ALK2 is a unique looper, sequencing and arranging software that builds complex arranged tracks from and during live performance. Previously only available on the Mac it’s now made its way onto the Windows platform.
It takes the idea of a looper pedal where you layer sounds on top of each other and then pulls that across the arrangement page of a timeline based sequencer or DAW. So rather than continuously looping over a single phrase which builds and builds, you pre-arrange where your loops are going to happen, where they are recorded, where they loop and where they don’t. So as your song progresses you play in the parts you want to perform and they loop exactly where you want them to. And this is all hands and feet free. You don’t have to be fighting with stomp boxes or track selections while you’re playing, it’s all prepared and ready for you to fill in the gaps.
This sort of thing is possible with Ableton Live and other DAWs with an awful lot of work. But ALK2 is designed for this very purpose and brings a much simpler and comprehensive workflow.
In ALK2 you set out the arrangement of your song like you would in any DAW. But rather than the regions or clips having pre-recorded MIDI or audio they are blank spaces that hold record and stop markers for capturing your live performance. The recorded sections are then looped into “playback” regions that you’ve arranged in your song. They can be of any length and repeated as often and wherever you like. There are all sorts of tools in here for automation and crafting the performance you’re after, it supports VST plug-ins, multiple audio inputs and routing MIDI out to external devices.
I guess the main thrust of ALK2 is that it assumes you are performing a song or piece of music that you have already worked out. You are locked within that arrangement and everything that happens is pre-written. With a looper pedal you have much more freedom to make stuff up as you go. But then in a live situation you probably want things to go right rather than leave it all improvised. It depends on how you work. I think what’s great about it is that it allows you to create an impressive, and well thought out multi-instrument performance that’s much more engaging than playing along to backing tracks and more complex than a looper pedal.
It’s also really colourful which I imagine helps when trying to follow what’s going on in the darkness of a gig. I’m going to have to try this out.
ALK2 for Windows is on offer for $99 until 3rd March.
- zenAud.io website.