Ableton Looper control using dummy clips

I’ve been using a pedal on my FCB1010 to control the speed (ie pitch) of the loop, but it requires attention to the speed to create a smooth effect (of course, I love erratic shifts as well!) But lazing in bed I had an idea and bu**er me, it works!

You simply create an (empty) audio clip on the same track as the looper, then open the envelope window for it, select looper / speed then draw in the envelope. Triggering the clip then performs the action. This can be smooth or not, as you wish – you can even have it jump up and down by fixed note gaps. If the loop is a seamless single note, this in effect creates a pitch-shiftable drone.

I’ve set up 1,2 & 3 octave drops/rises and one also fades up reverb length & level (using the same principle) – this gives a slow drop of 3 octaves as the reverb effect deepens. I also set a “looper off” signal to the envelopes so when it’s dropped, it stops & the reverb shimmers on – nicccce.

The envelope technique allows you to preset all kinds of dramatic effects, occurring simultaneously and in far greater depth than using both hands and feet!


I’ve been inspired to make a video tutorial. It’s taken the best part of 4 hours to get it done (and the quality sucks) but hopefully they will become quicker, better and easier to make with practice. I’ve used SMRecorder – advice on better (free) software appreciated!


“Schleifen” is “loops” in German. Tilman Baumgärtel has written a book (in German) about the history and aesthetics of loops. Here is a review of the book, of course, also in German 🙂

Mind you, this is not a book about livelooping, but about loops, repetitions, in music.


Tilman Baumgärtel: „Schleifen. Zur Geschichte und Ästhetik des Loops“. Kulturverlag Kadmos, Berlin 2015, 352 S.

1000 Years of Reverbs

This blog page of Sean Costello points to a very interesting essay (in PDF format) about the history of reverb.

Sean Costello is known in the livelooping scene as the author of the fabulous ValhallaShimmer reverb plugin (and several other plugins).

Lost Garden Looping CD out

My band Lost Garden (myself and ex-Comsat Angel Andy peake on keys) have their debut CD Cotyledon out now, featuring looped guitar throughout – if you want to hear what Ableton’s built-in looper is capable of, check out the audio samples, then buy a copy 😉

Please share wherever you can, we need the PR 😉