A collection of messages about the JamMan on various topics including Lexicon's support of the JamMan, famous JamMan users, and possible future upgrades.
compiled by Ed Drake
Date: 24 Oct 96
Jon Durant: ....and more to the point: Getting Composers on our side is a tricky issue. For example: Bill Frisell has been using a JamMan for years, mostly as a compositional tool. In his live performances, he generally still uses his trusty, old Electro Harmonix thingy. Why? Because he can take a loop and speed it up or slow it down using the delay time (something no current looping device can do). So his use of the device is completely hidden to the general public.
I did a dealer show in Florida a couple of years ago, and had an interesting experience. One person came up and saw my little demo and was instantly hooked. It turns out that he plays in a cover band (which I suspect means that he makes a lot more money than those of us who are trying to create original music!) andthey do a bunch of "alternative" music, such as the Cure. He immediately grasped how useful it would be to grab some of those repetative licks and be able to play the counterpoint lines with them. He bought one immediately. And I realised that if we could hook a band like the Cure to start using one and talking about it, then it would be a big lift. So my British distributor tried to get me into the sessions for their last record (recorded at Jane Seymour's house!), but they had started work and didn't want to be interrupted. Of course, the record stiffed, and they *never* talk about gear, so it wasn't a big loss.
Meanwhile, the way to get kids to get into it is through the dealers. And we all know how likely that is to happen: It isn't. Besides, there's a major price barrier for beginners: You can't sell them a looper that costs more than their guitar, and that means the thing has to cost about $200 max. Probably more like $100.
So where does this leave us? Personally, I'm frightened by the outlook in the present tense. I do know that there are a couple of guys at Lexicon who believe in the potential. Of course, they happen to be the two guys who created the JamMan and modify PCM 42s. Believe it or not, the answer really comes from one place: the dealers. (I know, I know...) The management of Lexicon is completely conviced that the word of Sam Ash and Guitar Center is the word of God. If we could convince these guys to start pestering the manufacturers, then we might see movement.
True story: At one point, I tried to put forth a proposal that went way beyond reason, but that I thought would work: I suggested that an upgrade to the JamMan, adding the most requested features (which had already been developed and tested by the product's creator in a personal quest for the coolest thing going) should be done, not because we'd sell more, but because it was the professional thing to do. Stand behind your customers. It would have generated excellent press, and would have said a whole lot about why Lexicon is the professional choice. And it really wouldn't have costed a whole lot of money--you could write it off to the PR account! The idea gained steam, until the words "JamMan Upgrade" were raised in a management meeting and were met with howls of laughter. NEXT!
OK, I'm leaking confidential secrets of life at Lex, and I'm sure Kim could regale us all with some charmers from Oberheim/Gibson land, but this is the reality: Looping is a sore subject for these companies, and it won't improve until Alesis comes out with a winner and makes everyone look stupid.
Paul: John----- I read your email with interest ... it is sad that Lex is so short sighted on this score. I would very much like to see an upgrade to this box ... and be able to vary loop lengths after entered using a pedal ... and some other ideas ... it would seem to me as you said that some of the innovations would not be costly and they could reintroduce the thing to the market.
04 Dec 96
Jon Durant: The thing that really pushed me over the edge, however, was when the UK distributor said at an international marketing/bitching meeting (w/distributors from Germany, France, Italy and England): "I can't believe Lexicon doesn't make a delay box any more!" To which I replied, "Andrew, we make two. And the reason you can't sell JamMan and Vortex is because you don't know what a delay box is." This, of course, got me into big trouble with the President of Lexland, but it also scored me a trip to London in time for Christmas, where I had a lovely time hanging with Warren Cucurullo (a JamMan fanatic). But the point is that there's only a handful of people who have a clue about this stuff. If we'd named JamMan the PCM-43, and Vortex the PCM-44 people might have got it: logical extensions of the PCM 41 and 42. But, we opted for cute and got burned.
Sorry for spewing more dirt, but the people need to know...
Fri, 3 Jan 1997
Ed Drake: Hello, I have heard from 2 different people I know that Lexicon is no longer manufacturing the JamMan. Has anyone else heard this too ? The 2 people heard it from retailers, one was told Lexicon was coming out with something new at NAMM, which I kind of doubt. John Durant have you heard anything about this from anyone at Lexicon or is this another case of retailer's ignorance and misinformation ?
