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genie2 The Genie Lets Music Tech Out of the Bottle
Earlier this week I ventured out to Brick and Mortar in San Francisco to check out some Hip-Hop, but was pleasantly surprised by the opening act. He calls himself The Genie, and creates a groove-induced guitar frenzy while being surrounded by a phalanx of tech. When talking to him after the show I found out he actually had just played the Rock-the-Bike stage at Maker Faire Bay Area.

The use of looper pedals to create one-man bands has been in vogue for a few years now (see Reggie Watts), but The Genie takes it to another level. With the amount of gear he uses, one would think there would be a bit of awkwardness in his style, but the fluidity in his technique indicates a well-versed and consummate musician.

To create his Hip-Hop infused jams, he employs two Line Six DL4 loop pedals, and runs a MicroKORG synth and guitar through them to make the beats. The guitar sits on his lap, allowing him to play all his gadgets in a desktop fashion, and is modified with a kill-switch and a three-way toggle to give a stutter or “morse code” effect.
genie1 The Genie Lets Music Tech Out of the Bottle

He plays without shoes on and uses his feet to manipulate a Mini Kaoss Pad that drastically changes the sound of his output. Then velcroed to his guitar is an IPod Touch running a piece of software he uses to employ what he called “GMixing,” a hyper-delayed wash of sound and percussion at his fingertips.

Despite all this going on, the music never sounds contrived, the beats are always heavy, and he even managed to drop in some Pixies and Radiohead when I heard him.

The Genie will be having an album release party this Saturday, 6/1 at The Center SF. But if you’re in the Bay Area, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to catch this dynamic performer in the future.

Michael Colombo

In addition to being an online editor for MAKE Magazine, Michael Colombo works in fabrication, electronics, sound design, music production and performance (Yes. All that.) In the past he has also been a childrens’ educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.


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