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  1.  (4833.1)
    So I'm standing in my kitchen last night listening to Radio Lab's Quantum Cello with Zoe Keating. She uses a looping pedal to accompany herself and produces some really amazing stuff. And then I realized I had yet to read Douglas Hofstater's I Am A Strange Loop. And then I got to thinking about Lord of the Yum Yum and video games and such. And even how, in boyscouts or rigging or whatnot, you can tell when a knot is looped correctly.

    So I want to know what you all think about loops. I know it's a really broad subject, but wherever you're pulling from is ok with me. I just want to see how other people approach this.
  2.  (4833.2)
    Well. my first thought was 'musical loops', as by coincidence I was playing through random forgotten guitar recordings on my hard drive looking for some to create - in which case I'm kind of ambivalent about them, haven't quite got my head round using loops in my music. Have a silly mental hangup about them being artificial or inauthentic or lazy in some way... utter nonsense really, and very limiting as a thought pattern - which brought me onto thinking about the mental loops you get into and find it very hard to escape from - circular thinking and endless conversations/arguments that go round to the same point without reaching the sort of 'escape velocity' which allows you to break free of them. I've found mental loops to be crippling over the years. And I had a toy car track thing with a loop on it that cars were meant to go round, and use the miracle of centrifugal force to stick to, and THEY DIDN'T. EVER. So, yeah, overall I'm pretty down on loops. Fuck the loops.
  3.  (4833.3)
    time loops in fiction are my first thought. they can be amazing, but can also be contrived.

    thats the super condensed version.
  4.  (4833.4)
    Last spring I took a class on system dynamics, which is used to explain the behavior of complex systems.

    It's all based on feedback loops, which can be positive (reinforcing), or negative (balancing).

    It's an interesting field that forces you to look at everything you experience in a different way. Also, there's a set of common system behaviors called archetypes - behaviors that turn up often in one form or another - that explain why many disfunctional systems behave the way they do. A few that I can remember off the top of my head: fixes that fail, success to the successful, drifting goals, limits to growth, tragedy of the commons, shifting the burden, accidental adversaries.
  5.  (4833.5)
    @JonCarpenter know of any theorists or articles on the idea of conversational loops? It's another great example.

    @joe.distort specifics? I grew up without TV/movies and missed a *lot* of media. For instance: just saw Terminator for the first time a few weeks ago: still need to check out 2 (but I'm told to avoid 3 like the plague).

    @shawnclark Thank you! This will be my research for the night.
  6.  (4833.6)
    @Willow

    For time loops, watch La Jetee, or 12 Monkeys (which was based on La Jetee).

    Re: system dynamics - If you find that systems interest you, I have a digital copy of Draper Kauffman's Systems One - a great intro, but OOP. Let me know if you want it.
    • CommentAuthoricelandbob
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2009 edited
     (4833.7)
    when i think of loops, the thing that gets my head hurting is the Möbius Strip. A simple loop with a half twist but if you think about it too much....

    null
  7.  (4833.8)
    @icelandbob which brings up Lost Highway, which some think is a Mobius Strip of storytelling..

    SO MANY LOOPS EVERYWHERE. I love it. Keep bringing it, and thank you!
  8.  (4833.9)
    @Willow Bl00 for time loops in movies, check out Primer. It's a really brilliant time travel movie.
  9.  (4833.10)
    the main one i think about at first is ragged robins arc in THE INVISIBLES, where she
    initiates the timesuit in 2012 to come back in time and ensure that it gets built


    but thats because im a nerd, and i apply invisiblism to everything in my life as of late
  10.  (4833.11)
    There's a quote I heard recently ( no idea who...Brian Eno or some other chinstroker?) which stated that any random collision or combination of sounds will appear meaningful if looped.

    Layered sound loops gradually drifting out of time with each other and creating unexpected rhythms and melodies is another current interest... Steve Reich and others applied it decades ago. This seems to bring a different , more optimistic spin to the idea of the loop as in some way trapping you in repetition and endless cycles. Looping can embrace the random and the unexpected to deliver something ever-changing and new.

    @Jon Carpenter send me some of those recordings !
    •  
      CommentAuthorCassandra
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2009
     (4833.12)
    any random collision or combination of sounds will appear meaningful if looped.


    That's because repartition creates meaning - linguistically we're used to the repartition of a sound/s becoming culturally significant and becoming signs - taking on meaning for the culture in which they are repeated. Plus there's something in the make up of the brain that responds to rhythmic repartion (I'm clueless on the scientific background to this, but I'd love to discover it's buried deep in the hypothalmus - the evolutionarily-oldest section of our brains).

