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Re: "Live Looping"

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Per Boysen" <per@boysen.se>
To: "Loopers" <Loopers-Delight@loopers-delight.com>
Sent: Monday, April 12, 2004 9:59 AM
Subject: Re: "Live Looping"

> Hi,
> Since I've been thinking a lot on this I'm finding this thread very
> interesting. Thank you everyone for great posts!
> On 04-04-12 00.36,  "Mark Hamburg" <mark_hamburg@baymoon.com> wrote:
> > 1. Someone needs to come up with a definition of the aesthetics and
> > experience from an audience perspective.
> Yes, it's actually a bit bizarre that we, as musicians, should come up
> a name for the style of music we do. It has always surprised me how
> different people experience "music" - it's obviously all in the ear of 
> listener.

I've held back on this topic in the past.  But I would have to agree via
experience of a similar sort.

When I was finished doing what I considered my first "CD-able" collection,
the "Songs from a Tunnel" one, I began putting together pieces that still
stuck to the "place song" idea but weren't part of a collection.  For
instance the "Tunnel" pieces are ALL about things that happened up at the
East Fork/Shoemaker Canyon tunnels, with names like "The Way Up", "Sunrise"
and so on.  My titles I thought reflected what was in my mind when I was
composing and playing the songs attached to them.  A dear friend of mine 
lived nearby would be invited over to hear the pieces when I was happy
enough with 'em to consider them gelled enough.  In every case he agreed
with me that I had produced soundtrack points for those trips up there that
we'd both been on, in title and content.

When I started playing the pieces after the "Tunnel" ones for my friend,
this effect did not occur!  I had for example a piece I considered a kind 
digital serenade to a woman I'd only corresponded to via email.  My friend
however had a different take: He thought it the soundtrack for a
man/hunter/brave "getting ready for the hunt".  I was furious and told him
so right then, with a great deal of um, energy.  He held up his hands and

Indeed I had asked for it, and it wasn't the one I expected.  I was
chagrined and apologized.

In retrospect now, I realize that his assessments of what the songs were
about coincided with mine, when these were not only about shared
experiences, but when my friend already knew they were about shared
experiences, via my words and the titles.  When they were not about them,
and presented to not be about them, the opinion expressed did not coincide
with mine.

In this regard I never stopped appreciating the pictures that come into
peoples' heads when they hear my stuff, especially since I stopped 
the same reaction I had to them.  I had initially thought of it along the
lines of making an abstract painting of the Seine with Notre Dame only to
have someone think it was a picture of Pittsburgh, dig?

I realize now this was a kind of intellectualist bigotry-in-process.  When 
eliminated this expectation, a box into which I perhaps wished to cram
listeners into, I ceased having a care what people thought of the work.
This didn't mean that it became sloppy, that I didn't care what it sounded
like.  I think you get what I mean there.  I believe that when I stopped
giving a hoot about what people thought of the work, it became more
approaching Art, so to speak.

On that level I would have to wonder that perhaps it would be better for us
to concentrate more on the contents of the jar we're filling, than on the
label we're going to put on it afterwards... Perhaps it would be better for
us to just bite the bullet and let the folks we don't think are hip enough
to appreciate our music 'properly' to come up with a lame-o label of their
own that they can ALL associate our work with.  I still really can't stand
the word "ambient", though "new age" is much worse for me, and 
isn't accurate really; "experimental" is the one I still like the best, but
of course this is less than market-friendly (or really market-hostile to an
extent).  I think "looping" as a term is confusing to 99.9% of most folks.
Film and TV soundtrack people think of a "loop" as something else than 
used to.  Regular folks think of a loop as purposefully repetitive, whether
it's made of rubber or tape, right?  It perhaps introduces the listener to
aspects of the mechanics of making our music which they neither need nor
want to know about.  Such is intriguing only to gear-heads, not to the
listeners who are supposed to be persuadable to buy our music.

So I think I'll dither around and call my work "place songs",
"pseudo-environmental", and "situational" for now, and let someone else 
up with something else I'll probably disagree with for the moment, but that
folks may well recognize the work better with.

I still have an ambition to play dressed like Dr. Frank Forrester one of
these days, as a tribute to that anti-market attitude.

All this before my second cup of coffee.  Go figure!

Steve Goodman
* EarthLight Productions
* http://www.earthlight.net