Losing your inspiration

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Sebilo
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Losing your inspiration

Post by Sebilo » Mon Feb 16, 2015 3:21 pm

Hi guys,

After 6 months of having fun but also struggling with Ableton, I would like to as k you guys some pieces of advice.

As a former guitarist, I decided to learn MAO because I was tired of the limitation of the guitar sounds, and because I was listening to more and more electronic or hip hop music in which guitar is less present.

The problem I an having is that even if it's easy at the beginning to create a riff and arrangements, I find it hard to create an entire song structure without ending at some point where I am disappointed because I can't transcribe what I have got in my head.

When I have my guitar, it flows directly, but with the computer in between it's more complicated.

Do you have some tips about ways of using or/and configuring Ableton in order to not loose your inspiration ?

Thks a lot !

re:dream
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Re: Losing your inspiration

Post by re:dream » Mon Feb 16, 2015 3:37 pm

Move as soon as possible from Session to arrangement view. Just use session view to create some of the basic loops, then use arrangement view to compose with a more flowing style.

But rendering the sounds in your head - that's a challenge anyway. At least for me. They say practice, practice, practice...

boabmatic
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Re: Losing your inspiration

Post by boabmatic » Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:47 pm

maybe look at getting ableton push.

I came from a guitar background with zero keyboard experience and found it hard trying to "play" anything into live using a MPK25.

Just picked up a second hand push a week ago and find it much easier for playing ideas into live now.
Its more like a guitar than a keyboard as you can learn chord shapes and move them around in note mode like you would on a guitar.

Its more geared towards using session mode than arrangement view though so if you are a die hard arrangement view user it maybe not the best option for you.

@N63L0
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Re: Losing your inspiration

Post by @N63L0 » Fri Feb 20, 2015 5:18 pm

re:dream wrote:Move as soon as possible from Session to arrangement view. Just use session view to create some of the basic loops, then use arrangement view to compose with a more flowing style.

But rendering the sounds in your head - that's a challenge anyway. At least for me. They say practice, practice, practice...
+1

Guitar was my obsession for 10 years before I got into producing. You are still better off than those without any instrumental experience, at least, I don't see any way it can hinder your development.

Just be open-minded to new methods of creation. There's no way around it, and it opens your mind as well. :D

Sebilo
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Re: Losing your inspiration

Post by Sebilo » Fri Mar 13, 2015 10:37 am

Thanks a lot for your answers.

Moving to arrangement view asap actually works really fine !

I think I was also missing doing music with someone, so when I am a little bit desperate for inspiration I try now to show the song to a friend and to change it with him.

Push seems great but it's still a bit expansive for me, but thks for the advice.

Good luck for your music !

alexandermon
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Re: Losing your inspiration

Post by alexandermon » Mon Mar 16, 2015 4:05 pm

Moving to arrangement view quickly is good advice.

I also found a lot of utility in the approach Ill.Gates teaches to music production.

It's really easy to get lost in sound design, patch tweaking, EQing, compressing, mastering, sampler programming, scripting, rack-making etc. It has helped me a lot to try to separate my music production into two types of sessions:

1. Prep sessions where I'm not necessarily seeking to write a track

2. Writing sessions where I'm only focusing on arranging and tinkering with devices only when needed.

Airyck
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Re: Losing your inspiration

Post by Airyck » Tue Mar 17, 2015 3:16 pm

Push seems to help me a lot and it's funny; I find it works better for me if I stay away from arrangement view for as long as possible.

A basic idea of how I get through making a track quickly with Push and Ableton Live:

Create a drum rack and start building a nice drum loop in session view. Make at least 8 variations of that drum loop in session view clips. I can add more sounds or completely make it from scratch using the same sounds, either way I just make 8 variations that are "related".

I make a bass sound, do the same thing, record a bunch of different basslines. The important thing is that I make myself do at least 8 variations or more if it's going well (do this for every sound you add, drums as a whole obviously). Maybe do some automation on the clips, whatever, just get a bunch of different basslines made that kind of go with some of the drums.

Do something similar for a Lead sound or maybe a Pad sound. At this point I'm not really making a song just stocking up on ideas and variations of those ideas. The sounds can be changed later or kept. If you just record a bunch of random playing you can then loop smaller sections and move the loop around until you find a nice little motif or section that sounds good. Once you find a good loop section you can adjust the start point of the clip too.

