I built a performable looper prototype this past Sunday night. At this point, all it can do is start and stop two loops and a metronome. Rough around the edges is an understatement, though there are a few points of interest worth mentioning.
Rather than use Csound’s built-in tempo engine, I built one from a phasor. Players can trigger, retrigger and stop loops from the ascii keyboard. Triggering is also quantized to the beat, similar to how clips in Ableton Live are handled.
All in all, the whole thing came together in about two hours, plus another hour to tidy things up. Sure, there are some glaring flaws to the current design, but these things will improve with revision. For example, only two loops are supported, and they are hardwired into the engine. Samples and their mappings need greater levels of flexibility if this thing is going to be useful to anyone.
If you’re curious to try it out, download looper_prototype.csd. You will also need two samples from the OLPC sound library. The first is “110 Kool Skool II.wav” by BT, included in BT44.zip. The second is “BNGABetterArpeggio01.wav” by Flavio Gaete, included in FlavioGaete44.zip. Just drop these two samples into the same folder as the csd before running. You can replace these with your own loops, just make sure that you also update the values of the tempo loop macros, right above where the samples are loaded in the orchestra.
Here are the keys (lowercase only):
a – trigger loop a
z – stop loop a
s – trigger loop s
x – stop loop s
d – turn on metronome
c – turn off metronome
I’ll post a newer version once improvements to the design have been made.