Sara Ardizzoni on Avoiding Looping Cliches

“In general, working with loops means you must have good timing and be very precise,” says Italian composer and loop guitarist Sara Ardizzoni, who performs and records under the name Dagger Moth. “But there’s also the risk of becoming too predictable. Therefore, I add some challenges to the game. I avoid the usual structure built on consecutive layers, where consecutively looping one phrase over another means every part gets heard at least once before ending up in the arrangement, because you obviously have to record it first. I try to mix up these live loops with prerecorded electronic samples that pop into the song, taking the ear unexpectedly somewhere else by suddenly fading in and out. In addition, I avoid what I call the ‘karaoke effect’ of being too obvious by never playing along to backing tracks that are the same length as the song. I interact with very short samples—just a few seconds long—while playing and singing. Of course, this often turns into a manic tap dance instead of a concert.

“Another challenge is that my effects (which include an Ibanez Delay, a Korg Mini Kaoss Pad, and a DigiTech RV-7 Stereo Reverb) are set differently for every song—as are all the volume controls for patches and phrases in my BOSS RC-50 Loop Station. Maybe it’s just that I like to complicate my life. However, all of the effects and looping techniques serve a simple purpose of channeling my emotions, and drawing the listener into my little sonic planet. In the end, I want heart and guts to prevail over the technological aspects.”

Sara Ardizzoni strives to produce music that “rejects stereotypes and isn’t easy to pigeonhole.” She certainly nails that goal, and, as a result, she is one of the most beguiling, unique, and inspirational players you’ll encounter. 



Author: Michael Molenda

Founder of Guardians of Guitar. Longest-serving Editor in Chief of GUITAR PLAYER (1997-2018). Long live Link Wray and Mick Ronson!

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