How far can you go with one sound, if you use all available treatments to it?
I’d dare to say about all the way to a finished piece of music.
A single basic sound source can be treated to perform almost any musical role. This was actually also the basic philosophy behind the first analog subtractive synthesizers. A basic waveform (VCO), followed by tonal sculpting (VCF) and amplitude control, (VCA). However powerful they are, these designs have some limitations as to the spectrum of sounds they can produce. But with the addition of sampling and digital processing you can shape the basic sound into anything, really.
Looping a recorded sound down to single waveforms, provides you with a big wavetable to choose from for creation of synthetic sounds. Much like the early PPG Designs – and later Korg Wavestation – that uses digital wavetables as oscillators. The more complex the original sound – the more optioans in the wavetable.
Looping slightly larger sections of the wavetable can often produce rhythmically interesting results, where the loop restarts.