Looping with Ableton

After a long learning curve I’ve successfully managed to live loop using the “looper” feature of Ableton – I’m using an old midi pedal to send patch changes to midi-ox, which converts them to CC messages so Ableton can respond to them. The features I control via foot include

record / playback / clear / undo / half speed or double speed (both multiple octaves) / reverse / half or double loop length

Of course, this is massively extended using the VST and native audio effects within Ableton, which are virtually unlimited. It’s a very flexible solution and has persuaded me to forsake my EDP rack for a laptop running XP. Touch wood, it’s worked fine so far!

If anyone is interested, I can explain how this is done at greater length. I’m not so savvy with making videos of the screen, so it would be text based.

Live Looping Lesson

Joe Gore’s Live Looping Lesson on Premier Guitar

Joe writes, ‘This one’s a labor of love: Premier Guitar just published my live looping lesson. Included are most of the hard-won looping techniques I’ve acquired over the last few years. I crashed and burned 100 times onstage so you don’t have to! 😉

The percentage of my life spent looking at this exact view is too depressing to contemplate.

The 20 audio clips embedded in the article were trickier than usual to prepare. Ordinarily when I record music mag demos, it’s simply a matter of plugging in a guitar, amp, or pedal and noodling around while trying to make it sound good. But here I had to demonstrate techniques that unfold over time, which is harder than it sounds, at least for me. But I’m reasonably satisfied with how they turned out.

My emphasis throughout is going beyond looping cliches and defying listener expectations. That too is difficult — by definition, loops are predictable! But I’ve been racking my brain for years, trying to come up with ways to bust out of the usual patterns. Most of my ideas appear here. Hope you find them useful!’

Loop Jubilee on ARTE TV Tracks

French/German TV station ARTE sent a team to the May 2014 Loop Jubilee festival in Paris. Their report was on TV in September and can now be watched on Youtube in French or German. There are interviews/footage with Juana Molina, Terry Riley, Robert Fripp, and Rick Walker. The report also contains footage from the festival itself, including interview snippets with Frippertronics based looper Michael Peters and Logelloop inventor Phillippe Ollivier. Thank you to Valerie Paille and her Tracks team for this report!

French version:

German version:

Why did I move from the Boss RC50 to the Boomerang III instead of the RC300

Randolf Arriola

From Singapur based livelooper Randolf Arriola:

One of the most popular questions i get from fellow live loopers and new enthusiasts is why did i move from the Boss Rc50 to the Boomerang III instead of the RC300. So I post my most recent reply to this question here to share with others hopefully of use to whom it may concern;

I was previously using the RC50 since 2005 to 2010 and decided to move onto the Boomerang only when Rc300 was released as i realized that the Looper functionalities of the RC300 was not improved from the RC50 and it was basically a newer bigger model with added on guitar and vocal effects which i didn’t need as i preferred the use of other effect units like the Evenbtides and TC Electronics gears and so moved on to Boomerang III with the sidecar instead which imho is the best hardware live looper device for my puposes.

For what i do in my live looping art i do not rely on the use of any prerecorded tracks or tempo metronomes, so i don’t use tempo and midi quantize but instead i do use loop quantize. This method i feel is more organic sounding and always creative but also understandably not something most folks get it that in Live Looping it requires alot more attention to basic fundamentals in music especially concerning “TIME” and “Dynamics”.

In Live Looping you are venturing into new expanded and exciting creative territories because you are no longer just a guitarist or singer but also a producer, arranger and engineer at the same time live, on the spot, it’s almost like witnessing tight rope walker live. LOL

So basically the Boomerang doesn’t do midi quantize but i understand that their most recent firmware updates are addressing it to make it possible to do so. The Boss Rc50 and Rc300 when played with the onboard tempo drum tracks immediately enables the midi quantize to function. Which is best for the individual live looper it really depends on the each respective persons intention.

You guys may also want to seriously consider the new flagship model from TC Helicon, The VoiceLive 3 which is an incredible 3 in 1 Device that has TCH’s best Vocal Processing/Harmonizing effects and almost every imaginable voice tweakeroo possibilities + A Great sounding Multi Effects with lovely wide Amp Simulation choices and Acoustic Body Rez options + 3 Phrase Live Looper which i think is especially Midi Quantize friendly. This unit makes it possible to create entire ensemble pieces with just a mic and instrument and your wildest creative imagination from just one box.

Reanimating my Frippertronics setup

Here is a new video showing my first session since decades playing frippertronics – with a nod to the master, Robert Fripp.

The title says “reanimating” but it doesn’t actually show how I reanimated the dusty and hibernating 40 year old pair of Revox A77 machines – that was something that my technician did, and I don’t even want to know the gory details.

Lots of hiss and rumble in the music but hey – this is the original vintage livelooping setup, and for some reason, I totally love the look of those rotating wheels.

Farewell to echoplex…

I’ve finally made the move from hardware to software (plus the inevitable controllers!). You can hear early fruits of this on tracks by my new duo “The Garden” here.

It’s been a wrench saying goodbye to my jamman, echoplex red sound, akira etc., but the sonic possibilities of software outweigh (to my ears) all the niggles associated with running windows at a live gig.

I’ve got the ableton looper plugin well and truly under foot-control now, multiple tracks, reversing, pitch change, synching, post-processing – there really is no limit to what can be done. I’m currently working on recreating the “quantise replace” feature. As yet a work in progress but I’ll probably get there one day 😉

Silly EDP tricks

There are so many incredible things that can be done using a looper that go beyond simple livelooping. These tricks can be explained in written form but the most effective way to teach them probably are demo videos. Phil Clevenger has just set up a website for demo videos – so if you know a special technique with a looper (stuttering, quantized replace, whatever), please make a video of it and post it here:

Silly EDP tricks

Phil writes,

Maybe the name is too specific, really Mobius tricks, Echoloop tricks, Looperlative tricks, all would be welcome…

No time for me to provide content for a couple of weeks but if anyone wants to start, there is a Submit button there 🙂

Will make it look and work nicer if it looks like we will get any real traction …