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A Post Loopsatock Debriefing (One Perspective)
Hello Hans, Loopstock veterans and any one else!
My wife and I got home to Oregon safely last evening
after our 10-hour drive up I-5. I just thought I'd take
this opportunity to publicly say "thanks" for all of your
work and effort in making Loopstock the success that
it was. As for me, I definitely enjoyed myself (and so did
Kay, my better half who normally merely "endures" these
kinds of things). My sense is that a good time was had by
all and not even the occasional self-inflicted "technical
difficulty" dampened the good spirits that were shared
generally by all. You really pulled it off. Great job! I bet
you really slept well on Sunday though. :-) Unfortunately
I needed to get up and get ready to drive north immediately
after a quick Denny's breakfast. Zzzzzzzz. I could still
use a few more winks.
My only real regrets stem from not having seen or heard
any of Rick Walker's set (Dr. Bob and I were setting up) and
totally missing Tom Heasley's as well (we were tearing down)
plus having been compelled by a sleepy spouse into leaving
the premises early before YOUR set was entirely over
(I think I heard most of it, however). Sigh! Oh well. As I am
given to understand that there were both audio and video
recordings made of the day's proceedings I still hold out
hope that I may still get to hear/see something of the
portions that I missed. Please keep us posted as to the
availability such recordings. You know my addresses.
Dr. Bob's e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org I've advised him
to subscribe to the list. I also regret not having the
opportunity to say "thanks" (and "good-bye") in person to a
whole lot of folks who were still there when my wife drug
me by the elbow to the truck. Dang! Oh well . . .
Everyone had something different to offer and (I think)
they succeeded on a variety of levels . . . well . . . I'm not
entirely sure of my own set though I know Dr. Bob
played pretty darn well. It may seem pretty presumptuous
of me to do so, but I'm going to try to present my "scan"
of Loopstock to the community at large. As far as I am
able, I'm going to schlogg through set by set as much as
I can (but I missed a bit at the end before, during and
after my own set). I have the time on my hands to do this
because I'm self-employed 24/7 (and that makes me my
own boss). This ain't definitive -- obviously -- other, better
writers can fill-in and expand or even contradict what's here.
So . . . here goes nuthin'.
2:00-2:30 Setup and socialize
Mike, Mark, Max, Bill, Rick, Richard, Manny Moe and Jack . . . ?
It was great to get to meet you guys and finally put names
with some faces. I really hope we can do this again. I have
a notoriously faulty memory. I am constantly having to make
excuses for my Teflon(TM) brain -- nothing sticks. So meeting
repeatedly will definitely help. It'll especially be a little easier
to remember the ones who played. But it was also a gas
to meet several loopsters who simply came as listeners.
So . . . lets do this again okay? Then I (and poor souls
like me) will remember those names even better.
2:40-3:10 Stanitarium (Stan Card)
Being a big fan of the Mermen I couldn't help but appreciate
Stan Card's heavy surf riffing. He played with a lot of energy
and an authority I wish I could muster more consistently
myself. As an extra added surprise Merman guitarist/
frontman Jim Thomas was there as Stan's support crew.
Stan was also one of the few who seemed NOT to suffer
from tech difficulties. Way to hang Stan! He was an excellent
choice to kick off the day's proceedings. Great set! It was
also comforting to see someone who is "older" (like myself)
who could still rock out!
3:20-3:50 Steven Rice
I think Steven was absolutely and without a doubt the very
bravest one of us. Although he did have some technical
difficulties, he built up his loops from absolute scratch
"in front of God and the whole congregation" with a fairly
bare-bones loop set up and similarly spare instrumentation . . .
frame/hand-drums, shakers, flutes, multiple digeridoos. etc.
It took a while for this "building" to take place from a rather
naked sounding start, but once it got there it was quite
fascinating to hear chords played by choirs of digeridoos
over beds of percolating "world" percussion.
4:00-4:30 Mark Hamburg
Mark, I want your guitar! Mark Hamburg is an amazingly
cool and smooth guitarist coaxing multilayered clouds
of ambient(ish) licks from his Klein electric and dexterously
ornamenting them with either fluid arpeggios or occasional
sonic shards. I don't recall what looper(s) he was using,
but he seemed to be using it/them a lot . . . building up
quite a mass of sound. Very creative, sophisticated and
inventive stuff it was too.
