|Developed||Late 20th century|
Live looping is the recording and playback of a piece of music in real-time using either dedicated hardware devices, called loopers or phrase samplers, or software running on a computer with an audio interface. Musicians can loop with either laptop software or loop pedals, which are sold for tabletop and floor-based use.
History of the looping device
By the late 19th century, jazz and blues had heavily influenced popular music, encouraging musicians to experiment with rhythm, repetition, and musical improvisation. With the advent of sound recording on gramophone record, invented in 1887 and first marketed in 1889, came the tape recorder and the development of pure electronic music.
In 1963, musician and performer Terry Riley released an early tape loop piece called “The Gift”, featuring the trumpet playing of Chet Baker. It was the first piece ever based on a tape delay/feedback system with two Revox tape recorders. (Riley used to call this system the Time Lag Accumulator. Unsurprisingly, the name did not catch on amongst other performing musicians.)
Even by the early 1990s, when dedicated loop machines first went on sale, the term "live looping" had not yet been coined. The first dedicated loop device was the Paradis LOOP Delay. The Paradis and other models had volatile memories, forcing composers to develop fresh loops live in front of their audiences — and thus, live looping came into existence.
Roland and DigiTech loop pedals entered the market in 2001, around the same time DJ mixing gained popularity. When the 2002 Repeater introduced real-time studio looping, looping devices became affordable enough for aspiring at-home composers to enjoy.
As laptops gained popularity in 2004, computer software began to emulate the 1990s effects of early looping devices.
Modern live looping tools and applications
Live looping has become increasingly popular in recent history[when?] as it offers the ability for a single musician to create multiple layers to their live music, resulting in a sound close to that of a "full band" experience . Notable manufacturers of looping devices are (in alphabetical order, and notable devices):
- Akai E2 Head Rush Delay/Looper: It has been used by artists like KT Tunstall.
Boomerang Musical Products
- Boomerang III Phrase Sampler and its extension pedal, the Side Car Controller.
- The JamMan series (looping/phrase sampler devices): JamMan, JamMan Solo, JamMan Solo XT, JamMan Stereo, JamMan Stereo Delay, JamMan Express XT.
- Trio+ Band Creator: It has a built-in looper.
- DL-8 Delay/Looper: A multimode digital delay pedal with a built-in looping function, part of the Hardwire line of pedals.
EHX has been manufacturing a wide range of looping devices. Some of them based on very long echoes like the 16 Second Digital Delay pedal (capable to make Frippertronics)
- DL4 Delay: Although it has been originally released as a delay pedal, it has been extensively used as a looping device.
- JM4 Looper: Dedicated looper pedal, less known than the DL4.
Groove Loop Micro Looper
- Infinity Looper
Roland / Boss Corporation
- The RC (also known as the Loop Station) series: Boss RC-1, Boss RC-10R, Boss RC-2, Boss RC-20, Boss RC-20XL, Boss RC-3, Boss RC-30, Boss Rc-202, Boss RC-300, Boss RC-50, Boss Rc-500,Boss RC-505
TC Electronic / TC-Helicon
- The Ditto Series: Ditto, Ditto Stereo, Ditto X2, Ditto X4.
One device that is no longer manufactured is the Echoplex Digital Pro. This unit was manufactured by Gibson until 2007.
In a 2012–13 poll of 1000 singers, 11% stated that they used live looping while 51% did not know what live looping was. Artists known for their use or advocacy of the technique include:
- Māmā Mihirangi
- Juana Molina
- Howie Day
- Keller Williams
- Ed Sheeran
- Rishi Roy Doped Jesus
- MC Xander
- Dub FX
- Ambre McLean
- Jacob Moon
- Amy X Neuburg
- KT Tunstall
- Kid Beyond
- David Torn
- Spirit Cool
- Reggie Watts
- French Kiwi Juice
- Rick Walker
- David Ford
- Netta Barzilai
- Val Vigoda
- Jarle Bernhoft
- Grace McLean
- Marc Rebillet
- Tash Sultana
- Theresa Andersson
- Graeme James
- Vinh Khuat
- Ben Watling
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- Ed Sheeran
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- Werner, Matt (2012-05-15). Oakland in Popular Memory: Interviews with twelve cutting-edge artists from Oakland and beyond. Thought Publishing. pp. 70–. ISBN 9780982689844. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
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- Tarbuck, Sean (February 13, 2018). "Israel: Netta Barzilai wins HaKokhav HaBa!". escunited.com. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
The performer wowed audiences and the judges in The Next Star with her unique uses of sampling, beatbox and live looping of her voice …
- O'Reilly, Seamas (2019-01-22). "Is Marc Rebillet the funniest man on the planet right now?". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2019-07-02.