Re: Effects was Re: [Harp-L] Jason's organ

Buddha, Richard Hunter and Jason Ricci can make very alarming sounds emerge from their loudspeakers. Which is 'better' is a matter of taste and preference.
However, I put it to you that one needs to be careful about huge screaming moothie sounds (there was discussion a while back about the best name for the harmonica; I vote for moothie, not out of patriotism but because it catches the instrument in a way that 'harp', 'tin sandwich' etc do not), or indeed guitar or synth sounds, because often a little goes a long way for the listener and that "killer demonic death sound" rapidly becomes tiring to listen to. Of course it can be cool to annoy the audience, make them bleed from every orifice etc. and undoubtedly doing so will lead to many more gigs in the future than being tasteful or something. Yeah right, only if you play "Drone Metal" which is not everyone's pint of turpentine. Actually I find the extreme end of the effects experiments of all 3 of these guys sometimes a bit fatiguing on the ears. Not because I am against that sort of thing: I listen happily to some pretty way out there electronic music and post-jazz improvisers, including stuff that makes your ears ring for 24 hr if you play it at the proper volume. Last Exit anyone?
Those seeking truly killer but aesthetic sounds; I commend to you Sun Ra meets John Cage, not especially for the John Cage bits, but because Sun Ra plays a Yamaha DX-7 in a manner that made me feel that hardly anyone else has any grasp or control over electronic sound live at all:
(No idea if this download is legal). I have played a DX-7 and I have absolutely no idea how you wring sounds like this out of it live. The above mentioned artists are going to dig it, if they haven't heard it before. Anyone who wants to hum the tune, don't bother.
For moothie, I prefer to use effects to modest, er, effect rather than porking up the sound to the max or, as Buddha has advocated, trying to sound like another instrument. For simple colouring a multi-purpose effects box (I use a line 6 pod but have used a zoom in the past) works just fine. If I want synth sound then I will synthesise some and skip the moothie entirely. Also remember that the more bits of technology between you and the speaker cabinet, the more bits can fail. On the other hand, if the generic effects box fails, well you'll have to fall back on your own sound, or the quite good effects built into many amps nowadays. Also I think the lightly effected sound of the moothie fits really well into wild experimental music, although not all listeners to some of what I record would agree.
Point is that used as light colouring it probably doesn't matter that much about the maximum quality of the effects you are applying. Used heavily maybe it does. Can you get a sound we want to hear for more than a few seconds out of it? This can be a lifetime's work (think of the Edge's guitar sound). I respect these three moothie players for their work in expanding the instrument's sound. But most of the time the effects I use are either (a) nothing but my large living room with a hard floor which produces a nice recording ambience or (b) wee bit of echo, wee bit of reverb, wee bit of compression 'as one chooses'. But then I am a sick man who uses (sharp intake of breath through teeth) solid state amps!!!
Boogie on the moothie guys

Richard Hammersley
Grantshouse, Scottish Borders

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