In electronic music, a loop is a sample which is repeated. Loops may be repeated through the use of tape loops, delay effects, cutting between two record players, sampling, a sampler or computer software.
While repetition is used in the musics of all cultures the first musicians to use loops were electronic pioneers Pierre Henry, Edgard Varèse and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Stockhausen's music in turn influenced The Beatles to experiment with tape loops, and their use of loops in early psychedelic works (most notably 1966's "Tomorrow Never Knows" and 1968's avant-garde "Revolution 9") brought the technique into the mainstream. The stereo version of The Kinks' 1967 song "Autumn Almanac" (which appears on the 1972 compilation The Kink Kronikles) also features a psychedelic tape loop during the fadeout. Later, inspired by Terry Riley's use of one tape on two tape machines, Brian Eno and Robert Fripp created the technical basis for their No Pussyfooting album—this technological concept was later dubbed Frippertronics.
Another approach was the use of pre-recorded loops, exemplified by Grandmaster Flash and his turntablism. Major producers like Timbaland, and underground producers like Jimmy Spice Curry, as well as the group Sir Mask, and others often create their own sound loops then incorporate them into songs.
Use of pre-recorded loops made its way into many styles of popular music, including hip hop, trip hop, techno, drum and bass, and contemporary dub, as well as into mood music on soundtracks.
Today many musicians use digital hardware and software devices to create and modify loops, often in conjunction with various electronic musical effects.
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