John Ott: I heard this too from a guitar salesman at Washington Music Center. He was out, as was Vennemans (Rockville Md). I had to go to the web to get mine. (Musicians Friend, BPM had them listed at a lower price but they too were out). Have not heard anything about a replacement. (Perhaps they'll expand the Vortex's delay capabilities? Just guessing)
Greg Hogan,Lexicon Customer Service: Yes, it is true that we are no longer making the JAMMAN. There may be limited availability at some stores. We do not currently have any plans to release another dedicated looper. Please let me know if you have any questions or if there is anything that I can do for you.
Dave Trenkel: Is this really the wisest move on the part of Lexicon? I've had 4 friends in my area, not exactly a hotbed of musical activity, pick up JamBoys or Echoplexi in the last 6 months. I also see a lot more interest on the net and in the press for looping devices, and not just on this list. And I see a lot more musicians using them onstage in the last year. Maybe loopers are devices that needed some time for the public to really get interested in them, and that's starting to happen now. Is there any possibility on Lexicon re-thinking this decision?
Greg Hogan: It seems to me that interest in JAMMAN has peaked only after we stopped shipping them and the big instrument suppliers offered them at heavily discount prices. JAMMAN would probably require a new design to be re released as some of the parts that were available at the time that the JAMMAN was designed are no longer available in quantities sufficient for manufacturing. I would say that it is not very likely that we will come out with another dedicated looping device in the near future. JAMMAN was very successful in the emotional response that we got from most people who purchased it, however the volume of product that was actually sold was not sufficient enough as to elicit a very warm feeling from the people who make the decisions about what we make and what we do not make.
Jon Durant: What I know is this: when the JamMen are gone from the warehouse, (when I left there were still a good many tying up inventory dollars...) they'll be gone for good. Unless something dramatic has happened to change things, but I doubt it.
As for new products at NAMM, I'm aware of the MPX-1 but don't believe it has much in the way of looping capabilities. There are other products in the MPX-category in development, but I know that "Loop" is a four letter word round those parts. And, since I wasn't on the beta team for the MPX-1 as promised, I doubt I'll be getting any inside info any time soon.
Sun, 5 Jan 1997
Kim Flint: Modern corporate capitalism at work. If a product's sales are not increasing and showing healthy profits this quarter, the stockholders get a bit irritated, and the execs ax the product to make way for something capable of generating a profit by next thursday.
Works great for the computer industry, totally wrong for musical instruments.
Gibson gave me a great perspective on this. While I was working there, Gibson celebrated its 100 year anniversary. That company was creating legendary products long before companies like Lexicon even existed, or for that matter, before their founders were even born. At Gibson, it was always understood that some things just take time to develop. And at that company, there were plenty of examples that waiting can pay off big. Less than 2000 Les Pauls were sold in the first year of production. Now, decades later,they sell far more than that each month. What if companies like Gibson and Fender had bailed on electric guitars after the first few years when market acceptance was slow?
Musical instruments are a different thing than modems and toothpaste, marketing-wise. They're slow to catch on, but once they do they hang around for a long time. You know its gonna happen when you see that "emotional response" from the first adventurous souls who try it out. Those are theones who go off and make passionate music that gets the rest of the world interested. It can take a while, and the bean counters usually fail to getthe process.
Don't worry, though. There are plenty in the business who understand this. If Lexicon is giving up, its only a matter of time before someone else sees the opportunity and jumps on it. We just have to show them why they should!
Dr M. P. Hughes: I thought they dropped the Les Paul after 8 years because of low sales, hence the SG model?
Kim Flint: They dropped the Les Paul and put out new guitars that were supposed to be improvements. They were still essentially the same thing, just redesigned to hopefully appeal better to the more "modern" tastes. (The SG had the nice addition of another cutaway and a body design that weighed less than a typical house.) It would be like if Lex were killing the Jamman to make way for the JamSon (with stereo loops!) or something.
Fri, 31 Jan 1997
Dr M. P. Hughes: I'm not sure that's necessarily fair. Just because a market is small, doesn't mean it has to die. Out of interest, how many JamMen were sold compared to hour high-end reverbs? The market for those must be tiny (What do you think, dear - change the car or buy a Lex 300?).
Greg: We have sold around 8000 JAMMEN as opposed to maybe 5000 each of the M300 and M480L. Low end products require a lower margin(earned dollars) then higher end products thus a higher volume is required for a product to be deemed successful. This may not be fair but it is reality.
