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Gary Hall

Looping Autobiography

I designed the Lexicon PCM42 back in 1981-82 (wow, it's been that long). I had been customizing PCM41 units (which I also helped design) and had discovered what a long delay could do. At that time I was doing a lot work with cheap analog drum units and a 4-voice synth with arppegiator. Both were driven from one of the address counters on the delay loop. Drum machines, etc. were not all common at that time and MIDI hadn't been invented, so my multilayered synchronous loops were very techno for the time, and better still could be built up live. The playing name of the unit (me) was Trance Music from Hell.

The 42 embodied some of these ideas, albeit crudely in some respects. The unit had no sooner shipped than I began to get calls to extend the delay times and add other control features. Customizing DDLs became a profitable side business and I modified units for David Torn, Steve Morse, Steve Tibbetts, Andy Summers, and Matthias Grob, among others. For a few years there I really felt like the godfather of the world's loopers.

In the late 80s I pretty much turned the modification work over to Bob Sellon. Bob continued the work under the company name S-Tech, and greatly extended on the control functions I had implemented. His work eventually came to the general market as the Lexicon JamMan. After so many years, it's certainly a pleasure see products that are dedicated to loop music.

For the last several years I've been immersed in digital audio workstations and networking at Sonic Solutions and I haven't been so active in the loop world. Most recently, I've been heavily involved with technology for DVD disc format, including killer digital video and surround sound. (Yes, serious video looping is now a distinct possibility). Glad to see the loop players of the world getting a forum to trade ideas and news. Loop on!

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