Loops and guilt

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Blomblom
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Post by Blomblom » Wed May 17, 2006 7:04 pm

WHAT IS A LOOP ?

SubFunk
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Post by SubFunk » Wed May 17, 2006 7:07 pm

ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam ting shik ting shik tok bam bam

Blomblom
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Post by Blomblom » Wed May 17, 2006 7:08 pm

WHAT IS A LOOP ?

dj superflat
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Post by dj superflat » Wed May 17, 2006 7:42 pm

re how using loops is like arranging furniture but not really art, you're missing the point of modern art (most of which i find to be complete tripe) -- that is, picasso take handlebars and saddle off bike and makes a bull (link below). it's art because he made those pieces his own, transformed them into something different. exact same things with loops. not where they're from, it's what you do with them (same with warhol and cambell's cans or marilyn image (link below) -- that's just a remix of existing elements with some visual tweaking akin to using redux or erosion on a loop). if you're willing to say picasso, warhol, and much modern art simply isn't worthy of our attention or really art because it's collage, found art, whatever, god bless (because i tend to think much modern art, like much loop based music, is crap). otherwise, you've got to concede that using loops is a valid way of going about music.

re drummers, i've played with steve jordan, omar, other folk, i know what great drummers add. but to deny that, in most pop, the drummer is doing little more than playing a loop is silly. even many of your favorite rock records are little more than drum loops, the drum track carved up and stitched back together to sound way better than what the drummer played. and you get some pretty good subtlety via swing and things like beat repeat with even a drum loop taken straight from apple loops or trackteam's stuff for live or whatever.

re the little subtleties and imperfactions a real bass player or drummer or whatever adds, go to it if that's what you want, but alot of people like the ridiculously, artificially precise nature of electronic music, even if you later mess it all up with glitches etc. along with being a sometime drummer, i'm a bass/guitar/keys player who's played (e.g.) bass in bands for years, but for what i'm doing now, a bass guitar makes no sense, just sounds completely out of place, like a zebra amongst the robots or somesuch.


bull's head down page a bit:
http://creativetechnology.salford.ac.uk ... champ4.htm
warhol's remixes:
http://www.warholprints.com/cgi-bin/War ... Warhol.E.P

quandry
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Post by quandry » Wed May 17, 2006 7:55 pm

dj superflat wrote:re how using loops is like arranging furniture but not really art, you're missing the point of modern art (most of which i find to be complete tripe) -- that is, picasso take handlebars and saddle off bike and makes a bull (link below). it's art because he made those pieces his own, transformed them into something different. exact same things with loops. not where they're from, it's what you do with them (same with warhol and cambell's cans or marilyn image (link below) -- that's just a remix of existing elements with some visual tweaking akin to using redux or erosion on a loop). if you're willing to say picasso, warhol, and much modern art simply isn't worthy of our attention or really art because it's collage, found art, whatever, god bless (because i tend to think much modern art, like much loop based music, is crap). otherwise, you've got to concede that using loops is a valid way of going about music.

re drummers, i've played with steve jordan, omar, other folk, i know what great drummers add. but to deny that, in most pop, the drummer is doing little more than playing a loop is silly. even many of your favorite rock records are little more than drum loops, the drum track carved up and stitched back together to sound way better than what the drummer played. and you get some pretty good subtlety via swing and things like beat repeat with even a drum loop taken straight from apple loops or trackteam's stuff for live or whatever.

re the little subtleties and imperfactions a real bass player or drummer or whatever adds, go to it if that's what you want, but alot of people like the ridiculously, artificially precise nature of electronic music, even if you later mess it all up with glitches etc. along with being a sometime drummer, i'm a bass/guitar/keys player who's played (e.g.) bass in bands for years, but for what i'm doing now, a bass guitar makes no sense, just sounds completely out of place, like a zebra amongst the robots or somesuch.
not sure who you are taking shots at, but if its me, you seem to have misunderstood what I said, and assume I listen to pop and rock which I don't. I listen mainly to jazz, funk, reggae, motown, and african music, and none of it uses loops, or has drum parts that are cut and pasted--in fact most of it is pre-digital era and all-live. I find it surprising that someone who claims to have worked with Steve Jordan and Omar Hakim could then go on to totally downplay the importance of musicians playing nuanced parts. I guess they might not have a place in techno, as you seem to imply with your bass comment, but can't you apply what you know about creating basslines and use an effect pedal, midi pickup, or keyboard to create basslines that make use of your bass playing skills versus using a pre-canned loop?
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kennerb
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Post by kennerb » Wed May 17, 2006 8:05 pm

