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Loopers - More Chore Than Music?

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I was checking out the @draelyc youtube demo of his new EB strings and this popped up afterwards and yes, I saw skirt and legs so I watched it.

I like Coolio's original of this song but watching her work her way through the whole thing just ruins it for me.  She does a great job, hits all her marks, etc, but it's just lifeless.  I find this is my typical reaction to musicians using loopers.  I'm usually checked out about before they finish building their foundation.

 

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7 hours ago, cynic said:

  I find this is my typical reaction to musicians using loopers.  I'm usually checked out about before they finish building their foundation.

 

Yeah, it's usually not that groovy with loopers in a live situation. Very few digital devices has got that swing. It's as far from a live band situation as you can come.

And when programing stuff it takes much skill to get it good. Roger Linn is one fella that usually gets it right. The Akai MPC3000 was one hell of a sampler, with a good groove on it's own.

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...but some do know how to do it just right: 😉

 

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Loopers or not, watching somebody do the 'stompbox dance' isn't exactly my idea of entertainment.

Besides, I prefer this version:

 

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Every time I see the word "looper", I just remember Bill Murray's scene describing the Dalai Llama from Caddyshack. Heck he even narrated a short film called 'LOOPERS: The Caddie's Long Walk"
 

 

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I was impressed with her control over the looper, but it took right at 2 minutes before she actually started singing.  Not for me.  I wouldn't want to do that, and I wouldn't want to see a musician doing that in front of me, but nobody asked my ancient ass.

And get off my lawn!

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I liked it.  Thanks for sharing.

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Like anything it can used as a tool for Good or Evil.

I love using a looper, but I find a law of diminishing returns with adding layers.

Since most definitions of “groove” and “funkiness” rely on space, I feel there should be at least some to work with 😁

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You can't do "conventional" music in a compelling way without the "startup lag" or using pre-saved loops, so covers are a non-starter for people who can't deal with the lag.  I think if you can sing while you're making the layers (and God has blessed you if you can) then I think there's an "out".  The closest I've seen is probably Eloise Trow who gets to singing at 0:45 or so:

But I think there are a lot of neat, meditative styles that really only happen because of loopers.  Think Frippertronics, and other kinds of of deeply repeating, layered compositions. 

Another standout who make it all work for him in the modern era is Andre LaFosse:

... who describes his work as being a "turntablist" with his own live music.

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I use a Ditto X2 looper when I do solo shows. Allows me to solo in the breaks. My joke with the crowd is "This allows me to play with myself in public and not get arrested."

Tried using it with the band, but our drummer can't........ well you know.

Loopers are an awesome tool for practicing by oneself.

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While I don't like loopers all that much as far as replacing a band for an actual show, there are some factors that make me not blame people for using them.   You don't have to worry about finding a band for one.  Not only does that cut down on herding multiple people and scheduling, it also makes the pittance you can make as a musician at least all go in one pocket.  Additionally, with fewer and fewer places out there who will tolerate the volume needed for a proper band, it opens up more venues.  Finally, we're all musicians and aren't the demo.  Most people just want to hear the hits played well enough that they are easy to sing along to.  The difference between a somewhat lifeless but decent version of "Don't Stop Believin'" that the crowd can sing along to is going to satisfy about as many people as a "ripping" (I put in quotes as I hate that damned song in general, but people do love it) version.  

All in all, I think acoustic looper acts are as much a product of market forces as anything else.  I will also admit that it isn't as easy as a lot of people act like it is, particularly when you watch someone build a percussion loop and a bass line with nothing more than an acoustic, a couple of pedals, and a looper.  For me personally, the whole fun of playing is doing it with other people, so I don't think I'd get much out of it.  However, I don't think I could set up and make it work as well as some local performers I've seen do it.

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Saw 20something band last year in Chapel Hill with a guitar player that would live track 3 loops thru Matchless(!?!) amp.  Even when he had an error would correct on the fly.  Amazing.

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I have a Ditto that I use for practicing soloing over a groove but I do not posses the skills to use it in a live situation. I have a friend that uses one when he is doing duos with a harmonica player so that he can establish the groove and then do fills while he is singing. He's pretty good with it. Only big timer I have seen use one with great effect is Hamilton Loomis but he is a force of nature. 

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I use a looper as a songwriting tool, and to help me develop melodic/lead lines for songs I'm arranging for my band. I have never used one in a live performance.

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After this week, I wish my band was a looper. 

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2 hours ago, LucSulla said:

After this week, I wish my band was a looper. 

Or you could go hybrid...  Apparently the band "Battles" has each player use an EDP, all sync'd together.  That lets each of them add multiple layers to what they're playing concurrently.  Madness.  :D

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Posted (edited)

One thing to really keep in mind if you start to test these waters is that a looper is really a real-time recording studio that you operate with your feet.  No two loopers are exactly alike and the difference between two loopers is even more substantial than the difference between two delay pedals or multi-effects units, so the "intuition" you carry from one device to the next isn't nearly as useful as it is for other, more idiomatic devices.

So what works great for Ed Sheeran or KT Tunstall would likely not work for Andre LaFosse and vice versa.  

Edited by sixesandsevens

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On 4/24/2019 at 3:33 AM, cynic said:

I was checking out the @draelyc youtube demo of his new EB strings and this popped up afterwards and yes, I saw skirt and legs so I watched it.

I like Coolio's original of this song but watching her work her way through the whole thing just ruins it for me.  She does a great job, hits all her marks, etc, but it's just lifeless.  I find this is my typical reaction to musicians using loopers.  I'm usually checked out about before they finish building their foundation.

 

I always think the measure of someone is would I pay to see them live. "You wanted the best, and you got the best the hottest band in the world...er...a chick with an acoustic"

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I do some solo restaurant / wedding gigs w/ a looper, obviously its more about live background music than a "show". but I just comp some chords, usually fingerstyle so its more rhythmic, and try to get to the melody quickly.

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