> My favorite line: "Your music sounded great to me, although I don't
> know anything about music."
...There is a famous story of Chet Atkins to whom was commented after a performance that, "that guitar sounds really good!" Chet immediately laid the guitar on the table and asked, "How's it sound now?".
There is a good point here: it ain't the gear (gtr, looping device etc.) it's the guy/gal working it. If you have something musical to say that will come across regardless of the "instrument" being manipulated (which brings to mind Rick's and Kris' "tunes with toys"...).
Canned tracks, drum machines et al. can be very plain, droll and boring or they can be wildly inventive, amusing and entertaining.
So can guitars, keyboards, basses, loops and vocals....
I have, in the past used the term "looper" or "looping" in my promo material. Now I don't. I prefer to think of myself simply as a musician (and, without pretention, an Artist with a capital A). I use looping extensively, (tho' not as extensively as others on this list) but feel it is an integral part of and extenstion of what I play. I do not limit myself to being solely a "Looping Artist", and should my looping devices go down in a show I could (and have) carried on the performance "sans loops".
Once, when asked what kind of music I play I responded "you mean there's more than one kind?"
I am a musician. I make music, play music. Not just "loop music", not just "bass music" (tho I am a bassist)---just music.
I used to explain the process of looping in performance. It didn't really matter to the audience. I no longer do that and keep the loopage as stealthy sort of extension of the performance.
In general we seem as a culture to crave defintions; we want all of our toys placed in their respective boxes...as we like the proverbial "us" and "them" placed in their respective boxes as well. This leads to the myriad of sub-genres and classifications which, while well-intended to help a listener (or would-be listener) define their listening experience (...hmmm me wonders if that is really neccessary?), really only seem to muddle the landscape with more boxes to fill.
A few years back I got into a bit of hot water with the "experimental music" community. I was playing an expertimental music festival, and this event was being filmed for a documentary. I was early and was being interviewed. The question arose as to what makes an "experimental musician", and I replied that a great number who classify themselves by that title do so simply because they cannot play their instruments very well...if at all. It easy to be "experimental" when you don't know what it is you are doing. Not that that is a bad thing neccessarily...it certainly qualifies as self-expression. But, is beating the face of a guitar with a bologna sandwhich really a musical expression...or just silliness? Many "experimental" players have no concept of structure, which exists even in "free" playing, know neither how to listen nor how to hear, and while they can, for the most part, manipulate whatever machine(s) they are employing to perform the tasks they were designed for, most cannot really "play" those machines; work them in a matter from which they coax the music out of both the machine and themselves.
And does an "experimental musician" limit his/herself to only playing what might somehow be determined to be "experimental music"?
Does a "looping musician" only play with loops?
I have a good friend who is a very fine "electronic musician"...and I suppose "experimental" as well. He loves Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. Go figure.
This a great thread....and it has taken some curious turns. The terminology used to describe one's art, the use or not of canned loops/backing tracks....or even how "difficult" or impressive a performance is (btw, my "money" gig of late has been playing country bass; which is not all that impressive or difficult, yet requires a very different measure of virtusosity, and has been one of the most challenging--and rewarding-- gigs I have ever taken), is all not as important as what kind of musical/artistic statement one has to make.
We tend to, at times, underestimate our audiences. We either feel they cannot fathom the degree of complexity in the music, cannot be challenged to listen in new ways, must be pandered to.....but they can. And, sometimes, they don't really want to know the wizard is hiding behind the curtain.....they just want to enjoy the show.
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