Fairground (Alternative Ending)

Another late 80s version of the tune. (BBC Micro, Music 5000, AMPLE programming language). More or less the same as the Fairground but with an alternative ending.

I HATE Sublime Loop!

I’ll never be free of it. Sometimes I just want to punch it!

Lost in Wonder (Arpeggiated Mix)

Another find on an old tape. Nice return of the FM panpipe arpeggios.

Dubbed in Wonder

Wow! Didn’t remember this one at all. It’s a reggaefied Sublime Loop from the mid 90s. Possibly the original recording of that MIDI file I rendered earlier (on SoundCloud, now see end of this post).


Actually, here’s the MIDI rendered as plain piano / GM synth.

World Flowers

A dancier version of the loop from around 1993. I think I was trying to make this more of a piano-rave tune but somehow it spirals off into soaring melodic insanity. It was sequenced (and there’s a real drum machine involved) but another example of my fairly shambolic playing.


I’ve been playing with a new, simple form of synthesis that I call WaveFlavours. It basically involves starting with a couple of wave-tables and gradually swapping sample points between them, inverting and reversing the tables and other slow modifications.

I wanted to make a long drone showing how a sound evolved over time, but then realised that a sublime loop would be fun.

This is about as raw as it gets. Eight minutes of the basic pattern with no extra melodic decoration. The only thing that changes is the slow evolution of the lead sound as the simple sin / ramp pairing that I start with, gets more distorted and more harmonics appear.

The bass sound is evolving too, but with faster evolution and the built-in phaser effect it’s more immediately dynamic, but less obviously changing over the longer time-scale.

Rockier Sublime

I’m kind of embarrassed to put this one up. But I decided to be (fairly) completist about this project.

This is soon after I got my Kawai K1 and 4-track tape. It’s me playing and I’m excruciatingly out of time. I seem to be incapable of even a basic timekeeping by hand.

I guess because it’s … er … “live” it’s sort of rockier than the programmed tunes. Somehow I went for electric guitar and bass sounds and acoustic drums and toms.

A couple of nice touches. I like the intro, which made it into the repertoire and reappears in some other versions. I also like some of the cadences, and the high, pure plucked harp that plays bits of the Victoriana and a new counter-melody in the transposed section.

I’m intrigued as to whether a real band could play the loop. Is the riff in its pure form easy or hard on a guitar I wonder?

(BTW : I also like the fact that this version doesn’t have a Lost in Wonder. Shows that that isn’t, ultimately, an essential of what this loop is about.)

Victoriana (Fairground) vs. Lost in Wonder 2009

One thing I’m noticing, listening to some of these old tracks, is how much more musically ambitious and “sophisticated” I was as an 18 year old with primitive equipment than I am now.

This variation on the Victoriana took the fairground whirligig vibe to extremes. It’s almost Prog in its constant switches of style and speed and introduction of different themes and ideas.

On the other hand, the most recent attempt was in 2009 :

The sounds are nice. And I can listen to an unadorned sublime loop for hours. So 6 minutes is nothing. But I just get in the basic Victoriana (albeit played on a riddiculously pungent, sour-bright trumpet) and waves of repeated orgasmic Lost in Wonder. I love it … and yet can’t help thinking that I was so much crazier and more interesting twenty years ago.

BTW : The early stuff was programmed in AMPLE (a kind of Forth programming language) and played on a basic 8 voice FM synth. The recent track was FruityLoops, with samples and dozens of soft-synths available. Next exercise, I think, will be to try to recreate the variety and general OTTness of this early track in FL. It should be possible. (Although AMPLE gave a lot of flexibility. It was easy to change speed, time signature, to replay an entire section pitch shifted or play it across several voices in a pseudo-echo. I’m sure FL allows this kind of thing too but it’s not as evident.)

The Beginning : Victoriana / Lost in Wonder

Let’s get down to some tracks.

Here’s the earliest use of the loop I can find on tape. It’s made in 1988 using my Music 500, an FM synthesizer plugin for the old 8-bit BBC Micro.

It features two melodies which have become staples on top of the loop and which I will label “Victoriana” and “Lost in Wonder”. With Victoriana I was looking for a Victorian “steam-organ” feel and the melody was meant to capture that. Particularly the first flurry of descending chromatic notes.

Lost in Wonder is the big (slightly cheesy) romantic melody that comes a bit later.

The start of this tune features some nice pan-pipe arpeggios which I don’t think ever came back. But listening to it again, they sound great.


Finally … this is the ORIGINAL!!!!

I HATE Sublime Loop (Gruta Version)