Join Daniel Mintseris for an in-depth discussion in this video About live looping, part of Live Looping with Ableton Live.
- [Instructor] You play a musical phrase, you step on a pedal and it starts repeating, then you add more layers, building an arrangement in real time, and then you play or sing over it. That's Live Looping. It's been around in this fundamental form since the 1990s, when the groundbreaking Echoplex Digital Pro was first introduced. It was really a delay unit, but it allowed recording and playing back loops and was accessible enough that a whole new genre was born. A lot of other looping hardware and software has become popular since and has continued to be a thriving art form.
To me, the coolest thing about Live Looping is that you get to watch a performer put the music together right in front of you, one part at a time. It's a sort of peak in the kitchen or a magic trick revealed. Also, it requires real skill to get the timing right, perform each part, and then have all the layers add up to something not only cohesive, but hopefully transcendent. It can be really exciting to watch. Some of the more famous household name practitioners are probably KT Tunstall, Imogen Heap, Ed Sheeran.
The most memorable looping performances I've witnessed have been Jon Brian at his epic Largo shows, where he played drums, piano, keyboards, guitar, bass, and sang and looped it all. Kimbra builds amazing vocal arrangements. Noveller creates big, fantastic, cinematic guitar soundscapes. And Merrill Garbus of tUnEyArDs loops her voice, drums, and ukulele to make these really original songs. I'm a fan. As for my own experience, I've had some experimental piano electronics performances that involved looping, worked with Joy Askew in a trio called Forge the Bell.
It was built around Joy's vocal loops. And played a special duo St. Vincent show, where I mostly looped drum beats and played piano. This was for David Lynch's Festival of Disruption.
- MIDI looping with no click
- Multitrack looping
- Working with X-Clips in CylphX Pro
- Enhanced looping with ClyphX Pro
- Multiple loops
- MIDI and audio overdubbing
- Live recording with multiple looping points