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Re: Percussive Loopers

It is interesting,  I have been a trapset drummer for 35 years (this year)
multi-percussionist/ethnic percussionist for almost 25 years and I use a
amount of those techniques in my live looping shows, but I have been
on found objects/invented instruments and a whole host of melodic
instruments in the
last three years.  Because I am well known in my town as a trapset/hand
drumming percussionist (trained in many traditional American, Caribbean,
west African, middle, Balkan, Celtic,Indonesian, Japanese and Indian 
I know that a lot of more conventional musicians that I know think that I'm
crazy to be doing all this looping
stuff.  ("He plays drums so well, what's he doing with all these toys and
weird instruments)
but it has been my 'bliss' so far.

I have an embarrassingly large collection of percussion instruments (and
melodic instruments from all over the world) and more trapset drums than 
can shake a stick at, but I will
mention the specifics of my looping setup:

I have a 'jungle/trip hot' drumset that has entirely miniature drums that I
built myself:
I have a 6",8" and 10" fiberglass snare drums that I custom built (down to
remanufacturing snares--they don't even make 6" inch snare side heads so
they were custom made, drilling hardware for snare strands and using 
hardware for the shallow depths.
These I us on an old Ludwig triple tom holder that I have set flat so that 
can rotate the drum into proper position.   These drums are tuned very
tightly so that when I do long buzz rolls on them (with the Vic Firth
incredibly tapered SD5 Echo sticks which produce the finest orchestral buzz
rolls on the planet) it sounds like I am playing stuttered rhythms on
different key samples of the same drum.......all this is to simulate 
styled 'drum & bass' or 'Jungle' rhythms.

I then have little 10" Zldjian recording hats permanently closed (but

For my bass drums I have experimented and perfected an incredible idea that
I lifted from the unusual and incredible drummer for Mari Boine's band (she
is a Sami shamanic singer with one of the worlds most incredible and
futuristic electro/acoustic bands) who I played on the same stage with at
the Monterey World One festival.  He had a 12" rototom with gaffing tape
all over it on both sides, tuned to almost rippling looseness.  It sounded
like cardboard or paper from two feet away, but right up close it had the
deepest subsonic sound that was very quiet.   Normally,  a big subsonic 
sound has a very long duration but because this drum was literally weighted
down by the gaffing tape, the tape acted like a noise gate. The result was
the dreamiest subsonic bass you've ever heard but a very short envelope so
it didn't overwhelm the low end..........incredible!!!
I took the idea of the Brazilian surdo players and glued thick naughahyde 
both surfaces of both a 12" drum and a 14" drum (both Purecussion pancake
tom toms) and tuned one up quite a bit and one down as low as I can get it:
Voila:  a low trip hop, half speed, TR808 kind of sound and a much higher
double speed jungle sound.  I mic these both with 2 AKG D112s
Y-ed together with Peavey silent on/off switched soldered on the ends so I
can have both on
or either on (or off).

I then finish it off with a whole host of weird cymbals and cymbal

I"m on this kick lately to try and make my acoustic drums sound like
electronic or analogue synthetic drums and have been trying out some very
hip experiments with some great results.
I"ll post some of those ideas if anyone is interested but, suffice it to 
that I've got a very cool and really tiny looping rig.  I put one Shure 
condenser mic over the top
of everything and the D112s on the kicks and I have one drum set stereo 
(though I process them into a Lexicon Jamperson in glorious mono ;-)

I then have two AKG C1000s going through two Art tube preamps into two LINE
6 DL-4s
on two separate pedalboards (painted obnoxiously and easily identifiably
dayglo green
(primary) and dayglo pink (secondary).   One I have the input routed 
a morley
two way switch which sends either straight in or through my old trusty red
non-intelligent pitch shifter (which I love to death if it weren't for how
noisy the damn
rig is).  The other board I have the input routed through the new Boss
Intelligent shifting footpedal (much better fidelity but I can't seem to 
the expression pedal to give me the smooth and theremin like sweeping
capabilities of the ancient Digitech Red Whammy  (question to list: has
Digitech improved on the signal to noise ration of their newest model Red

I"m still not completely satisfied with my floor board rig and want to try
taking the out of one DL-4, routing it through a mono volume pedal into the
second DL-4 to take advantage of looping the wonderful filter sweep and lo
fi, degrading simulations of the DL-4 (question to universe:  Why did Line6
do such an abysmal job of incorporating their delay models into their
looping functions and leaving out midi sync capabilities on their Echo pro
model <shakes head in bewilderment).

All this goes into my Mackie 1402 VLZ mixer with an Electrix Repeater 
I"ve been too bloody sick to even start playing with yet) and a rack with
the Electrix Filter Factory, Warp Factory (wonderful vocoder) and Mo'Fx.

These rack mount devices are not the end all and be all of processing and
have their own
personal drawbacks but I have to say, their rhythmic syncing performance
features make them
ROCK for live shows.  To have square wave tremolos synced to loops synced 
the LFO on the Filter box and then to have the ability to Vocode the whole
kit and caboodle in really time
while I rhythmically can engage and disengage the effects makes live
remixing an incredible joy..............THANKS ELECTRIX!!!!!

Well that's enough for now except to say that I then run fretted and
fretless basses through a LINE 6 bass pod into the second input of the
primary DL-4 and then have a keyboard triggering an EMU TURBO 4000 sampler,
an ALESIS QRS synth module and a recently purchased
EMU Audity rhythm based synthesizer (which I don't even know yet for the
above mentioned reasons).

The last thing I will be incorporating technically will be a newly purchase
Yamaha WX5 wind controller to control the pitch of my Repeater and/or my
other sound modules.

Through all of this, I run a huge potential array (only 5-7 'songs' per gig
of course)
of over 1,000 ethnic percussion instruments form frame drums to ghatams to
udu drums to tabla to dholaks to dumbecs to mrdngms to martha steward brass
waste baskets to liquid glass ghatam (my innovation, thanks to inspiration
by a good friend of mine, Matt Schreiber) to any number of found or 
percussion objects (green plastic, blue glass, brass candy dishes, springs,
tubes, et. al.)

Whew...................that does it.


Rick Walker
(aka Loop.pooL)

if you are interested in any more of my career here is a descriptive
biography and
description of my Loop.pooL live performances:


Please forgive the hyperbole............this is my hard sell advertisement
to try to get Silicon Valley corporations to give me lots of money for
gigs.... I'm not nearly as egotistical as it sounds  <wipes away sweat from
embarrassment and blushes red>