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clever idea mercilessly crushed
For a while I've been working on the design
for a performance-oriented MIDI looper, since
there are a lot of interesting possibilities that
can't be done with audio (e.g. successive loop
iterations are played through different patches).
One neat idea I had would be to arrange the delay to go
'backwards', with successive echoes louder, until
they reached a maximum volume and disappeared.
This would allow one to do the traditional
"add-new-material as old material is fading out"
sort of looping, but with a radically different feel.
Just to be different.
Now, you could do this with digital audio and a very long
delay with a lot of multi-taps, but that doesn't sound
very easy to arrange.
So, then I was thinking, though, if you just recorded a
"normal" evolving lopo forwards and played it backwards, it
would have a similar effect, except the notes themselves
would be backwards.
This then led me to the crucial clever idea of doing the
same thing that is done for backwards echo in the studio:
record the material forwards, play the tape backwards while adding
echo, and then play the whole thing forwards.
This has problems since you don't know how it's going to come
out in the end, and performed-layered-looping kind of requires
this, so I hacked around it as follows: setup up the looper
however you want it. Record your material, played through the
looper, but only record the pre-looped signal. When done, flip
the tape, run the loops on the recorded mateirla backwards, *without
changing any looper settings*. This roughly guarantees that the
matieral will sync up backwards the same as it did forwards.
(Note, though, that you can't really do anything clever, like
So, a few months ago, I played around with it. It was kind of
cool, but I wasn't that inspired at the time, so I put the idea
away for a rainy day as 'something cool to play with later'.
The other day I was listening to Fripp & Eno's "Evening Star".
Seems it's *not* a very original idea after all.