Jon Durant: OK, but try to remember that the Lex 300 also generates quite a bit more profit than does a JamMan--especially when they have to be blown out to sell at all. You have to sell a whole lot more Jampersons to make up what what you make on a single 300. Not to mention how much more advertising you have to do. Let's face it, you're market for the 300 is well defined: big studios who charge big dollars for their time. OK, we know who they are, they know who we are. Easy. Jamperson possible target audience? Uh, everyone who plays any instrument. How do you reach them? How do you reach the sax players to tell them that Michael Brecker uses a JamMan? How do you reach all the guitarists/bassists/percussionists/vocalists/violinists/DJs/ blahblahblah. The point is it costs an incredible sum of money to properly market a product like the Jamman--just to get to the limited number of peoples in each of these disparate groups. It really isn't a profitable idea, unless the product costs a whole lot more. But, as we found out, the product didn't sell until the price was dropped to the zero profit point.
So does this mean that the market has to vanish? I don't think so, but I think that there has to be some very realistic thinking involved. The looping device cannot be the bread-and-butter piece of a companies product line. But it can be a valuable addition, so long as the company doesn't get uptight about slow sales on one product. (of course, if there is such a company out there, I don't belive that they are in the MI biz...)
I still maintain that the easy answer is a looping card for the PCM 80. All the tools are in place, and it would be a really great product, albeit an expensive one. But no one wanted to hear it, so...
Dr M. P. Hughes: Sure. However, I think (I really honestly hope I'm not stepping of your toes, or Greg's, on this one) that Lex gave the impression of really not knowing how to approach the low end of the market. The "32 secundos" ad with zany graphics seemed so full of hype that it looked as if there was something to hide. Though I know their name distains thee, Digitech have been selling low-end proto-loopers for not much more than the JM clearout price and making enough profit to keep them in the line for years. And Digitech know how to sell a $500 box as though it's top-of-the-line, as do Alesis (who have a reputation for quality sound, at least amongst us great unwashed types). FE, perhaps if the Vortex and Reflex had been bundled together it would have competed (at the same price point) with the Midiverb (which costs the same as either). The Lex unit would have been better, but on paper the specs would be about the same. OK, the Lex would probably have much higher SNR and bandwidth, but if it's going into a pair of Celestion Vintage 30s who cares? (rant mode off)
Dr M. P. Hughes: There was NO advertising in the UK for ths "baby" Lexes. It got a tiny mention as a competition giveaway in The Guitar Magazine (not that I'm complaining - I won it :) ) and that was it - certainly no ads. I only ever heard about them - esp. the Vortex - from GP imports (which don't sell well over here, on account of not raving enough about Oasis/Paul Weller/Blur etc). The entry for the Vortex was wrong in the GP buyers guide (for 2 YEARS running), which can't have helped.
Jon: The point is it costs an incredible sum of money to properly market a product like the Jamman--just to get to the limited number of peoples in each of these disparate groups. It really isn't a profitable idea, unless the product costs a whole lot more. But, as we found out, the product didn't sell until the price was dropped to the zero profit point.
Dr M. P. Hughes: If the PDS8000 could do it.... (sorry) I think that a looper will come. I think it will be part of a processor, will retail for $700 and be made by Zoom. After all, there's a genuine 4-sec looper in the 8080....
Jon: I still maintain that the easy answer is a looping card for the PCM 80. All the tools are in place, and it would be a really great product, albeit an expensive one. But no one wanted to hear it, so...
Dr M. P. Hughes: I never thought I'd _ever_ actually say this, but it would be cheaper to buy a TC2290.....
Greg Hogan: If you people want to see all of the manufacturers run and create loopers I will tell you what it will take: Not the esoteric kinds of things that we all love to create and listen to because we know what is good, but something that the great unwashed masses can enjoy as well.
Jon: Michael has some interesting perspectives on Lex's ad campaign for the JamMan, and I think I can answer some of his ranting:
Dr M. P. Hughes: Sure. However, I think (I really honestly hope I'm not stepping of your toes, or Greg's, on this one) that Lex gave the impression of really not knowing how to approach the low end of the market. The "32 secundos" ad with zany graphics seemed so full of hype that it looked as if there was something to hide.
