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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

Breaking out of the Loop on hardware
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques  
Author Breaking out of the Loop on hardware
boxxgrooved
I'm interested to know how others go from a simple loop on their hardware devices to a fully sequenced piece.

So often in the past I have created great loops which I played to death and then saved for later thinking I will do something with it, but later ending up deleting it because I got tired of the same groove or piece. I started to open my DAW and hit record so I would have something concrete from jamming but I'm looking for a better way to fully sequence a song with hardware.

Are there any people on here actually sequencing a full composition with their gear and if so what do you use? My experiences with hardware sequencing has been quite frustrating. I don't want to use a computer to sequence so I am limited to hardware devices.

I recently got a Digitakt but the pattern chain mode is a joke. Once you have created your chain if you jump to another pattern to edit it the whole chain you made is lost and you have to make it again, wtf! Its a real shame because its very intuitive to chain patterns simply holding down the first pattern while pressing the others in sequence.

Its a bit weird but the most productive sequencers I have ever used are the Alesis MMT8 and the in-built sequencer on Nanoloop for IOS. It is very easy to roll out a track with the MMT8. The Nanoloop sequencer is inspired, I wish there was just a hardware version of something like that. I have been looking at Squarp's Pyramid recently and wondered if any users on here have played with the Song feature?
Koekepan
Depends on the gear I'm using.

Social Entropy Engine: just build patterns that follow logically on each other, set them up, then record what amounts to a live performance of those patterns with all the usual goodies like soloing over, playing with parameters, muting and so on. Done. You can do song mode, but it's such an immediate performance sequencer that live pattern-punching works great.

KORG workstations: (I have the Kross 1 and the Krome) I use the linear sequencer to painstakingly lay out the whole track. In the Krome particularly I will draw in CC automation and tweak notes, but I'll also do step sequencing of drums and arps, and of course live play into the linear sequencer as well.

If you're looking for that all-round sequencing, I hear good things about the MPC pianoroll capabilities as well.
lisa
I had the same issue and I hate chaining patterns so I solved it by making a recording of the pattern live of all the sounds separately with tweaks, mutes, unmutes, etc. After recording I decide on how to create a b-part or other ways to make the track more interesting over time. I do this by recording additional melodies, arranging, adding effects and so on. Works well. SlayerBadger!
matthewjuran
Patterns on the Octatrack can be switched to manually or chained by holding multiple buttons together when selecting the pattern. There’s a copy function so making small variations doesn’t require redoing a whole loop. Banks can be switched to in the same way, there’s 16 banks and each bank holds 16 patterns. Each bank sequences 8 samples or thru effects (external audio input where the two effects can be varied by the sequencer) and 8 MIDI tracks.

So I’ll put my drum samples on the 8 tracks and get a rhythm loop, and then I have up to 4 MIDI instruments also sequenced that have audio out to the mixer along with the Octatrack. Once I have the first loop then I’ll either switch to another pattern and see if the one from the previous session works, or I’ll clear it and start a new one, or more likely I’ll copy that first loop and make variations. The compositions tend to be more filter and volume variation than pattern variation for me which is why I don’t normally go past a few patterns.

By selecting all patterns you could sequence 2048 notes with the Octatrack.
Panason
Quote:

I'm interested to know how others go from a simple loop on their hardware devices to a fully sequenced piece.


ha, me too, That is a massive problem for me also! I have a lot of nice loops with variations and I spend a lot of time jamming with them in endless re-combinations but I just can't bring myself to sit down on the DAW and start pasting in clips to make an arrangement. That's just too much like doing computer music...

Recording live jamming always ends up with tracks that need extensive editing after for getting properly orchestrated changes, breaks, build-ups etc. and I always put it off indefinitely until i get bored of the loops, end up changing them and eventually moving on to other ideas.

