Have you ever wondered about the relationship between a loop and its sub-parts, and whether these sub-parts can also be looped, arranged, layered and shaped using FX chains to produce other wonderful loops?
Theoretically, because all such sub-loops are derived from the same original loop, they should be harmonic and beat-matched and we should be able to use these related loops to produce different parts of a complete song, such as progressions, drops, etc. In EDM, repetition and rhythm play a vital role, often using sound shaping FX units and dissonance in melodies and progressions to create tension and variations.
So, taking a 4/4 signature, and loop lengths of 1, 2, 4, 8 or 16 bars, the idea is to perform a binary chop on each half, progressively dividing each sub-slice by 2, until we end up with slices that are 1/64. Beyond 1/64, everything sort of starts to sound like noise [ my apologies, but I should have said there’s a tiny bit of maths involved :) ]
Therefore, for a 1 bar loop, we end up with approximately 64 slices … that’s 64 slices from a single bar of music, typically a couple of seconds long at 120bpm. If we then follow through for 16 bars, that’s approximately 16*64=1024. That’s over 1000 slices from approximately 30 seconds of audio. If we then work out the number of permutations where we can combine these slices, the numbers become pretty much astronomical …
Admittedly, most of these slices may be uninteresting and unusable, but many of them will be very interesting. What also gets really interesting is what happens if we combine multi-track versions of the loop, consisting of separate streams for drums, synths, vocals, etc., and start to layer slices from different tracks of the same loop in different sliding combinations.
We embarked on an exercise during lockdown to discover what something like this might look and sound like. In this short video, you can see the Lockdown Slicer in action, which is one of the core units in Lockdown Composer. In sync mode, you can test different combinations to generate ideas for different part of your song. You can also use any slice to create drum samples and playable samplers … providing a cohesive palette for your creative endeavours.
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