtual player (there were 32
including the pulse part, because I only had a dual port MIDI interface)
used a simple cellular automata to decide when to move to the next section.
Took me weeks to write, and when it was done, it was, well, pretty boring.

I just finished a great book that may be of interest to other loopers. It's
"Ocean of Sound: Aether Talk, Ambient Sound And Imaginary Worlds" by David
Toop. It's a free-roaming collection of interviews and observations of such
musicians as Eno, The Orb, Aphex Twin, Jon Hassell, etc, etc. It's not
specifically about ambient music, or any genre in particular, but about the
tendency for indeterminacy, ambiguity and complexity in many different
kinds of music in this century. It's fascinating reading, since Toop has
been involved in experimental music since the '60's, and has personal
contact with a lot of the innovators. Highly recommended.

Dave Trenkel, NEW EMAIL ADDRESS: improv@peak.org
self promotional web-site: http://www.peak.org/~improv/
"A squid eating dough in a polyethelene bag is fast
and bulbous, got me?"
                                     -Captain Beefheart