MATRIXSYNTH: Sampler trick: how to create multi-length “tape loops” (shown on Digitakt/Model Samples by Elektron)

Monday, March 04, 2019

Sampler trick: how to create multi-length “tape loops” (shown on Digitakt/Model Samples by Elektron)

Published on Mar 4, 2019 loopop


0:00 Intro
0:50 The first loop
1:25 Phased 2nd loop
2:10 Adding texture
2:30 Adding an LFO
3:50 More loops...
4:00 Playing with levels
4:45 Adding effects
5:25 Rhythmic phasing
7:35 More ideas

"This video explains a neat little sampler trick that lets you create music by *ignoring* a sampler’s sequencer.

In the early 60’s groundbreaking composer Steve Reich ( pioneered the technique of using different length tape loops (and later musical patterns) in composition. The idea is that two short loops, either identical but one slightly shorter than the other, or completely different, drift in and out of phase to create textures, patterns and rhythms that weren’t there before. This tape loop technique is used by William Basisnki ( ) to create wonderful sonic soundscapes, and in the lovely “Walkman Symphony” by Amulets (

In this video I replicate the experience digitally by using a little trick which ignores the sequencer on modern day samplers, in order to create similar multi-length loop textures and patterns.

It turns out some samplers (like Elektron Digitakt and Model:Samples shown in this video) will let sample-loops play continuously, regardless of whether the sequencer is active or not . As long as you DON’T use the built-in sequencer to retrigger the samples, and you create different length loops, the samples will loop in and out of phase with each other and recreate the phasing tape loop experience quite nicely. In these particular samplers, all the effects and LFOs are still fully functional despite the sequencer not running, so you can use them while your loops are running.

A huge thanks to Yehezkel Raz for turning me on to these composers and for playing the sample you hear in the Digitakt portion of this beautiful Danksi song:"

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