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Making loops interesting…

September 15th, 2006 | No Comments | Categories: Musing on Music |

There’s been a long thread over on Looper’s Delight about making loops interesting. A lot of the discussion has been around things to do to your loops, or ways of playing that will make them interesting. All good stuff, but missing something… Here’s my reply to the list of about 5 minutes ago –

“Some interesting stuff coming through on this topic (that which I’ve had the time to read, anyway).

My own way of dealing with this, philosophically is to not think about the looping aspect of it unless I have to, but instead to try and conceive the ‘music’ first in an of itself. Having spent a lot of years playing loop-based music, I already quite naturally hear form in a loop-influenced way, so don’t tend to need to force things. Occasionally I’ll be looking for a different kind of arrangement, and then I go to my tools at hand to see if it’s going to be possible… the ever-growing feature-list of the Looperlative certainly helps in this area.

But I have, for the most part, avoided self-consciously labeled ‘loop music’. There are some people who do much more ‘loop-essential’ music than I that do it incredibly well – Bill Walker, it seems to me, exploits his looping boxes in a more obviously loop based way (especially his ultra-rhythmic synced stuff), but his boundless musicality comes through in a way that makes it sound like the technology was made for him. Likewise Claude Voit – quite obviously loop designed music in the rhythmic/repetitive mode, but not even remotely ‘dull’ or ‘tedious’ – just great music making use of the arrangement possibilities of his chosen hardware.

What’s most notable is that great music is unhindered by tech or lack of. The great musicians are the ones who enslave the technology to their musical ends, but also allow it to liberate their musical sensibilities into otherwise impossible arrangement options, but still hear it and present it as music, where the fundamentals of music, be they melodic, rhythmic, textural, cultural or onomatopoeic, carry through to the audience, and the geekability of the loopage is an added bonus not a necessary diversion from the unsatisfactory listening experience.

just a thought or two… “

It’s all about the music, peoples. Experimenting with looping possibilities makes for a fun (and personally rewarding) science project, but those techniques then need to be forgotten and committed to the subconscious so that the music can flow unimpeded. It’s a constant struggle, especially when one gets new toys, but one that must be resisted.

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