I’ve been working lately on using my JamMan Stereo looper to put complete band arrangements together on the fly, using the Digitech RP355 to orchestrate. This piece, “The Road Out of Here” (copyright 2012 Richard Hunter/Turtle Hill Productions, all rights reserved) has been evolving, starting with the lyrics (which came out of ideas I developed in my book “World Without Secrets” in 2001), for a few years. I recently began to play it with a new groove, fast and urgent, which you hear on this recording.

Richard Hunter with Lowlands
The piece begins with a drum loop–I don’t remember where I got it, but it may be one of the drum grooves built into the RP355. On top of that I layer, in order:

  • A double-octave down bass patch with wah, playing a single repeated bass note. I don’t work the wah pedal–I set it to a place that emphasizes the bass tones I want, and leave it there.
  • An octave-down patch with wah-wah, playing a horn riff. This and the preceding patch are similar to the ones I use on “Early to Bed,” but louder. I use the pedal to work the wah, which adds a lot of mojo to the riffing. Most of the time this riff is played, not looped.
  • The same octave-down patch with wah, playing a chunka-chunka chord pattern. I leave the wah set to a certain point, or work the pedal barely if at all. I use the same patch for the chord swells on the IV chord of each verse, using the pedal to work the wah and make it bloom, but those aren’t looped.
  • A vibrato patch, which sounds like an electronic organ. I use the pedal to make the vibrato deeper.
  • Finally, the piece de resistance: an incredibly distorted patch with a Whammy effect that drops the pitch by a whole step. I use this patch for a kind of heavy slide guitar effect.

  • You add all those sounds up, and it makes a pretty big roar, as you can hear on the recording. The JamMan Stereo lets me remove the latest layer added to the loop, so I can make it all big and then drop it down instantly, all of which is very nice for arranging on the fly. The vocals are processed through the TC-Helicon Voicelive Play, using a patch called “Benny and the Jets.”

    In case there’s any doubt, this recording was made live, with no overdubbing (except live overdubbing on the JamMan Stereo looper, of course). I parked my Zoom H4 a few inches from the grill of my Peavey KB2 keyboard amp and hit record. I mastered the live recording (meaning I compressed it, EQ’d it, and made it a little louder) in Sonar X1, which is what I use for mixing and mastering.


    “The Road Out of Here” Copyright 2012 by Richard Hunter/Turtle Hill Productions, all rights reserved