Jon: Interestingly enough, that ad campaign was by far the most sucessful campaign the company ever ran in terms of response. We received more phone calls and reader response cards for them than any other two lex ads combined. What's more, one of the magazines opened up their reader response numbers to me (this debate raged around lexland for some time) and the Lex ads were getting 50% more responses than any other processors during the same time period. Now this didn't translate into sales, obviously, but it does tell me that they did get people interested. Which is one of the key elements in any ad campaign for any product.
Dr M. P. Hughes: But it wasn't. It could have been pushed as the replacement EH 16sec delay. Robert Fripp should have been photographed with it as soon as it came out, rather than waiting years till Obie produced a similar product. The one thing that seems to win lower market share is major artist support, something that wasn't even attempted until very late in the campaign (and then, with the exception of DT, hardly major artists. Yes, mark Isham is huge, but does Joe Average Guitarist care? The names were, I suspect, too highbrow - again, with the exception of the widely-known DT). Where were Chet Atkins or Warren Cuccurelo, both of whom went as far as to name album tracks after the machine???
Jon: Actually, Warren *was* in the ad. As for the others, Michael Manring isn't big? He only won "bassist of the year" in Bass plyer magaine that year, and graced the cover of the mag twice in the same calendar year. Isham represents composers and horn players, and Leni Stern is one of only a handful of female guitarists to receive any recognition--and if you look at the Guitar Player 30th anniversary issue, there she is among the "30 players who mattered" offering a looping lesson. Remember, this box is for a wider audience than just guitar players. And also remember--all of these people really *do* use the device. Was the ad too little, too late? Yes, of course, but to me it's amazing that it happened at all!
Dr M. P. Hughes: The JM and Vortex were tools for the "serious" user, part of larger systems but given "beginner" prices. So they assumed they _were_ beginner boxes, and continued to lust after 2290s etc.
Jon: So, if Lex put a $1500 price tag on 'em they'd have sold? Please! They didn't sell at all until the price dropped to $199.
Dr M. P. Hughes writes: That's the politest way I've heard for saying "he talks a load of tripe" :)
Jon: I'm nothing, if not polite! Seriously, this is by no means the first time your arguments have been raised. I just think it's well worth pointing out some of the things that you don't know so that you can be more informed about the full scope of this debate.
Dr M. P. Hughes: Yes, but bearing in mind that the average joe does tend to act like a sheep rather than learn by example, you need to get people who are in said musician's CD collections, and Leni Stern quite honestly isn't. I'm probably at a disadvantage here because I'm in the UK and probably aren't exposed to people like Manring, of whom I'd never heard before the ad. But in terms of artist association Peavey's new J. ad for the Tubefex will probably do far more for sales. Hell, that ad could've been for the Vortex.
Jon: Sorry you're not familiar with Manring. He's a real monster, and a heck of a nice guy as well. As for Ms. Stern, besides the "female" aspect of including her in the ad, there's this tiny market here in the states called New York, wherin Leni is indeed something of a musician's musician.On any given Sunday night you can run into a host of NY who's whos haning around the 55 dive. While the general public isn't so familiar with her, it's astounding how many of the players are hip to what she's doing. Just as an example, the entire current line-up of the Brecker Brothers band is comprised of her former band mates. And they're all using the JamMan. Ask Michael Brecker how many people in NY are following her, and he'll tell you that everyone who's playing owes something to her. There are a bunch of high profile session players who are always asking her what to buy. I know, 'cause they all called me. I know, it's just New York, but if you gotta start somewhere...
>> Remember, this box is for a wider audience than just guitar players.
>But guitar players really don't care. Well, most don't.
Jon: I dunno. If this list is any indicator, it seems like the creative types who are likely to use such a product really do care about other artists besides guitarists. Besides, the ad wasn't only placed in Guitar Player. Guitarists are the largest potential market, but not the only one.
>Then why did no-one buy it? Was it under-specced, or what?
Jon: This is, of course, the crux of the biscuit. The answer is (IMO) that the market for such a product isn't that big to begin with. It will grow over time, but for right now I just don't see big moneys to be made in a looping-only device. In a well-thought-out multi effector? Yeah, absolutely.
Kim: Sounds like poor sales forcasting, for one thing. But more importantly, why did you make them all at once? Just about the whole manufacturing world uses just-in-time manufacturing processes. It worked for Toyota and the rest of Japan, it worked for GM, it works for the whole computer industry, it even works for lowly little Oberheim. Did you guys miss that seminar series or what?
