Option-Click: Mistake Sauce

DISCOVERING GEMS AMID IMPERFECTION
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The Korg microSampler's seemingly undersized one-bar looper effect can convert sloppy singing into rich choruses.

While reviewing the Korg microSampler (in the December ''09 EM, available at emusician.com/elecinstruments/korg-microsampler-pick-review-1209/), I noticed that even if I sang off-key into its looper effect, the bad bits would coalesce into a pleasing chorus if I kept on singing. That reminded me of Brian Eno''s very first Oblique Strategy, “Honor thy error as a hidden intention.” Imperfection adds a special flavor to our quantized world of electronic music production.

Indeed, videogame composer George “The Fat Man” Sanger keeps old brass instruments lying around because “a little mediocre brass playing is a lot better than no brass at all in many cases. It just makes a world of difference to how your heart responds.”

Or to paraphrase Claude Shannon, the father of information theory, “Forget perfection. Use error correction.” Smack handfuls of keys or drum pads at once, and then delete the notes you don''t like.