Wednesday, June 11, 2014


I've been sucked into the gadget domain again because Yamaha was so foolish as to not put a repeat feature on their recording option on the digital piano. That's all a looper does, record with endless repeat. So Yamaha lets me record a blues comp but then it only plays it back once. I can overdub but I can't loop the progression. So I borrowed a Boss Looper Station and this video is one that I made as soon as I got a new 9v battery for it. It's easy to make bad sounds on any recording gadget. GIGO means Garbage In, Garbage Out. I put a lot of garbage in so that's what I get out. Sloppy. But my goals was to see if the thing would record and loop the stereo of my digital piano. And it does so with one cable though I could use two. The rest is me being messy.

My feeling is that I would keep it if it was free but $200 for something that any computer can do is crazy. If I want a backing track then I can just record one. Why would I need to improvise one? This would only be useful if someone taught me a song and I was expected to accompany myself with no time to record a backing track. Otherwise just record the track you want, add layers and then play it back as you perform it live with another layer. Unless you want to impress people with live spontaneous layered overdubs and improvisation...which is cool. It's easy to stomp on the button too early and that causes a gap in the playback. But after an hour of practice the thing seems to work as advertised with no glaring design problems.
I reprogrammed it to record---then play---then overdub. The default setting is to Record---then overdub---then play...but that is kind of advanced because it means when you click after recording you must immediately record something else because it will begin recording instantly.
This really is just a compact multi-track recorder with foot commands. But you can't remove a layer once it's been overdubbed over. Layer Two becomes a permanent part of the master track once a third track has been added. You can remove and add the last track you added but not the second to last track. And it loops immediately instead of having to click play on a multi-track recorder. I see this used in live settings but I'm puzzled how this has become a gimmick. We already have digital multi-track recorders so this only caters to people who have no planning or organization skills because they couldn't be bothered to record a backing track before practice. Now you can record the backing track seconds before you practice a solo over it.
I really need to spend more time making backing tracks to the music I want to play rather than thinking these gadgets will allow me to play an accompaniment live and then loop it while I play a guitar solo. I compressed the video to let me upload it so that's why it's so fuzzy. You can tell I'm a hobo living in a parking lot playing piano for geese. I almost forgot to mention that the song I'm slaughtering is titled "Sonnymoon For Two" by Sonny Rollins. Sonny wouldn't recognize it in this Frankenstein form.

Sunflower And Survival

Punditry is like playing the violin: it's easy to do badly. I've got a big mouth and low self esteem. I live outside an abandoned cotton gin near a Baptist church with plywood on the window. I woke up this morning because a dump truck was bashing away at a dumpster I was almost blocking. The other evening I was puzzled as I watched dozens of residents hustle like busy grasshoppers to hide their vehicles under roofs. The storm clouds looked like impending rain but what's so bad about that? We need rain. BANG! Moments later I was frowning as I prepared to go assault the motherfucker who was pelting my van with chunks of concrete! My van has been hit with eggs, spit on, pissed on, shot with a shotgun slug, doused by a McDonalds shamrock shake, tagged by West Coast gangs, but never hit with concrete. I searched for my can of pepper spray to use to defend myself. It was dark and I was naked but I persevered. These small town punks would regret messing with the man in the van. BANG! BANG! The concrete was hitting the fiberglass roof of the van so forcefully that I thought it would break a hole through it. I had to hurry. Then something hit my foot and it wasn't a chunk of concrete but a fist-sized chunk of ice! Then another flew through the side screen window and knocked my cowboy hat off the guitar. Good lord! The hail was not the size of golf balls, like I'm accustomed, but the size of a peach...and they were landing like meteorites all around me, crashing to the asphalt, bashing on tin roofs, denting every surface in town. There was nothing I could do. I quickly thought of locations to hide but obviously I would've found them already in my quests to find shade. There is nowhere except the Sonic Hot Dog drive in junk food arena to get out of the weather so I closed the windows and began to pray. Then I sang "There's got to be a morning after,"

 Believe me, it sounded nothing like the Maureen McGovern version.

Creative Commons License
Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.