Monday 17 September 2012

Gadgets in Worship

I've not been playing with a iPhone/iPad/android thing during a church service but I've been experimenting with ways in which I could mix-up and change the sound of worship at our local church in Szeged. For the last few years, most of the music has been me bashing out songs on the acoustic guitar. Recently, some new musical toys have encouraged me to branch out into new areas.

I acquired a  line6 POD 2 whilst I was living in Bristol. I bought it at the same time as a massively discounted Crate powerblock and the idea was to use it for practising with headphones and trying to make sure my hearing lasted into my 70s. The big red kidney is great as it does a good clean, gritty and distorted sound which is quite easy to record for demos and the effects are ok. For most small venues, this things is perfect and it means i don't risk a hernia lugging the marshall stack in and out of the car. ( I do need to buy a footswitch :) )  

The Next weapon in the armoury was getting a looper pedal - I settled for a Jamman Stereo pedal. This was a good compromise of features and price for an unknown effects pedal. I didn't want to spend £500 on an expensive paperweight. I've been overall impressed with the pedal - the mike/guitar input is great, a button push is required to switch to aux input. Live looping is a bit limited - You can only add/remove the most recent overdub but there is seamless switching between prerecorded patches. So this is the ideal pedal for me as a "sound triggerer" rather then a multi-textured in-out looper

The icing on the cake was the most excellent Kaossilator which is a crazy synth toy the size of an old fat iPod. The trackerpad panel on the front of the device acts the input device with pitch controlled by left/right motion and timbre by up and down. There is a mini-loop feature which is nearly useful. The number of sounds on the 'lator is impressive and some of them are usable. The killer feature for me is the number of drum kits and pre-programmed rhythms. One slot on in the memory has various drum patterns which makes it easy to create beats which have natural fills and feels so you don't sound like you are playing with a drum machine from the 80s.

So, I've tried combining all this tech and last sunday, I tried two songs at church with a prelooped drum and bass section whilst I played electric guitar. The first song was a new song from a youth camp which originally was a bit rocky so i moshed out the guitar and had a mellow drum and bass rhythm for the chorus and verse and I had a "up" chorus consisting of some heavy double-bass drumming :) . Each section was on a different loop and I stomped my way between the sections
The second song didn't work so well. It was Light of the world but the drum beat was a bit too light and the singers got too excited and sped away in front of the beat. 
Overall, the experiment worked I just need to tight up the rhythms and train the singers better :) I'll also try and post some of the tracks on-line for public ridicule. 

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