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Re: the meaning of loop music

At 11:26 AM 5/26/2003, Matthias Grob wrote:
>Rick established the Live Looping expression and it has been in the press 
>and its on my new CD, so it does exist, there is no point in fighting 
>against it.

that's an interesting logic. It sounds rather like "we took it for 
ourselves already, so its too late for the rest of you to have it back."

>I see most of the points against calling Live Looping a style or a 
>category, but what else would you call it, once it came to exist?

what else would I call what? I still don't know what this style of music 
you are talking about, since you never want to get pinned down and 
describe it!

Do you mean what would I call the style of music you specifically play? I 
think Andre once called it something like "electronic folk" and that 
sounded pretty accurate to me. I could also see it fitting in the jam band 
category, like you would fit well on a bill with Kellar Williams or Phish.

But Live Looping seems to include everything, so I don't know which style 
it is supposed to be.

>Similarly, not everyone that uses a looping tool plays Live Looping music.
>It can aid any category of music. Or maybe some new category can arise 
>from the use of looping tools for which we may still find names... (I 
>believe Andre is on such a track)

ah I was expecting that one... the lines start getting drawn.

Well Andre, sorry Bub. We don't allow your kind in here no more. This here 
is a loopers only club. Why don't you take yerself back on over across the 
tracks to Glitchers Delight or wherever it is you people go. Don't make no 
trouble, now.

Kidding aside, not only do you and Andre both play guitar (and both 
a pick as I discovered), you both use a single Echoplex for looping, 
without much other processing, and even use a fairly similar set of 
Echoplex functions that play an extensive role in your music. There is a 
lot similar in the tools and instruments used.

By looking at that and using Geoff's criteria, you are both in the "Live 
Looping" genre. Yet the results sound way different. You clearly draw on 
completely different musical influences, backgrounds, educations, 
perspectives, experiences, etc. In fact I really don't see how anybody can 
listen to both and say it is the same genre of music.

You obviously feel the same since you are trying to draw a line between 
what you do and what Andre does. That makes sense really, since both of 
together is really quite a contrast, and probably more than what the 
typical listener is going to follow except as a novelty. You should be 
putting yourself in a different category if you are trying to market 
yourself successfully.

It's quite a contradiction.

The commonalities between you two are guitar and heavy use of a looper. 
(and two legs.)

One claim from Geoff is that using those tools puts you both in the "Live 
Looping" genre. Yet, listening makes that hard to believe, and indicates 
you should really be in different musical genres as you suggest.

If you are in different genres, and we still claim that "Live Looping" is 
genre, only one of you gets to be in it. Which one? Andre or Matthias? Do 
we take a vote on it, or maybe have an arm wrestling match?

Or we say that "Live Looping" is not really a genre, but a set of tools 
techniques that can be applied to many styles. Then you and Andre both get 
to be Live Loopers still, since it only describes how you make music and 
nothing about the musical results. Then you can go about plugging your 
music in whatever genre the public understands.

>But most musicians that build the music live on looping tools share some 
>boundaries. The so far existing looping technologies imply some musical 
>form and help some ways to express more than others.

well, I keep asking what those characteristics are... still waiting.

>For example: no Live Looping piece starts full blast, since we have to 
>build it up. It hardly changes tonality wildly or contains complex 

OK, that's interesting, but seems really easy to contradict, and hardly 
sufficient for defining a genre. Plenty of people mix live looping with 
bands, or pre-recorded loops on their repeaters or samplers or laptops, or 
combine live looping with sequencers and such. They can start "full blast" 
and yet still do substantial amounts of looping. They can have complex 
breaks or tonal shifts just by using multiple loops and NextLoop or midi 
trigger functions.

Andre's widely admired Disruption Theory album starts full blast on many 
tracks and has plenty of sudden breaks. So does Amy Neuburg. Are they not 
"Live Loopers"?

There also seems to be an implied requirement of being a soloist. Does 
"Live Looping" exclude groups and bands that include loopers, and assume 
soloists only? That bias is evident at the loop festivals I've attended, 
aside from the first one Hans put on. I see bands playing around town a 
with loopers, but not at "looping festivals" for some reason. Are they not 
allowed? At best there is group playing when two or more of the soloists 
decide to spontaneously jam, which is nice, but they are still obviously 
soloists first.

>But I dont see a problem: Nobody ever claimed that looping music is a 
>for anyone using a loop tool, nor should we be afraid that musicians turn 
>away from the tool, thinking that it only serves for certain styles.

I've seen that happen, so I do fear it.

>The richness of what has been shown to the public so far grants for that. 
>(What we do here in Sweden is not ambient at all :-).
>Creative minds will always hear their way of using a tool and not care 
>whether its within some boundaries or not.

Now you switched to addressing the user/musician side, in other words, 
dealing with live looping as a musical instrument and technique again and 
whether musicians can see how to use it. Probably they can.

However, this whole discussion is about the supposed "live looping" genre, 
and therefore the listener perspective of the music, not the musician's. 
One of the concerns I have raised is not whether creative musicians can 
figure it out, but whether they will stay away from it because the public 
perception of "looping" is tied to one specific style of music that they 
don't want to be associated with.

The other concern, or doubt really, is whether the public can understand 
"Live Looping" as a genre at all when all the music made under that banner 
is so different. I still don't understand how it makes sense to promote 
your music as "Live Looping" when even you guys can't seem to define what 
that means.


Kim Flint                     | Looper's Delight
kflint@loopers-delight.com    | http://www.loopers-delight.com