Initially, I really struggled with Ableton Live, but I also really felt like I was making some big improvements – until I got down to business on this remix. I slowly chipped away at the remix after every class, trying to employ as many of the things we learnt into the project. The final week of classes, we remixed a Queen track, and I was given feedback that the groove of my drums didn’t really lock with the grooves that Queen had played. This was really eye-opening and unfortunately, on listening to my progress on the remix, I started from scratch.
I learnt more this week about time management than I did about remixing. While I had a week to re-do the remix, I found myself going around in circles and unhappy with the results. I had intended to create an industrial-style electronic song, and while I retained some of that in the depth and space of the synths and reverbs, the remix didn’t end up sounding how I heard it in my head. I really struggled with such quantized information – it feels weird not having the option to change into ‘Slip’ mode like in ProTools, but rather shifting to the bars. It really drove home the importance of carefully looped and warped audio.
I also struggled with how compressed some of stems I received were, because Live struggled to pick out the transients and admittedly I wasn’t sure how to create markers like in ProTools. I feel like more dynamic tracks would have been easier to work with in Live because of the transients. I struggled so much with setting up the loops for the project that I didn’t give myself enough time to write something – and ended up with a short remix that has a few similar sections that change every 4-8 bars and repeat a lot. There’s not a lot of melody, but I’d intended to use more of the original track than I ended up using. I used the ‘Simpler’ sampler to create a short vocal part, more so as a percussive instrument than melodic.
In conclusion, I’ve got a lot to learn. It’s important to listen to your music as subjectively as possible while retaining the creativity. A big roadblock for me was using a program that I’m not familiar with, and I really struggled to make something I’m proud of in hindsight. I need a lot more practice on Live, as I can really see the benefit in using a program, if not for triggers and samples on recorded acoustic drums, but also as a texture for acoustic music.

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