Re: Adding Variation to your Beats...
I'll try and put something interesting up but it won't be for a while (did I mention that I work really slowly??).
Thanks for the tip about Jamie's environment, I remember reading about it but I haven't got fully involved in the environment yet, so I'll keep it in mind for when I do!
PS One time I used the external controller technique on two of logic's bass apple loops - and got some very cool grooves and variations really easily. Only trouble is you have to be so spot on with your external controller to avoid cutting the notes too soon, or missing out on some of the textures.
Maybe this works best as a sketchpad tool, where you can just improvise with some loops, then once you find variations you like you can then edit them the proper way.
I'm buried in Richard Lainhardt's tutorias at the moment, so its nothing but ES1 and 2 for me for the next little while!