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Tuesday, March 15,2011

Turning sound around

Lansing native delves into experimental music with Loop Goat project

by Rich Tupica
A “loop” is a short section of sound that’s repeated continuously, creating an entirely new track. It's something Jessica Arnold fully embraces with her solo project Loop Goat.

From composers Terry Riley and Steve Reich who helped solidify the art form in the ‘50s and ‘60s, to current experimental artists such as Alvo Noto and Ryoji Ikeda, the art of looping sound helped pave the way for both techno and hip-hop beats, as well as countless experimental and noise artists.


Using an array of effects pedals, Arnold creates ambient loops with her vocals, a Casio keyboard, and shredding on her guitar. She also experiments with “sound art” methods, such as tapping on glass jars or manipulating sounds off a reel-to-reel.


Arnold, 27, a Lansing native living in Ypsilanti, has been involved in the electronic/noise scene for years. One of her past projects includes Public Pubes, an oddball Lansing electro duo.


From Mac’s Bar to noise festivals at Basement 414, Lansing has been a hot spot for this avant-garde genre.


“I’ve been playing guitar since seventh grade,” Arnold said. “Getting into rock music helped. I started getting into amps and pedals and experimenting with the sounds they can create.”


Seeking out vinyl records as a teen also influenced her obscure tastes in music.


“Some of the first records I bought were these ambient records and extreme noise stuff,” Arnold said. “When everyone else was really getting into techno, I was buying ambient records and mixing those. That was when I first started, then it transformed, I got into harder breakcore, so I’d used different drum machines and gear.”


Since May of last year, Arnold has remained focused on Loop Goat and has free downloads posted on her site. She’s currently working on her debut album, "Reptilian Complex," which is due this summer. Another release on 800wild, an experimental Pittsburgh label, will arrive in the near future.


While her recordings show what a loop sounds like after it’s been perfected, a live Loop Goat performance is more sporadic and shows the looping process from start to finish. It's a sound she hopes listeners can “zone out” to.


“I have my main gear on the floor in front of me — my pedals, guitar, Casio, my microphone,” she said. “Unlike some of my recordings, at live shows you’re able to hear how I build the loops, the sounds, and then break them down and change them into something new.”


Arnold said recent shows in Detroit have went over well, especially considering the progressive nature of the music.


“It’s surprising. It’s a new project, but it’s been great,” she said. “I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback. I played a show awhile back and someone came up to me and said, ‘I’ve never heard anything like that before, nobody is doing that in Detroit.’


“It’s surprising because what I do has gotten people kicked off stages because it’s noisy and experimental. I just try to maintain a roller coaster element that engages the crowd.”




Loop Goat


8 p.m. Wednesday, March 16. Mac’s Bar 2700 E. Michigan Ave, Lansing $3, 18 and over with Big Walt, Barack Glock, Ghoulie, Ectomorph, Noyz, Detroit Bacon, Jesus Crisis www.myspace.com/loopgoat

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