It's an odd question, I admit. But the moment you see David Ford perform, that awfully fuzzy question instantly crystalizes.
Photo by Kyle Dean Reinford at Flickr
Must a band play the instruments at all times in order for a performance to be considered "live"? Anyone who has ever seen a DJ or an electro-pop band will instantly answer, "no, there's playback, and it's totally legit." To them I say sure, sure, there's a place for playback in music today. But playing a canned recording is a far cry from being truly "live". And that's precisely why most bands don't like to draw much attention to their reliance on playback.
OK, so playback isn't precisely live. But what about looping?
Enter the maestro, David Ford. The Englishman's solo live performances are the stuff legends are made of. Witness the buzz building to a deafening pitch on blogs and ye olde print medium magazines. What sets Ford apart from the usual slate of solo singer-songwriters? He is a one-man-band -- a fully self-contained orchestra of sounds playing simultaneously, with only one dude on the stage.
How does he do it? He’s loopy.
As Café Eclectica explained so eloquently after catching last week’s Bowery Ballroom show, “Ford blew me away with his one-man looping band, where he would play a part of the song, record it in a loop, and continuously add to it.” With a number of instruments on hand to build out his orchestral montage, Ford loops to create lush, many-layered, moody atmospheres with his melancholy tunes. It’s an approach that he raises to an art form.
It also raises that tricky “what is live music” question. We’ve agreed playback isn’t live, even when it’s used in a live show. But in the case of David Ford’s loops, where he plays the part right there in front of you, you can witness for yourself that the first instance of the part was, indeed, live. And though it is played back repeatedly, it’s not playback. Dambit Gumby, it IS live.
And in David Ford’s deft hands, it’s electrifying. It’s unique. It’s what makes him stand apart from the Damien Rice and David Grey comparisons. It’s what enables him to stand apart from the lush backgrounds and refocuses our attention on his emotive vocal performance – the part he uses to really connect with an
audience. Most importantly, it makes converts out of all who witness the hitherto unheard of artist, and inspires them to spread the gospel.
Check out one of these upcoming shows and witness the loopiness yourself:
Mar 28 2008 8:00P TOWN BALLROOM BUFFALO - USA
Mar 29 2008 8:00P ST ANDREW’S HALL DETROIT - USA
Mar 31 2008 8:00P MERCURY LOUNGE NEW YORK - USA
Apr 15 2008 8:00P HOTEL CAFE LOS ANGELES - USA
Apr 16 2008 8:00P HOUSE of BLUES SAN DIEGO - USA
Apr 19 2008 8:00P SINGS LIKE HELL SANTA BARBARA - USA
Apr 22 2008 8:00P Paradise *SOLD OUT* Boston, Massachusetts
Apr 23 2008 8:00P Irving Plaza *SOLD OUT* New York, New York
Apr 24 2008 8:00P TLA *SOLD OUT* Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Apr 28 2008 8:00P 9:30 Club *SOLD OUT* Washington DC, Washington DC
Apr 29 2008 8:00P Neighborhood Charlotte, North Carolina
Apr 30 2008 8:00P Variety Atlanta, Georgia