I've been experiementing with different looping techniques in Live 9. Inspired by Zoe Keating, I wanted something that would automatically control looping while I focus on playing. Here's Keating looping her cello:
Keating uses SooperLooper which looks like a very cool piece of software, but after some thought I figured I could do something similar using just native Live 9 plug-ins.
I created 5 tracks in Live. The first one is the live input for my Chapman Stick Bass. The next three each have a Looper (the default Live plug-in) set to no quantization and variable length looping. These tracks are called Bass, Rhythm, and Theme. Input for these tracks is set to the first track that The final track contains a drum rack.
What I want to build is described in the graphics below. Each rectangle represents a bar of music. Blue indicates the simple programmed drum loop. Orange indicates that the Looper in that track is recording, and yellow indicates that the Looper is playing what was previously recorded. When the Looper is stopped, the color is white.
The first scene is the introduction and it is 26 bars long. The piece kicks off with a 2 bar drum lead, and then the first Looper begins recording. I play a 4 bar bass line, and the Looper begins playing it back. I start playing a rhythm figure, and at bar 9 the Looper on the Rhythm track records my playing for 4 bars. I mess around for another 4 bars and then play the theme of the piece. The Looper on the Theme track records it for 4 bars. The last four bars of this scene have the drums, bass, rhythm and theme playing while I double the theme or otherwise improvise.
Here's the diagram
I use dummy clips on the Bass, Rhythm, and Theme tracks to control the Looper. To do this, you access the Envelopes view of the clip, and select the "State" parameter of the Looper. You can draw in where you want the looper to record, play, overdub or stop. It's an awesome feature of Live 9. A follow action is set on each clip of the intro scene to automatically move to the next scene after 26 bars.
The next scene is diagrammed below. The theme plays for the first 8 bars and the rhythm loop is off for the first 4 bars and records whatever I'm playing during the next 4 bars. The theme finishes and I improvise over the new rhythm loop for the last 16 bars of the scene.
Here's a video of me trying this out. I'm no Zoe Keating, but this was fun to play.
I like that the above scheme can be used for many different tunes. It's like a tune template. I've got a bunch of ideas to take this further now that the proof of concept worked.