Who is CQ?


Currently residing in the San Francisco Bay area, Cara Quinn (CQ) is an artist of loop-based music, with wide-ranging interests and musical tastes. Though mostly focused on the guitar, with regard to looping, she brings to the instrument and genre, an eclectic sense of experimentation. The resulting musical excursions bare a multi facetted color pallet of style, tone, and texture. Having an intense love of music and the arts from a very young age, Cara enjoyed not only music itself, but also natural, electronic and even industrial sounds, their emotional effects, and how they related to rhythm, color and visual art. These ideas still wend throughout her music today. Always being encouraged by her grandmother and mother to pursue music, she began learning piano at age 8, and, always having access to various musical instruments at home, and receiving two guitars as gifts, began her own musical experimentations with the guitar more seriously, shortly thereafter, at age 9. With an extremely good ear for learning songs she'd hear on the radio, Cara found herself immediately able to learn basic musical structures and chord progressions, not only on the guitar, but piano as well. Despite losing her sight at age 15, due to glaucoma and surgical complications, she avidly continued her guitar instruction throughout high-school and college, learning as much about music theory, and diverse musical styles as she could. In addition to pop, rock, jazz, and progressive styles of music, she found a love for loop-based music early on, being captivated by the rich harmonic and melodic textures she found she could create and discover by way of delay effects with her voice and electric guitar. From there, she began investigating the loop-based genre and music in general more comprehensively, working with several guitar and electronic music instructors including taking Guitar and Music Craft seminars with Robert Fripp, a world-renowned progressive guitarist. It was at this time, she began writing early loop-based and ambient compositions and also creating music for plays, documentaries and short films. She also began engineering and producing projects for musicians who sought rich and progressive sounds for their music. By the early nineties, having completely incorporated looping into her live performances, Cara was asked to open for Gillie Smithe, a lead singer for the psychedelic progressive project, Gong. Cara's set included several dynamically evolving loop pieces highlighting many reoccurring musical, textural and sonic motifs to create freely moving yet completely coherent and focused, accessible musical compositions. She later brought these similar musical approaches to both more traditional rock and alternative musical projects, and also to live radio performance. In addition to solo performance, Cara has also maintained an ensemble approach to music, concentrating on a blending of musical styles other than looping with other musicians as well, such as jazz, rock, new wave, and most recently techno and electronica. Through all of this, her experimental nature still shines clearly, lending her own distinctive stylistic approaches throughout. She still maintains a strong focus on the guitar as a multi-facetted instrument capable of many wonderful and unusual voices. After moving to Boulder Colorado in 1995, she continued her solo and collaborative work, writing and performing with among others, Chance Twain Butler, an electric dulcimer synthesizer player, and delving into the realm of alternative folk with a definite and pronounced progressive spin, incorporating guitar synthesizer and various effects along with very traditional hymns, carols, and folk songs. She also at this time, began exploring the idea of incorporating jazz into a loop-based format, an idea she develops currently, exploring how popular jazz standards can relate in a loop-based format to accent their already rich and beautiful harmonic and melodic qualities taking them to a place they may not have been before. Cara began teaching guitar in the early nineties, which she currently enjoys doing, putting a great deal of attention into helping her students find their own creative voices both on and off the instrument. She's also played in a workshop setting with Kai Eckhardt, a world-renowned jazz bassist, who has played with John McLaughlin, and Bela Fleck, demonstrating advanced musical ideas and rhythmic concepts. In 2002 Cara, along with the innovative Amy X Neuberg, headlined the first ever, Women's Looping Music Festival in San Jose, along with several other of the looping world's most creative women. She then followed this up, playing on the Loop Trio Tour, which featured Andre LaFosse, LA based turntablist guitar virtuoso, Looppool, AKA Rick Walker, innovative Bay area based looping vocalist and percussionist, Jon Wagner, gifted loop-based percussionist also of northern California, and the UK's Steve Lawson, world renowned looping bass phenom. Some of Cara's work can also be heard on the radio, in a nationwide commercial spot for Best Buy and Junior Achievement, for which she wrote and performed loop-based techno synth and guitar music, in 2003. The current direction of Cara's work centers around combining, of all things, jazz, surf, rock-a-billy, vocal layering, and techno within the loop-based form, combining form and evolving texture into completely new and innovative ideas. "As a musician, I really enjoy loop-based music, since I get to put myself in the place of the audience as well. I play, and then the music also plays me. It takes me to new places as we go. It's like a conversation, -a dance..." - Cara Quinn