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RE: reducing "time to setup"--


> >> Could you please elaborate on ways you've found to minimize this
> >> "rampup" time?

I would suggest using "multiply" (A LOT) ...
in any performance I tend to have loops spinning at 1 bar , 2 bar, 4 bar , 8 bar and "long form" intervals...these in my setup can come from anywhere groove boxes, midi loopers or actual audio ...but nearly all my performances have them , the trick is how to over lap them...
for instance
an electribe set to just 16 steps makes for a VERY quick entry drum pattern to get the feel for the timing of my song.
over that I might add a 2 bar loop BUT I don't initially loop it , I just play freeform until I find a part that sounds more "hooky" , I record this bit and leave it looping...because the audience heard more than the 2 bars, they don't recognise the loop point so quickly...
this gives me time to head back over to the 1 bar drum loop and change it up a bit, making it sound less like a fixed "layer"...
after that I often start adding in the bass or chord structure, I often work in 8 bar loops but again I might riff around for 32 until I find which chords are the nicest to layer against the riff I just made....
then I can cancel out the drums completely and break things down a bit.....make some changes whilst under mute...maybe change the actual kit sounds being used...
before bringing them back in along with some kind of rising sound or similar to gain a "build up feel"
then add in either the bass or chord element in reaction to what I layered down first.
.....that is about the total of my music practice.
to do this requires flexible routing (so you can pick sounds/ what is getting looped ) dynamically, the second is multiple places to create loops....having a few loopers or tracks within a single looper is , to me, the single most useful way to break out of "looping sounding like looping"...I am sure others could take this much MUCH further than me, what I do is improv  and fun but not polyrhythmic or technical at all...but I love it.
here is an example from last night if anyone is interested.
interesting topic,
Phill MyOneManBand