How Loops Should Be Used

I did some music stuff this weekend…not making it, but more organizing and trying some new things out. I grabbed demos for Traktor DJ Studio 3 and Battery. My Reaktor demo expired months ago. Battery seems REALLY COOL! One of the demo kits is generated from NI’s FM7 synth software. It had some nice phat sounds in it that I’ve wanted to create in Reason and Logic for a while now, but haven’t really had the time nor the patience. I’m beginning to think about spending some money on it. I’d love to use it as a plug-in in Logic and it just seems much more powerful (and EASIER to customize) than Reason or Logic’s equivalent drum machines. But I’m also thinking that if I can’t make good music with Reason or Logic then I wouldn’t be able to with anything, so why spend the money other than to waste time not creating music and just marveling over the sound? I haven’t been making much music anyway…maybe it’d spark some creativity.

I also have a lot of unused REX loops. Back in the day (…2002) Propellerheads gave out promotional accounts for Primesounds, now MI7 Libraries. MI7 is a place where you can download sampler files and loops. Back then there was pretty much only REX and AIFF/WAV loops. These days the site has tons of those plus Apple Loops and other sampler instruments for the EXS, Kontakt, etc. One of the problems I’ve had with loops is that I don’t see how creative you can be with them. I really can’t stand loop-based music, and I don’t mean the minimalist stuff I like, I mean the typical output that you get when you give a 13 year old a copy of Fruity Loops.

After getting Reason 2.0 and hearing all the included loops I began to hear them in all kinds of media; DVD extras, commercials, TV shows. The only time I’ve heard a good use of a factory loop is when I recognized a Reason REX loop in Squarepusher‘s My Red Hot Car. If it’s not the same loop, it’s really damn close. If it is, it just proves how talented Tom Jenkinson really is. It kind of sticks with me because I picked up Go Plastic shortly after buying Reason, so the sound of the particular REX file (“Chm05_Chemical_130_eLAB.rx2” in the Reason Factory Sound Bank) was fresh in my mind.

The way he uses the loop is easily overlooked (at least for me) since REX files are pretty much only thought of as loops. However, using the ReDrum device you can open up individual REX files and assign each slice to it’s own channel. What this essentially does is make every REX file it’s own kit. No longer is it a loop that holds you to a particular beat. I think that Squarepusher does this on My Red Hot Car. I’m not positive, but to me it sounds like a modified beat. Granted, it’s probably not the only kit he uses.

So this weekend when I was thinking about buying Battery because I felt I needed some more sounds to use it dawned on me that I already have tons of percussion sounds that I never use. It’d be even better if I could export the Factory REX loops out of the Refill file to use in Logic. I hate having to Rewire the ReDrum into Logic. It’s not really fun to have to drag a cable to and from every output on the machine.

The other thing that I overlook (just thought of now actually) is that the EXS24 will read REX files directly, so I even have that functionality in Logic…so the only thing that’ll be a pain is assigning each sample it’s own AUX output, but since slices get repeated I’d only have to do that maybe 3-5 times.