You Could Have a Steam Train
January 23, 2011 7:10 PM   Subscribe

Gavin Castleton does a pretty cool one-man cover of Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer".

Some of his other covers-

Eyes in the Back of my Head (Kelli Shaefer)
Somebody That I Used to Know (Elliot Smith)
'Til I Die (Brian Wilson)
Come to Me (Bjork)

Some original music-

Hope is a Drug
Skypiece (original)
posted by rollbiz (17 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
He should cover Galveston.
posted by ovvl at 7:22 PM on January 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Pretty neat; I wish I had this kind of musical ability.

I played drums as a younger man but never progressed enough to become a regular thing. Always thought bass guitar would be good for me but never took it up.

So now I just sing, though probably no one would want to hear it.
posted by bwg at 7:38 PM on January 23, 2011

Portland OR native, I think(?)

also coffeelocks I don't know who the female vocalist is but she's pretty great
posted by victors at 7:44 PM on January 23, 2011

I'm fascinated by this one-person loop manipulation stuff. Don't want to hijack but anybody out there that doesn't know Reggie Watts -- get acquainted.

At about 4:03, when the caption LOOP 6 (REDO) comes up, the little riff he plays is a reference to another song. I know I've heard it before, and I'm 90% sure it was in a rap song. Can anybody else name it?
posted by penduluum at 7:47 PM on January 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

I liked it, but then again, I tend to like these sorts of things.
posted by spiderskull at 7:53 PM on January 23, 2011

Some people are hogging all the talent!
posted by theredpen at 7:53 PM on January 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

I wish I could download that Sledgehammer cover. His Soundcloud mp3 has reached its download limit.
posted by Peach at 8:06 PM on January 23, 2011

I love the live-looping stuff as well.

Here's another great mini-promo video for Ableton done by Seattle's Kid Beyond!
posted by mannequito at 8:12 PM on January 23, 2011

Here you go, Peach.
posted by erstwhile at 8:13 PM on January 23, 2011


(sorry for broken link - scroll down to download).
posted by erstwhile at 8:15 PM on January 23, 2011

Ok, sorry, I'm apparently totally incapable of hotlinking. Just look it up on
posted by erstwhile at 8:17 PM on January 23, 2011

victors, he's originally from Providence, RI but I believe he lives in Portland now...
posted by rollbiz at 8:32 PM on January 23, 2011

Man, I live in Seattle and it's amazing to me that this is taking off.
This being live-looping.

There's a large gang of people out here who all know each other, including Mister Reggie Watts, who've been playing with this form for years. Alex Guy of Led To Sea uses this for her work with viola and she hooked me up a basic loop station a few years ago. Such a fun toy.

This is a shout out to everyone who is making music with these toys and not a call out.

And, lest we forget, Blixa Bargeld...
posted by artof.mulata at 9:34 PM on January 23, 2011

artof.mulata: "And, lest we forget, Blixa Bargeld"

And going back much much further into ancient history (ie. the '50s, '60s and '70s), John Cage, Gordon Mumma (probably the first to use looping live on stage, and the first to use a mobius tape loop), Terry Riley, Fred Frith (as far as I know the first to do live recording of loops to create pop music), and Brian Eno.
posted by idiopath at 1:17 AM on January 24, 2011

Saw Thomas Dolby at one of his one man band warm-up gigs in SF from when he decided to get back into making and performing music, before his Sole Inhabitant tour. That gig was built around the same curious mix of studio techniques in performance, and visuals from various small cameras dotted around the stage. Dolby's headcam added a lot of interest. (Here's one track from the subsequent tour.)

Perhaps it helped that the audience were all rabid Dolbyites, but in the right hands you can get some serious rapport going between stage and floor as the music is built up, tweaked and torn down live. Certainly a whole bundle of sheer fun, which is a damn good thing to be a part of, and a really interesting direction for electronic music.

Next step, I guess, is a band doing this.
posted by Devonian at 1:52 AM on January 24, 2011

Devonian: "Next step, I guess, is a band doing this."

The unifying trend in successful musical technology so far is to reduce the need for collaboration. Devices are invented to make individual instruments louder, or sound thicker, to give a bigger sound with a smaller group. A few hundred dollars each on a looper, an effects box, and a drum machine is much cheaper than paying someone to be your accompanist, and they won't get in pissing matches over petty ego conflicts either.

It is possible to have three or four or five people using these technologies together, and I have seen it done quite well, but it really doesn't lend itself to pop music - it gets far too dense, far too chaotic for a pop audience's comfort, very easily.

An alternate set of technologies, that make instruments thinner, quieter, less likely to blend into a muddy morass when played in very large ensembles, is possible. It could be done if one had the budget for the tech and that many players (and the specialized training of that many players). I am enjoying the idea of a whole symphony - with the dynamics of sound you can only get with that many performers focusing together - producing a sound as simple and small as a single unamplified instrument.
posted by idiopath at 2:43 AM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Next step, I guess, is a band doing this.

Dubtribe used to do this live, creating amazingly funky stuff for hours from loops and percussion. And now I see they've reformed and Sunshine's DJing in my town in two weeks.

Holy shit, today is a good day already. Thanks, rollbiz.
posted by mediareport at 6:25 AM on January 25, 2011

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