I have tons of clips ready to go on the grid. I usually will drag those clips into a folder in the user library called "initial clips".

Then I go through and apply EQ and Compression to the individual sounds, not to make them fit but to make them sound as good as possible on their own. I may also add some reverb or delay at this point, just as individual sounds.

I save all of those tracks and clips in another folder called "individual mixed".

Then if I'm sick of this part I'll move on to the arranging, otherwise I might try doing some automations or adding extra fx and export frozen audio clips to use as more variations.

Next I start playing random clips together in session view, if I find a combination I like I select a scene at the bottom of session view and create a new scene. I keep doing this randomly and eventually I start to hear ways I want to start the arrangement or have a section move from one thing to another. I keep lining up scenes and creating parts that drop in and out or whatever happens to happen.

Once I have enough combinations of scenes somewhat arranged in session view I activate arrangement record and start play through scene by scene letting them play for however long I feel.

Then at that point I have a rough arrangement all ready to go that sounds really good. I find all the little fine tuning stuff is very tedious and boring, it's something that is work and I hate doing it so I try to get as much done as possible without having to do that tedious mousing about. At that point I'll finally move to arrangement view and start doing fine tuning and more transitional and automation stuff. The song is really almost finished at this point and I'm happy because I had fun doing it instead of meticulously arranging and pasting and manufacturing the song; I actually performed everything up to this point and to me... that's Awesome! :D

This cool thing about this method is that you can really start and stop a lot. You can sit down and say "okay, I'm going to write the drum loop and 8 variations minimum in this sitting". When you're done you can quit and do the dishes, or go to work and when you come back you can say "okay, now I'm going to write a bass sound and at least 8 variations" and stop when you're done or continue. You're really breaking things up into little goals that are easy to achieve and it keeps things structured to the point that you don't get lost and you actually finish your work. It honestly helps you to always move forward to the next step and in doing so you actually finish tracks and come up with inspiration by just jamming out.

Of course this can all be done without Push but I just like using the Push to do it.

Also this is a new thing I'm doing, I've almost got a new track finished since starting to work this way. I've only worked on the track over the course of a couple of days too. At this rate I could probably finish a track every week or even less which I never thought would be possible for me. 8)
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Stromkraft
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Re: Losing your inspiration

Post by Stromkraft » Tue Mar 17, 2015 5:46 pm

Airyck wrote: make myself do at least 8 variations or more if it's going well (do this for every sound you add, drums as a whole obviously)...

stocking up on ideas and variations of those ideas. ...


I'm happy because I had fun doing it instead of meticulously arranging and pasting and manufacturing the song; I actually performed everything up to this point and to me... that's Awesome! :D

This cool thing about this method is that you can really start and stop a lot. You can sit down and say "okay, I'm going to write the drum loop and 8 variations minimum in this sitting". When you're done you can quit and do the dishes, or go to work and when you come back you can say "okay, now I'm going to write a bass sound and at least 8 variations" and stop when you're done or continue. You're really breaking things up into little goals that are easy to achieve and it keeps things structured to the point that you don't get lost and you actually finish your work. It honestly helps you to always move forward to the next step and in doing so you actually finish tracks and come up with inspiration by just jamming out.

Of course this can all be done without Push but I just like using the Push to do it.
That was both inspiring and got me a few ideas. Thanks!

I'm doing something similar in focusing on "finishing musical ideas" meaning I attempt to develop whole sections before I think about a "song". This both makes it easier to finish something as well as remove the pressure to do the whole song right now, maybe before the ideas have been developed and has direction.

With this method I also find it easier to select the ideas to turn into songs and to drop stuff I don't think are as promising.
Make some music!

Airyck
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Re: Losing your inspiration

Post by Airyck » Tue Mar 17, 2015 6:19 pm

I'm glad it helped :) ! It's been a real eye opener for me to work this way. Music making should be fun, the whole way through; It shouldn't be tedious work IMHO.

There are a ton of reasons why this method is really good (and do it your own way of course), but to have an excess of ideas and material to work with at the arrangement stage makes it so you don't even think about the need to create new parts during the arrangement. You have soooooo much to work with that you can pick and choose and have no qualms ditching the stuff that doesn't work.

