How are looping manipulations executed?

• most loopers step on pedals while they play.
( can be annoying for the public since they only see the musician look on the ground and dance strangely…)

• some loopers preprogram the necessary commands in a sequence which is part of a composition (and can still be altered in real time).

• some drummers have built controllers to hit with their sticks (like Jon Wagner)

• especially singers/beatboxers have their hands free and can control from:

  • a little device in their hands (like Jim Mahoney showed me in 1993)
  • a keyboard (like Michael Schiefel)
  • a clearly visible switch box so its operation is theatric (like Martin O)
  • a table with all kinds of tools (like Beardy Man)
  • a touch sensitive tablet or phone. this is certainly the future and deserves a page
  • there are many more ways to control, like: a camera, gloves, carpet, bow

• more and more loopers use laptops which they operate by mouse or any other of the mentioned controllers. It can be interesting to show the screen to the listener. He may feel integrated in the creation process, or become distracted from the trance effect of the music…


A lot has been invested in allowing to control loads of functions with few controls.
The Echoplex allows about 50 functions with just 7 buttons, because they change their meaning according to the situation.

The musician can anytime choose between playing and manipulating his loops:
* Some choose to only manipulate loops, we dont call them LiveLooper, but a DJ.
* Some choose to play most of the time but sometimes use a loop to add a voice, so we would not speak of LiveLooping music, because the loop only enriches, not really changes the music.
* Some record a few sounds in the beginning of the piece and then create the music by manipulating those sounds.

Matthias Grob, 2009, 2012


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