Variable Loop Chopping with Ableton

chopped_loops.pngI’m myself a big fan of tiny variations, even if maybe the listener won’t hear all the details, the variations and small edits will build up the whole that sounds more interesting than the same thing over and over again. This is a technique that for examples composers of symphonies have used over and over again. There’s plenty of instruments, everyone is doing a little bit, and the whole fills everything in.

Above is an example of what I’m doing with DNA Tones Part 2 that I hope to send out to the promo services soon — just need to get it to the point where I’m happy first. Anyway, I had originally a basic house drum loop, but I didn’t like it so I added another longer clap-centric loop from my sound library. Usually my loops are very long, so I could make variations of the loop (more later about this), in this case eight bars.

Anyway, the busy clap-centric loop also sounded too mechanical, same pattern over and over again. So what I did was to chop it into four bar sections, sometimes two bar sections, even one or half bar ones. Then in each bar I chance the loop points so that the patterns changed from time to time. Now it all sounds more organic — a drummer would do all kinds of variations here and there, but this all was done big a longer loop.

Sometimes I also increased the individual volume for the loop to make accentuations — another technique to make static loops sound more interesting by temporarily raising the levels.

You could do the same technique with any loop used in Ableton Live, there’s really no need to keep the same one going over and over again. Power to the variations!

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