I am planning to record the audio of all the loops separately and then do the arrangement in the DAW on my laptop (or perhaps the Pioneer SP-16) just sitting on the sofa, away from the distractions of the studio and all the gear, so that the temptation to continue tweaking the sounds and patterns is not there.

The Alesis MMT8 is known to fuck up and lose all memory contents, beware!

Unless you go for a Cirklon there isn't anything else in the hardware world that is good enough for this job from what Ive seen.

Arranging entire tracks using MIDI is a lot more hassle than using the audio, IMO.

The Pyramid's song mod AFAIK relies on setting up mute states on patterns and it sounds a bit awkward.
boxxgrooved
Thanks for the replies, there are some interesting and varied work methods.

I keep looking at the Octatrack because the arranger screen looks great. I like how you can jump easily to different sections of the araangement, this is a pain an my MMT8. The Octatrack can also dial in specific sections of patterns to play like the MMT8, I have not come across another hardware sequencer that can do this - i.e, shorten a 4 bar pattern to one bar keeping only the 3 bar for example. This is a neat trick that can make a whole composition out of one long pattern by creating chops of it and sequencing them at different places.

Koekepan: I stopped looking at the Social Entropy sequencer when I saw the price Dead Banana I don't want to develop a taste for it! Sequencing a full composition on a linear Korg workstation sounds like a lot of work slaving over the screen, how do you find it?
boxxgrooved
Panason wrote:
I spend a lot of time jamming with them in endless re-combinations but I just can't bring myself to sit down on the DAW and start pasting in clips to make an arrangement. That's just too much like doing computer music...


I could not agree more. I think when building loops you become so intimate with each element that you build up an ear for what sounds good at which place simply by jamming with it, you cannot always get that with a linear sequencer. After jamming away the process of breaking down and deconstructing your loop feels like torture and death to the energy of the loop. It is always difficult to re-capture the vibe of a jam. I like my loops, I will not put them through hell lol

Panason wrote:

Recording live jamming always ends up with tracks that need extensive editing after for getting properly orchestrated changes, breaks, build-ups etc. and I always put it off indefinitely until i get bored of the loops, end up changing them and eventually moving on to other ideas.


This is my prefered method when not sequencing a full song on hardware. Record about 30mins of jamming and reduce it down to a useful composition. Within 30min if you keep changing it up you will always find some useful sections that work well together.
matthewjuran
boxxgrooved wrote:
I keep looking at the Octatrack because the arranger screen looks great. I like how you can jump easily to different sections of the araangement, this is a pain an my MMT8. The Octatrack can also dial in specific sections of patterns to play like the MMT8, I have not come across another hardware sequencer that can do this - i.e, shorten a 4 bar pattern to one bar keeping only the 3 bar for example. This is a neat trick that can make a whole composition out of one long pattern by creating chops of it and sequencing them at different places.

I’d try before you buy. Not all settings can be varied between patterns.
Muzone
I used the loop technique for a good while, and although effective for relatively simple "dance genre" music I found it hard to break out of to produce more complex and abstract pieces.

I came to the conclusion that (for me) loops chained together will always sound just like loops chained together and that more coherent pieces required linear thinking in terms of phrases and sections rather than loops.

So I ditched the 'groovebox approach' and now the only sequencing I use is a couple of Zillions for some MIDI madness and a BSP for sequencing CV modulations, everything else is sketched out and actually played, with all edits done in audio rather than at the MIDI level.

For me this has produced far more satisfying results both in terms of productivity, variety and sheer fun smile
hlprmnky
I am just starting to grapple with this, but what do you all more-experienced wigglers think about building up phrases from one loop repeated "over" another, clock-divided loop that uses a mixer or precision adder to move the root tone up and down, like a repeated melody moving through a chord progression? I have a Varigate 4+ and a Voltage Block as pretty much my total "UI" for inputting sequences of both notes and CV and that's the approach I think will work for me, but I wonder if that's a case of "the only tool I have ever seen is a hammer, so every problem I face must be a nail". Either way, I'm certainly having a blast swinging away with that hammer. Rockin' Banana!
Koekepan
The ratcheting root thing can work, but it's not what I'd call a very flexible musical approach.

