this is the third & final part of our breakdown of ableton's "one thing" series. as always, you can click the .gifs to watch the original video or watch them all at ableton's official page.


DJ Dahi's approach to sample organization is certainly an interesting one. while not everyone will find it useful to label their loops as "crystal" & "stinky", it does go to show that having a system can help you stay in the mindset & workflow of making music. the most important thing is consistency. Dahi's method works for him because he's found key phrases that make sense to him that he can return to & build the label base. but simply naming things as how they fit into the traditional drum kit is useful!


whether its straightforward or more atypical, get in the habit of organizing your library for quick sorting & an optimized workflow.


Daedalus's tip isn't any kind of technical advice, but he simply makes the point to make sure you move to your song as you produce. this makes a lot of sense - if a rhythmic element is intended to make a listener dance, you should be testing how it affects your body as much as how it affects your ears.


often times, moving your body & dancing helps you understand how well a fill or time signature change works. if you can follow it with your hands or a foot tap for example, it probably means the rhythm is natural & will feel right for a listener.


astronautica encourages producers to break their habits & try a new approach to creating music. while she stresses that this could be anything, her specific example is definitely a good thing for live users to keep in mind & has to do with arrangement mode.


I almost always create my tracks in arrangement mode's grid. I try to avoid drum racks & session view because I don't want what's happening to be buried in the gui. arrangement mode is a kind of 3D sequencer that offers far more versatility & feedback than any of the traditional means of assembling a beat. if you don't usually use it this way, try breaking a habit the next time you open live & give it a try.


it's easy for sampling producers to forget to tune drums, but every drummer pays close attention to the pitches of their drums for a reason. mixing is the art of fitting harmonic puzzle pieces together & more than any eq, ensuring the elements of your track are in tune is the most effective way to make sure the frequency content is mathematically & sonically pleasing.

12. tune drums_1.gif

one really cool tip Hannes Bieger includes in his video is the idea of transposing the elements you want to tune - in order to get a better look at where the fundamental falls. this is especially useful for sounds with heavy bass frequencies, which are especially important to keep in tune. not only are these typically hard to hear, they are often difficult to read on a spectrum analyzer because of the logarithmic scaling these display. by temporarily adding an octave or two to a kick drum, you'll be able to much better read or hear its fundamental & be able to tune it more perfectly.


I have a field recorder on me at almost all times. I learned early on that interesting & unique sounds are everywhere & I felt regret too often for having missed some great sample material that I always have my trusty sony m10 in my backpack, just in case. Kyoka also stresses the importance of field recorders as a source of inspiration. as I discussed in my manifesto, noise is an excellent source of inspiration because it has the power to evoke life itself. when you hear even an innocuous sound from everyday life, it has the real potential to inspire your creativity to expand in new directions.


trying short loops out of a field recording can have a powerful effect on your perception of rhythm in your track & may unlock new grooves in situations where you might otherwise tend toward a more mechanical approach. the point is, a field recording can be useful for loosening up & grounding your music.