Jon: You don't ever want to sit in meetings with the brass at Lexland, Kim! It's a scary sight.
Sat, 25 Jan 1997
Matthias Grob: I really appreciate your extended answers and kind posts, Greg! For products that are out of production, or rather an abandoned product line, I find Lexicons position remarkable, or do you do it out of a personal interest?
James Reynolds: yeah, i agree... if this is lexicon policy, lexicon customer support rocks... if it's just the kindness of greg's heart, then greg rocks... whichever: thanks, greg.
Mon, 27 Jan 1997
Greg: Thanks for the kind comments, Matthias. I take great pride in Lexicons products and our history. You will notice that all of my postings are during business hours Eastern Standard Time. Our official policy is that products are supported for at least five years after they were last shipped from our factory. We will always try to be as helpful as possible to anyone who owns any of our products as it's only common sense that if you satisfy your past customers they will remain to be future customers. I try to respond in as timely manner as possible and I find it personally embarrassing that people are actually surprised when a phone call is returned.
Matthias Grob: This is like "old fashioned quality" if I dare say so. Ethics do not seem to be in fashion. I hope this policy of LEXICON will be proven to be correct!
I am a great Lexicon fan anyway. I went through PCM42, PCM70, LXP15 and ended with PCM80 and PCM90 now. And there never was any problem! The sad thing was that my proposual for a looper back in '88 was not accepted...
Sun, 26 Jan 97
Bret Moreland: I too want to thank Greg. Last week I contacted him via Email to get a manual for my Jamman. I received it yesterday! How refreshing it is to get such prompt response.
I could contrast this with my 3 months of communications with another looper vendor that promised to send me some parts/documents, but I won't :-)
27 Jan 97
Jon Durant: Hi gang, Just getting back from Europe and finding a huge number of postings in the last week and change. Mostly very cool goings on. But I'd like to specifically comment on Mr. Hogan. He is one of the great natural resources available to Lexicon. He is knowledgeable, thorough, and a complete professional. I suspectthat his additions to this list are his own doings, and not as a result of "policy" at Lexicon. After all (at least last I heard) Lexicon doesn't have a policy regarding the internet. Or, more pointedly, has a policy of denial that it is a useful and practical tool. On a personal note: Hi Greg. Hope yer well. Maybe someday I'll get out to the new office...
Paul Poplawski: Do you expect Lex to support the Jamman that way now ... will you still be carrying the pedals for awhile?
Greg: The answer is Yes.*
Wed, 30 Oct 96
andre cholmondeley: BTW I saw Frisell with Vernon Reid do a duet with guitars, and lotsa gear in Dec 95 at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) It was great - check out their 1985 album on RYKO... but the point was - Frisell did use the jam man on stage that night - i've seen him maybe 30 times in the last 4-5 years
Date: 18 Dec 96
Matthias writes: I guess thats what I meant when I felt we had to go "beyond Fripp" in looping - get out of "delaying". Beyond maybe is rather understood as "farther in the same direction", while I meant musical broadening. Is that what you meant, too, Jon?
Jon Durant: Certainly, I was referring to musical broadening with regards to Fripp. I think that there's so much more that can be done with delays/loopage than he's put forth. Witness how far Torn has taken things, for example. I'm not sure what you mean by "getting out of delaying". The delay (altered or not; JamMan/Echoplex, Vortex, PCM 42, Midiverb, computer software, whatever) is the primary instrument for all of us loopists, though other pieces are also utilized.
Michaels adds: The album contains a lot of structured, non-improvised loops - is this what we need "beyond Fripp"? Structure, rather than improv?
Not necessarily. Improvisation (at it's best) is where the real spirit of the musician comes through. On the other hand, some structure can be very useful, if for nothing else than to point in a direction. Personally, I find it most interesting when both structure and improv are utilized to create a single magnificent entity.
Clarification (I hope): I think what I was trying to say is that I see a whole range a possibilities within "looping" that are not touched upon in Fripp's work: Dynamics (mentioned earlier); rhythmic possibilities; letting go on top of the loopage (I really love Fripp's solos, and would greatly enjoy hearing him rip on top of some of his soundscapes); use of various sound sources (different guitar tones-fuzzed or not or synthed or slide or ebow or scraped strings or whatever; adding vox; adding odd noises; etc); harmonic movement, etc. So many options not yet taken within his work. Also a small point: when I speak of Loopage, I'm talking also about delays which do not "loop", but do receiculate as a part of the music. From what I've heard, many of the soundscape pieces aren't loops but many different long delay patterns.
