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Gear judgement and expression
I am often suspicious of statements like the one below.
Kim Flint wrote:
<you know, for the longest time now I've had this simple
<when I walk into a show:
<The more expensive a band's gear is, the worse they
<turns out to be true surprisingly often. It's either
the weekend warrior
<thing where they have a good day job, plenty of
disposable income to buy
<toys, and no time to practice, kids with rich parents
and no particular
<dedication to anything, or what we might call the
<The people who are really confident in their music
skills seem quite able to
<get on stage with really simple gear, and they are the
ones that usually end
<up impressing hell out of me. I'll never forget the
time I saw Max Roach
<play with the bare minimum of a drum set, and keep an
auditorium full of
<jazz musicians fully entertained for an hour and a
<That should be your goal, not the impressive list of
<(although I still think you should buy two echoplexes
I don't understand the purpose of such generalised public statements.
Almost everybody, through life experience, has an intuitive
understanding of the stereotypes outlined,
and most on this list have heard the arguments for "gear" vs "purist"
Perhaps it is a pattern, that you are referring too, Kim, that you
My response to your judgement criteria is this:
Anything that produces sonic energy is a musical instrument.
Some are more "complicated" than others.
All have characteristics which are open to interpretation and
Some are more expensive than others, often in proportion with their
Complicated instruments necessarily take longer to master than simple
Anyone who has only a base level of mastery on an instrument is more
likely to sound "worse"
than someone who has a high mastery.
Additionally, what the musician visualizes or wishes to play, how they
and how the audient translates it, all influence sounding "worse" in
relation to something else.
And for there to be a "worse" there has to be something "better".
And it's OK if you're intent, Kim, was nothing more than an exercise in
Because that is entertaining as well.
So, now that I have said nothing, I will say something:
Music toys should not be prejudiced for the reason that someone else
uses them badly.
In, fact, you would think it is the motivation for doing it well.
It is so easy to "just get along" with all musical instruments of all
race, colour, material and delay memory if you just break down the
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING ELSE
Does any other loopers out there feel that the arrival of more
expressive control devices is overdue?
If you think about it, the volume pedal is a very simple thing.
Can't we do better?
Instead of being able to control one parameter with one appendage, we
should be able to achieve a higher resolution.
Like, the flexion of each joint, say?
Or maybe contraction of muscles.
The most promising thing I have seen to date is the Ribbon controllers
and scratch pads, or the Korg wavedrum.
The "mastery" of these complicated electronic toys will be assisted, I
think, through better means of control.
So, let's hear some weird ideas, eh?
Jamie the designer