Make the loops “round”, so they don’t “tumble” or have clicks from cut off notes. Feel the rhythm in the foot before you tap the first recording. Play the first base a few times before you hit the switch at the one beat and then again at the one beat.

Find what lines are suitable for repetition. Outstanding notes and bending may be fun to listen to a few times but then tend to fall on the nerves.

Find what different sounds you have available to complete each other. Many loopers are multi-instrumentalists. They may not have been before, but looping allows to put one instrument down while the music is running and grab another for the next layer, so it suggests the broadening of your sound spectrum.

Learn to modify the running loop. It can be faded and renewed slowly or replaced in parts. So instead of turning into a ball and chain that ankers you where you started, it can allow you to spontaneously evolve, respond to what you just did and improve the idea with each layer, which leads you to ideas which otherwise may take years to find.
Replace and Substitute are functions that allow to change parts of the loop, for example single notes or chords to gradually alter the melody or chord sequence.
You can also create new rhythms by chopping out a part of a loop and listen to its new feel and then elaborate it by substituting the maybe initially awkward result with real playing.

Let go of the traditional ways to build music. They are created for groups of musicians and dancers who have to remember the structure and keep synchronized to each other. Its possible to imitate such structures with looping, but not easy and often not satisfying because its not quite as good as the old way. But looping allows many new ways! Just try and see what the listeners say. They will not complain that after part B you did not return to part A…

Once you handle those basic functions intuitively, just as you can play your instrument without thinking, there are a lot more options to go on: Multiple units, synchronized or unrelated or polyrhythmic, mixing between several loops, inserting, splicing, reversing, sequencing… new ideas and applications come up as we speak…

Matthias Grob


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