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Re: looping and using monitors

Luis Angulo wrote:
"I am having fun doing this thing lately last night i
played in konstanz laying layers of rhythms i also
graved an old cookie tray from the bar for a snare
sound(a la ricko suave) with different instruments and
then playing guitar on top with really low open tunigs
fro a bassier sound,i did a version of "Walk on the
wild side" man you should have seen the peoples faces
bro!a girl kept coming up every 5 min. trying to see
what was behind the monitor and how i was doing it and
i just cracked up:-))then i went on to explain how i
was doing it and people seem fascinated by it."

Wow, what a wonderful gig it sounds like, Luis.    This is one of those 
times that I wish I had a lost rich uncle to leave me a million
bucks so I could just drop everything and jet in and play with you as a 
at your next gig in Konstanz (for those of you unfamiliar with it, 
is one of the most beautiful towns in Southern Germany...........truly 
beautiful and untouched by World War 11's bombings, but that's another 
longer story).

"I am doing congas with a small kanjira it sounds great but
i want to get a good hand snare drum and maybe a small
cymbal, what can you recomend me as a drummer?"

Evans, by the way, puts out a portable conga that is just a head on a rim. 
It sounds fantastic as a conga and is so low profile that it's easy to
throw it into the back of a rack case or guitar bag.     Another trick I 
is to use a piece of enclosed tupperware with a pitch shifter.  You can
layer several 'conga' parts really quickly just by switching the pitch of 
the pitch shifter---I use the cheesy and wonderful Vocal 300 by Digitech).

Viz a vis a snare drum there are several cool simulations you can use 
of actually buying a snare drum (which can be bulky to carry).
One I love is to take a string of really large fake pearls (I use dagylo 
lime green ones but that's just me.......lol) and put them inside of a 
frisbee that is made of the more brittle kind of plastic (as opposed to 
rubbery plastic).   With both hands, throw the beads in the air and catch 
them in the frisbee (turned upside down) and , VOILA!!!!!,  a great 
white noise hip hop snare sound............again with a pitch shifter you 
can run the gamut with such a thing.     Any kind of material strung up: 
beads, rattles,  metal beads,  chain of different thicknesses, etc.
when thrown on wood or metal or plastic objects will cause a 'snarey' kind 
of sound.

Otherwise,  I bought an 8" 1970's fiberglass pearl drum and put piccolo 
snare hardware on it;  bought 8" snare heads (custom ordered) and
drilled out the bottom rim to accomodate the snare strands and have a 
wonderful lo profile rap snare that can sound like heavy metal when tuned 
down and played through a pitch shifter (are you getting how much I depend 
on my vocal 300?).

Cymbals are more problematic because they take up so much territory and 
can be quite costly.
One thing to be on the lookout for is really cheap used (and sometimes 
terrible sounding cymbals),  particularly cymbals that were designed for
small children's toy drum kits.   With some simple DSP processing, some of 
these cymbals can really come alive in a looping situation.
You can play them on the bell with the tip of a drum stick or the body or 
you can hit the side of the cymbal with the middle of the drumstick
to create really different textures.

The beauty of looping is that you can take a really cheesy inexpensive 
cymbal (even a broken one discarded and sold for very little at a flea 
market) and do one loop of one technique,  layer a second loop of a second 
technique, etc. and come up with a fascinating and quite idiosyncratic 
rhythm track.
One thing I love to do along these lines with my Repeater is to mallet a 
cymbal continuously on one of my loops and then
take the volume down to nothing on that track.     Using the volume on the 
Repeater with my left hand and keeping my right hand on the mute button on 
the returned channel on the mixer you can swell the volume up and mute it 
own the downbeat to create really cool and controllable
backwards cymbal sounds.   You can also take all the bass off the channel 
and boost the treble when doing this to get a
SHHHHHHHH sound and then immediately pump the bass and boost the midrange 
This is a fun trick during 'breakdowns' in a track.

Also, lot's of metal objects can easily double for cymbal or bell sounds. 
Stainless Steel mixing bowls make awesome gong and sound fantastic when 
reversed, especially if you've hit the edge of the bowl hard with your 
or a mallet or stick.
If you take wire wisks, they frequently have hollow stainless steel 
which if hit with another metal object sounds very much like a triangle
which you can then dampen at will.    Again,  this shit sounds fantastic 

Add different modulation effects and other DSP processing and you can have 
universe with a bunch of kitchen utensils that all fit in one stainless 
steel mixing bowl.       You should have hear the fantastic German frame 
drummer,  David Kuchermann and I playing steel mixing bowls as we walked 
around the poor parts of Nashville looking for junk shops to buy 
in.  It was really beautiful!

Okay,   now the ringing of acoustic multiple loops.

I use the AKG C1000s with the hyper-hyper cartiod plastic focuser it comes 
with.  It sounds fantastic but as long as there is open air monitoring you 
will get bleed.
I think the solution is threefold:

1) don't use many acoustic loops and make sure you do your drum looping 
first........this is crucial so as not to bring in your guitar/bass/key 
sounds into the bleed into the mix
2)  buy radio shack wireless headphones for $70 USD and elimnate all your 
other onstage monitoring
3) buy costly in ear monitors.

When I can't use my wireless headphones, I just keep my overdubs to a 

I hope this helps.  Wish I could have seen you play, buddy.   Hasta la 
looping, Carnal!


ps   the handsonic is really cool, but it lacks viscerality for my 
and people get more joy out of watching you play physical objects.
Tell that to looper Tom Roady, though, who does mind bogglingly beautiful 
things with his Handsonic drums and Zendrums.