Exactly 20 years ago today, Michel Aumont created the show Souffles en boucles and I was the sound engineer. It was at Carré Magique, in Lannion, directed at the time by Roger Le Roux, Solange Grégam and Dominique Maréchal.

Souffles en Boucles was Michel’s first solo for clarinet and looper, and I suggested spatializing the loops on an 8-speaker system. Michel had composed the basis of the music on the Oberheim echoplex, so the loops were mixed up in a single memory, one consequence of which was that the first loops tended to get squashed as Michel piled up the overdubs. The second consequence was that the looper output was necessarily monophonic, so I only received a single signal at the console.  

After some fruitless research, that was back in 2002, it became clear that no looper capable of stacking up to 10 multichannel loops yet existed. So I suggested to design a looper that would meet these specifications, while retaining all the features he was used to using with the echoplex. Michel wasn’t sure that this would be possible, as we knew at the time that the tool had to be ready within a year to prepare for the show’s premiere on February 24, 2004. On my side, I naively thought it would be easy to make such a tool…

So I started by making a prototype that recorded a basic loop and a few overdubs, and then we gave it a try with Michel. Haha… Michel started stacking as he would have done with the Echopex and in less than a minute everything was stuck! I hadn’t realized how important the control sequences were in a looper. Indeed, recording loops and playing them back is almost a detail, and the difficulty lies in interfacing with the performer. Michel had developed such a technique and played the loops with such virtuosity that the machine had to keep up whatever the sequence of events. 

Starting with the prototype, we worked relentlessly for over a year, I was developing functions one after the other from specifications set by Michel, during the night I would send him the new functions and bug corrections, and he would test everything in the morning and report back to me. Working in this way, we created what’s known as Logelloop’s Main Looper, which is in fact a kind of emulation of the Echoplex, minus a few functions Michel didn’t need, but with a few other functions of his own.

Once the Looper was sufficiently functional, I set about developing the Spatializer. The spatializer received information from Logelloop via the network, such as loops duration, number of tracks, sound bank changes and so on. This made it possible to adjust sound movements to the tempo of the music.

On February 24, 2004, Michel Aumont used Logelloop for the first time in front of a sold-out crowd at Carré Magique in Lannion. Sadly, Michel passed away in 2020. Needless to say, I would have preferred to call him this morning to wish him a happy Logelloopanniversary…. And if he’d still been with us, he’d have also opened the party to be held at Logelloù on May 3, 4 and 5. On May 3, the evening will be in his memory, starting at 7pm with a tribute in the presence of some of the musicians who accompanied him on his various creations.  

Philippe Ollivier

20 years ago today, Michel Aumont was the first to use Logelloop!

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