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Re: Why loop?
For me, one of the attractions of looping is best expressed by an analogy.
When two halftoned photographs are superimposed, conflicts between screen
frequency and angle show up as a moire pattern. Changing the angle changes
the pattern; you're viewing something that's inherent to neither
photograph, but is, rather, a product of combining them in a complex phase
relationship. Some composers (I'm thinking of Steve Reich's "Violin Phase"
and similar works as examples) have explored this sort of phase
relationship with "real" instruments playing written parts in real time (or
as Terry Riley has done, by writing the notes, but allowing the time
signature to be random) but the precise nature of the repetitions coming
out of electronic looping gear result in an entirely different texture, one
in which absolute predictability (the loop) sometimes mixes with the
completely unexpected (the interaction BETWEEN the loops) in an intensely
pleasureable way. There's also something to be said for the psychoacoustic
tension of anticipating the return of a sound; live looping involves
constant manipulation of the loop, whether by filtering or by the
introduction of new content to the loop saturating and obscuring the old
content, so the listener (and in some cases the musician) can't be entirely
certain that the sound WILL return. Our ancestors experienced religious awe
when observing how the sun would go down at night and come up in the
morning; the sense of anticipation they felt was powerful enough to lead
them to worship natural phenomena. This is in many ways replicated on a
microcosmic level by the loop, but as a powerful aesthetic experience
rather than a mystical one. The emergence of new technology allows us to
create input for our senses in ways that were not possible before. We have
evolved culturally, developing the tools which make it possible for ONE
MUSICIAN in REAL TIME to infinitely repeat and solo over the chords to
>I just finished up a piece and was reminded of a question I meant to put
>the list some time ago: why loop? I mean "why" in the fundamental sense of
>addressing what it is about repetition that's good. Is "looping"
>the broader category of "repetition," or is it a particular type or
>repetition? Aside from the obvious mechanistic differences, are there
>qualitative differences between music that is made by repeating phrases
>ahem, "real" time and music in which repetition is achieved by looping?
>these differences audible?
>Morgan Hamilton Lang.
- Why loop?
- From: Morgan Lang <email@example.com>