4:40-5:10 Sleeping (Mark Sottilaro, Valerie Hilligan & Katrin Schenk)
Ah . . . let the party begin! Another guitarist named Mark
but this one couldn't be more obviously different. Flanked
by Valerie and Katrin on keys and Chapman stick (I don't
remember which was which, ladies, sorry) and armed with
a white mutant Steinberg guitar, loopers, miscellaneous
groove-boxes, filters, delays, other processors (plus reflex
blue hair, natch) Mark and company (AKA, Sleep) kicked out
some lively techno jams. Mark's a distinctive guitarist too
and I was impressed with the sounds he was getting from
his Roland equipped rig. Sleep also should get some sort
of award for "Most Convoluted Cable Array" and for the
fact that Mark seemed to be constantly re-patching things
manually during the proceedings to get ever more perverse
new combinations of FX.
5:20-5:50 Jon Wagner
6:00-6:30 Matthias Grob
I'm gonna talk about these guys together because their
sets overlapped so much. First I wanna say Jon's a
fantastic drummer/percussionist. My skinman, Dr. Bob,
is new to looping and was on the stairs behind the whole
time checking out your every move. Who would have
imagined a few years ago that looping technology could
allow a percussionist to build up such brilliant, complex
and (most importantly) "human" sounding rhythms without
it sounding machine-made. Not I. Wow! I'm really glad Bob
got to check your set out from the vantage point
he did. I'm sure he learned a lot. Jon played for several
minutes and then invited Matthias (and eventually Rick
Walker too) to join him. As for Matthias Grob, who doesn't
know about the inventor of the Paradise Loop Delay . . .
which eventually became the EDP that many of us now know
and love (if we own one) or dream about (if we don't)? I'd
have expected him to be a pretty decent musician but I
never would have expected someone I'd figured to be
some sort of an "electronic engineer" (a nerd perhaps . . .
you can never tell about impressions on the web) to be
such a brilliant and deep musician. Holy cow! And he don't
look like no "nerd" either. I am humbled and ashamed of
the preconceptions I'd had. Matthias is as great of a
guitarist as he is a looper developer/inventor. He plays a
guitar of his own design as well . . . and looks like someone
who has perhaps time-travelled forward and backward from
the San Francisco in '60s on more than one occasion.
Whist my wife was off with some local SLO friends enjoying
the sort of Mexican food we don't get too much of up in
Medford, Oregon I stayed behind and tried to digest the
afternoon's proceedings, meet a few folk and listen in to
"shop talk" between the likes of Kim Flint, Matthias, Richard
Zvonar and others. I met "Larry the O" who writes the
back-page editorial piece in EM magazine and chatted with
a fellow looper, Joe Cavaleri, who went to the same
elementary school as I did (and we were only one year
apart). Imagine that! We watched and occasionally tried to
help Hans make further equipment adjustments and changes
to the venue and wondered what would happen next . . .
7:00-7:30 Rich Atkinson & Cliff Novey
Take two looping guitarists with a bent for "alternative"
crunchy atmospherics, an artful video projection and a
prerecorded backing track of percussion and other loopstuff
which they playfully dubbed "looper karaoke," shake it in a
bag and you may get something of what this was like . . . a
little. From what I understand, it is merely a part of a larger
multimedia presentation that is eventually to include dancers
and (?) more. I really liked these guys. Nice energy, textures
and transitions. They never lingered in any one place too long
(something I know that I'm guilty of) and had an over-all
richness of sound that was very, very, very cool in every
detail. Did I only say "very" 3 times? I meant 333 times.
7:40-8:10 Max Valentino
Max is a bassist who (via loops created on the fly) can sound
like the better half of a whole band, sans drummer . . . and
with a little slapping, spanking and scraping on the strings
he can even cover that base (pun intended) too when required.
Plagued with a few tech difficulties at first, he performed
so beautifully well that it made me forget all about it once
the music was going. I don't know what looper he used and
at least one of his basses looked (and sounded) like it was a
"semi acoustic" fretless (?) of some sort. Very groovalicious
in a jazzy sort of way. I'm looking forward to listening to the
CD he traded me for.
