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Hainbach on Asynchronous Loops

Courtesy of Ableton

This isn’t a performance video, per se, but it’s a brief, informative spotlight on the musician Hainbach talking about something central to his music-making process. That thing, the “One Thing,” per the title of this series from the music equipment (software and hardware) company Ableton, is asynchronous loops: two or more loops that are of different lengths, as a result of which, they don’t overlap in a consistent manner, leading to an ever-changing series of sonic instances. I love asynchronous loops, which is why I have two foot pedals that are simple loopers, and why I’ve been confused over the years as various highly functional music-making tools I’ve tried out (such as the Teenage Engineering OP-1 and, more recently, the Synthstrom Deluge) don’t support asynchronous loops.

Video originally posted at

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tags: , / Comments: 3 ]


  1. jet jaguar
    [ Posted July 8, 2020, at 3:13 am ]

    In a weird turn of events, my local library has a Synthstrom Deluge they lend and they asked me to make a video of what I first did with it… I made loops of different lengths and had them cycle around in and out of phase with each other a la Steve Reich. I call this polymeter, not asynchrony, because each pattern was in the same tempo but a different time signature, rather than being just an arbitrary or uncounted length of time.

    • Marc Weidenbaum
      [ Posted July 8, 2020, at 7:29 am ]

      Yeah, the different-length loops is a great thing. If it wasn’t possible, I would have passed my Deluge on. Please let me know when your video is online.

  2. Nick
    [ Posted July 13, 2020, at 6:49 am ]

    The OP-1 is restricted by only having a single deck in its tape metaphor (and limited time for actual samples). But you can splice loops of different lengths on the four tape tracks.

    My first experiments with this were back with Octatrack on the Amiga – set two samples to loop, and then trigger them once at the start of a very long, slow pattern. I soon discovered that by starting with two identical loops and shaving a few samples off of one, you could get classic Reich-style phasing loops – well before I’d heard any Reich, just as a result of good old fashioned arsing around on home computers. In fact the first time I encountered this technique in the wild would have been the intro / outro tracks on the second Orbital album.

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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