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Re: Looping with other musicians

--- Larry Cooperman <coop@newmillguitar.com> wrote:
>I'm beginning to think that the fixed
> and the chaotic can live together?

That reminds me of a technique I used to use in the
80's to record drum tracks on pre-production demos. I
was often forced to use a drum machine due to volume
and space constraints, but the two units I had really
didn't sound very good. One was a little Boss
programmable thing and the other was a really horrible
Yamaha thing with pads (that I really only got for its
midi control, but that's another story.)

The Boss by itself had OK drum sounds per se, but
sounded stiff and mechanical, the Yamaha by itself was
ultra-cheesy. But when I would program an extremely
minimalistic kick/snare thing into the Boss and play
all the tom parts on the Yamaha through a boatload of
processing, the two together sounded pretty cool. The
Boss would provide a rock-solid tempo, but the
looseness (sloppiness) of my fills on the Yamaha's
pads gave it a "human" element, and got it away from
the sameness of a repeating drum loop.

That's sort of the approach that evolved into the way
I loop as well, whether it's with others or alone. I
like to use several low-tech loopers simultaneously,
but that doesn't mean they're all playing at the same
time. Trying to synch them cross-platform with tight
rhythmic parts would obviously be a bad idea, so I
tend to play those parts in real time on top of the
loops, or when I need parts to be locked together,
overdub them onto *one* of the devices. So one looper
may have a percussive, rhythmic part going, one may be
doing really low notes while another couple might have
pads and chordal swells. But again, even though I
might have 6 loops going, they're (usually) not all
audible at the same time; I can play the faders like a
keyboard. To extend that analogy, a piano has 88
diferent notes, but it's up to the player to determine
which ones will be heard at any given time, how hard
to hit the keys, how long to hold them or to wait
between them, etc.

All of this is even more true with the higher-end
loopers like the EDP and Repeater, the difference
being the greater control and flexibility a musician
has available. Knowing and working with one's
instrument's strengths and limitations goes a long
way, and taste and restraint are essential when
playing with other people. As far as "the Church
Lady", your looping devices are really ony repeating
what you input to them; the trick is controlling the
playback so that it remains musical.


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