Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Even pricks like pumpkins!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

New Method of 'Live Looping' Helps Musician Play On

I have something called Ataxia, a relatively unknown neurological condition. Fortunately for me, mine is progressing slowly.  Basically, all my coordination is starting to deteriorate, and sadly that includes my ability to play guitar the way I want. However, I have started to experiment with live looping. I have attached a guitar synth to my guitar, and play bass, piano, synth, guitar, etc... live from the guitar synth and then loop them to create a full band. I run everything through a delay pedal, a phase shifter, and I have at least one other pedal, and I manipulate the sounds live, so I get to be a composer, musician, and audio engineer all at the same time, and not a lot of people get to do that, so I am lucky. I am not thrilled about having Ataxia, but I am happy to be forging my own path, and am the first person, that I know of, to be doing what I'm doing. People do live looping, but not like this. Examples of what I am currently doing can be viewed at:
I also have two more CDs that I am planning for release although they are slow going. Fortunately, all the guitar parts were recorded while I could still play the way I wanted before my Ataxia progressed to where it is now. Because of my Ataxia, playing with a band is out of the question, which is why I'm working on the live looping, it allows me to create, and perform live, but as they say, necessity is the mother of invention, so maybe that's why I'm the first to do what I do, no one else has had to do it!
What is Ataxia?                                                                                                                           
The word "ataxia", comes from the Greek word, " a taxis" meaning "without order or incoordination". The word Ataxia means without coordination. People with Ataxia have problems with coordination because parts of the nervous system that control movement and balance are affected. Ataxia may affect the fingers, hands, arms, legs, body, speech, and eye movements.
What are Common Symptoms?                                                                                      
Symptoms and time of onset vary according to the type of Ataxia. In fact there are often variations even within the same family with the same type of Ataxia. Recessive disorders commonly cause symptoms to begin in childhood rather than adulthood. However, in recent years since genetic testing became available, it is now known that ataxia often begins in the 20s or 30s or even later in life.
Typically balance and coordination are affected first. Lack of coordination of hands, arms, and legs, and slurring of speech are other common symptoms. Walking becomes difficult and is characterized by walking with feet placed further apart to compensate for poor balance. Impaired coordination of the arms and hands affect a person's ability to perform tasks requiring fine motor control such as writing and eating. Slow eye movements can be seen in some forms of Ataxia. As time goes on, Ataxia can affect speech and swallowing.