Creating Steve Reich Style Phase Shifting With Samples

The latest loopop video takes a look at creating minimal phase shifting, using samples, in the style of Steve Reich‘s mid-60’s tape loop pieces.

Reich created two influential tape works works, It’s Gonna Rain and Come Out, by playing copies of a short audio phrase against itself, so that the copies would slowly loop and in and out of phase. Reich quickly moved on from exploring this ‘phasing’ technique with audio tape and by 1967 was exploring using the idea of asynchronous phrases phasing against each other with acoustic instruments.

Brian Eno’s score for Music For Airports

The idea of an ‘asynchronous canon’, where multiple instruments or voices cycle against each other independently, became a core element of Brian Eno’s early ambient music, too, most notably his 1978 album, Ambient 1: Music For Airports. While Reich explored using asynchronous looping with two or more copies of a short phrase, Eno’s work explored asynchronous looping of multiple musical phrases, and using much longer loops.

The video demonstrates how you can explore similar territory with modern tools, like the Elektron Model:Samples and Digitakt. You can use the same general approach in just about any DAW or even iOS loopers like Loopy.

Topics Covered:

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

8 thoughts on “Creating Steve Reich Style Phase Shifting With Samples

  1. Thank you Loopop for the excellent video.
    I for one never really got into sampling or sampling gear,
    But this video hooked me in on getting a Digitrak system!!

  2. it creates some interesting effects but its a little “random”
    better shift audio in the sequencer and not just loop it …

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