I have been searching for a long time on how to work in a way that the "entire" music making process would be an enjoyable thing, and would produce results that I'm happy with; this is a HUGE step in the right direction for me.

It's interesting because it turns the arrangement process into a performance too and that really makes the arrangement do things that are unexpected. Sometimes you come across things and they flow so easily there is absolutely no doubt in your mind that you're on the right path... this was one of those things for me :)
http://www.soundcloud.com/airyck-sterrett
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Airyck
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Re: Losing your inspiration

Post by Airyck » Tue Mar 17, 2015 6:31 pm

Stromkraft wrote: ...
I'm doing something similar in focusing on "finishing musical ideas" meaning I attempt to develop whole sections before I think about a "song". This both makes it easier to finish something as well as remove the pressure to do the whole song right now, maybe before the ideas have been developed and has direction.

With this method I also find it easier to select the ideas to turn into songs and to drop stuff I don't think are as promising.
I absolutely agree with this, getting rid of that pressure is a huge help. It seems like it's always fun to screw around with ideas but not to think about how it's going to fit in the whole. You can play around as much as you want this way and eventually you have so much material that a song will just form.

I've worked on my first song with this method in just a few hours over the course of 2 days. I'm going to finish today because I don't want to get sick of it. I'll post it here when I'm done :)

Recently I became much less frightened of what people will think of my music, especially unpolished stuff. I post whatever now, not to say it isn't good, but I find that my quick dirty and raw stuff sounds better than the polished stuff anyway :)
http://www.soundcloud.com/airyck-sterrett
Ableton Live 10 Suite / Push 2 / Max 7 & 8 /
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mylkoa
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Re: Losing your inspiration

Post by mylkoa » Thu Apr 02, 2015 5:06 pm

Great thread! I'm working on developing my own workflow... but it's taking me extra time because I'm studying ClyphX, and I have never programmed before.

Does anyone have enough time to post a video of their workflow? Re:dream, Airyck? Your tracks groove particularly! Stromkraft, where's your music found?

I plan on posting vids of my workflow when I feel like my contributions might actually help someone. For now I'm too much a novice... But I can pass along cool things I have found in my searches, like this:

http://nicolasbougaieff.com/thesis

Stromkraft.... you might want to avoid the link: It's about Richie Hawtin :)

jett.ilagan
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Re: Losing your inspiration

Post by jett.ilagan » Thu Apr 23, 2015 5:22 pm

Hi Sebilo, this is a very nice question.

I also play guitar for almost 10 years now, and I just started playing with DAW like Live for like less than 2 years.
I can relate on your dilema, when I first started Live, I find it really hard and I can't use it properly.

It's like my musicality is very limited because my mastery on the software is really not that good.
I recommend that you purchase a midi keyboard so that you can translate your musical ideas in an instant
instead of using mouse or keyboard. As an artist, I think music making is like studying, if you don't take note
your idea fast it might just be lost in your head. So you need to translate your musical idea in a fast way.

What I often also do is I make musical studies, sometimes I challenge myself to copy other artist's style
or copy an intruments or how they mix. Sometimes it really gives you an inspiration while doing such things.

_Jett
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re:dream
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Re: Losing your inspiration

Post by re:dream » Thu Apr 23, 2015 6:31 pm

I had an interesting experience the other day.

I have been really busy in my day job - lots of projects to finish, organizing a conference etc. basically stopped doing music. for a few weeks

And kind of lost my inspiration.

Sat down with live the other day. Felt absolutely no inspiration. Thought, maybe I should can this music business. Maybe it was just a phase.

Put down a bassline.

Loaded henke's granulator and got some sounds going. Scratchy, gravelly, atonal noises.

Found a fucked rhodes piano sound and started jamming

And suddenly it felt like magic again. Like the most exciting track that I have made for a while.

I thought, Music does not come from inspiration.

Inspiration comes from making music.

mylkoa
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Re: Losing your inspiration

Post by mylkoa » Fri Apr 24, 2015 12:36 am

well said!

Stromkraft
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Re: Losing your inspiration

Post by Stromkraft » Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:57 am

re:dream wrote:
I thought, Music does not come from inspiration.
Inspiration comes from making music.
You really nailed it, again!
Make some music!

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