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Re: Looping progress???

On Saturday, May 3, 2003, at 04:48 AM, Geoff Smith wrote:

> Hi all
> I have been thinking about, how we all want our loopers to do this or 
> that...... or wouldn't it be cool if ... i.e. more options to sound 
> like more things.....

I kind of feel like the opposite is true for myself.  I'd be totally 
happy with a looper that has the sound quality of the EDP, the stereo 
nature of the Repeater and the functionality of the JamMan... which is 
a pretty basic looper by EDP or Repeater standards.

Where I get off is in what you put *in* the loop.  The sonic choices 
(which can be loop features such as the Repeater's pitch and time 
stretching or the EDPs slice and dice features [if it could only 
Julieanne!]) are what interest me.  For me the looper is the canvas.  I 
want it to be good quality and a big size so I can get the most out of 
my paint, but I want it to be fairly "blank".  Not saying it should be 
like this, but for me that's what I dig.  I think a looper should be 
simple enough so that it's really the last thing you're thinking about 
when you're making music.  I think this is one of the big draws of the 
DL4 and it's big sibling the EchoPro.

> Which leads me in some sense to think...
> With the advance of digital technology making looping achievable in 
> most musical contexts, so the character and individuality of looping 
> has been obsorbed into a bigger picture. DigitalLoopers can now do 
> structures like verse chorus verse chorus repeat, in a way that it 
> would be problematic with analogue equipment. This removal of these 
> limitations has seen a sense of a loss of individuality of the sound 
> of Live-Looping with a gain in its
> flexability and integration.
> I.e. looping can now be made to sound like other forms of music 
> generation.

So you need to ask your self the question: Does your technology inform 
your sound, or does your sound inform your technology?  Or is it a 
feedback loop between?  When I listen to older pop music I often think, 
"Oh yeah, there's that DX7 patch..." or something like that.  Good 
music then brings me to a place where I'm lost in the music and no 
longer listening to the technology.  Poorly made music often relies on 
the gimmick of a new sound and has little else.  It's a trap we've all 
got to avoid.

> However there are exceptions like Andre Lafosse etc. who are creating 
> a new aesthetic out of looping as opposed to simply emulating another 
> musical process....

There was a thread a while back that I started about the differences 
between using your looper as a "processor" or in a more passive way.  
Both techniques are indeed valid and it's just a matter of choice for 
the musician.  If you hear something in your head that your Repeater 
can't do, you'd better buy an EDP and visa versa.  I've heard both 
great and horrible music come from both.  What Andre does could be (and 
has been) done with traditional post production editing.  What makes it 
cool is that he's a great musician and it allows him to make those 
edits to his loops live.  Does that ability to do the glitch/insert 
technique live in real time inform the kind of edits he's doing?  My 
guess would be: Yes so in that way Andre has been creating a new 
aesthetic.  In a similar but more subtile way I use the Repeater's 
effect loop to post process my loop while leaving my direct input 
untouched (until it's first loop iteration).  Most people are probably 
not even aware I'm doing it but when the loop I hear isn't exactly like 
what I played into it, it can't not influence what I'm going to play 
next, and therefore the "feature" of this piece of technology has 
allowed me to create music that I wouldn't normally have made without 
it.  Much in the same way I couldn't play the music I play without 
amplification.  I heard that Bing Crosby was the first baritone singer 
in pop music because before microphones and amps you had to sing in a 
high pitch to cut through the band.  Very interesting IMO.  I've always 
loved how Laurie Anderson can have a carcophony of sound around her but 
at the same time get all intimate by "whispering" in your hear.

> Both positions are valid and a sign of how versatile a tool looping 
> has become. Its maybe a question of as a looper do you seek to create 
> a new aesthetic or simply to have the option to emulate many 
> previously used aesthetics, like sequencing, multi tracking etc.

Sure, sequencing and multi-tracking were all previously used, but 
loopers allow you to do it *live* which is really what interests me.  
There's nothing I do with my Repeater that I couldn't do with Digital 
Performer, but the Repeater allows it to happen in real time and those 
types of techniques really do have an effect on your playing.  Similar 
to the difference between recording a dry signal and then putting 
effects on it later or doing the effect live.  Common sound engineer 
wisdom says put the effects on later, but I say "hogwash!"  How that 
effect changes your technique is what it's all about... well not all.

Mark Sottilaro