One upside of sheltering in place is that it has given me time to get back to playing guitar through my Laptop/iPad rig. I posted some video snippets on Facebook, which prompted some questions about my setup. You can read about some of my earlier experiences here. But the time seems ripe to reveal the results of some improvements in both my technique and the technology.
If you are into modern guitar, you need to try processing your signal through this amazing app. I have featured it before and here, but the genius creator Chris Carlson (a recovering guitarist himself) has updated it with some fantastic new features. Jakob Haq’s comprehensive and entertaining report on the new version is a must watch, as well as a great introduction.
While perusing the latest edition of Electronic Musician, I chanced upon the Enos Looper by Audio Damage.Much as I love doing loops on my iPad with Simpler, Borderlands, and iDensity, I have been looking for a more basic looper to add to the iOS arsenal. I was intrigued enough to plop down $5.99 USD and check it out, only to learn that , while it can be used for basic looping and Frippertronics, ala the Ableton Live Looper, it is capable of much more. I recommend checking out the video. (It demos the plugin, but they are very close).
When I started employing a laptop with my guitar, it was restricted to just those two items: guitar into the laptop into a PA. Not long after, I struggled with using the advantages of the laptop—plug-ins, looping—in conjunction with my pedalboard and a guitar amp. The results were spotty, and required bringing and setting up bulky interfaces and multiple cables. The new OMEC Teleport from Orange Amplification promises a more elegant solution.
I know what you are thinking, “Not another Theremin and lap steel duo.” Seriously though, when I first encountered Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel at a small coffee shop gig in Nashville three years ago, it seemed simultaneously like a crazy idea and somehow perfect. On the one hand, the potential pitch problems seemed daunting, on the other, the fluid nature of both was perfect for the kind of ambient music they were purveying. A more recent encounter at Big Ears revealed how much more dramatic Scott Burland’s Theremin and Frank Schultz’s lap steel guitar could sound in a big room with a serious sound system. After the festival I corraled Frank for some insight into their formation and process.