    @Scarcrow: Primer's the first thing i thought of too! It's a really good example of the corkscrew power of repartition embedded in looping - the layering of the something re-experienced, where the awareness of that re-experience and rememberences of previous experiences alter the experience of the same stimulus each time - experience followed by experience + re-experience, followed by experience + re-experience + re-experience, followed by experience + re-experience + re-experience + re-experience, etc, etc.

    The mesmerising power of repartition in music must also have something to do with the familiarity yet layered experience of loops of sound, lulling an interrogating intellect in some way - or maybe I just danced to too much early 90s dance music at an impressionable age :)
    •  
      CommentAuthorbrittanica
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2009
     (4833.13)
    on the topic of time loops in comics: superman: red son.
    in which kal-el lands in russia, grows up to fight lex luthor in the name of his motherland...
    lex luthor becomes world leader, has a son and sends him back in time as the sun is dying... to cold war russia!
  11.  (4833.14)
    I am all about the time loops. What about the end of the line, in a book, and when you scan back, to the line below it you read the same line again.
  12.  (4833.15)
    Musical loops I love 'em, when done right. DJ 2Tall did some amazing things with loops a few years back on turntables...

    I did a few live shows using a loop station and a bunch of different instruments, building melodies and textures with stringed and wind instruments. It was interesting but limited, i doubt i'll do it again unless i develop it way way more.

    Holy Fuck and Battles are 2 of the best bands out at the moment who i believe use loops.
    •  
      CommentAuthorAlastair
    • CommentTimeJan 28th 2009
     (4833.16)
    music loops, i use a boss RC-20XL loop station and Boss-DD7 digital Delay i fucking love crazy noise loops and whatnot
  13.  (4833.17)
    oh, and i just re-read SEAGUY last night as well.
    •  
      CommentAuthorFinagle
    • CommentTimeJan 28th 2009
     (4833.18)
    My favorite loop, from Nietzsche:

    What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: 'This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more' ... Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: 'You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.' [The Gay Science, §341]
    •  
      CommentAuthortaphead
    • CommentTimeJan 28th 2009 edited
     (4833.19)
    Loops, oh my.

    I'm heavily into loops in my musical output, and it is very easy to paint yourself into a corner with them. I think the main thing in keeping it interesting is evolution. (As an aside: anything sounds good if you reverse it and shift it up an octave.)

    The usual methods I use (caveat: these specifics may get tedious) are layering loops of different lengths or internal divisions.

    In the first case this creates longer combined loops: Say you have one loop of four bars (i.e. relatively short and very quickly boring) and another one of seven bars (a little better, but not by much). These two loops form a pattern that repeats itself once every 28 bars (7*4), and voila, you've got more variation.

    The second example goes more into polyrhythmic territory and the easiest example would involve two loops of equal length: one loop in 3/4 on another loop in 4/4. What you'd wind up with is this:

    1---2---3---1---2---3---1---2---3---1---2---3---1
    1--2--3--4--1--2--3--4--1--2--3--4--1--2--3--4--1

    That sort of feeling of "where's 1?" is pretty common in e.g. West African music and very cool (and groovy!) when it's pulled off right. The David Byrne & Brian Eno album "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" and Talking Heads' "Remain in Light" are full of good examples.


    Lately I've been pondering using loops on different levels. In addition to the musical loops, I'd have a control loop. That is, the musical pattern would form one level of the piece and the control loop(s) would control the looping equipment itself, kicking it into record/overdub/reverse/etc. in a predetermined pattern. I think I'll have to draw up some schematics before I can actually make the jump to playing something like that, though. (Makes my brain itch a bit like Primer did, too.)


    Steve Reich already got a mention, which reminded me of this piece Theremina tweeted a while back:

    That piece is normally performed by two pianists, which makes that performance twist my brain into a möbius.


    Of course this being the internet, loopers have a very good mailing list: Looper's Delight. Good s/n ratio, and a nice searchable archive.


    Rambly boy is rambly.

    (EDIT: Oh yeah, forgot the gearhead talk. I'm using a laptop based rig running SooperLooper inside Ableton Live, and a Line-6 DL4 and a Korg Kaosspad as outboard loopers/effects.)
  14.  (4833.20)
    To the musicians: why do you like using loops? I've heard loops used to great heights of Awesome but tragically more often to new heights of Good Christ That's Annoying Please Stop.

    To people on time: so are we talking about slight changes in a course of events (a nudge at a point on a circle) skewing the whole thing? How far can it skew? Superman still ended up being pretty awesome, and held some of the same ideals, if for different reasons.

    @Jack I do this sometimes as well. Any ideas of phisiologists/psychologists/theorists/etc that might have an idea of why we do this? Is it just poor tracking due to close lines or do we want to have the same starting point?

    @Stygmata Nietzsche is brilliant. Crazy... but brilliant.

    @Kernowdrunk I think that's on a RadioLab... any ideas where else the theory might crop up?

    Thank you everyone! This is awesome!