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Re: LOOPING PHILOSOPHY/Methods & Madness

The first part of this discussion between Andre & Kim (primarily) I'd like 
comment on has to do with Kim's assertion that 'a sample and a musician
reproducing something' are roughly the same for all intents and purposes,
especially if the audience is not sophisticated enough to know the
difference.  Andre replied (rightly so IMHO) that it should not necessarily
be the audience that moves the performer in this case, but rather the call 
one's art or craft (more or less - obviously, I'm paraphrasing). 

 However, I'd like to add that maybe the challenge here should be to expand
your notion of 'audience'.  Personally, I think it's an artistic cop-out of
the highest order to present something you know is not the best you can do
because you assume the audience just ain't sophisticated enough to know the
difference, especially because it may not be true.  I've done jazz gigs at
dives where there were only a dozen people in the audience and one just
happened to be Horace Silver or McCoy Tyner.  They were certainly going to 
aware of everything that was going on onstage.  I did a gig somewhat 
where the sax player leading the band was unaware Herbie Hancock was 
at the bar and sort of passed it off like it was 'just another gig' until I
told him right after Herbie left, at which point he felt pretty embarrassed
for not giving it his all.  The fact of the matter is, I don't see what's 
lose in assuming the best from an audience because unless you get a chance 
interview and test everyone you don't really know what they're capable of
getting or not.  Let's assume every time you perform in public SOMEONE, 
if one person, has pretty intimate knowledge of what you're trying to
achieve.  The performance then becomes an opportunity to rise to the
challenge of creating the absolute best you can at the moment, to push
yourself to be  committed totally to presenting what it is you do with
greater clarity because you are confident it's being received with clarity.
 OK, for the sake of argument let's say the reverse is true - absolutely no
one is really informed enough to get the details of what you're doing.  
is to gain by making this leap of logic?  What do you have to lose by 
yourself otherwise and giving it your all just the same?  You are the only
one who loses - you've chosen to back down from the challenge because 
chosen to underestimate the intelligence of your audience.

In many ways, I believe (naively perhaps) that ultimately we get the
audiences we insist on.  This is why it's important to sweat the details 
give it your all instead of making dubious assumptions about what the
audience can and can't perceive.

Along those lines, the debate about whether a sample is as 'human' a 
idea as a phrase played in real time.  I think it's a matter of intention. 
find myself in a funny position here, having passionately defended the use 
samples on Miles Davis' late 80's records on the Miles e-mailing list a 
back, but I think I can see where a line can be drawn.  Miles and Marcus
Miller used those to spice up the stew, so to speak, to add some unusual
sonic coloring here and there.  So does MeShell Ndegeocello, who I adore.  
both cases, the samples are not playing the part of ersatz musical 
since the songs stand quite well without them.  Same for Torn's "What Means
Solid".  In contrast, there was a song on alternative Top-radio about a 
ago getting a lot of airplay (sorry, the artist escapes me) where the
signature hook was a line sampled from something originally sung by BB 
 Now, I consider it one of the primary jobs of pop songwriters to come up
with good hooks, but when the one you're counting on is a sample 
from another source, it just sounds to me like someone's being really lazy.
 Sure, maybe you get a lot of airplay one day and maybe a good deal of 
but ultimately you know you've taken the easy way out rather than insisting
on rising up to the challenge of creating something yourself, and you are 
one who will be most hurt creatively by that.  Or take MC Hammer - in dance
music, groove is everything and he lifted grooves hook, line and sinker 
James and Prince, etc.  Dare I suggest that there might be a correlation
between the longevity of MC Hammer's career as an artist and the amount of
creativity he applied to the samples he used?

As in the first issue, no laws are broken, no rules violated, everyone is 
course free to do whatever the hell they want.  But, it's a matter of every
artist's conscience to be honest with themselves as to if they are indeed
imposing the toughest challenges on themselves or taking the easy way out.
 It's not important if anyone else knows.  It's important that YOU know.

As to the 'tyranny of ambient music' or the prospect of 'electronica' 
over, I have to admit to unmoved by the former and skeptical of the latter.
 I've never liked the idea of ambient music, be it knives and forks 
along with Satie, music for Brian Eno to ignore while he sits in airports,
New Age or Musak playing in the grocery store, what have you.  To me it's 
essentially trying to achieve the same thing - acknowledging that pure
silence doesn't exist as we're surrounded by sounds all the time, it 
on being the context in which you hear everything else around you, which 
of strikes me as irritatingly passive-aggressive.  What admittedly little
I've heard of the 'electronica' movement strikes me as entirely 
instead of visceral.   I have yet to hear an electronic dance track that
moves me anything close to the way MeShell does, but I remain open-minded 
will continue to try to check out some names I see cropping up.  But, they
certainly have a role in looping and I would welcome some more 
of that on the list, as Kim says, to keep things controversial and 

I add this last paragraph not to put down anyone else's tastes or choices,
but just to maybe illustrate another range of perspective which is all of
course my highly irrational and subjective opinion.

Jeez, Burroughs and Fela leave us within a few days.  I fear their kind is
not being made much anymore...

Ken R