Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Dec 26th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Looped In

music_LiveLoopingPercussionist Nat Grant talks live looping and the local festival that gives it a voice

If you’re a live music buff, chances are you’ve seen a band or two incorporate a loop pedal. Most of the time it’s used to sustain a rhythm, or just sample some background noise, but who knew there was a whole community of musicians forming around the technology?

If anyone can speak to the beauty of the instrument and the community it has spawned, it’s Nat Grant. The Australian percussionist, who just completed her master’s degree in music performance, is one of the headliners of this year’s Y2KX+1 International Live Looping Festival—one of many annual events in town that has helped put Santa Cruz on the music map—taking place this weekend at Pearl Alley Studios in Santa Cruz.

 

Since its inception 11 years ago, 250 artists have participated representing 20 countries, and the festival has spawned 75 mirror events worldwide. The last five Santa Cruz mayors have even declared an “International Live Looping Day” in its honor.

“It was incredibly inspiring to witness over 50 artists all performing with some kind of live looping element, and to see all the unique and interesting ways people find to incorporate live looping into their music-making,” Grant says of her first experience performing at the festival in 2009. “For what sounds like a very niche and limited festival concept, the results are remarkably varied.”

Local music teacher and live looping artist Rick Walker founded the festival in 2001, and has since publicized the festival worldwide with the help of multi-instrumentalist and composer Steve Uccello—who coincidentally released a collaborative album with Nat Grant last year called Melbourne, Monterey. The album, which features both sampling and looping, is the perfect festival warm-up for first-timers.

Grant received her musical training on Western-style drum kits, but she became inspired when she started messing around with a loop pedal as an undergraduate. She admits that learning the equipment hasn’t been easy, however.

“For most live looping musicians I would say that the looper (whether it be hardware or software) is just another instrument in their rig,” explains Grant, who uses two different types of equipment: ‘stompbox’-style pedals, and a computer software program called Ableton Live. “Some play it a lot, making a real feature of it, others use it more sparingly.”

Grant’s final musical offering is hardly comparable to any mainstream artists. The only possible analogy might be Amiina, the string quartet that typically records and sometimes tours with Sigur Rós (another group that relies heavily on sampling). Her use of the loop pedal is more subtle than some artists, utilizing it mainly to form rhythmic patterns (first with percussion) from which to build songs upon. That means, computerized feedback and white noise are merely supplements to familiar sounds, rather than anchors to her tracks.

Whatever your musical predilection, chances are it will be represented (within the context of looping) over the weekend. “There will be something for everyone, from ambient and experimental artists, to incredible vocalists, looping bands, and more technology and gadgets than you can possibly imagine,” says Grant.

“There is such an inclusive vibe to this festival as well,” she adds. “It is a really unique and special experience, and the live looping community is an incredibly open and welcoming one.”

 


The Y2K-X Live Looping Music Festival takes place Friday, Oct. 14- to Sunday, Oct. 16. Performances will be at Pearl Alley Studios, 120 Pearl Alley, Santa Cruz. Tickets are $15 in advance. For details, go to Y2kloopfest.com.

 

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Dancing In the Rain

District Attorney Bob Lee’s death in October stunned the Santa Cruz community, but he had battled cancer fiercely—and privately—for more than a decade. Now one of his closest friends reveals the remarkable inside story

 

Our Gifts - Fiery Sacrificial Lights to One Another

Wednesday is Christmas Eve, Hanukkah ends and the Moon is in Aquarius, calling for the new world to take shape at midnight. Thursday morning, the sun, at the Tropic of Capricorn, begins moving northward. The desire currents are stilled. A great benediction of spiritual force (Capricorn’s Rays 1, 3, 7) streams into Earth. Temple bells ring out. The heavens bend low; the Earth is lifted up to the Light. Angels and Archangels chant, “On Earth, peace, goodwill to all.” As these forces stream into the Earth they assume long swirling lines of light, in the likeness of the Madonna and Child. The holy child is born. Let our hearts be “impressed” with and hold this picture, especially because Christmas may be difficult this year. Christmas Day is void of course moon (v/c moon), which means we may feel somewhat disconnected from one another. It’s difficult to connect in a v/c moon. Try anyway. Mercury joins Pluto in Capricorn. Uh oh … we don’t bring up the past containing any dark and difficult issues. We are to attempt new ways of communicating—expressing aspirations and love for one another, replacing wounding, sadness, lostness, and hurts of the past. Play soothing music, pray together, have the intention for peace, harmony and goodwill. Don’t be surprised if things feel out of control and/or arguments arise. We remember, before a new harmony emerges, chaos and crisis come first to clear the air. We are to be the harmonizers. Christmas evening is more harmonious, less difficult, more of what Christmas should be— radiations of love, sharing, kindness, compassion and care. Sunday, Feast Day of the Holy Family, is surprising. Wednesday is New Year’s Eve, the last day of 2014. Taurus moon, a stabilizing energy, ushers in the New Year. Happy New Year, everyone! Peace to everyone. Let us realize we are gifts radiating diamond light to one another. Living sacrificial flames!

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Let My People Go

There’s a lot to like in Ridley Scott’s maligned ‘Exodus’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Best Bites of 2014

A look back at the year in good taste

 

What downtown business is good for both one-stop shopping and last-minute gifts?

The Homeless Garden Project store. Because it is a community effort and has really useful and beautiful things, and allows you to connect with a lot of folks who are doing great work in Santa Cruz. Miriam Greenberg, Santa Cruz, UCSC Professor

 

Vino Tabi Winery

One of Santa Cruz’s most happening areas to go wine tasting is in the westside’s Swift Street Courtyard complex. Ever since a group of about a dozen wineries got together and formed Surf City Vintners (SCV), the place has been a hive of activity, and a wine-tasting mecca. Adding to the mix is the lively Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing beer company—making Swift Street Courtyard a perfect spot for a glass of wine or a pitcher of ale.

 

Betty’s Eat Inn

Yes, she’s a real person; no, this isn’t her