The future singer/songwriter
7 May 2004
Amidst the hot hot heat and sun of Coachella last weekend, I happened to see part of Howie Day's set at the venue's Outdoor Theater. His particular style isn't exactly right up my alley, but I was impressed by his use of live sampling and looping. While his band scrambled to fix some technical problem they were having at the beginning of the set, he played solo, just him and his guitar -- aided by a pedal-driven sampling/playback machine. He'd play and record a few measures of acoustic guitar, start it looping back, play and record another few measures of a different guitar part on top of it, start that looping back, layer some vocals on top, add a bit of percussion by tapping his guitar and looping that, and so on. Before long, he'd built an impressively rich-sounding song. And he did it all live in front of the audience with just a guitar and a computer.
I know this isn't new -- I've seen beatboxers do amazing things with it, for example -- but I personally hadn't seen a singer/songwriter do it yet. I can't wait to see what this sort of performance technology does for the future of that genre, and for the future of music in general.
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