ableton's latest video series - "one thing" - is chock full of great advice from some of the best producers & musicians using live today. in this article, we collect all the tips from the series & explain the ideas in further detail than the 1 minute limitation allows. click any of the .gifs below to watch the respective original video from ableton or visit the official ableton page.
Kenny Segal says that "sometimes the best thing to sample is the space in between the actual notes." this makes a lot of sense - generally, a sound will degrade & distort as it decays & a lot of the more interesting textures happen here, only it is too quiet to hear well. try making this louder & hearing what kinds of sounds you're able to bring up into a more audible volume. you'll need a decent tail to work from, so try adding a lot of release or reverb & delay. if the section you pull out is still short, stretch it out & let the warp modes add even more texture to the sound. once your satisfied, consolidate (cmd + j) & drag it into simpler. try playing this with the original sound as a layer to balance out the ethereal sound with a more direct version.
once your satisfied, consolidate (cmd + j) & drag it into simpler. try playing this with the original sound as a layer to balance out the ethereal sound with a more direct version. try this with all kinds of sounds - record out some drums or chords from your track & see how sampling their tails can add to your arrangement.
when looking for a sound to use, we usually start by browsing through & trialing presets until we come across a patch that inspires us. Catnapp suggests doing the opposite - find the sound you most hate & work it into your track & see what happens from there.
by making your starting point as far away from your end goal as possible, you'll force yourself to exhaust your bag of tricks & discover new ways to process, manipulate, & mangle sounds in an effort of correction. as Catnapp puts it in her video, "developing habits can make a solid foundation for your tracks but sometimes it helps to take a different path." working with awful sounds is an excellent exercise of discovery.
Toni's tip is one of my favorites & one I've used for a long time. if you've never played with the beats mode transient envelope, you'll be amazed at how you can seemingly tighten up & mute a drum kit just by taking away some of the sustain.
as this tip demonstrates, there are lots of creative ways to use live's warp modes to manipulate your clips beyond their basic timing & pitch correction capabilities. I cover many more interesting uses in my article "5 things to know about warping".
Robot Koch opens his tip by explaining that "having too many options can be distracting." this has never been more of a problem than with the modern daw - you can do so much that it can be paralyzing. when you think back into the history of recording, many of the best albums ever made were recorded to tape & the musicians weren't able to quantize a midi clip after the fact, for example. to make progress, you'll have to create constraints & commit to things, perfections & options be damned.
the best way to do this is to freeze a track via the context menu & then flatten it. this will bounce down all midi & effects on a given track into an audio track. it's good to keep in mind you can do multiple tracks at once if necessary!