Anyone who has heard "What Means Solid, Traveller?" by David Torn should have a sense of how far looping can be taken. After all,the whole record is essentially a series of loops. Some were PCM 42, some were JamMan, and some were computer-derived. But none of it sounds stale. This album is very abrasive (intentionally), but is a masterwork in the field of looping. And there are more examples: Check out Robby Aceto's "Code" for some more pop-oriented looping ideas (Robby is an occasional contributor to this group); Andre (The Man Himself) sent me a tape that has some very interesting work, very strong ideas--The Guitar Player write-up was well deserved. Also, coming in the spring, I'll have a new CD which was entirely created on the JamMan. (Though not all the parts are now played on the Jam-beast, but that's how they started). All of these recordings speak to several of the issues I've raised. (And I'm sure there are more, but I've rambled enough already...)
BTW--This is in no way intended to dis Mr. Fripp. I have the highest regard for his work throughout the years, and he's one of only a handful of musicians who have stuck to their guns in the face of commercial pressure and continued to make interesting and provocative music. It's just that I think he could do more in the looping arena. And I sincerely hope that he will.
Kim: Anyway, I'm glad to see others showing up here who come to looping from other spaces. I think a little cross-pollination will do us all a lot of good. I think I'll also take this moment to out a list lurker who came to our very small looper convention at NAMM. Pat Kirtley is a Taylor clinician and the 1995 figerstyle champion, not to mention an avid looper. He was telling me all about Les Paul's early contributions to delay devices and Chet Atkins current forays into looping. I'd love to hear more, and I'm looking forward to his promised articles for the Looper's Delight web site. I think he can give us some great perspective on how looping is taking a place in bluegrass and acoustic music. Feel free to de-lurk any time Pat!
Greg: One of Chet Atkins current records is titled "Almost Alone" in which he has a track titled "JAMMAN" which was written with and played on a Lexicon JAMMAN. Mr. Atkins actually called me and asked permission to use the title. I did not have that heart to tell him that he did not need our permission and told him that we would be honored!
Tue, 28 Jan 1997
My name is Pat Kirtley. I stumbled onto the LooperÌs Delight web site quite by accident, while I was researching information for an article I was writing about the history and development of echo delay devices. I guess it was fate that I would finally land there and meet you guys. I had the pleasure of meeting Kim F. and Ted Killian at the NAMM show a few weeks ago and discussing electronic audio ideas over lunch.
My hat is off to Kim Flint for having the spark and vision to put up the web page. If not for LooperÌs Delight, I would never have realized the existence of this small but global community of like-minded musical thinkers and tinkerers. In reading through the material at LooperÌs Delight, I was struck with a surprising realization-- I am a looper too, and I have been one since childhood.
So, by way of introduction, I will relate the things about myself that will be relevant to the topics discussed here. In my current life, I am a musician. My primary instrument is acoustic guitar. I live in Kentucky. I am the 1995 National Fingerstyle Guitar champion, and I travel internationally doing in-store clinics and demonstrations for Taylor Guitars, and I do concerts. I also have a recording career, with several albums, and I worked for 12 years as a recording studio engineer. Currently, I am busy with touring, producing videos, and recording projects. Occasionally I write articles for some of the guitar mags. Throughout my life I have been fascinated by audio gizmos, gadgets, and concepts, but I am most fascinated by music itself. None of my released recordings feature anything like looping, but the first thing that I ever recorded (and saved a copy of), in 1966, was a set of compositions based on interactions with a tape delay.
My main interest in looping at the present is entirely from a creative and philosophical (?!) viewpoint. I donÌt know if I am inclined at all to use looping techniques to create "a musical product", but I might someday. Right now itÌs just fun to play with, and rewards me with many useful musical ideas. I am fascinated with the idea of recursiveness in general, as expounded in the books by Douglas Hofstadter, including "Godel, Escher, and Bach", which I believe should be on the reading shelf of every (philosophical)looper. And I believe that "chaos" is the future of the universe. :)
My musical heroes and influences are a varied bunch, and somewhat different than a lot of the folks in the looper community. --Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed, Les Paul, Doc Watson, Bach, John Cage, Harry Partch, Wendy Carlos, Jimi Hendrix, Bernard Herrmann, Dave Brubeck, Frank Zappa, Varese, David Crosby, Dvorak, Wes Montgomery, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Dmitri Shastokovitch, Stravinsky, Keith Jarrett-- and others, but IÌll stop there.
