Alibi V.24 No.11 • March 12-18, 2015 

Music History

An Interview with Dwight Loop, Pt. II

Dwight Loop
Dwight Loop
Courtesy of artist
Dwight Loop’s first venture promoting electronic and experimental music in our state was New Music New Mexico. By the mid ’80s, Loop had expanded his reach, bringing an innovative series of concerts to local venues. Then he reached out even further with collaborative work on both coasts. Finally and post-millenium, he returned to New Mexico.

Alibi: What kind of performances and collaborations resulted from New Music New Mexico?

It’s been a real journey. My ears have always been open to a lot of different things. For me, electronic music has always been the new classical music.

Dwight Loop: During that period in time, I was busy cultivating the experimental scene through grants. We received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). In the early ’80s, I had an urge to begin working with different ensembles. ... We wouldn’t all necessarily play at the same time, but [we] would contribute duo and trio work; it was called Circuits. There were performances at the KiMo and one at Keller Hall. The first concert featured Larry Otis (the guitar tech at Grandma’s Music), Bob Chozek and myself. We incorporated modern dance as well as projections. John Cline of The Planets did the sound. Maurice Methot, a friend who was teaching electronic music at the university, got involved as did cellist Tom McVeety. Cellists have always been interesting to me as electronic musicians because of the tonalities they work with. We wanted to create a total experience—something that flowed from one idea to another seamlessly.

What happened as the ’80s segued into the ’90s and beyond?

It’s been a real journey. My ears have always been open to a lot of different things. For me, electronic music has always been the new classical music. I ended up in the Bay Area after working in New York on something called Pixound, an interactive collaboration. ... An old friend of mine from St. John’s in Santa Fe invited me to come to New York to program samples for his project. Then I got called to the Bay Area. I always liked Berkeley; the scene reminded me of Ann Arbor, Mich. It was a progressive place. There was electronic music everywhere. I listened to The Residents and Tuxedomoon. I thought to myself, “I’m going to come and live out here.” I had no idea I’d spend the next 10 years there. I collaborated with a light artist named Lynn Augustine from Cobalt Sun in Sausalito, Calif. We rented a huge space, blacked out the walls and turned it into an experiential art project. Steve Roach and I worked together, and he became a good friend of mine. We performed at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. I performed my Hanab Ku Trilogy there. It was based on the idea of a galactic radio station, and it was real deep space music. Lynn did all the lighting..

I’ve always been fascinated by the work you created while in New York. Can you tell me more about it?

With the Big Sound project, we did stuff at the Palladium and The Kitchen. I also worked with Julia Heyward, who had collaborated with Laurie Anderson. The result was a multimedia performance called “Miracles in Reverse.” On the last night of the performance, Anderson and Lou Reed showed up. It was really fun, and I got to do a lot of great things in the two years I was there. It’s a continuing saga really—a trip.

Why did you return to New Mexico?

Things evolved. I decided it was time. New Mexico always felt like my home, and I’m continuing my work here at home. I recently recorded Dream Jungle Music, which is kind of tribal-trance stuff that mixes old school conceits with tribal beats. I discovered Ableton Live, a computer-based tool that really expanded my compositional output. Right now, I’m doing an old-school album. I’m also planning a solo electronic show, and shopping venues for that as we speak. I want to express a lifetime in electronic music as a solid series of moments or events.