Funky Live Loop Set: MF Doom, Czarface, Danny Brown, Talib Kweli, Blackalicious

honeybear set

Here’s a little funky live-loop set I recorded recently, enjoy:

What’s Live Looping?

Live looping is the process of building a song in real time by recording snippets that repeat on endless loops (sometimes a few bars long, sometimes much longer) using instruments, samplers and voices. Each recorded loop must sit well in the overall mix, much like if there were multiple people playing together. Each time I make a loop it’s like there’s a new member of the band playing a new part, and I either move on to make a new loop or modulate the recently recorded loop with effects (delay, reverb, auto filter, the classics). In the above video I use roughly a dozen software loopers (in Ableton Live 9).

You’ll notice that I’ll hit one of the lit buttons to start recording a loop and hit it again to finish the recording, at which point the loop will begin to play back… on a loop. I use different banks of the lit pads on my MPK249 to switch between recording, playback, stop, mute and delete commands.

The software is smart enough to know to start or stop recording right on the first beat of the next bar when I hit the button, so I have a 4-beat window (assuming I’m playing in 4/4 time) to hit the button in the beginning and end of those loops. It took a few takes to record this because it’s easy to mess up, but I’m getting better and enjoying the process. I think I’ll need to purchase a midi pedal controller next (to trigger loopers without using my hands), I had my eye on this one.