3 ways to live loop hands free (like Elise Trouw…) using Ableton Live and ZenAudio

If you’ve seen clips of Elise Trouw live looping, aside from being an amazing artist, you’ve seen her effortlessly live loop without touching a looper. All she does is play her instruments and sing, and the parts she plays loop, stop looping and then come back in again automatically at just the right times.

I’ve seen comments to her clip saying it’s fake – that someone’s pressing looper buttons for her, or that it’s all just done in post, but that’s not the case. Live looping without touching a pedal is very possible, and in this clip I show three ways to do it.

The first (and probably best) method is using software dedicated for this purpose, called ZenAudio ALK. It supports plugins and there are many benefits to using it, and you’re not missing much by ditching your DAW. However, it only currently works on MacOS, and since I realize some people may feel more comfortable with their DAW, I also show two more methods to achieve the same goal with Ableton Live.

The more complex method is how Elise performs – using an IAC driver or loopback software like LoopMIDI, Bome MIDI translator Pro or LoopBe, MIDI YOKE

I also show a simple method, using automation of Loopers in Ableton Live.

I love loopers – they’re a great way to play solo with multiple different and varying layers. However, dealing with a looper is a distraction from actually playing music, and it’s virtually impossible to tap dance around a looper to naturally bring parts you recorded in and out at just the right time. Controlling loopers is probably still the only way to go if you’re jamming, but if you’re playing a song it typically has a pre-determined structure, automated looping is a great way to help you focus on your music rather than operating a looper.

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