One-man bands at live looping festival

One-man bands at live looping festival
Local musician Randolf Arriola is an expert in looping sampled music and layering sounds.

The term "one-man band" takes on a whole new meaning with artists who use live looping in their performances.

The popularity of the music technique - using technology to record on the spot and create repeated melodies and rhythms - has given rise to a new festival based on live looping.

The inaugural Y2K14 International Live Loop Asia Festival Singapore takes place at Artistry, a cafe, art gallery and live music venue, from today to Saturday.

It features performances by acts from Singapore, Germany, Holland, Japan, Thailand and the United States.

The gigs are free, although showgoers are encouraged to donate any amount and buy merchandise sold by the artists.

Many of them are solo artists who employ live looping to make their music similar to that of a whole band.

The festival, an off-shoot of the Y2K International Live Looping Festival held annually in the US, is the brainchild of Singapore musician Randolf Arriola.

To him, live looping is the future of music-making, a technological tool that will allow more and more musicians, both professionals and amateurs, to express themselves creatively through music.

He says: "There are a lot of talented people who say, 'Oh, it's hard to coordinate the timing with others to form a band'. That's not an excuse anymore."

Arriola is himself a one-man band. Since the 1990s, he has used live looping technology to create a rich and layered tapestry of sounds live, without the use of any pre-recorded music.

The self-taught musician, who has released recordings, including his 2011 album, C.C.C.D., has performed at the 2007 and 2010 editions of the Y2K International Live Looping Festivals in California, and was one of the headline acts at the 2010 festival.

He got the idea to hold an Asian version of the festival from his experiences at the ones in California.

Singapore is the first leg of the Asian festival - many of the artists who perform here will also play at the Bangkok edition on Oct 3 and 4.

Arriola made sure the line-up of acts in the Singapore festival featured many home-grown artists, not just solo acts, from a variety of genres who employ live looping in their music.

Among them are singer and violinist Eileen Chai, who performs tomorrow, playing her self-composed tunes inspired by her recently released autobiography, Teach A Life, For Life.

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