As a result of recently working with Steve Gisby on his “Four iterative pieces” album and really following on from my minimalist TGV album (see previous blog) I had an idea to develop a series of algorithmic experiments using Ableton and the Launchpad, using and looping audio material
Ableton allows for clips to be resampled into another clip- so my first algorithm was to have the 8 columns of the Launchpad set as resample channels then to arm each clip to record and then immediately playback whilst setting another one to record when I had something new to put in on top of the clips already recorded- so this is an additive process which runs across and down the launchpad as I go.
The big advantage with using Ableton and the launchpad is I can go back to previous stages in the algorithm- essentially taking off stuff Ive added in later loops, which allows alternative loops to be created.
In the first experiment I confined the input audio material to be long notes, and wind effects. I used 4 voices (4 synths- Blofeld, MS20,uBrute, Striechfett) all on record at the same time. Eventually I did put some very long phrases in, to add more musical texture.
The choice of material input is arbitrary, any instrument or audio input could be used.
As we have our 8 channels of resampling; start at the left most channel, record a clip, toggle to instant playback, set the clip to right of previous clip, record more (with different voice to previous one), continue until all 8 clips across filled- then set the next one down to record, and turn one (or more) of the previous clips off, then continue in this way until all the clips in the row about are off, then gradually turn off the clips in the second row, whilst finally contriving an ending (algo by no means perfect)- and that ending is played in live and not looped.
The result can be heard here:
This first piece generated sounds I would not normally do- very abrupt changes where one loop trips over another, several times, whilst something new is being recorded over the top.
Also very different musical textures as unexpected voices collide- again stuff I would not consciously do.
For my next experiment in this particular phase I need to develop a cleaner looping system- I had a number of clicks where envelopes collide, which annoys me, so Im going to add an envelope follower.
Future experiments in this series will also extend the algorithm to try different order series of clips being recorded and played back.