11 Tips Learned at Ableton Loop 2018 Day 1 – Music / Software / Instruments

Ableton Live Loop 2018 Day 1

Before reading this, I want you to know that I have added some affiliate links to some of the gear I have learned about at the Ableton 2018 Loop conference.  I do earn a commission if you click on one of the affiliate links below and buy something.  This is of no extra charge to you.  Thank you and cheers!

Friday Morning

I am still trying to wrap my head around the incredible experience after my Day 1 at the 2018 Ableton Loop conference.  I am about to head into my day 2.   The conference was held in many different studios and theaters in downtown Hollywood California within walking distance of each other.  My hotel is about a 20-minute walk to the Mecca.  Day 1 was incredible, but like I said, I am still letting it sink in.

Day 1 started for me walking to the Montalbán Theatre where most of the main activities happen to get my registration package.  While waiting in line, I was lucky to meet a couple people.  Anne was an artist whom I met on Facebook when putting together an Attendees Spotify playlist for Loop 2018.    I really grew fond of her band called the The Home Conversion.   Their style is like M83 and Casino Vs Japan.   The Home Conversion has a lot of nice sparkling pads saturated in thick synths with neat vocal melodies.  We chatted about Mastering, plugins, busking, Las Vegas and Houston.  She told me she used a lot of the Waves L2 Ultramaximizer on the master

I also met Victoria aka Digital Mineralz.  She talked about using and loving the FabFilter Pro-Q 2.   I have heard this form other people too.  They love the UI of the Fab Filter products.  You can check out her cool music here: Digital Mineralz.   She also has some detailed plugin reviews on YouTube here: Digital Minarlz YouTube.

 

 

Tips I Learned

  • Waves L2 Ultramaximizer is one of the most established limiters, countless people have told me they use it
  • A lot of people recommend and love the UI of the Fab Filter products; epecially the FabFilter Pro-Q 2

 

I got my Loop wrist band.   Ableton also gave out free vinyl records and cassette tracks of various artist to listen to when walking between studios.   I headed to my first workshop at the IO Music Academy.  Which was a short walk from the Montalbán Theatre.  There were little Ableton loop stickers on the ground to guide me there.  I choose an orchestration workshop put on by composer Nima Fakhrara and Spitfire Audio whom make incredible sounding sample libraries.

 

Making Orchestral Music, with Nima Fakhrara and Spitfire Audio 

Nima Fakhrara broke down his score productions. I was amazed on how many tracks he would have in a production. It seemed some scores had a hundred or more tracks. He talked about using real musicians for mostly soloist parts and hard to get to sound authentic legato parts. He has an orchestrator score his pieces that he needs real instrumentation.

A lot of scores he does mostly with sample packs such as Spitfire Audio. He uses a plugin called Pitch Wheel to easily transpose parts.  I do remember him mentioning using Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2, but I don’t remember seeing it too often in his projects.

As far as Spitfire sample libraries go, I did hear him say he liked the Hans Zimmer Percussion and Hans Zimmer Strings.  You can check them out here.  HZ02 – Los Angeles – Hans Zimmer Percussion and Hans Zimmer Strings.

Nima doesn’t use a lot of effects in his orchestrations.  Sometimes he uses a little reverb, he likes an Eventide reverb.  I think he liked this one: Eventide UltraReverb.

Nima Fakhrara has made a lot of unique physical instruments also that he made by hand.  You can check them out here: Nima’s Instruments. I found him to be a very inspiring person who creates incredible orchestrations for movies.

 

11 Tips Learned at Ableton Loop 2018 Day 1 – Music - Software - Instruments- Nima Fakhrara and Spitfire Audio

 

Tips I Learned

  • Spitfire Audio  makes some great strings and choir sample libraries
  • Pitch Wheel is a great way to transpose a whole track with samples on it
  • Sample Libraries such as Spitfire Audio  are usually used with industry norm Native Instruments Kontakt Sample Player
  • Professional DAW Orchestrations for movies can have over 100 tracks
  • Try taking a prerecorded orchestration and creating each instrument in your DAW for practice
  • When making an orchestration, record lead melodies with real instruments if needed

 

Friday Afternoon

Watching with Your Ears: group improvisation with dancers

Next on the line up, I had an improv session at the famous EastWest Studios (famous for recording Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Frank Sinatra, Madonna, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Wu Tang Clan, Rhianna, and the list goes on.  It was a session where a group of us musicians collaborate to create live music for two modern dancers to dance to.  It was put on by Michael Wall. I was excited for this session because I have never had dancers dance to my music.  I thought it would be a unique experience and the EastWest Studios lobby was really neat.  Here is a picture of the reception room.

 

11 Tips Learned at Ableton Loop 2018 Day 1 – Music - Software - Instruments-EastWest Studios Lobby Wall

 

While waiting for the dance improv session in the EastWest Studios lounge room, I met and talked a to Lisa Battersby for a while.  Lisa was sitting on this cool couch with tons of patches on it (see image below).  She talked to me about how she specializes in 3D audio and VR audio.   She explained how 3D audio is more realistic then surround or other methods.  3D audio tracks your head.  For example: if you were watching VR video of a band and you looked to the right at the guitar player, you would hear the guitar player front and center and the rest of the band would be to the left.