dj superflat wrote:
but to deny that, in most pop, the drummer is doing little more than playing a loop is silly. even many of your favorite rock records are little more than drum loops, the drum track carved up and stitched back together to sound way better than what the drummer played.

.E.P
I think this is a great point. In almost all recorded music that is manipulated digitally the tracks are copied and pasted instead of the straight take carried all the way through. This is true for dance, country, emo, jazz, or whatever. These are loops of the artist themselves but still loops none the less. The intent is to get the best sound and feel.

I like Adonis's point about the end result being the true measurement. At the end of the day that's what it comes down to.

I personally like to do almost all of my stuff from scratch but that is because I love to do it and not for ethical or purity reasons. I tend to feel better about my beats when I know that each little tick and click is from my own process but I also know that 99.9% of the listening audience could give a flying leap at a rolling donut about how it was put together.

To quote the great Humpty


"do watcha like"

oooo
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djadonis206
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Post by djadonis206 » Wed May 17, 2006 8:07 pm

I think we're all agreeing here to um disagree

I say you stay on your side of the street and I'll stay on mine?

no that's not we're talking about

tell y'all what - I'd rather debate loops, drums and what not over Politics any day

later players

I'm actually in the mood to do something 110% ala natural this evening

B0unce, first one make something funky wins (wins what? exactly)

Go....
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dj superflat
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Post by dj superflat » Wed May 17, 2006 8:24 pm

this is silly, because we're addressing completely different types of music and thus completely different goals, ways of working, etc. obviously i'm not ignoring what (e.g.) jazz drummers do. but i seriously doubt many folk are using ableton to put together jazz tracks. and i also suspect that even where folk are using jazz drums in an ableton track, they are doing so by taking a loop from somewhere. and again, obviously, this is all dependent on what someone's trying to do, what kind of music they're making, etc. but to put down the use of loops by reference to what a jazz drummer or bassist can add to a certain kind of piece makes little sense. when people construct their own loops, which is what much of the discussion has been about, they're certainly not creating drum loops akin to what elvin jones or stanley clarke might add to a piece. so if you want to use ableton to record complete bass or drum tracks to go along with whatever else you're doing, so that you have all the inventiveness and nuance a great live player can provide, please do so. i have no objection, wouldn't debate the issue. but that has little relevance to what i suspect most people use ableton for -- some type of loop based music (based, e.g., on the sample music people offer) -- or even to what someone might learn by constructing their own loops to use in creating songs rather than lift an organ loop from a livefill or a bernie worrell record.

dj superflat
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Post by dj superflat » Wed May 17, 2006 8:33 pm

at the risk of being tiresome, one other thing (adonis): i do create my own loops, was delited once i figured out a way to make instrumental parts (mainly guitar) fit into what i deemed electronic pieces (if those distinctions make any sense) by using reaktor FX to mangle things so they don't sound organic (my goal is inorganic sound, your mileage may vary). i just believe that, in theory, there's nothing wrong with making your own music out of other's loops (i'm happy to use a drum loop where it works), in part because it takes you places you didn't expect. e.g., if i play the drums, i too often play beats matching kick to bass line, which is often too uniform sounding, so seeing what other beats can do with the same material can be truly eye opening, sometimes the weird juxtaposition of raga percussion and piano ballad or whatever can be brilliant, something i never would have thought to do, and something even the best drummer sitting in the room with me likely wouldn't have thought to do. similarly, i tend to disdain strings, but have thrown some string loops on songs because you're just drifting through the library auditioning things and something just fits. should i have gone out and found a cellist and made my own loop? or made my own collection of string loops to choose from on the very rare occasion that i would even consider it? silly. i'm over the notion that, to be creative, it has to all come from you. and i don't see any reason to limit my option. again, your mileage may vary.

