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Re: Dig if u will my research paper

At 11:43 AM 5/27/2003, Geoff Smith wrote:
> > So when you try to claim Live Looping as a genre, I'm still lost as to 
> > you are talking about. I really don't see how regular music listeners 
> > understand it either. Certainly you can explain to them about the 
> > techniques and devices the musicians are using, and maybe they will 
> > that a bit interesting in an educational way. But that isn't 
>describing the
> > music, and ultimately people go to listen to music not the musician's
> > technique.

>When i listen to the music of Live-Looping (there I am calling it that 
>from the start) I genuinely here huge similarities between the artists I
>have talked about.

Is that because you are listening to only a narrow subset of Loopers, or 
you actually detect some common characteristics across all of the wildly 
different musicians using looping? If your source listenings are what you 
list in your paper and mention here, I'm afraid it sounds like the former 
to me.

>For this to work I only consider artists who use a Live-Looping device as 
>major part of what they do. To illustrate why... drum and bass doesn't 
>the way it does simply because someone adds a speed up drum beat, its a 
>engagement with a form of music.

Drum and Bass also doesn't sound the way it does because people use cubase 
and fruity loops to create it.

So why do you think this "Live Looping" genre is defined by the tools, 
drum and bass is not? Why not by specific musical characteristics as you 
just semi-explained d&b is defined?

>This is true of Live-Looping for someone to
>be considered part of the genre they must make heavy use of the 
>i.e. it can not be just an arbitory addition or effect.

that goes back to the Trumpet players are in the Trumpeter genre 
example.... I still don't see how the tools used to create can define a 
genre. If somebody tells me to come to their Trumpet concert I don't know 
if they are going to be playing mariachi or bebop or marching band. I 
be really annoyed if I stayed home because I was fearing marching band and 
it turned out to be mariachi. If they said "mariachi" right from the 
I'd be there.

second point: the problem is not that we need to restrict things to say 
this is a music that only makes "heavy use of the Live-Looper" (presumably 
meaning the device in this case rather than the musician). The problem is 
that even once you have made that restriction, the music that results 
covers such a wide range as to be impossible to categorize together. It is 
too broad a term to be of useful meaning to the listener.

And as Rick claims, what is is. "Looping" and even "Live Looping" have 
for a long time to refer to a set of tools, instruments, and techniques 
employed by many musicians creating many types of music. It's already 
To suddenly try to call one style of music "Live Looping" today causes 
confusion and conflict.

>Okay so considering people who do this...
>If I went to http://www.looproom.com/index_engl.php
>and downloaded music by Rick, Matthius, and Per Boysen (which I have done
>incidently) I would argue that the music has a lot in common as a 

(By the way, I'm really looking forward to hearing the collaborations 
between them myself.)

The tracks on that particular site do seem a little similar, which again 
leads me to wonder if you have relied on too few sources to support your 
thesis. It seems like a rather small subset of all the things I've heard 
done with looping. (it is a sample of only 3....)  However, in many other 
ways these three seem quite different. So, I'm curious. What specifically, 
are the similarities you hear that lead you to your conclusion?

>The very function of looping a live instrumentalist has such a powerful
>aesthetic effect that I would argue that this in most cases creates a
>feeling of similarity between individual pieces or artists.

ok, so go ahead and state the arguments you would make then. What are 
similarities that create this "powerful aesthetic effect"?

Maybe I'm an imbecile, but when I think of all the Live Loopers I've seen 
perform or listened to recordings of, I can't figure out how the resulting 
music all goes together in the same bin. They can be grouped together by 
the tools and techniques used to create, in the way Percussionists or 
Trumpeters can be grouped, but that's a musician thing. I don't see how 
resulting music all goes together for the listener.

>Looping creates form that is clear,
>... and I believe it creates such a specific form that it ties music

If it is so specific, it should be easy to explain. Can you describe what 
that form is for me?

>In the same way hip-hop covers so many different musicians etc.

but it is pretty easy to describe the musical characteristics of hip hop 
music and its various sub genres, such that someone unfamiliar with it can 
recognize it and understand a bit of what is going on. That is because 
hop music" refers to the audible characteristics in the result.

>So Live-Looping can do the same, because there is a basic form that is

is there?

>Compare Terry Riley's 'Poppy No good etc' to Per Boysen's Saxophone pieces
>and the similarities are obvious.

