OP1 building tracks, progressions, song-structure

for building structure, making progression on tracks or to expand loops into whole songs, I love the way when you use track buttons 1-4 live in playback-mode to add and substract, while switching from loop to loop with shift and the arrow keys. Recording straight to album. It‘s working great and is a musical and organic way of finding the paths of your songs.
But then as an alternative workflow, I want to build a track on the tape itself, but often, after a while with adding more and more loops, regions, overdubs, rejected parts you want to keep etc, things quickly can go messy. Mostly I have the raw stuff on the start of the tape. At around say min 2 or 3 I start building the track. I would really love to do it the entire way through and create the whole thing just in OP1. But then, when your track is nearly done, your tape is full and then you decide to change bigger parts - a lot of crazy lift drop and tape skipping adventure begins. Mostly, after a certain point, I shove it over to DAW where it ends up for further editing - which is what I would like to avoid.

Maybe you have better approaches to work with tape and longer tracks or songs?
What are your ways of Building or organizing material on the tape?

I’m working in a messy creative order anyway. Sometimes after a few loops a new idea pops out, or new ones came by just playing around. There are times where I have 3 or 4 different ideas or scetches on one tape🤤


Super curious to hear about the workflow of others as well. The only additional things I can think of would be-

Making copy/backup to another reel for more room- similar to how you are using the front of a tape for fragments.

Bouncing multiple parts of a track down to one.

Using midi sync to another device like a drum machine or sampler so you aren’t wasting an entire op-1 track for these elements.

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i think to some degree those limitations are unavoidable as a given project becomes more complex because the op1f is more of a DAW “lite” hehe - but that said i think there might be some clever ways to reduce the complexity or at least how it is represented/manifested in the op1f tape. here are a few things ive done to help:

  • take a backup of your entire tape project to your computer via MTP or if you have room make a duplicate tape on your op1f with the new duplicate feature. this will allow you to feel more free to “take risks” within your project and ive found that this opens me up to stumble upon happy accidents
  • use the scissors to snip a section into some piece of audio that is the exact duration of some section of music, say just the chorus or the verse. then when you are playing through your track and the playhead is over this part you can hold shift and then hit 3 (the loop button) and it will automatically create loop on this “snipped” section of audio. i do this all over the place so that i dont have to worry about creating loops in real time at exactly the right length.
  • merge lift/drop: this is helpful when combining 2 or more tracks together but i would say that you ought to be careful because there is no going back (although with point 1 about backups you can sometimes find great use of consolidating your project sections)
  • when you are finding that you have 3-4 separate ideas or sketches, and i often find this too, its best to move them each into their own project and work on them independently. i find that taking backups of each tape and then saving them for some other day can be liberating because then you know you will come back to it but you dont have to worry about messing up what’s on your sketchpad tape project
  • lastly, its inevitable and imo delightful aspect of how projects get finalized in the op1f: you must “perform” your project on your op1f. its kind of a instrument in its own right and so when you are laying down the final audio, usually i find that this entails some elaborate “performance” with muting, looping, etc.

also, i have been creating music 100% within the op1f for about a year now and i pasted one of my finished projects below to give you a reference of how “complex” my final piece is. perhaps mine is not as complex as yours but i found that this project and my others never got too bulky or cluttered within the op1f tape.

hope this helps!!