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Y2K13 LOOPFEST: Insomniac's report



Well, I've been just too busy trying to put this festival on to do much
posting, but I have insomnia before the last night of the festival (I play
last at 10:30 tonight and I'm nervous) so here goes:

We've been blessed with a fantastic festival so far.    San Jose's 'best
of' show with our foreign artists was sublime;  San Francisco's Luggage
Store, "Experimental Side of Looping" was equally good and we had a really
nice and enthusiastic turnout for S.F.

   It's hard to pick standout performances as , literally, every
performance at both shows was very, very strong.

   I feel so lucky that our hosts,  the Brian and Cherie at the Anno
Domini Gallery and Matt and Rent at the Luggage Store reserve us a
space every single third week of October.   The only downside to either
show was artist John Connell having his entire set stolen in the form
of his iTouch with all of it's lovingly selected and beautiful samples
was stolen in the tough neighborhood that surrounds the Luggage Store
at 6th and Market.

John triumphed, however, the next night at our opening Santa Cruz concert.
  He spent the whole day reconstituting his entire set (a LOT of work) at
our first 'house concert' at Brad and Sandy Taylor's lovely home just
outside of downtown Santa Cruz and did a great 'comeback' set.

 What a beautiful and intimate spot Brad and Sandy's place is.
Semih Yanyali had to cancel (after a beautiful mixture of turkish and
contemporary electronica styles set on Wednesday night) with a stomach flu
so we had a very short and intimate evening.   A standout performance were
Noah Peterson's rocking,  Americana Sax driven R&B.    Noah has
enthusiastically and professionally jumped into our community this year
with two excellently produced Y2K13 looping festivals in Portland, Seattle
(and right after the main fest, San Antonio, Texas).   It was just pure
joy to me to see how he rocs thousands of people at San Antonio's 6 Flags
Theme Park in 105 degree heat during the summer.   He is a fantastically
strong saxophonist and is very inventive with his looping (including
wonderful and strong percussion.....something that always ranks high in my
own personal looping book).   He's also a really great guy too, with a
wonderful and epxansive laugh and sense of humor.   It's really such a
treat to have him so prominent in our community in his first year of
having 'found' us.   Thanks,  Noah, for everything you've done this year
to promote and expand live looping!

It was such a mellow evening......really quite intimate and a good sign
for the weekend to come.

Today (well, yesterday technically, but I can't sleep) was just
awesome.........top to bottom.

I confess that I have been very, very worried about attendance because we
are in our new home at the Treasures Roadhouse which is decidedly outside
of downtown Santa Cruz for the first time.  I was completely surprised
that our early day attendance was stronger than the last two years,
however which says a lot considering that we didn't have great luck with
our press efforts this year (outside of one nice article in the Good
Times).

The true marvel, though, is just how wonderful the Treasures Roadhouse is
as a venue.   Bourn Archer, the owner has created a beautiful and intimate
performance space with a great sound system.   It's comfortable,  well
heated (and ventilated);   it has a really nice and spacious 'green room'
for staging and pre-setting artists' equipment;  beautiful theatrical
curtains and a very, homey and intimate feel with really great acoustics. 
Almost every single person I talked to from audience members to performers
said that it was the best venue we've ever had for the looping festival.

And people CAME!!!!!!     That was really exciting to me.  We had a really
good house last night.

   I just marvel at how strong this community has become musically and
technologically speaking since we started these festivals 13 years ago.

The day concert was really great from top to bottom with some real
standout performances with the three pre-dinner artists:  Rejyna,  Marya
Stark and Luis Angulo;  who ,  fighting through a bad head cold and
complete loss of sound in his right ear after a bad plane ride delivered a
knockout performance of all orginal songs. I cried during one of is tunes,
it was so beautiful to me.

To single out anyone one from the day, though is very difficult because
everyone had strong sets.    I really loved Bob Amstadt's opening set,
using two new completely redesigned LP-2s.   This was Bob's first abstract
set that I've seen him do and it was really lovely.   He did a couple of
things with the LP-2 that I'm going to steal (and that's the highest of
compliments).    Stanosaur also rocked us one more time with high decibel
feedback looping.
He's the only artist I let play the festival without a specific 'looping'
device because of his dedication to manipulating and surfing high volume
guitar feedback between two massive Sunn amplifiers (not before handing
out 33 db earplugs to everyone in the house).