8:20-8:50 Dr. Richard Zvonar
Sitting at a table of equipment with a fluorescent desk lamp . . .
and looking a bit like a character from the movie "Contact"
dialing in alien transmissions from "out there" somewhere.
Richard Z. processed a variety of material from a number
of prerecorded CDs through at least 3 Eventides (and who
knows what else). Starting with electronic sounding static-like
noises and proceeding through snippets of recorded narrative
that sounded much like self-help recordings or those "paid
advertisement" shows on TV . . . then on through the "Simpsons"
theme music and other cultural ephemera, he reveals the "aliens"
he's tuning into . . . eventually . . . to be we (us?) ourselves.
I eat this stuff up, but my wife generally hates it. But here, for
the first time ever at a performance of "electronic new music"
I saw her sit with smiling and absolutely rapt attention. Need I
say more. Dr. Zvonar sliced and diced and scrambled all of these
sounds on the fly using only knobs, buttons and the fastest s
et of fingers since I last saw John McLaughlin. Bravo! Got a CD?
9:00-9:30 Rick Walker's Loop.pooL
I missed this. Damn! My wife said it was great. It reminded
her of Laurie Anderson a little somehow (don't ask me why).
Rick you gotta send me a CD! I heard snatches of your set
from time to time as I was setting up on the other end
of the room but my concentration was really elsewhere.
9:40-10:10 Ted Killian w/ Dr. Bob Sterling
This may sound a little hard to believe but I honestly have
NO IDEA of how well (or ill) I played. I know Bob acquitted
himself well and he says he enjoyed it terrifically. Many
of you also said some very nice things too. But I was in
"autonomic" mode and playing much like the way that a
cockroach runs (they say that you can remove a roach's
head and it will still run all over the place). As for apologetics,
since so many other performers were featuring various other
flavors of mostly softer (if not to say "ambient") things
-- and doing it so darned well at it -- I figured I'd better
produce some "contrast" or nobody will ever remember me.
We had some tech difficulties that made for a lousy start . . .
and some significant ongoing other I was to discover mid-play
(a critical nonfunctioning EV-5 and a miss-stepped EDP switch)
as things proceeded that hopefully nobody but me ever noticed.
Oh well. My wife says I looked for all of the world like Captain
Kangaroo playing acid rock. Jeeeze. What an image!
10:20-10:50 Tom Heasley
Double damn! I missed this one too. Somebody send me a CD/DVD!
Damn! Damn! Damn! Damn! Even my curses are looping.
11:00-11:30 Bill Walker
Bill and Rick are both very creative guys (from direct evidence
and by all accounts) and it's pretty obviously got something to do
with genetics (since they are brothers). Man! Bill got some really
blissful tones from a variety of axes, baritone and regular Strats
(many apologies for the guitarspeak here) and looped and processed
the bejeezus out of them. Can I be YOU when I grow up? Well, maybe
if I were (at least) 30 years younger and could start all over . . .
and had a modicum of talent. I am really impressed and inspired
by what you did with the slide on lap-steel too. Perhaps I'll
re-approach my own folkie roots (I was once a Leo Kottke/Ry
Cooder imitator of sorts . . . mostly inferior sorts though).
Anywho, your set was great! Put out a CD and I'll be one of
the first to buy one.
11:40-12:10 armatronix (Hans Lindauer & Daniel Seymour)
I don't remember seeing the Mayflower moving van outside at any
time during the day but that's what it must have taken these guys
to get their rig to the gig . . . that or a semi with a goose-neck trailer.
And, what's even more amazing, these 2 guys (yes just 2) used it all!.
Very hip techno "party music" to give closure to a wonderful day.
Not only do I wish I'd been able to stick around for every last minute
of you set I would have liked to have had a day or two to pick your
brains about how you used all o' that stuff too (and to identify the
half of it I couldn't quite place). My apologies for allowing my wife to
talk me into ducking out early. I am a dweeb and a doofus too.
Hans, this was one special event. Kudus to you for all of the "sweat
equity" you put into it. It was inspiring, entertaining and educational
and one major fat piece of fun all day long. There were little tech
problems, slight schedule shifts and delays, but everything went
so smoothly on an organizational level one would think (from
appearances) that you do these things all of the time. The sound
system was great too! My hat's off to you!
Please keep us all posted as to whatever recorded documents
become available within the group.