With beautiful sounds to dream away this autumn, tutorials in both fundamental techniques and “cheap tricks,” our dear friend Václav Peloušek from Bastl Instruments is here with inspiration for your music-making adventures.

Beyond looping

First up, under his artist moniker Toyota Vangelis (perfect name), he gave this fantastic workshop “beyond looping.” It’s brilliant in getting past those Loopstation cliches – and both great tutorial and a chance to hear some wonderful music. (I think the instrument makers and technologists rarely get a chance to shine as musicians publicly, but they’re often an inspiring bunch these days!)

Thanks to producer Debora Java for pointing me to this one!


Looping is one of the fastest and most intuitive ways of making music, but it certainly has its limitations when it comes to composition style or the static nature of the looped material. Several individuals have managed to create custom tools on the laptop, but what if you are not that type of musician? How do you overcome these limitations and go towards the future with the latest generation of hardware loopers? We will look into loopers by Boss, Chase Bliss Audio (Blooper) and Bastl Instruments (Midi Looper, Thyme).

Signals was held virtually in Berlin recently – www.signals-festival.com – with the workshops put together by Catalyst Berlin.

Cheap trick

Check out how to get the most from a minimal modular setup in this recent streamed workshop:

On the same note –

Fundamentals of sound, with just a few modules

In this workshop, you also do more with less:

We are going to focus on the fundamentals of sound theory and exploring minimal modular setup that participants built as part of this series before the lockdown (VCO – Tromsø, VCF – Cinnamon and step sequencer – Popcorn and semimodular synth – Kastle).

Deeper with Midilooper

Thinking of beyond looping, the Bastl team are going beyond their own Midilooper looping instrument (which loops incoming pattern performances rather than sound). Version 1.1 is in development / testing now (and they welcome those wanting to try the release candidate); here’s a preview of what’s coming – USB MIDI, undo, aftertouch, ooh:

They also walk through the design process of Midilooper and their excellent 1983 module:

Bonus – more live looping

Going the opposite direction, I’m always looking for ways to quickly grab audio! I’m still looking for one I like on VCV Rack (any tips), but meanwhile this looks terrific in Reason – and a nice way to do some simple sampling of your Rack, even as the Rack gets rather complex: