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Live Looping versus using Pre-Recorded Loops

Much is said about audiences not knowing the difference between someone
hitting play on a computer that has complete tracks stored, someone playing over pre-recorded loops or someone who is looping everything in front of an audience.

I go to see a very wide variety of musical performances that use technical augmentation, from ones that are completely canned (Fisher Spooner) to ones partially canned (a tremendous amount of the big electronic shows) to artists who do all of their looping live in front of the audience.

My experience is that people really do get, viscerally, when someone is playing something in real time
that they loop and then play other things against (including other loops).

A couple of artists in recent years, who shall remain nameless, have only played in real time over loops or samples that were pre-recorded. The energy of their sets was really markedly different from the ones that didn't take this approach. Of course, our loop festival audiences are not typical but many people complained about these performances after the fact. They bothered me, to be honest.

The fact of the matter is it's infinitely easier to do all of your looping ahead of your performance
and then just fly them in as is musically suitable.

To me, it's much more dangerous to have to pull all of one's tech off in front of an audience; to play live in real time in front of an audience even if you are looping yourself for augmentation's sake.

That's why , despite the fact that no one could tell from merely a recording of a performance whether someone looped live or just flew in pre-recorded loops or samples, I think there is a huge difference between the two
and this is why I am proud to be a live looping artist.

This is why I specifically make the distinction that the Y2K Festivals are Live Looping Festivals and why I send out a performance agreement before booking people a spot on the festival. Out of 11 years of performance only two artists have disregarded the rules about creating live looping content in front of the audience. We'll have to have a heart to heart talk if those artists ever want to
play the festival again.

Rick Walker