When we last joined our friend Gustavo Bravetti, Uruguay’s Ableton maestro, he was showing us how to glitch out with Live. Now he’s on Hong Kong-based DJ site djvox with a comprehensive set of Live tutorials. These are not necessarily the usual “how to use Live” fare. Instead, they focus on musical techniques, with Live as the tool — a means to an end, and a way to approach Live as an instrument, rather than a duplicate manual.

First up — one of my favorite tricks, which is building bass drum sounds in Operator. Not everyone loves Operator, but this is exactly why I like it for certain tasks: it’s a no-nonsense, quick way of building synths that drops nicely into a Drum Rack for quick DIY drum machines. And that pitch envelope and all-in-one time controls are especially handy.)

And for IDM lovers, here are some clever tricks for creating rhythmic variations using envelopes and follow actions. This one is especially worth a trip through the guide, even if you have different musical results in mind, because it’s an exceptional description of how follow actions work — one that’s actually better than the manual’s.

That gives you an idea of what Gustavo is working with, but be sure to check out the full guide for more details and step-by-step instructions, friendly even to beginners.

He even gives a shout out to the open-source 3D webcam MIDI controller for Windows we looked at last year.

Looking forward to more iProducer installments, Gustavo! And readers, now you know what to do with your evening / weekend / sick day you’re about to call in. Erm, if you’re not too busy building an arcade cabinet for Live first, that is.

iProducer: A Creativity Upgrade [Ableton Live tutorial on djvox]

(By the way, for digital crate-diggers: snooping around that Hong Kong site, you can buy downloads there internationally, though they wind up being a bit steep in US dollars.)

  • http://www.proemland.com proem

    i LOVE lives follow actions

    best thing they added to 5 (or was it 4?)

    i pretty much do that exact same rhythmic variation thing when i play live using what i like to call "flexible" loop lengths (5bar/3bar/7bar loops? sure why not. i loop like i just dont care)

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Follow actions were either 3 or 4, now I can't remember. I just wish there were a way to do scene follow actions… and I'd love more actions, or scripting. And I want a pony.

  • http://www.djairwave.com Airwave

    And this is supposed to be an Ableton Expert??

    Then, Gustavo needs to let me know why the other fm oscillators remain untouched!

  • electronico

    Lolll ! I think the answer is: because there is no need to use the other "FM" oscilators on this example.

    I'm not an expert but I think that the Roland 808 doesn't use FM synthesis to produce the BassDrum sound.

    Nice work Gustavo !

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  • http://nwrecords.com gbsr

    really. ive seen so many ableton live videos, most of them promising advanced techniques and i get disappointed every time.

    ableton live expert?

    hardly.

    a quick glance in the manual will tell you that this can be done (better, at that).

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Airwave: yeah, I'm with electronico — this is actually *exactly* how Operator was intended to be used. It can be used as an FM synth using that algorithm. Or it can be a simple subtractive multi-oscillator synth — you might use one oscillator, you might use more. So it's nice to have access to Operator sometimes even if you just want one oscillator.

    @gbsr: speaking as a writer, it can be tough to determine user level. To some people, this really is advanced. If you've got something you'd like to see, just say it. What would you consider advanced? What would you like to be able to do in Live?

  • http://www.covops.org Bjorn Vayner

    "What would you consider advanced?"

    This maybe? http://www.covops.org/index.php/Tips-and-Tricks/A

  • http://nwrecords.com gbsr

    yeah i like the covert operators blog, mainly because it explains the devices rather then just puts them up in a rack and presto!

    peter, it wasnt aimed to cdm as a blog, just a general rant. considering how flexible live is and the setups people comes up with im a bit suprised there arent more advanced tutorials.

    i think the tips and tricks forum at the official live forums is propably still the best place for advanced discussions. great find on the video(s) though. keep them coming :)

  • electronico

    "yeah i like the covert operators blog, mainly because it explains the devices rather then just puts them up in a rack and presto!"

    gbsr, those videos are well documented, if it is hard for you to understand what Gustavo is doing you can take a read on the full article :)

    http://www.djvox.com/site/index.php?columns=12&am

    peace !

  • http://nwrecords.com gbsr

    nono, its not hard to understand at all. i know how to use follow actions, and i use it all the time. i wasnt referring to that specific video with my reply above. most live tutorial videos throws up some devices in a rack which usually produces midi or audio in a musical way, but not many of them explains what the devices are doing, and why they are put in that specific order and for what purpose. the covert operators are very clear on this. ive seen many videos about live, and ive been experimenting very much with live, so i know what im doing, but for someone just getting started with it most videos just tell you to do this and that without explaining why. again, that was not aimed at this specific video(s).

  • dan s.

    Man I wish Live would zoom and scroll like that. That's on my wishlist for 8!

  • hi_dm

    These examples were very helpful. Thanks!

    To all those who left negative remarks: You guys are a bunch of wieners.

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  • Coupdetat

    OMG Ableton Rocks

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