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Re: Dangerous (learning) curves (was Fast & Trashy, Slow and Chaste)


As usual, great food for thought in your post here.

I'm reminded of something that I read from Eno (gasp!) a few years back 
really stuck with me.  The basic thought was: intimacy with your instrument
is what allows interesting, unique, personal things to happen within your
performance.  Newer technologies, or an amass of technologies, can create
too many options.  Too many options reduces the chance of intimacy with 

I agree with that, as it has been my own experience.  I own 2 EDPs, and I
*do* occasionally move on to a new technique or feature, just to explore 
But when I'm in the mood to make music that pleases me, I find it important
to stick with the tools and techniques that I intuitively "know".  
that list is growing, but the point remains.  This is how I maintain
intimacy with my instruments, and make music that pleases me (and 

----- Original Message -----
From: "Andre LaFosse" <altruist@earthlink.net>
To: <Loopers-Delight@loopers-delight.com>
Sent: Wednesday, August 13, 2003 6:23 AM
Subject: Dangerous (learning) curves (was Fast & Trashy, Slow and Chaste)

> Hi Per,
> Thanks for the comments...  it makes me think of something I've noticed
> with regards to the whole "learning curve" technology angle:
> What I tend to see is this: the more gear is involved in a performance,
> the more the musical experience of looping seems to be about creating
> this big, massive "thing" that is set into motion, and then sort of
> spins around of its own accord, almost independently of the player.
> There's a funny parallel between musical gear and motor vehicles in that
> way: the music that tends to be made by artists with loads of equipment
> in their rigs often strikes me as being like a giant 18-wheeler semi
> truck: it takes a long time to get started, it takes a long time to slow
> down, and you have to plan your turns half a block in advance on account
> of the massive size involved.  But it certainly can sound impressive
> when it's up and running...
> I can't help but think that a lot of this has to do with the "mental
> fatigue" angle you and Andreas brought up...  it seems like the more
> stuff is involved in the actual rig, the more mentally demanding it
> tends to be to steer it in a particular direction, with a particular
> sense of speed.  And the easier it can be to change the rig around, swap
> components in and out, and alter signal paths...  which in many ways
> forces a person to start all over again with the whole curve of using
> their "instrument" in an agile and intuitive manner.
> The main impetus for having the big rigs tends to be a desire for lots
> of different sounds, and wanting to be able to access a wide variety of
> different textures.
> But isn't it interesting how some people will spend decades playing
> "just" a piano, or a tabla, or their own voice, and find ongoing
> inspiration and freedom within the confines of "one sound"?  Isn't it
> funny how often it's harder to make a decision about what to play with
> dozens of options availble, instead of just one or two?  And isn't it
> strange (and scary) how easy it is to constantly want to modify, or
> change, or upgrade, or trade up, a piece of electronic music gear, when
> we find ourselves frustrated with the music we make with it?
> Wired magazine had a really good article on this subject:
> http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/10.05/laptop_pr.html
> It's ostensibly geared (no pun intended) towards the laptop music realm,
> but the ideas it addresses apply to pretty much any performing musician
> who's ever tried to use "external gear" as an instrument...
> I'm not trying to knock anybody here - there are plenty of folks with
> huge rigs and huge sounds who I really enjoy listening to.  I'm just
> thinking out loud about things that have crossed my mind many a time.
> (And trying to see how many more innuendos I can squeeze into a subject
> --Andre LaFosse
> The Echoplex Analysis Pages:
> http://www.altruistmusic.com/EDP