Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Live Looping

one man band

There's something about watching somebody work with loops that's just magical, like watching a modern day one man band. It can seem very simple, but I know for a fact that it's pretty complex stuff to string together a bunch of seemingly random bits of sound into a song. To do it while an audience is watching, seamlessly building and performing at the same time, demonstrates a real mastery to me. The first time I saw anyone do it was during Tori Amos's Scarlet's Walk Tour, when Howie Day opened for her. I remember I was completely floored by it when I realized what was happening. The thing is, later on I went looking for his music and found that I didn't care for it outside of that live context. Still, I can't deny the guy has some skill.

I've since seen a couple of people do this sort of thing and each time I'm as captivated by it as I was the first time. The most reacent person I saw do it was Joseph Arthur, who takes it to a whole other level of transcendence, though. I still hold this as being the most amazing thing I've ever seen at a show.

Music is one of the only activities that engages all parts of the brain. It would pretty much have to in order for a musician to be able to coordinate everything that is going on at any given time in a performance. I try to mess around with the guitar and in the past I messed around with keyboards and minor sequencing. I can barely coordinate the fingers of one hand. But here is Joseph Arthur, managing to play, sing, sample, sequence, fucking paint, edit the sequence, continue painting and singing complicated as fuck lyrics, and never miss a note or beat. If you're not impressed by that, well, then fuck you.

Kawehi is now an artist I'm watching closely. There's noting novel, necessarily about the end result (though it is really good) but the fact that she does this sort of thing live and on the fly just goes to show that all those people that have ever ignorantly dismissed electronic music as if it were being made by computers and therefore the artists had no talent are full of shit. We're not talking about studio trickery here. This is performance in the truest sense.

But this guy, DD Dumbo, I really want to see live. Not only is he doing some impressive shit, but his music is unique and haunting. There's something otherworldly about his voice and his melodies. And it all seems to fit perfectly with the live looping style. His stuff seems more complicated than the others too and it gives him a sort of mad genius aura a that I don't see often enough in musicians anymore.

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