Thursday, June 11, 2009

Caught in the Loop

After fruitlessly trying over and over to plug in the acoustic guitar, and getting a sound resembling a sitar in a train tunnel, the time had come to dig deep, bite the bullet and go in search of the infamous, and these days well regarded loops from the masters.

Now, I don't mind a good loop. They're great for those repetitive bits that really aren't worth hiring a drummer or bass player for when fleshing out a song, and exceptionally good if they're a sound effect and you happen to slip off the mouse and send the things spiralling out of time control. Talk about originality.

Not being a guitarist, I've never really worried about the guitar tracks. Just phone up a guitarist friend, send an email to an anonymous web server, pay a few bucks or scratch a few backs, and said track miraculously appears in the in box ready to be fitted seamlessly into the music of the moment. This was not the case in this case. Friends on holidays, unanswered emails and a dirge of new possibilities simply add to the confusion of how to get the damn backing track finished without the most important bits resembling a wobbly wind chime shaking in a junkyard breeze. There are a number of considerations here however. Patience and persistence simply don't work in regard to Brilliant Idea No1 on account of the musician in question having no idea that his musical abilities on acoustic guitar are far from brilliant.

So off we go on a musical odyssey, in search of the perfect guitar loop to complement the perfect but erratic accompliment . And what a host of material to choose from. Music sites abounding with the latest offers and discounts, all conveniently packaged and shipped to the door within a manner of days. A small thought creeps in here, that if it takes a couple of days to arrive, what about finding that unfindable riff on an internet site of dubious repute ? A quick look provides a simple answer. With URL's resembling the length of a Beijing telephone book, and a whole host of options ending in the domain name .ru, it's quite obvious this line of questioning will result in the immediate and systematic destruction of one or more hard drives, and a locking of the Windows which will require expert intervention. Best left alone.

After careful consideration of the viable alternatives, and not being a student, pensioner or other worthy individual of society in order to receive the maximum discount, ( Oh, that's right I'm a musician, which says it all really ) the appropriate title is selected and it's time to fill out the form. The little padlock arrives on the lower corner of the screen and provides great assurance to the one who is about to send his credit card details and entire financial viability into the abyss of the digital realm. At least the web site does not end in .ru.

Now it's time to sit back, and over the next couple of days, watch the little parcel make it's way through the twists and turns of Fedex, thanks to the helpful little tracking programme that has been sent via email. Oh good, it's got to Dallas, yippee it's passed through Hawaii, and what do you know? , it's landed at Sydney airport and is clearing through customs. It's always great to deal with a company that knows the difference between Australia and Austria. Ok, it's now the afternoon and it hasn't arrived. The little tracking programme said it would be here by this afternoon and it's nearly 4.30. Time to take the kids to their swimming lessons. It wouldn't arrive while I was away for an hour would it ? You bet it would. Upon our return, there is a white card at the doorstep stating "We called with your parcel, but you weren't in." . NO BLOODY KIDDING ! OK, calm down. Just leave the signed card at the door, and they will leave the package next time they come around. Hopefully tomorrow.

Tomorrow arrives, and there, in the morning, sitting in the gleaming sun, is the little package. But wait. It looks a bit strange. The glee of receiving such a wonderful new toy is replaced by the horror, that upon opening, the case has bent up at the edges, on account that it has been sitting on the hottest part of the porch and has been quietly baking, hotter than a Bondi blonde. Never mind, the disk might be all right, and upon examination seems to be flat to the naked eye. Right, lets test it. Waiting, waiting........loaded ! Yippee, the little package has come to the rescue, and it's contents are just what is needed to satisfy the composer who is without guitarist. A quick mix, and email off to the collaborator, and all is well in music land.

Well, that wasn't so bad. Time to lean over the computer monitor and have a beer in a dark and cold room. That just doesn't sound right. It should be a beer hunched over an acoustic guitar on the porch in the sun. Oh well, never mind, the lead probably wouldn't stretch this far anyway, and the little disc has had more than enough sun for both of us. Thank goodness for modern miracles, it's a bloody miracle they happen at all.

As a reminder that not all loops are of a single instrument, an example of the neverending loop is available by clicking the picture to the right. Titled " Ongoing Classical ( Loop )" , such repeating loops are best suited as background music for web pages and multimedia applications, and incidental music for vision.

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