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some echoplex playing hints

The list has been sort of quiet. I guess you're all as busy as me these
days! An echoplex user asked me a question privately that I think is sort
of interesting, so I'm posting it along with my response. Hope it gives you
guys some good ideas:

dmgraph@bway.net (David Myers) sez:
>A question has
>arisen for me which perhaps you can answer.  When loops grow pretty long
>and the material gets atmospheric, I want to re-establish a groove--but 
>LED blink per cycle (which might be once in 10 seconds) isn't sufficient
>visual feedback.  I'm sure that the MIDI clock out is one source which
>could help.  I know Anatek makes the "Pocket Sync" which will derive FSK
>from MIDI, and I suppose I could slap together some CMOS clock divider/LED
>solution, but do you imagine an easier way?  Need an LED blip once or 
>a second, I'd say; the old Deltalab Echotron was pretty good at this ....

Building hardware is one way, although I think it would be hard to really
make it versatile enough. The echoplex generates midi clock based on how
long the loop is and on what you have set the 8ths/beat parameter to. So
your loops would always have to be the same number of beats or you would
have to reset the parameter a lot, and I think there are easier ways.

One idea is with your looping technique. With an atmospheric loop, you may
want to try introducing a little bit of groove with each pass, building a
rhythm. So you overdub something, and wait for it to come back again, so
that you start hearing the rhythm. Slowly add more things and get it in
time. I do that sometimes. Trouble with that approach, is that it can take
a while before you have anything rhythmic again, and there is still room to
screw it up!

Some other approaches to try involve the echoplex's features. If you want
to add a rhythmic groove to an ambient loop, you can simply redefine the
loop time to fit the new groove! You do this with the Multiply-Record
combination, which allows you to redefine the loop time without loosing the
material already there. The Echoplex will either truncate the loop if the
new length is shorter, or add some of it again if it is longer. Here's how
you might do that:

- you have a spacey ambient loop happening and everyone is falling asleep

- Time to dance! Press multiply, and start playing a samba rhythm.

- The echoplex keeps the old ambient thing, while the new rhythm
  is overdubbed. Since you are multiplying, you can keep playing as
  long as you like or until you run out of memory.

- When you reach the end of your new rhythmic figure, do not press
  Multiply like you normally would. Instead, end the Multiply by
  pressing Record. The loop length will be redefined with that point
  being the end. So your new samba will loop in time, at whatever tempo
  feels right, with the old ambience underneath. The only weird thing
  will be that the old ambient loop will have a discontinuity where
  you redefined the length. Since this occurs right at the downbeat,
  it will probably be ok.

Another idea is to approach recording ambient parts in a different way. By
using a Record-Insert combination, you can give the echoplex a short cycle
length with a much longer loop. The multiple display will count away,
giving you a much better tempo indication. Here's how to do that:

- Set the InsertMode parameter to INS.

- Press Record and start playing cluster chords with an infinite-
  reverb-pitch-shifted-down-two-octaves-totally-wet effects patch.

- After one beat or one bar or whatever amount of time you want to
  see as your tempo, press Insert.

- Keep on playing those cluster chords. Maybe throw in some whammy.

- The echoplex's multiple display will be counting up at the tempo you
  defined. Everything you are playing will continue being recorded
  just as if it's a normal loop.

- When you are done, press Insert again to start the loop repeating.

- The Multiple display will now be counting, giving you a visible
  indication of tempo while your unrhythmic ambient loop is playing

Hope these ideas help....


Kim Flint                   | Looper's Delight
kflint@annihilist.com       | http://www.annihilist.com/loop/loop.html
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