Yes, remarkably so. Maybe a little too much so. :-)  Terry Riley usually 
falls into the "Minimalist" genre, and even refers to himself as a 
Minimalist composer. Is there some reason that wasn't working? Why not 
continue to say he is a minimalist, since it already seems to be a clear 
term that is reasonably understood. Perhaps we might say Per is a 
Minimalist also? Or perhaps Ambient? Listening to his music, those are the 
terms that come to mind.

>It is perhaps harder to perceive when u
>compare music made on different types of instruments, but i believe the 
>is still very clear. Take Eno and Fripp's 'No Pussyfooting' and listen to
>that and imagine it was played on a saxophone.... you must see it!!!!!

Again, you are talking about only one type of music that is often made 
looping. You also refer to music made with very rudimentary looping 
techniques, from a time when the looping instruments themselves were too 
limited to be useful for a wide range of applications. Following your 
paper, this obviously causes you quite some difficulty in supporting your 
thesis when you get to later musicians using newer looping tools, and 
presumably would cause you even more difficulty if you considered a wider 
range of loopers covering different styles.

Fripp and Eno's thing usually gets called "Ambient", which seems to work 
fine for most people. Is there something wrong with continuing to use that 
reasonably well understood term? It describes the musical result rather 
than the tools used, which is usually what listeners are after in a 
descriptive term about music.

Both "Ambient" and "Minimalism" are types of music where the musicians 
found looping techniques to be useful. However, looping is used in many 
other places as well. It seems you are lumping Ambient and Minimalism 
together because of the frequent use of loopers shared between them and 
then ignoring all other types of music made with the same looping tools.

>Live-Looping like all music genres has progressed this can be heard on 
>Amy X
>Neuburg' s 'tattoo' however the roots of the music can still be perceived

they can? Amy's music doesn't sound even remotely like Terry Riley. Nobody 
would say they play the same type of music. She uses tremendous amounts of 
live looping though. Which one gets to be the Live Looper?

>i.e. I can still hear the same fascination with looped live recorded 

Yes, you can also hear that same fascination in hip hop. Live hip hop 
includes dj's live-looping beats by switching back and forth between two 
records. That's the classic hip hop sound. It is called Looping there too, 
and as far as I'm concerned it is looping. There are many dj's now doing 
this with actual loopers and turntables. I assume you don't consider hip 
hop as part of this "Live Looping" genre, even though it can include the 
same elements in its creation?

>The form is just more fragmented now (thanks to new functions on the EDP.

The tools follow what the musicians request. The EDP didn't cause anything 
to be fragmented (other than loops themselves). Neither did the Repeater 
the JamMan or whatever. Musicians want to use looping in many ways, and 
for different features. The tools evolve to meet those musical needs.

>Live-Looping music is characterized by the looping of live instruments in
>recorded form, obvious yes but hugely significant as no other form of 
>does this.

well, hip hop does it also as I just pointed out, so it seems to 
your definition here. Unless we are now declaring hip hop as a sub-genre 
our Live Looping genre.

>If you play samples of music that aren't created live they have a
>totally different feel....etc. Sequenced music is looping but is
>characterised by looping synth sounds or sampled sounds and therefor has a
>very different aesthetic effect.

So is "Sequencer Music" another genre then? that seems unlikely. What if a 
piece  music made live with a sequencer sounded exactly like another piece 
music made live with a Looper? Are they different genres due to the 
different tools used? Or same genre because they sound alike?

>One of the few people who is maybe unrecognisable as a Live-Looper is 
>Torn on his recent work. This I believe is because of the huge range of
>processing he uses,
>I talk about this in my paper.

Is that just because his music doesn't fit your thesis? Most people seem 
see what David does as Looping, and his use of looping techniques is 
known. He employs the techniques all over the place quite obviously, and 
certainly does a lot of it live. So by your definition he must be a Live 
Looper. Yet his music sounds nothing like many other Live Loopers.

Why not characterize all these as musicians using the same 
tools/instruments, but *not* playing the same type of music? I think your 
paper was doing just great when it was following that direction, but you 
got into difficulty when you tried to propose it all as a single musical 

>  So I set you the challenge name 5-10 prominent Live-Looping pieces that 
>feel cannot be characterised together. And I will respond.

Chet Atkins - "Jam Man" (Grammy winning tune)
DJ Radar - "Antimatter" (one turntable and a looper, djradar.com)
Andre LaFosse - "Continuous Mix #2" (nu-skool andre)
David Torn - "Busy Cutting Crap" from Splattercell:::Oah
Howie Day - live set at www.kcrw.org
Andre LaFosse - "Disruption Theory" from album of same name (old-skool 
Terry Riley - Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band

that's seven, seems good enough. good luck!


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