For the longest time musicians, artists, engineers and producers were used to slaving over songs for long periods of time in the studio. Creation took time, and it went from the more or less 3 hour sessions of the 50s and 60s to the months and even years of the 1990s and 2000s. Thankfully, the latest generation of artists and producers are back to creating quickly again, a healthy trend if I ever did see one. Even in a live situation, we’re seeing things get more creative as a single person can become a one-man band thanks to live looping, something that Ed Sheeran uses to perfection in his concerts.
But live looping using traditional hardware loopers has its drawbacks based on limited programmability and available RAM. There are only so many layers that you can add before serious audio degradation, and all layers sit on top of one another to make a potentially thick arrangement that never changes.
ZenAud.io’s ALK can change all that though, as it’s a cross between a sequencer and a looper. Like a traditional looper, clips are performed live and subsequently looped to create layers of sound. Like in a sequencer, the loops can be drawn, moved, copied, cut and pasted in a musical arrangement. You determine the arrangement in advance, and when it’s time to perform the song, ALK will follow that arrangement, pressing the necessary virtual pedals to arm channels, trigger effects, and record and play loops at the right time.
As Sheeran has proven, live looping is much more satisfying both to the performer and the audience instead of playing to tracks, which everyone tolerates but secretly hates.
Below is an excellent example of live looping with ALK by Israeli artist Eldad Zitrin using a mixture of traditional and electronic instruments to build a complex arrangement on the fly. Hopefully this is something that will catch on, and turn playing to loops a real performance again.