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Re: Why I produce LOOPING FESTIVALS: is looping a valid musicalartform?

I've been confronted on occasion with trying to explain what it means to be
a looper -- particularly around the time I mentioned to people that I was
going to be playing at Loopstock. I haven't had a good answer other than to
say that for me it means having some form of electronic device that repeats
what I've played earlier and using that as a tool for constructing music.
That probably covers a lot of people on this list though not everyone.

Looping as an artform/technique/whatever is free to be as geeky as it wants
to be for an audience of fellow loopers. On the other hand, you could also
say that about something like sweep picking and we don't see a lot of sweep
picking festivals. (Or at least I haven't.)

When we are talking about having festivals as opposed to say conventions we
need to start worrying about how to appeal to people who don't themselves
loop. Is "looping" a useful term in that context?

I think as an advisory to people that they better have a fair amount of
tolerance for repitition, it's useful. Most music, of course, has 
but like listening to Glass and Reich -- who don't really loop in anything
after their early pieces -- attending a looping performance probably
requires having a certain interest in things that will evolve from one 
to the next rather than jumping. Obviously this is not always true, but in 
lot of looping music elements repeat but frequently in an evolved form even
if that evolution is sometimes just fade outs and overdubs. Really
appreciating looping I think requires some interest in how the music comes
together and changes even if one doesn't understand the technology that
makes it possible.

Note that it's also possible to use looping techniques in support of other
genres of music -- e.g., what Bill Frisell does -- but I don't think that's
what I would expect to see at a looping festival. Would I walk out of a
looping festival if someone just used loops as an extra effect? No (unless 
didn't like the music he or she was playing). But I would also not be
looking at the performance as being particularly loop-oriented.

The danger for the members of this group is probably in going too far the
other way. If to appreciate the music, the audience needs to appreciate the
intricacies of your technology ("Oooh. He's doing Fibonacci sniplet 
on the Againinator!"), then you've probably strayed out of making music and
into geeky self-indulgence.

Personally, having gotten the evolving, swirling texture thing down
reasonably well, I've been thinking that perhaps the next challenge ought 
be melody without simply falling into the
make-some-backing-tracks-with-the-looper-and-then-solo mode.


P.S. I felt we should have had some sort of prize for the people who
attended Loopstock who weren't on this list.