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free improv/looping/composition

Kim asked about the improv discussion and how it related to the topic of
looping. Maybe this will be more on topic . . . 

For me, as I primarily use my looping devices for free improv situations, 
is of critical interest to me. How does one take a fairly static
device/technique and make it breathe with music that can turn on a dime? 

For me it comes down to using the same "muscles" (my brain and ears) that I
use while playing the bass and adapting them to the technology at hand, the
looping device. So I have to be listening to what's going on, see what it 
that I want to do, try to ascertain if it's going to work. If it's using a
looping device, then I need to set up the line or texture that I'm going to
loop (unless I'm already doing it). When I'm starting to set it up, I need
to reassess whether or not it's still a viable musical choice: if not,
scuttle; if so, full steam ahead. The next parts of the process have to do
with adding to/changing the loop, what's right and what's not. Changing
volume of the loop, move to foreground or put in background. As important 
knowing if and when to start is knowing when to end; is the loop starting 
hinder rather than enhance the music at hand? Often I turn the loop off in
the middle of an improv and bring it in for a reprise later or at the end 
a piece. Perhaps I'll put it into reverse or change the octave . . . 

Since I play bass, the looping issue also gets into how thick the texture 
and how much mud is viable in the situation. Also a consideration is how
much out and out noise I want to deal with.  

To me it's all about creative decisions based on what's happening, where I
want things to go and whether or not those coalesce. 

In terms of my compositional stuff, I've been almost exclusively composing
structures for improv for about 6+ years now  - -  but these pieces have
purposefully not using effects. Now, however, I'm strting to compose pieces
that utilize effects and specifically looping ( ie part three of a six-part
piece is based on free loop with melodies and structures sunperimposed on
it). Interesting (for me) to try and adapt one set of techniques into
another . . .