(btw, i find the discussion interesting, nothing in here is personal, so pls don't take it that way)

FaX-01
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Post by FaX-01 » Wed May 17, 2006 8:36 pm

quandry wrote: not sure who you are taking shots at, but if its me, you seem to have misunderstood what I said, and assume I listen to pop and rock which I don't. I listen mainly to jazz, funk, reggae, motown, and african music, and none of it uses loops, or has drum parts that are cut and pasted--in fact most of it is pre-digital era and all-live. I find it surprising that someone who claims to have worked with Steve Jordan and Omar Hakim could then go on to totally downplay the importance of musicians playing nuanced parts. I guess they might not have a place in techno, as you seem to imply with your bass comment, but can't you apply what you know about creating basslines and use an effect pedal, midi pickup, or keyboard to create basslines that make use of your bass playing skills versus using a pre-canned loop?

You obviously aren't listening to acts like Flanger then :D .
Though they're all reconstructed real life jam's etc alot of the editing Atom Heart & Burnt Friedman pull off is nothing short of amazing.
Incredibly organic and highly creative too boot.
My aren't the wings of butterflies beautiful and do they not make wonderful perturbations.....

quandry
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Post by quandry » Wed May 17, 2006 8:41 pm

kennerb wrote:
dj superflat wrote:
but to deny that, in most pop, the drummer is doing little more than playing a loop is silly. even many of your favorite rock records are little more than drum loops, the drum track carved up and stitched back together to sound way better than what the drummer played.

.E.P
I think this is a great point. In almost all recorded music that is manipulated digitally the tracks are copied and pasted instead of the straight take carried all the way through. This is true for dance, country, emo, jazz, or whatever. These are loops of the artist themselves but still loops none the less. The intent is to get the best sound and feel.

I like Adonis's point about the end result being the true measurement. At the end of the day that's what it comes down to.

I personally like to do almost all of my stuff from scratch but that is because I love to do it and not for ethical or purity reasons. I tend to feel better about my beats when I know that each little tick and click is from my own process but I also know that 99.9% of the listening audience could give a flying leap at a rolling donut about how it was put together.

To quote the great Humpty


"do watcha like"

oooo
I agree with you for the most part, but I don't know what jazz you are listening to to say that it is made from cut and paste loops--only smooth jazz does that. If you listen to any music made before say 1980, odds are very high that there was no digital manipulation of tracks, but also that most of it wasn't recorded to a click track. Certainly all jazz before that time, and most of the good stuff today, is still a hot group of real musicians playing together in a room, doing a few takes of each song all live, and maybe overdubbing some solos, but what you hear is often what they did live in the room that day.

I don't really listen to that much rock or emo, but some of the stuff I've heard "hip" friends listen to has tempo varitations, thus not recorded to a click, thus not very easy to just cut and paste together. I know just from playing in bands and listening carefully to these tracks that what I am hearing is pretty much live, not just cut and pasted together. I think people are downplaying the skills and nuance a good musician can bring to the table way too much here, and to say that a great jazz drummer can't play well enough and has to be cut, pasted, and looped to make the track sound "way better" is an insult to the art of jazz.

I think that most music that is on the radio and tv these days is overly produced and overprocessed, and sounds like crap. most of my cds in my collection are from pre-1980, and there's a reason. I like the sound of good musicians playing together and making music. Most of the newer stuff I like (Blockhead, Prefuse 73, four tet, Bonobo, Dzihan and Kamien, Luke Vibert/Wagon Christ, 9th Wonder) either has a good amount of the artists playing live instruments, or samples live instruments from old albums. I still don't have any major beef with loops, but I think downplaying the skills of musicians, or ignoring the huge catalog of amazing pre-digital, pre-1980's music is a weak justification for loops. There always have and always will be great bands that can set up in a studio and throw it down with minimal overdubs and little to no looping/cutting/pasting, in genres across the board. To say otherwise is making huge generalizations that just aren't true--if you read bass player, modern drummer, or any number of other industry magazines, you can read for yourself about the recording process of many modern albums, and find out for yourself that in fact many great albums these days AREN'T looped/cut/and pasted.
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FaX-01
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Post by FaX-01 » Wed May 17, 2006 9:02 pm

