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PrePrepared vs. Improvisational Live Looping Performances
In another thread,
Matt Davignon wrote:
"On the other hand, many of the acts I've seen left me feeling like the
performers are locked
into a scripted grid, with fewer opportunities to take the material in a
direction other than a
previously-drawn, forward-pointing arrow from start to finish."
Honestly, I have had the same reaction. Granted, there are artists
who pull it off
with panache and a sense of spontaneity's (I think , specifically, of
Zoe Keating, Imogen Heap, Juana Molina and
Kid Beyond) but in general, pre-rehearsed and already thought out
pieces of music
using live looping feel as sterile to me as people push playing on DATs,
I-pods, CDs, DVDS
I actually really and truly loved sculptured recordings but to me, the
live sphere is a different thing.
And maybe this is just because I lack the discipline to go to all the
work of pre arranging
pieces of music when I play, but the last ten years or so of my life
have been all improvisational.
Of course, one (and specifically, me) run the risk of not having a
cogent enough performance
or , worst yet in live looping, taking too long to create a piece of
music and letting it go
on for longer than it is musically interesting for the audience. It's a
constant worry for me and
I frequently blow it live.
I've noticed that a lot of loopers in our community seem to fail to
realize that the what feels good
to play; what seems like a certain length of time in developing a
piece of music is completely
different for the audience.
Personally, just because I teach a lot of live looping in my hometown,
I tell newbies to set
up a clock and to force themselves to start, develop and cogentally end
a piece of music
every five minutes so that they have six pieces of music in a festival
set of thirty minutes.
It's a tough discipline to do that. I purposefully write set lists
with 6 to 7 tableaus in it.
I don't know what I'm going to play, but I do take 6 or 8 'sets' of
instruments to each gig
so that I can keep a found sound performance intriguing.
I've discovered is someone has the discipline to play 6 five minute
songs in order five times a week
that after a month, they are ready to perform a pretty interesting set
as a newbie at the festival.
Also, and pardon this rambling post, but I"m in a 'waxing philosophic'
I'm writing some new material that is more song oriented and even (damn
this is scary to admit in public)
singer/songwriter oriented, so I know that I need to figure out a way
that I can compromise my
desire for spontaneity and improvisation with composed (if not
It's a really challenging thing for me. Frankly, it really scares me
because it's so different from the freedom
I've had for ten years, but I also am really hearing some new things
with my new foray into stringed
SOOOOO, pros and cons..................what do y'all like and/or
dislike about pre arranged live looping shows
and what do you like or dislike about pure improvisational shows.