Another standout was David Tristram's beautiful looping graphics work.  
David has added not only beautiful new algorthms to his syncrhonizing
graphics but has also really gotten deep into his ability to meld with the
performers.   There was some truly beautiful stuff happening visually.

Next, I had one of those typical 'put out the fire' experiences as,
instead of taking a dinner break,  I had to rush back into Santa Cruz to
borrow a projector for Maha!'s upcoming LoopyCam visuals for the
Headliners show.   We had borrowed a projector, after having ours stolen
last year :-(  but it didn't have the right connectors to hook up to Tim
Thompson's loopycam.

Hoffman's restaurant ,  home of my weekly jazz trio,  came to the rescue
though (man, I love the staff and owners of that place) and lent us their
projector in the 11th hour and I was able to get back 5 minutes before the
start of the show.........which was JAW DROPPING in it's entirety.

Henry Kaiser opened up with a beautiful demonstration of the square wave
modulation possibilities in two ancient Lexicon PCM 42s.    He then went
on to explain the method of improvisation that he has been mining for a
long time with beautiful results and then showed us how different the
computer manipulation 'emulation' of those instruments are.   It was
really cool to hear his detailed explanations and then to truly see the
difference between the analogue performance back to back with it's
'emulate' digital one.    Some people, notably Grammy Award winner, Bill
Putnam,  really appreciated the difference between the two sounds, but I
confess,  they both sounded great to my somewhat challenged middle aged
ears.

Next Daniel Thomas put on the most elaborate and high tech looping show
I've seen yet.   Playing what looked like an entire mobile studio (with
replete with multiple controllers,  two MACbook pros and keyboards, guitar
and voice,  he encountered a couple of very minor technological 'glitches'
but his performance and song writing were just beautiful and very, very
emotional for me.   I was so impressed with his performance and equally
impressed that he attempted such an elaborate and truly daring attempt at
bringing complex song forms to live looping (something live looping is NOT
typically good at doing).

Next,  living live looping legend,   Andre LaFosse played his first Y2K
appearance with a tour d-force of guitar playing and absolute seamless
mastery of the Gibson Echoplex.  Glitch and funky with his 'guitar
turntablism' approach of corralling and shaping the glitchy possibilities
of quantized replace and the real time shortening and lengthening of loops
that the EDP is so famous for,  he had heads and feet bopping for the
entire set.   He's such a fantastic and inventive guitarist as well and it
was wonderful to see where he's gone since the last time I played with
him, Michael Manring and Steve Lawson back in 2002/2003.      As much as I
love his funky stuff,  my standout performance, both at the Luggage Store
and at the Headliners gig was a piece he plays using FEEDBACK set to 0 and
Reverse........He has just mastered this art that makes the instrument
seem completely and utterly elastic in his hands.    The entire set was a
tour d'force!

Lastly,   Bill Walker delivered a beautiful and very emotional set (he
played three tunes in a row in the memory of my mother, father and our
fearless 'non-leader'  Kim Flint.      Bill was celebrating the release of
his first solo CD and he just played beautifully,  mixing in humor and
pathos in the set.    I confess,  I cried twice during his set thinking
about how much my parents loved us and how much we love and miss them.   
I also sat grinning and cheering with Daniel Thomas as Bill tore it up in
6/8 on his memorial to my father,  'Cass County Waltz' , one of the
standout tracks on the new CD.

I always am a little afraid that people will think I'm being nepotistic in
my enthusiastic endorsement of Bill's talent,  but he is just a fantastic
and inventive musician with a deep heart, filled with a great sense of
humor and compassion.     He's also been, quite frankly,  my tech guru, 
in all of these years of looping.   It was great to see him tear it up.

So, we all got into our cars and came back to the Looping compound; ate
popcorn and drank beer and laughed and laughed with Nancy LeVan, Nelly
Munier, Noah Peterson, Hideki Nakanishi and his friend, Hiro ,  Stephen
Briggs, Emmanuel Reveneau, Laurie Amat and Maha......one of my very
favorite things to do at all of the loop festivals.

Okay,  maybe now I can sleep...........we've got a killer day ahead of us
with the lions' share of the foreign artists slated to play the really
good closing night of the festival and a very strong day concert, as well.

I hope to see some of you down there today.

Blessings everybody and thanks so much for all of your support and for
this wonderful community.