Frequently Asked Questions?
Essentially loop-based music involves the repetition of audio samples or loops. All from this basic premise, looping encompasses a wide range of techniques for building, manipulating, and utilizing samples. Digital devices have been invented that are specifically dedicated for use in live performance.
I use a Boss RC-50 loop pedal. This looper has the capability to create three different loops, each with many layers and overdubs, between which I can seamlessly switch during the performance.
As we know, looping requires some sort of sonic input. It happens that I play the guitar, one of the more expressive instruments ever developed (IMHO). To add to its expressiveness I use various signal processing techniques to create unusual and interesting sounds and textures with the guitar. I layer guitar parts using an array of different tones and textures. Each time I add a new overdub it's like adding another performer to an ensemble complete with their own texture or instrument; I am suddenly transformed from being merely a solo guitarist to a multi-instrumentalist of sorts.
To create these sounds and textures I use several guitar processors. The Boss GT-Pro is responsible for my base tone as well as several effects. I have a pair of Boss VF-1's in my rig as well. These, in conjunction with the GT-Pro, allow me to create very complex effects routings. The VF-1 is an under-appreciated effects processor. For example, there is a multi-tap delay algorithm in the VF-1 that offers 20 taps, each of varying length up to 2.8 seconds long and which can be assigned to any position in the stereo field! Every sound that I'm using was programmed from scratch so as you might imagine, I spend a lot of time experimenting with signal-processing and programming my guitar rig. I get a lot of crazy ideas regarding how I might be able to route my guitar signal through a maze of signal-processing to create the odd sounds in my mind's ear.
Some songs are constructed entirely live. Other songs start with drum and/or bass loops that I created in my home studio and have pre-loaded into the looper. These provide a nice rhythm section as a foundation to layer the remaining guitar parts during a live performance.
Yes, this is a part of live looping which I enjoy immensely! I find that live, looped improvisation shows the reflective quality in my playing. I create an initial loop and then pause briefly to listen to what I've just performed. I must then respond either by adding an over-dub or simply playing over it. This process continues - adding, layering, subtracting, creating new loops - in an effort to move through this infinitely mutatable arrangement until it has reached its natural conclusion. It's instantaneous "musical self-study": meditative, emotional, reactive and influenced by the present mood and surroundings.