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Looping Rules!!!


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The duo is slowly getting rolling (need some serious work on the vocals though!) and something that's becoming a big part of the sound is lots and lots of me! :D


So courtesy of my little green box, Mr D. Ell-Four, here's a sample of some of the excess that we got happening last rehearsal.


Some improvised looping fun...



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I'm sure you knew this, but the vocals are definitely the weakest link, not like I wasn't expecting that, as you're relatively new to this.


I did dig the whole thing a TON though. At first, not as good as the other stuff... then BAM! God this grooves!


Good work, Alex. Give us more updates as they come! ....... please? :rolleyes:

In Skynyrd We Trust
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Just getting around to this C Alex...


It's good to see you morphing your concept of band to meet your situation of finding simpatico performers. I really hate to be asked to do long distance diagnosis - or critique. It's too easy to cast one's own preferences and ideals into the mix without understanding the goals of the performer/writer. I generally just want to utter non-offensive encouragement, or hide. But since you and I have known each other for awhile I will try to waste a few words... ; }


First of all: It's nice to see that you've found a drummer who can climb into the same groove with some technical ability and enthusiasm. Great things are ahead if you two keep going. The playing is there and so is the common ground.


But FOR MY PREFERENCES I would at some point maybe encourage a little more variance, so that the interplay is not just at the initial riff building / loop setup, but also seems like development and/or conversation is taking place.


This may not be right for where you two are trying to take the development of your new music. You may wish to be veering closer to minimalism and stasis. But for my ear, I think with only two people especially, it helps to have a little more dynamic, and motif constuction, deconstruction, morphing, or abrupt shifting to other materials. Even if designing technotrance, this is somewhat the approach I would take.


More in a few minutes...

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...Just doing a few other things and glorying in the Norman Whitfield/Junior Walker collaborations. Makes me want to slap cult classic TAPEHEADS into the DVD - especially after seeing Sam Moore (SAM and DAVE!) again, in Adam Rifkin's indie tourdeforce, NIGHT AT THE GOLDEN EAGLE.


Anyway. Junior was such an emotive voice on the sax, his sax could rough it up with the rhythm section doing riffs, augment or supplant lead vocals, or play pre-thought "leads", and on occasion, truly solo. And Norman, who I think belongs up at the top of the list of truly great R&B producers, always had the best drums and bass sections there carrying the the synths and vocals and guitars and making sure they sounded tops! The arrangements always had good variation going on within the structure, layers coming and going, alternate statements, development. And the bass and drums were so FUNKY! Just locked, repetitive in all the right ways, but all kinds of nuance coming and going, and a lot of nice breakdowns. Heavily featured in the sound, actually nobody suffered in a NOrman Whitfield production.


Where am I going with all this?...

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You should defintely check out Steve Lawson if you're interested in bass looping!



"You look hopefully for an idea and then you're humble when you find it and you wish your skills were better. To have even a half-baked touch of creativity is an honor."

-- Ernie Stires, composer

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sounds good...is that you on vocals tho?


Considering the fact that its's just a duo, you guys may benefit from no vocals at all.


i agree with #6 about the repetitiveness tho. Maybe some more changes to spice things up a little bit.




Soli Deo Gloria


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c Alex,


I was going somewhere with that but got interuppted by phone a couple times. But I'll at least cover what I was hearing there.


Once the initial one-bar groove was established, I liked the flute-like tone at the entrance of the upper part. As you modified that part and then stacked it as a two-bar loop it was reminiscient of some earlier Frippertronics work. That flatted fifth always helps ; }... Cool bit.


To encapsulate what I was thinking when talking about Junior Walker, and his producer collaborator Norman Whitfield: I think it's often good to think like you are orchestrating a groove-oriented song. And use different bass settings/EQ/effects/combinations to establish different colors/personalities/voices, as you did with the flutey-becomes-Fripplike bit only moreso.


Then, not only have parts get added, but also do breakdowns, where layers are subtracted. And then piled back up with maybe some permutation.


Also, I would have liked to hear more licks interspersing vocal declamations. You know, like BB King or Jimi Hendrix do between phrases? - the blues dialog? This is a real opportunity for engaging and disengagaing effects - ferinstance, a fuzz or overdrive for the interjections/fills and back to the default for maybe some more sustained figures (double stope and chords even) during the vox.


Then there's the device Eno often used, or like Philip Glass has practiced, which is pretty popular in looping always, of having materials coming and going while some stay the same for awhile. The entire texture gradually morphs, almost imperceptibly. Or you morph the most outstanding [most apparent] figures until they no longer resemble what they were when you started. And even: back again. Sly.


But as I said earlier, you may be shooting for [club] minimalism. And I realize this is a quick off-the-cuff recording. Hope I haven't sounded harsh, because I certainly didn't feel it... Whatever you do, I am certain that if you keep at it you will become an excellent practioner of it!


I won't comment on the vocalizing because it was very muffled and for all I know you were achieving what you set out to do. I've in the past done extemperaneous vocalizing - and lyrics on the spot - and sometimes came up with some incredible killer stuff. Other times I was decidely non-inspired and wished I had been using some pre-prepared materials ; }


Keep having fun! Your drummer is a real find!

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Strange, I replied to this last night but it's not there... Oh well!


Thanks for the positive words and encouragement. I agree that we need more fluidity, more dynamics, more changes etc etc and that's something we'll continue to work on. This was the first time we've managed 3 layers of 'bass' and drums and kept the groove happening, but I intend to keep pushing the boundaries of what we can do. Early days yet! :D


Definitely need to bring in some call and response stuff - that's easy and should sound cool, especially with both of us singing. Maybe even some beatbox vs drums etc. ;)


And regarding the vocals - they will get better, this is my first time singing in a 'band' or any high volume situation and it's challenging! Plus I've never really sung and played before - it's hugely due to Jennie's groove locking in so hard with mine that I can vaguely pull it off. I had my first singing lesson last night so expect some rapid improvements (apparently I have potential... to not sound awful ;) ).


Really need to get some lyrics written and songs ideas arranged before next time and the clock's ticking!



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