Getting Loopy

At a recent gig I was in awe of instrumental guitarist Noveller and bassist Mark Beazley. Noveller had an enormous assortment of stompboxes to create a rich sonic pallette and Mark used a Korg ToneWorks to bring the audience to tears with haunting bass solos. Inspired yet intimidated, I decided to explore what bass effects and looping I could achieve on my iPod touch. After some careful research and a failed DIY cable attempt I opted to get an iRig to connect my bass to the iPod and play with some looping programs.

The first I tried is Everyday Looper, which has gotten a lot of attention thanks to some clever videos from talented users who make it look easy. However I had trouble with the seemingly cryptic touch and swipe interface. I ended up having more fun with RiffBox and StompVox.

Riffbox is an “intelligent” looper in that you can arm it to record only when you start playing, and specify how many events will be in the loop. You can also edit the start and stop point of the loop after the fact before proceeding to the mixer where you can add layers to the loop.

StompVox’s simple interface allows you to switch displays between a looper, a gate, a reverb, and a delay. It is easy to use, yet generates enough unexpected results to make it fun to experiment with. The app lets you export wav files for download from a browser. Here is one of my self-indulgent doodles:

One closeted item that came in handy as a preamp to boost my signal into the iPod is a Behringer V-Amp I purchased for recording bass with the Window Shoppers. During rediscovery while packing for my move, I found it can get some really interesting synth, chorus and delay effects. Here’s to music projects that I can indulge in while the midi gear is packed away!!

UPDATE: I gave Everyday Looper another try! The trick was to have the splash screen instructions in front of me–accomplished by having the screen shot from the app store on my computer–and it became second nature after a few tries. The trick is to generate a click track (by swiping the first three tracks and going to tools), which you can erase as soon as you have established a groove. I am now an everyday looper addict. I have to get my cheap thrills where I can these days!!!