If I might add I do use loops for rythmic purposes but at least 98% of the time they're my own loops.
I program the drum patterns .
Render to audio .
Mangle .
Cut.
Copy.
Paste.
Edit. .
Then reprogram fills and what not here and there.
I can get quite anal on the edits also and will often consolidate these into new variants also.
Where I will use loops is with REX files as I can reprogram the groove and use the loop material more as a source kit unless I'm going for some oddball middle eastern style loop work that is very intricate and needs the exact feel etc of the source material for the track I'm working on.
Everything in moderation and a mix of the above techniques works well.
It's also amazing how much you can pull stuff off a beat / move it forward / back etc just using or should I say ABUSING Live's warping engine and the warp marker positions in one of these said loops.
Mind you they're usually long loops by the time I've finished with a fair bit of organic variation to them.
Though a hell of alot of my material is built up from custom samples and beats by in large on the odd occasion there will be something that just adds too the overall feel of a composition that works and I'll keep it.
I do not however sample illegal source loops for example or use whole pre-canned musical passages and the like.
Each too their own I say.
My aren't the wings of butterflies beautiful and do they not make wonderful perturbations.....

pulsoc
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Post by pulsoc » Wed May 17, 2006 9:03 pm

Blomblom wrote:WHAT IS A LOOP ?
Good question. In the context of Pulsoc vs. ILTK and bOuncy I take it to mean any sample not originated by the tunesmith. In my specific case, it refers to drum breaks, one shots, and recordings of people playing instruments or making sounds. Remember, any form of synthesis is "looping" a sample of a waveform - but I won't take the argument to that level.

Figuring out how to make an Amen break sound fresh is tougher these days than writing a symphony. (exaggeration)

In my experience, learning how to place and manipulate sampled sounds has taught me a great deal about overall composition, texture, sound placement, mixing, etc. It has also stimulated my creativity and reach. Using some samples has made me cope with musical challenges I probably would not have encountered had I isolated my music-making to strictly doing everything myself.

At the same time I have learned how to use synthesis to construct sounds for the same kinds of purposes. Not incredibly well, but well enough to go from idea(s) to finished track.

And while ILTK and bOuncy feel, prima facie, their theory must be true because it is common sense - well, the road to knowledge is littered with the broken theories of "common sense." Which is why science asks for "evidence" to "support" a "hypothesis", and why we no longer believe the sun revolves around the earth.

Again, I posit to bOuncy and ILTK - show us your evidence of how learned you are - at the least it will "support" your hypothesis instead of making you sound like a pair of academic wind-bags with no dirt under your nails.

djadonis206
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Post by djadonis206 » Wed May 17, 2006 9:05 pm

I wish I knew how to play an instrument - then I wouldn't be involved in this debate :)

real drummers, guitarist, singers are cool

but you still need a decent producer and engineer to help get the message across

everyone has a role in the production process and it's really a matter of where you fit in.

Why would a producer take singing lessons and what good would 8 quarters at the Art Institute do for a drummer? It may open their minds a little bit to the overall process but fundamentally they'd be better served learning the trades from other producers and drummers

but then I'm back to my point - it's all about the end product ;) who cares how you got there as long as you got there.

Love


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FaX-01
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Post by FaX-01 » Wed May 17, 2006 9:08 pm

Seriously QUANDRY - do yourself a huge favour and go listen to SPIRITUALS by "FLANGER.
You'd never believe it was digitally reconstructed out of live musician jam sessions except for some wigged out parts that do really wierd things (in a cool way) with MS20 processing / formant shifting and some other clever glitched over (very subtle glitched over) guitar passages and the like.
The material sounds like it was recorded in 1930 or something.
Beautifully produced I might add and great musicianship too boot.
Then again it's been reconstructed by too muso's and it isn't "smooth jazz" or trying to be tragically hip either.
Obviously a labour of love when you here the end results that's for sure.
My aren't the wings of butterflies beautiful and do they not make wonderful perturbations.....

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