Monthly Archives: June 2004

Funky Breaks in Ableton Live

[UPDATED: July. 16, 2008 for Live version 7]

There are two schools of thoughts when talking about recording music: 1) Capturing performance and 2) Authoring.

Here’s a test: how easy is it to trigger samples at quantized intervals in your host software? If you answered “very” then you probably have Battery or Live, both favor the capturing performance method. If you said “none’ you probably have ACID Pro.


[ listen ]
[ download ]

What follows is a tutorial on how to make the most of Live’s ability to capture a sample-triggering-performance. I assumes you’re relatively new to the tool but I reach pretty far down to some some cool, but simple techniques. For this project I use a pre-existing drum loop and tear it apart to make a funky-break-d&b-kinda-sorta-thingy.

Setting things up will take a few minutes but you can hear the results of what I used as an example project by clicking on Vincent on the right. You can follow along and see the whole Ableton Live Set (download here (ZIP).

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The Best Beat Slicer is Free

The world’s most powerful and flexible beat slicer is free (as in beer). That’s the good news. The bad news is that there’s math involved. (I’ve created a cheapo little utility to help with the math part but more on that later.)

Filtered and Sliced

[ listen ]
[ download ]

With the latest release of the free VSTi soundfont player plug-in rgc:audio‘s sfz, you can now create your own “soundfonts” based on any sample(s) just by using a simple text file. Your write this text file in any text editor (like Notepad) and instead of loading an SF2 soundfont you tell sfz to load this text file. The format of the text (called “sfzFormat”) was invented by rgc:audio but they opened the format to the public presumably to encourage tools vendors to target it. Click on Vincent to hear something I threw together using sfz as a beat slicer. The first two bars are a drum loop I found. That’s followed by my slicing. No other plug-in effects we used to make this example. (Later in the example I used another stock loop to anchor the beat.)
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Winer’s Last Mistake

If you’re Dave WIner you should know better than give zero notice when you’re going to disconnect 3000 websites and break 100,000’s of not-so-perma-links-anymore-you-cheap-motherfuckers. Or I guess, more accurately: if you’re Dave Winer it wouldn’t occur to you this is a problem even after you do it and it’s been pointed out to you.

Buf if your’re Dave Winer you should know better than to post an MP3 of your “apology” to the Web. Because it won’t be long before someone remixes it. And it won’t be long after that someone has a
Dave Winer Remix Contest.”

I think the cool, broader point is that everybody and their mother is having a “remix contest” — this term has become ubiquitous and the software (mainly ACID but also Live and others) are enabling a whole new way of thinking about music from the ground up.

Remember when “Photoshop” was a noun? Think of what happened to art, photography and the visual arts in general when real photographers got over the fact that a computer is just a tool, like a brush or camera and starting “Photoshop-ing”. We now see where music is heading after the fad-iness has worn off remixing and the true artistry can shine through. Onwards!

…and that’s the best Winer impression I can do.

Salute To Ray

Today is Ray’s funeral and it sent me back looking through the fourstones catalogue where I found this mash (back before they were called mashes) of Ray’s “What’d I Say” and “Cripple Creek” by The Band called “Misery Creek” that I did in July 2001.

So long Ray.

Missing School

This year whispering over warm guitars is definitely in!

Or so an analysis of keywords in reviews at Pitchfork reveals (oops, I mean Pitchfork Media.).

Pitchformula is fascinating…. in a car wreck/guilty pleasure kind of way. The author of the study actually created two song based the ranking of positive keywords and I have to say: I kind of like the music (!).

A couple of observations off the top:

1. Why in gods name did he not make a song based on the negative review words?? What a golden opportunity missed.

2. In a textbook case of irony-overload the first non-subjective negative word in the list (behind stuff like ‘bland’ and ‘dumb’) is ‘thinks.’

3. I miss school. No I mean, I literally missed school, as in: I was working fulltime by 17. Is this what passes for an education? All of sudden I’m jealous.

[Thanks Citizen Keith]

Naropa Collection (Cross Post)

Over on the Creative Commons weblog I’ve posted an entry about the Naropa Collection that was uploaded to the Internet Archive. This is very special one-of-a-kind spoken word material (lectures mainly) by such oft-sampled giants as William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg.

Solid Steel Plays “Raiding”

The incredible “Raiding the 20th Century – A History of the Cut Up” 40 minute cut-up by Strictly Kev (a.k.a. DJ Food) has been streaming on Solid Steel all week and will continue to be featured through the 14th. (The complete “official” playlist is at the link above.)

Even at 64kbps streaming this thing is too much for words. I haven’t listened to this since it’s XFM debut in January and I have to say I’m even more impressed (if that’s possible).