I’m a looping guitarist living in Sheffield, England. I have been performing for 45 years in a variety of professional bands and latterly, as a solo artist / collaborator.
Repetition and Intuition are the key factors behind my music, which places dynamics & timbre high up the list. I see the guitar as an organic sound source that uses looping technology and laptop treatment to build moods & soundscapes. My pieces are born, evolve and die away.
Forthcoming gigs: August 30th – Over The Top – with Chris Meloche & others
I’m completely delighted that Martin Archer, Discus Records guru, has asked me to contribute some acoustic guitar for his forthcoming release by Julie Tippetts (formerly “Wheels on fire” Driscoll). This is a real honour – Tippetts is a hugely respected artist and it’s wonderful to dust off the old acoustic….
Who says the days of carboot bargains are over? I spotted this Carillon control 49 today, one key sticking up & clearly broken but (guess which one) otherwise in great nick, with a USB cable. It bore a sticker that said “take it away if any body want’s it”, so I duly took it away. Get home, plug it in, install the driver (M-Audio Keystation 49 did the trick), it works perfectly. Result.
I’ve had a message from Keith Wilson, who is struggling to make his FCB talk to ableton looper. So here’s a rundown of a “looper bank”, I have 3 such banks, 2 for a guitar loop, a third for keyboards. Loopers 2 & 3 are set to follow the song tempo whereas the first one sets & follows it. Quantisation is set to 1 bar. For recording the first loop, the transport should not be running.
I decided to limit myself to just 8 controls per looper, switching banks for the same looper isn’t really practical. So, you have to decide what features you want to use. The only one I wrestled with was undo, but I felt the pan feature was more positive musical choice!
#1 Controls rec / play with double click for stop. This HAS to be a midi note, not a CC message
#2 Reverse – used a LOT 😉
#3 Half Speed (ie down an octave)
#4 Double speed (ie up an octave)
#5 Sets track focus to the track with this looper instance
#6 Toggles full left/right on the track pan setting, so I can have overdubs on either side of the stereo
#7 sets pan back to central (I couldn’t work out a way to do this using only 1 switch)
#8 clears current loop
#9 double loop length (multiply)
#10 half loop length
Each patch has the same assignment for the expression pedals, which hand feedback and speed (usually set within ableton to drop 2 octaves – I wanted it to go up as well, but it’s then really tricky to quickly set it back to “normal” speed.)
Here are the actual settings, although you can use almost and note or CC number. I use the PCB editor though choice but this screenshot is from the Ripwerx FCB1010 Editor.
Our second outing was part of the day of Discus Music at the 3 Cranes, part of the Tramlines Festival. Playing (somewhat unusually) during the daytime, Martin, Steve and I played just a single piece, lasting over 7 hours. Maybe. Photos by Kathy and others 😉
And here’s a short video extract from the gig – for the full show you’ll have to buy the DVD 😉
The latest album by Meson is out now – 5C4L3 (55CD). I’ve played on several of Bo’s previous releases and he asked me to tear apart one of these tracks and remix the sh*t out of it. So I did, adding the odd splange of bowed guitar along the way. The track (#7) is called “Beware the Signals” and features some storming saxes…
The album as a whole is full of the classic Meson unpredictable musical elements, underpinning the uxorious vocals stylings of the head honcho.