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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Sep-18 > PAVEMENT TO PRESET FIELD RECORDING IN ABLETON LIVE

PAVEMENT TO PRESET FIELD RECORDING IN ABLETON LIVE

We have more ways than ever to capture the sounds of the world around us. The question then is, what to do with them? Martin Delaney explains how natural sounds can enhance your music making…

Field recording is an art form in itself. It can be about capturing immersive, lengthy chunks of natural sounds – the ambience of a specific time and location – or grabbing raw material to recycle into short samples for your music productions. I made a test recording in my local park for this story, and had to deal with noise from wind, aircraft, revving motorcycles, and a ride-on lawnmower. Try to record at best quality when you can, and consider your options regarding recording in stereo, though it’s arguably less important if you’re recording short samples.

THE SOUND OF THE STREETS

We’re working with three copies of the same sample today, although I’ve included some other samples for you to play around with afterwards. Live’s the perfect tool to manipulate the resulting material, it’s fast and easy to import, crop, and quantise audio and manipulate it to get some kind of abstract rhythm going, and, to be honest, if you put a straight 808 or 909 under it, people will dance to the sound of your washing machine or dog barking, anything that loops in a recognisable pattern. The first creative decision is to select a useable region of the recording. This is likely to be influenced by practical issues, like the need to avoid distortion, or wind noise, or if there are shorter, sharper transients, or longer, more subtle things happening. I’ve already cropped our example clips, to save time and make sure we’re all on the same page with what we’re hearing.

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About MusicTech

In our cover feature this month, Alex Holmes guides you through the science and logic behind why it’s necessary to calibrate your studio and equipment, and the steps you’ll need to take to guarantee perfect, balanced sound at all times. Also this issue, Erin Barra simplifies some vital music production concepts that may have long eluded your understanding – to hopefully increase your sonic vocabulary. We speak to Kanye West’s former controllerist and cutting-edge musician Laura Escudé, UNO synth designer Erik Norlander and Emmy-winning Guus Hoevenaars. Additionally, we present our in-depth reviews of Roland Cloud, PreSonus Studio One 4, Loopcloud 2.0, Elektron Analog Four MkII and more, as well as 5 brand new tutorials to broaden your production chops.