Ableton Live Newbie

In the past I’ve developed music using the IK Multimedia’s Total Studio bundle combined with Cubase. The fruits of those efforts resulted in a number of tracks that I’ve posted in my Music section from 2007/2008.

I moved to Berkeley, California in 2009, dabbling with music a bit using Garageband, and later again some more tracks using Cubase.

More recently I noticed the artist Kawehi on Facebook and her cover of Heart Shaped Box on Vimeo. Later I noticed that she did a cover of Closer by Nine Inch Nails.

Closer by NIN – Covered by Kawehi from Kawehi on Vimeo.

The settings she records in are very iconic, but it’s her little gadgets, and her ability to sample on the fly to compose the song right before your eyes, that grabs my attention. She doesn’t use a looper pedal that loses the volume of the first sample you recorded slowly over time. I’m inspired.

A couple months ago I bought a copy of Ableton Live 9 Intro, and now this is really influencing me to learn it and start making music again. One thing that has always been a weak spot for me is arrangement, and it looks like the flexibility and swiftness available for arranging a song with Ableton is so much more supportive than the typical horizontal timeline of ProTools, Cubase, Logic, etc.

Over the weekend I went to Guitar Center and picked up a book, Ableton Live 9 Power!. So far the book has been really helpful. Ableton Live seems like a totally different interface than I’m used to, and I’m not wanting any blockages to making progress with the program, so investing in a nice book is worth it, even though I’ve usually winged it in the past.

I also bought an Akai MPK Mini ($100). I thought this was the same thing Kawehi used in her Heart Shaped Box video, but it looks like she’s actually using an M-Audio Axiom AIR Mini 32 that retails for about the same price.

MPK Mini

 

I was just looking through some of the other MIDI interfaces that complement Ableton Live really well. It looks like the other thing Kawehi uses is a Novation Launchpad. She is either using the Launchpad S, which goes for about $150, or the Launchpad Mini, which goes for $100.

LaunchpadS

Some other MIDI controllers that I might consider to complement or replace the MPK Mini are Akai’s APC20 (retails for $200) or APC40 . Or ultimately, the new Push interface (retails for $600, $565 on Amazon) seems to be the creme de la creme currently.

ableton-push

How to Transfer Music to your iPhone

This article is for new iPhone users. At some point you’re going to want to put music one your iPhone to listen to. You can do this without having to buy music from the iTunes store, if you have music available on CDs or in MP3 files. What you do is install iTunes software (downloaded…

Sit at work? How to Improve your Health

I found this video in an article by Sarah Chang. As a person who sits all day at work, this is a useful reminder with tips on how to improve your health by adjusting your work setup. If you use a Mac computer at work, I recommend Time Out software to remind you to get…

Being Afraid to Love Yourself More

James Harmon, an artist from Austin, Texas, posts some nice things on Facebook often. A friend of mine shares these quotes often. Recently James posted the following. Sometimes it can be very tempting to cling to another person to fill a void in your life, you know? But it’s like putting Micky Mouse band-aids on…

Smoking for normalcy?

An interesting question came to me this morning. Do I smoke cigarettes, or do anything else, to create a sense of stress that feels “normal”? Do I do this because feeling healthier is alien and subconsciously I try to avoid that feeling?

Confidence and Attraction

For the longest time I’ve been convinced that women are attracted to confident men because they’re not nice, a sort of the polar opposite of feminine. But how can women want sensitive men? If this isn’t masculine, is this a contradiction? I just had an “Ah Ha!” moment where I realized that this isn’t some…

The Psychological Impact of Having the Advantage

Makes you think about people who are born into privilege. Matches up with how things are in general as well. They can’t help but justify what they’ve received, as if they’ve earned it…worked “hard” for it. They have no idea how much more effort is necessary to achieve.

Easily Share Songs with Friends on Spotify

Spotify used to have a side bar that made it easy to scroll through and locate your Facebook friends that are also on Spotify. You could simply drag a song over your friends name, and then provide that song to their ‘Inbox’ with an optional message. Unfortunately with recent updates, Spotify no longer includes this…

Don’t Medicate Your Children

I remember when my 4th grade teacher sent me home with a note to my parents recommending that I take Ritalin. This isn’t how you solve the problem. It’s likely the sugar and carbs in the child’s diet that make them hyperactive, or the television that makes them unable to focus, or the environment at…

How to Get Healthy

We all have our vices. We’ve found that somehow, subconsciously, these vices distract us from feeling worse than we currently feel. We drink so that we can feel more free, numbing those inhibitions that limit us socially, with the unfortunate side effect of a hangover. We smoke cigarettes because they fill the spaces inbetween, like…