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GarageBand is killing music!

GarageBand, Fruityloops, Ejay, Ableton... they make it easy to create music, don't they? Yes they do. All you have to do is select a few pre-recorded loops and string them together, layer them up, match them in tempo and sometimes in pitch. I've tried it. It's so easy to get professional sounding results...

GarageBand, Fruityloops, Ejay, Ableton... they make it easy to create music, don't they?

Yes they do. All you have to do is select a few pre-recorded loops and string them together, layer them up, match them in tempo and sometimes in pitch. I've tried it. It's so easy to get professional sounding results.

I remember when I first started working with loops back in the 1980s. I had a sampler, but it wasn't all that convenient to use. So I would play some vinyl until I heard something I thought would loop well, backcue the deck and record that section of music onto analog reel-to-reel tape. I would then carefully edit the tape and form it into a real physical loop. Playing the loop was tricky and involved holding a pencil in just the right place for the tape to loop around.

And the results, following through with a process of sampling and multitrack recording, were outstanding in terms of originality and new sound combinations. The proof of that particular pudding is getting to number 4 in the Tower Records 'Weird' chart, but that's another story.

But then as equipment developed it became easier and easier to create loop-based music. So more people did. Many, such as Fatboy Slim and Moby achieved wonderful feats of creativity. But most people's efforts, although sounding superficially professional, did not contribute to musical culture one little bit.

And now the ultimate is GarageBand, which Apple intend for people who edit videos to create their own musical soundtrack. No composer, no musicianship necessary, because the software makes it that easy.

Of course it does all tend to sound like GarageBand music, but that's the price you pay. True musical creativity is only achieved through difficulty; through doing things that other people are not doing, and for which the equipment or software doesn't yet exist.

By the way - I last used a loop in 1994. By then it was boring.

By David Mellor Thursday January 1, 2004