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Some observations about Y2KX

Hi everyone!

Y2KX was my 4th festival in Santa Cruz and I noticed a few things and  
wonder if they indicate a trend in Live Looping.

1) Few (if any) equipment glitches.

In the past, equipment glitches occurred with enough regularity that  
one considered glitches to be part of the looping game.  This year,  
the only noticeable glitch was when Bob utilized his prototype LP2 --  
and, after all -- it was a prototype still in development.

2) Equipment setups tended to be smaller.

Compared to past years, people used less equipment on stage.  This may  
be attributed to the difficulty to travel with equipment and perhaps a  
a trend to keep things simple to minimize setup time and to minimize  
the risk of glitches.

3) Looping tended to be simple, most of the time.

While some people manipulated loops (i.e., reverse, stretch, etc) most  
of the loops ranged from 2 to 12 bars with an emphasis on overlaying  

Either that or the loop mangling was so subtle and/or integrated into  
the performance that one didn't immediately notice it.

Again, this reflects an approach that avoids too much complexity.

4) Tunings tended to be 12-TET or unpitched

That is, sets utilized unpitched sounds or tended towards traditional  
tuning.  My set, too, was 12-TET except for intonation issues that are  
inherent with the theremin. ;)

Keyboards and fretted instruments are biased towards 12-TET.  I guess  
I noticed this because, lately, I've been experimenting with  
alternative temperaments such as 14-TET.  The problem is, that I do  
this work on my modular synth which won't fit on an airplane!  Would  
be fun to do some synth looping in Santa Cruz and perhaps, down the  
road, I'll build a portable system that I can bring with me.

5) The visuals!

... were awesome and really added a lot to the festivals.  Also, the  
visuals really complimented the music.  Thanks to the visual artists  
who put this together.

6) Lots of laptops

I didn't keep count, but it seemed the majority of performers utilize  
laptop computers.  The debate between the use of laptop computers and  
equipment that contains imbedded systems continues however may people  
appeared to use both (i.e., external boxes with laptop).

You may be interested to know that I use laptop-based looping with the  
theremin -- mainly for logistical reasons.  One can't easily manage  
pedal pushes AND in-tune playing concurrently on the theremin.

However, with my modular synthesizer, I love the LP1 and my footpedals.


In my own personal work, I tend to swing between simplicity and  
complexity -- trying to achieve some kind of balance.  I think as a  
community, we may do the same thing.  One of the fun things about such  
an event is to look at where we are as individual artists and where we  
are as a movement.

Anyway, these are my observations.  Look forward to hearing others'  
observations and opinions.

-- Kevin