Thursday, November 26, 2009

Long Loops, Less Gear

So I thought I had my structure figured out (see previous post). I have been designing looping for midi sequence and for audio (although the Nord does not offer a lot of memory for looping -- read on), but for my new direction, looping (capturing) performances is key.


Looping is a funny thing, it makes tweaking easier. Looping means if I can perform a piece of my music and loop it, then add a layer or record another loop, so I can do other things and load new material up, play and see how a sound might work with the rest. Which I could do before, but I could not record my all my tweaks. The Nord G2 is simply not able to do such a thing since it does not record MIDI files, or Long Audio loops. So I decided to go elsewhere for that and give it a shot.


Funny thing, what a little box can bring. The little box is a Electroharmomix 2880 Looper which can record very long loops of audio and mix them and layer them.


I have spent a few hours with it and I am, ahem, quite happy with the results.

Essentially its giving me what I have been wanting to do with a Nord G2, but it's main limitation is only a single 2.7sec (or 5.4sec using memory from both the voice and fx areas) which amounts to 4 beats which is not long enough for evolving layering and tweak recording. So I talked to few people, and heard about the Electroharmonix 2880 Looper.

The little 2880 has up to 16 minutes per track and it has 6 tracks too (6 times that which I could barely struggle to use in 1 g2 looping up to 8 bars only.

So check it out. I have now no reason to have 2 g2's in my setup. I simply use 1 G2 (drums and grooves), a x0xb0x and a blofeld as sources of loops. Seriously. And the other cool things is, I can load new patches in my Nord G2 (1 Nord, expanded) without missing a beat (since the looper keeps playing what it has previously recorded. What could be simpler than that?

And I am finding that I can pull up any Nord patch and decide if it fits. Which means I could perform tracks only from my gear live, or capture bits and pieces meaning I have more control over tweaks over time.

These are some big changes for my workflow, mind you I will not drop my live midi sequence recording in the Nords or live looping voice lines, it will mean less gear to worry about (and a Nord G2 is a very good keyboard to keep safe from accidents during gigs), and a hell of a lot of fun.

One other nice surprise to using a looper, I don't have to run my gear at max capacity all the time, nor do I have to tweak all my gear all the time. Meaning I can build tracks with less equipment. And have more fun and less work.

This does not mean my loops will be prerecorded. I am a big believer in LIVE performance. Nope, all loops are generated live and tweaked as before, but now recorded and overdubbed and layered over long periods of time. So more of what I really like to do, and a little less work for me, but the depths of creativity and possibilities get multiplied.

Change is good

I am glad I am testing different performance concepts now, still far from my gig. If you're going to introduce new concepts into your rig, don't do it close to a gig.

Back to the looping. I will post more details of my progress later

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