Hi, while using M4L for live sound manipulation in improvised music I find I reach for creative "random" processes. Therefore I have begun looking for a plug-in looper or a control that could sit in front of Ableton´s looper, that can be told to sample parts of a played sequence and create and replay it as a loop. Would it be possible to program a looper/sampler using parameters like for instance "Dense" (samples most of a sequence) or "Shy" (samples very little of a sequence)? Other obvious parameters would be how long the sampled sequence should be, changes probability and rest probability. The beauty of such a patch would be that when engaged I could concentrate only on playing and that the looped output would sound different every time. As I am an musician and not able to program anything like this I would gladly pay for help.
I’ve been thinking about doing a little freelance work, so I threw this together:
You can put that in the path of any midi notes and it will randomly suppress the chosen percentage of them. It should be able to accomplish what you were looking for as far as the dense/shy parameter. If another parameter you’re looking for is random pitch changes, you could use Ableton’s Random midi effect.
I’m also a musician primarily and I feel you when you say you want to concentrate on playing while letting your loops change randomly on their own. My main pet project is something to that effect, although it’s still not in any finished state:
Hi and thank you for interesting input. What I am looking for is a random effect I can use for audio, that is, while playing my guitar through Live. I guess then the midi effect will not work for me.
Hmmm, I’m trying to get a better understanding of what you’re looking for. You’re saying you want a looper that only plays back certain portions, at random? Would there be blank space in between, or would the loop be compressed together (therefore shortening the total length of the loop)? Wouldn’t it sound all cut-up and choppy, or is that the kind of effect you’re going for?
Those are very good questions that made me think more.
I am thinking of a looper or maybe more practical, an effect that sits before the looper and suggests material for the looper to loop.
1) Would there be space in between?
Yes, it could be. Maybe the Max effect called DelayGroover could be used as a template? It has a nice feature that lets you decide how many pauses it should make as well as the probability for change. Of course, a function that compresses the content as you suggest also sounds intriguing.
2) Wouldn´t it sound all cut-up and choppy?
I do not mind if it sounds cut up, but maybe it could have some sort of smooth function. And if one grove does not sound right I would like to have the ability to make a new one right away.
I’m not seeing DelayGroover anywhere. Is is a newer effect? Unfortunately I’m stuck with Live 8/Max 5 right now.
It took me a lot longer than I expected, but if you’re still interested I’m just about done with a looper for you. I just need to do a little bit of testing. Here’s a quick description i wrote up for it:
- Click ‘Record’ to begin recording the first loop. Click the button again to end the loop. It will immediately begin looping.
- Up to four tracks can loop simultaneously. Click ‘Clear All’ to clear them all and start over.
- With ‘Uniform Loop Length’ checked, all tracks will inherit the length captured by the first loop recorded, keeping them all in sync with each other. This means that for each track beyond the first, the ‘Record’ button will only need to be hit once; recording will end automatically at the correct time. For more avant-garde experimentation this box can be unchecked, allowing each track to loop according to its own captured length.
- Any individual track can be cleared by clicking its ‘Clear’ button.
- For each track, a suppression percentage can be chosen. This number designates the portion of the loop which will be inaudible.
- The ‘Smoothness’ parameter designates how gradual the fade in and out of the volume is for the suppressed portion of the loop. The maximum value of 50% means the suppressed period spends half of its time fading out and the other half fading back in. 0% causes the loop to abruptly cut out and back in without fades. To silence an entire track (without clearing it completely), turn the ‘Suppression’ to 100% and the ‘Smoothness’ to 0%.
- The period of the loop which is suppressed is automatically assigned a random starting point when it’s recorded. To randomly apply a new starting point, and therefore hear a different period of the loop, click the ‘New Suppression Start’ button.
Hi and thanks. That "layout" looks very interesting indeed. I have 2 questions.
1) Can it be used as a m4l plugin in Ableton Live 9? (Or:
what will it take to make it such?)
2) What are you asking for the work?
1) Yes. It’s already been tested in Live 9 on a friend’s computer.
2) Not sure. What do you think a fair price would be?
Great, but I have no idea what it should cost to have something like that made. Unless you have a proposal I will have to check with a friend you also had an effect made for him a while ago. I guess you would like to sell it to other people as well? If so maybe there is a price for a m4l plugin like that. But, as I said, i really have no clue.
Alright, let’s say $15 then.
No, lets say 30.
Alright, 30 it is. Thank you kindly! Let me polish it up and i’ll get you a link.
Hi, I am trying to make it work, but after having recorded on all four tracks with varying suppression, all I get is a slightly lo-fi version of the clip I am playing. The clip and the looper is in the same Ableton track. The looping is identical to what is played regardless of which track in the looper is played (apart from slight differences in sound). I have put the polygroove maxpat file in: Programs>Live9>Max6.1>patches>m4l-patches>Pluggo for Live Resources>patches
As far as polygroove~, if it’s working at all, it’s in a suitable place. Other than that, I may not understand exactly what the situation is, but let me take a stab at it. You say you’ve recorded some guitar into a clip and are trying to get that into the looper? Why not record directly into the looper? I should also note that any audio entering the looper will also pass through it unhindered, as well as potentially being picked up and put into a track to loop. That being said, if you’ve got a clip looping in the same Live track as the device, nothing will affect that audio coming out, i.e. you will not be able to suppress it in any way. Maybe the fidelity degradation you’re hearing is the loop doubled up on itself, playing in both the clip and the tracks of the looper?
Thanks! Very promising piece of work that I look forward to use in my setup.
Glad to be of service. I’d be interested to hear what you make with it too. If you get the chance, send me a link and I’ll post it around. Do you ever use soundcloud.com?
I have a question regarding the new button that randomizes all parameters. I thought it was going to set new parameter levels but (in Live 9) it starts all parameters, including record, bouncing frantically up and down. There is no way to stop this jumping and the looper produces very very little audio in this state.
I emailed you a new version. Let me know if it takes care of it.