I prefer having multiple different patterns, some of which can be in different keys, to allow for sonic development.
boxxgrooved
Muzone wrote:
I used the loop technique for a good while, and although effective for relatively simple "dance genre" music I found it hard to break out of to produce more complex and abstract pieces.

I came to the conclusion that (for me) loops chained together will always sound just like loops chained together and that more coherent pieces required linear thinking in terms of phrases and sections rather than loops.

So I ditched the 'groovebox approach' and now the only sequencing I use is a couple of Zillions for some MIDI madness and a BSP for sequencing CV modulations, everything else is sketched out and actually played, with all edits done in audio rather than at the MIDI level.

For me this has produced far more satisfying results both in terms of productivity, variety and sheer fun smile


I think there is a lot of truth in what you are saying. I prefer to jam out and record the output editing the audio afterwards. While jamming it is easier to make a sound evolve slowly over time as apposed to it repeating within the pattern. The only issue I find is that its harder to make abrupt changes when jamming, or something which completely changes up the feel of the track in an instant to create a dramatic effect.
Muzone
hlprmnky wrote:
..... but what do you all more-experienced wigglers think about building up phrases from one loop repeated "over" another.


Playing loops of different length/tempo off against each other is one of the better ways (IMO) of making interesting sequences smile
Muzone
boxxgrooved wrote:
......While jamming it is easier to make a sound evolve slowly over time as apposed to it repeating within the pattern.
The only issue I find is that its harder to make abrupt changes when jamming, or something which completely changes up the feel of the track in an instant to create a dramatic effect.


I tend to make the changes/transitions from post recording edits rather than try and work them into my jamming
Panason
boxxgrooved wrote:
The only issue I find is that its harder to make abrupt changes when jamming, or something which completely changes up the feel of the track in an instant to create a dramatic effect.


This is the crux of the matter of keeping it live... It takes some careful programming to do this at the MIDI level. You have to prepare all the parts in advance so that the changes make sense, musically and rhythmically... This is the acid test for whatever sequencer you are using- not just whether it can do it but how easy or awkward it is to make this happen.
nuromantix
MPCs are fantastic for this because you can copy your patterns and make variations, chain them together in song mode and then (this is the cool part) when you are happy with the structure you can bounce the song into a pattern.

Once the chain of patterns is bounce into one big pattern you can do whatever editing you want to make extra variations etc.
Panason
Which MPC do you use for this?
Will it load Midi files correctly?
slumberjack
i have three ways of working:

- loops in different lenghts multitracked as a jam
- arrangement in the sequencer until +/- 5min, then a jam part towards the end also multitracked
- loops set up like above but recorded one after another

i post edit, do fx overdubs with these workflows. as less as possible (cause i'm lazy and rather do something new incorporating the missing/faulty things on a previous song).

first version makes really great loopy minimalesque dance music with a nice vs. crap ratio 1:5 - if it's good it's usually a fantastic piece to me
second approach is also more a dance music thing, but leads to more structure and modulation in musical terms. usually more rave stuff. ratio: 1:2
last way of how i work is typical for complex works towards idm, noise, post-club music. these are imho my best works as my partners say so too. the bonus feature here is the availability of tweaking each sound/track very wide. manual filter, pitch, eq, eg, lfo, volume modulation can go much further that way and i can manually interact each track with the already recorded in therm of timbre, shape AND/OR loudness. ratio 8:1 (!)

examples in the order above:

[s]http://soundcloud.com/slmbrjck/circles[/s]

[s]http://soundcloud.com/thecrates/slumberjack-golden-schauer[/s]

http://soundcloud.com/stefan_rudin/living-behind-the-bark-dime-of-the- modue (s)(/s) doesn't work with this link, sorry.
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