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Report on my looping show

Jon Matis and I played a looping show last Thursday.  We'd persuaded one 
the local clubs to allow us to play in a side lounge area before the 
regular evening's entertainment began.  

The show went off pretty well, despite a few road-bumps along the way.  
The venue had reorganized the room since I'd last seen it, by adding in a 
small, short stage at one end of the L-shaped room.  We'd been expecting 
that we'd be playing on the floor at the other end of the "L", but time 
didn't allow for us to move the furniture out the way.  The stage was too 
small to allow both Jon and I to both be on the stage, so Jon put his 
equipment up there and sat on a stool next to the stage.  I was on the 
stage, but not too happy about it, since a stage seems to frame the event 
in terms of "look up here--this is where the action is", and I was hoping 
for more of a sound-installation sort of vibe, where people were free to 
pay attention or ignore us as need be.  There's not much to look at while 
we play, but the use of a stage implies to many people that they should 
be looking at what's going on on the stage.

We played for about an hour and a half, sort of one long continually 
evolving piece.  I've recently added a drum machine to my setup, and the 
Echoplex is set up to sync to the drum machine.  I'd bring the drum 
machine in and out during the performance, since I don't always want to 
be tied to a steady rhythm, and the patterns that I've programmed at this 
point are short and simple, and I get bored with them after a while.  
People drifted in and out during the performance, and it seemed to be 
well-received.  Another unfortunate result of our placement within the 
room was that the audience were seated quite close to us while we played. 
 That makes me uncomfortable, and several audience members I spoke to 
later said that it was also uncomfortable for them.  At times, it's sort 
of like having someone read over your shoulder.

I was fairly happy with how it all went, but I did feel a pressure to 
keep things happening.  When Jon and I play without an audience, I feel 
much more free to lay out with a very sparse groove, but the pressure of 
having an audience made me less comfortable with space.  

Travis Hartnett