Of the contemporary guitar-based jazz and experimental loop music makers, I must confess that I have heard nothing whatsoever of their music. So I probably represent some of the other-direction cross-pollination Kim talked about hoping to see among the loopers. IÌve never heard any of the music of Robert Fripp, but I have read some of his writings, and he has some important things to say to musicians. In terms of where my musical parameters lie, suffice to say that I find joy in a great melody, and also I find music in noise.
My ever-changing gizmo setup includes a Godin Multiac synth-driver guitar, Roland GR-9, Mackie mixer, Lexicon Jamman, Lexicon Vortex, Alesis and Lexicon reverbs, computer based audio editor, various digital recorders, and REAL tape recorders, which I will never give up. I have gone through many generations of synthesizers, starting with the Minimoog, Buchla, and Arp 2600, and now I have NONE, save for the little GR9. (Guitar strings are the ultimate tone generator!)
I look forward to submitting some articles to the looperÌs web site when time permits, including a look at some pop-music based looping examples by Chet Atkins, Les Paul, Pierre Bensusan (a monster looper), Andreas Vollenweider, Tim Weissberg, Jon Klemmer, etc., as well as some articles about loop devices and concepts in general.
Bye now, it Ìs good to meet you folks, and carry on loopers! Pat Kirtley
Thu, 19 Dec 1996
Dpcoffin@aol.com David: Hello, loopists...been enjoying your rantings and ravings as i struggle to locate the looper of MY dreams: stereo a MUST, expandable ram, all the other usual tricks ala Vortex, Jamman, Echoplex, AND no more than $1000...(or at least not much more...too bad I can't afford to jump on a pair of Echoplexes right now!). ....to that end, I called Bob Sellon, the guy who did Torn's PCM-42 tweaking (he's at 617-280-0395...not the # in the GP article...and seems to work for Lexicon) Very interesting...I was asking if the Vortex could be expanded delay-time-wise, and it seems not without the addition of another chip, for which no provision was designed in. BUT, he claimed, 1: that he may be coming out with some Jamman tweaks, and 2: that the just-out MPX from Lexicon Does have space for extra memory/chips, thanks to his insisting on it at the design stage, but no existing plans to actually use the space or expand its sampling/looping capabilities...his advice? Call Lexicon and ask for extra features.
Sun, 22 Dec 1996
Matthew F. McCabe: Just wondering if Bob mentioned what kind of Jamman tweaks?????
Fri, 3 Jan 1997
Ed Drake: I just called and spoke with Bob for several minutes about some of this stuff and he said a couple of things:
1. Lexicon is no longer manufacturing the JamMan and after current stock is sold, there are no plans to make any more
2 . He is currently working on some JamMan mods. Lexicon is interested in licensing the software to Bob and another fellow to make some upgrades which include hearing multiple loops simultaneously, more odd time signature MIDI clock support,and some other tweaks which I can't recall now. The other proposed mod would be hardware including more memory for longer delay times and yes --STEREO INS AND OUTS.
3. He said he did plan to write some looping software for the new MPX when he has time ( it will probably be a while ). He said the MPX would be great for looping because it has chorusing, reverb, etc. which could be used in conjunction with the loops.
4. I told him about our list and he said for anyone interested in these JamMan tweaks to email him at <email@example.com> so he can see how much interest and support is there for these mods and also to keep us posted on their progress
Mon, 3 Feb 1997
Ed said: I have not heard from Bob since so I don't know anything new, but if you haven't emailed him yet please do so. I also gave Bob our email address and told him to post directly to the list if there is any news.
Matt: Right after you originally posted this message I fired off an email to Bob. Haven't heard anything. I suspect he's a busy man. Maybe we should pool a list of questions and send them in one email so as not to overwhelm the man. Just a thought....
Ed: When I talked to Bob for 5 minutes or so that day, I got the impression he was very busy. He said it was funny that I had called about the Upgrade because he had just fired off a new eprom to try out for the upgrade the night before. One other thing he said that I had forgotten in my original post, was about the stereo loops and how you could pan them too! I got the impression this whole upgrade thing might still be a little while, because licensing the software from Lex had to be worked out. If you do email him, ask him what time frame for the upgrade and what new things are being implemented.