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Re: reaktor, MSP, etc
OK, let's see. (Note that all of this concerns Reaktor 4, but max/msp
can do the same stuff. With Reaktor you can create UIs with big ol'
blinky lights, XY pads, scopes, sliders, buttons, wave form displays,
bitmaps, and stuff like that--so that you can decide what sort of
information will be displayed to you on your screen. If you are curious
about people who are using laptops to do live looping, check out i.e.
Christian Fennesz or Tomas Korber.)
I have one looper that uses the audiotable module in Reaktor to capture
and play back incoming audio. since the audiotable works by essentially
storing audio bits in a matrix of cells, you can set it up to overdub
only on selected cells. To simply things, there is a grid of 16
possible "cells" that make up each loop. Each of the cells can be set
to overdub or play in reverse independently of the others. So you
could, for example, record a loop, then set only certain cells to
contunuously overdub, so that the majority of the loop remains while
selected parts are constantly changing as you continue to play. Does
that make sense? It might be a little convoluted. The grid is layered,
so that you can record 4 different loops and switch between them. I
have been thinking about using LFOs or controllers to dynamically change
between the loop layers but I'm too lazy to do it right now. The whole
thing can be clocked internally or externally so a primitive sort of
time stretching is possible. It's pretty grainy, but I don't mind that.
It definitely adds texture.
I have another looper, using the grain cloud delay module, that allows
you to break incoming audio, live or frozen, into seperate grains, which
can be pitch shifted, time stretched, lengthened or shortened. You can
juggle the grains to make nice jittery rhythms or just have things
constantly shifting a bit. Feedback can be turned off or inverted, so
this can function much like a delay or only as a looping recorder. I
also added a nice multimode filter with a dynamic envelope and LFO
modulation. This patch can take loops from straight up to totally
unrepresentative of what you just played.
I have another looper that uses the tape deck module to record and loop
incoming audio and an XY graph to vary the playback position of each
slice of the loop over time. You can also change the speed of playback,
but this effects pitch too.
I just downloaded someone else's looper off the NI website the other day
that functions like a bank of tape loops, more or less. Each of the
five loops can be pre-timed by button presses to set the length. This
one is a little primitive but the way it's put together makes it sound
nice. Audio only loops if feedback is turned up all the way, so some of
the loops can act as delays while others are doing the looping.
It's also worth noting that any of these kinds of techniques can be
combined into one patch. You could use an input router, which could be
automated or modulated even, to send incoming audio to different looper
chains. And of course you can construct compressors, limiters, filters,
reverbs, and so forth for additional textures.
Any type of midi controllers can be used. If you can get used to the
various foot switch routines for hardware loopers, you will have no
problem here. A footswitch for controlling things while you're playing
and a table-top midi controller for when you are tweaking would set you
up. And since you can add LFOs or tempo-based modulation to any patch,
some functions can be set into motion on their own for hands-free
tweaking out. You could use a graphic pattern sequencer with snapshot
recall to make certain preset parameter changes while you are playing
and looping. So the changes would be decided in advance, but your
playing could be different every time.
I don't know if any of this stuff is worthwhile to you all, but I just
thought of a few new things I could do while I was writing all of this
Hope this helped!