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Kim --

Your reply to my "ambient" post was so thought provoking that I can't 
help but send out some very extensive replies.  I'm breaking this down 
into multiple posts to avoid excessive duress.  And let me make it clear 
that *none* of this is intended as a flame to you or anyone else; I 
humbly think these are some of the most improtant questions to have 
cropped up on the list in a long time.  

Those intimidated by long posts had best delete now.  Otherwise, brace 

On Sun, 3 Aug 1997, Kim Flint wrote:

> But I think it's wrong to draw some sort of line between one set of loop
> tools and the other. "Big Three" doesn't make sense, because there are 
> than three loopers out there! The feature sets vary, but the basic 
> idea shows up in many places. From simple delay pedals, to dj-loopers, to
> echoplexes and jammans and boomerangs, to older guys like the
> ElectroHarmoix 16 second and digitech timemachine delays, to the vortex, 
> the akai remix16, to pro cd players with settable loop points, to
> eventides, to tc 2290's....it's all over the place. 

I don't remember where the "Big Three" phrase came from (it might even 
have been coined by yours truly), but I use it as a way of referring to 
the Echoplex, JamMan, and Boomerang.  And I absolutely feel that these 
units are in a seperate class than the other units you mentioned above 
(not to say that all of the other units are in the same category, of 
course).  I don't mean to imply some sort of elitist stance with the use 
of the phrase, and I'm certainly not saying that using one of the Big 
Three makes a person any more of an artist than using a different sort of 

But they *are* distinguished by an unprecedented level of what can be 
done to a looped signal.  Take one of the Boss digital delay/loop pedals 
and put it up against a Boomerang -- they're on completely different 
levels of sophistication entirely.  Same thing if you compare, say, an EH 
16-second with an Oberheim Echoplex.  And again, let me reiterate, I'm 
*not* saying that using a Big Three is more musically valid than using a 
less cutting-edge piece of technology.  But to shy away from putting the 
Big Three in a class by themselves is ignoring the basic aspects of their 
nature.  For crying out loud, Kim, you helped invent one of them -- I 
can't believe I'm trying to argue *in favor* of this!  8-/

> One particular set of
> features shouldn't be more pc than another. And really, sharing the ideas
> and applications from different devices and genres can only help us all.

See above -- I really don't think this is an issue of political 
correctness.  What is done with a tool is far more important than what 
the basic tool is.  Let me put it in non-looping terms: If you put a 
Sears guitar up aainst a Klein, you're going to have a hard time 
convincing me that there aren't some serious differenes between the two, 
and that they're in different classes.  But give me a choice between 
listening to C.C. DeVille play a Klein or David Torn play a Sears, and 
I'll take the latter eleven times out of ten.  (No offense to any Poison 
fans out there, of course.)

As I mentioned earlier, I'm sort of looking forward to doing my August
residency at Lumpy Gravy without my Oberheim, since it'll force me to dig
deeper into my Vortex and guitar synth rigs to really see what I can get
out of them (of course, I'm still gonna be highly relieved when the Plex
comes home from Oakland!).  These tools may not be Big Three members, but
if used in a musical manner, with a deep understanding of their
capabilities, there's no reason why they can't make music every bit as
expressive as any other.  I want to reiterate this point, since I really
don't feel that my position on this is indicative of a politically
incorrect stance. 

Stay tunes for Part 2,