tldr: If time is short then just be sure to watch the video, happy new year! All audio / video recorded live, no post production of any kind. 16 stereo looping tracks via Mobius & 6 webcams auto-switching enabled by VDMX.
Live Looping - Mirrorball by Elbow / The Wandering Madman
So I would imagine this day 1/1/2020 represents something special to everyone, but in my mind I always looked forward to what the musical landscape would be like and hoped live-looping would reside at the forefront. I enjoy the honesty & accomplishment & technical wizardry necessary to make this type of music possible and for those of you who don’t know me, I’ve spent about 12 years (8 of which living in a box truck) trying to build this ridiculous ultimate live-looping rig that could implement a larger computer and seemingly endless musical possibilities & plugins. My rig has now grown to a 10core i9 self-built hackintosh running Mojave & utilizing 16 stereo looping tracks of Mobius as well as MainStage for my DAW / tone management.
What you see in this video is accomplished using some customized techniques / scripts that allow me to use the same MIDI foot button over & over & over again, all while executing an entirely new set of commands each time I push the button. There are typically 30-40 button presses per song and the timing is somewhat precise but becomes second nature after a few hundred attempts. This technique eliminates all the fancy footwork & also allows me to accomplish 10 or 20 different actions all at once with a single button press. These actions include engaging track records, overdubs, volume, mutes, pan, reverse, loop switching, tone changing, syncing external hardware patches, etc…. I can even make individual LED lights change color & brightness on my piano to help me remember what octave I need to play the particular synth part in. MIDI IS AWESOME!! I can set these triggers to happen immediately upon pressing the button or on the next downbeat, as all my songs are typically the same tempo start to finish and I play along to a metronome in my headphones, so there is a useful grid of sorts. The collection of all these commands exists as a simple, single text document which Mobius reads & runs throughout the song and for example this song Mirrorball has 35 button presses, contains 1773 lines of code and utilizes 22,451 characters in the script.
There are no pre-recorded tracks whatsoever, I always start with an empty canvas and I’m anxious to release another video showing everyone the Mobius UI, which will explain how all this stuff happens in real time. All of my live-looping music seems more like a live-orchestration, so for me there is not much improv but that doesn’t mean this methodology couldn’t help other people/musicians accomplish different things with it. In my looping style it certainly feels like a Formula1 or dirt-rally race car driver who is aiming for a perfect run on the course, building the songs turn by turn, layer by layer; and many times I crash into the wall!!! It gets quite tricky and I have a few visual systems that help me stay on course if I need to remember what particular action comes next in the song.
I really wanted to share this inside-info to loopers-delight before any other platform as I truly enjoyed this email list back when I first fell into the rabbit hole of live-looping. I appreciate all the info you guys provided and I hope everyone is doing well. Please enjoy the new year and I will be releasing a few more videos over the next month. Any assistance you can lend in getting this music heard is much appreciated. Special thanks to Mobius & MainStage developers for really making this all possible.
—The Wandering Madman