Lisa brought some pedals for the improve session that she could sing through.  We talked about delays and effects.  I mentioned the Boss DM-2 analog delay pedal and the sweep echo in the Line 6 DL4 Delay Guitar Effects Pedal and we headed off to the dance improve session.

 

11 Tips Learned at Ableton Loop 2018 Day 1 – Music - Software - Instruments-EastWest Studios Patch Couch

 

Three Jam Sessions With The Dancers

We broke up into 3 groups of around 5 musicians. We could play bass, drums, percussion, laptop, guitar and sing.  There were all kinds of instruments laying around in the studio.   I have always been interested in dance with music. It was such a trip to work with dancers. I am so used to playing and listening with just musicians. Working with dancers is totally different experience. It took me 5 minutes of jamming to turn my attention to the dancers and connect with them. Then the question was, “do I control them with my music or do I play to what moves they produce.”

The second session, Lisa sang through her guitar effects with the other musicians playing they were working with the dancers and it sounded so cool.   There was a point when the 3rd group of musicians were playing that the dancers left the room out of improv.  It was interesting the musicians kept playing.  Then when the dancers came back in, it was a different environment.   Afterwards, we all talked about what we experienced.  The dancers thought the musicians would stop when they left and thought it was interesting that they kept playing.

This session was a whole new relation with music and people and movement.  A whole new world I have never explored.  Something I would like to do more of in the future.  Michael Wall really helped us talk and explore improvisation.  This was a great session.

 

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Friday Evening

Next, I walked to the Montalbán Theatre for the five takes, which are five different people talking for 15 minutes on different subjects.  All the talks were very interesting. Refik Anadol talked about his 3D projection installation in architecture.  He used AI and Machine Learning to make visuals from the building’s own music, structure, architecture and data.  Then, he took these visual representations and projected them on the building itself.   It is almost as if the building itself was a life form.  It was really incredible work and  You can check it out here.

 

I caught some performances

Afterwards, I walked up to the rooftop where cello player Clarice Jensen (who has toured with Bjork) was playing upstairs on the roof top of the Montalbán Theatre.   She played through trippy effects delays and loops.   I have never heard the cello being played as such.  It was a great performance and an unforgettable momentous sound.  There was a bar and food on the rooftop and an incredible view of downtown Hollywood.  A lot of people were up there talking.  I was still very open and had a hard time starting conversation.  But this state changed.

 

11 Tips Learned at Ableton Loop 2018 Day 1 – Music - Software - Instruments- Clarice Jensen

 

Downstairs a show started with the indie folk Argentine singer Juana Molina who I found amazing.  Her looping abilities of her voice and guitar sounds were incredible.  She played mostly guitar and was looping vocals and guitar like crazy.  She had another person performing with her.  He was playing guitar, synths and beats.  I was wondering if they were synced, but later found out she mostly use the Boss Rc-300 Loop Station or looping.   I think she controlled his and her loops via the RC-300 and at some point, she would stop everything.   They were very good.

 

11 Tips Learned at Ableton Loop 2018 Day 1 – Music - Software - Instruments- Juana Molina

 

Start Here Sample Challenge

To conclude the night, I walked back to my hotel room.  A friend of mine from Oregon texted me and asked if I was doing the Ableton Start Here sample challenge.  I didn’t think I could do it because we only had an hour left to turn it in Ableton.  But hey, why not try.   I did my best and downloaded the Ableton sample and I played with it for an hour and came up with some crazy textures.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get it done by then but wrapped it up around half past midnight.  Here is what I came up with.

 

 

Tips I Learned

  • 3D audio may be the audio way of the future and is used heavily in VR
  • Working with dancers is a whole new way to explore your music
  • The Boss Rc-300 Loop Station can be a great looping tool for live performance

 

Bedtime

As I lay my head on my pillow to conclude the night, I don’t think I could process the whole day. My head was still trying to absorb everything. It wasn’t until the next day that I got a grasp of everything and could state how I felt.  I was a little mad at myself for not talking to more people and opening up.  But that changed by day two.  

 

 

11 Tips I Learned at Ableton Loop 2018 Day 1

  1. Waves L2 Ultramaximizer is one of the most established limiters, countless people have told me they use it
  2. A lot of people recommend and love the UI of the Fab Filter products; epecially the FabFilter Pro-Q 2 
  3. Spitfire Audio  makes some great strings and choir sample libraries
  4. Pitch Wheel is a great way to transpose a whole track with samples on it
  5. Sample Libraries such as Spitfire Audio  are usually used with industry norm Native Instruments Kontakt Sample Player
  6. Professional DAW Orchestrations for movies can have over 100 tracks
  7. Try taking a prerecorded orchestration and creating each instrument in your DAW for practice
  8. When making an orchestration, record lead melodies with real instruments if needed
  9. 3D audio may be the audio way of the future and is used heavily in VR
  10. Working with dancers is a whole new way to explore your music
  11. The Boss Rc-300 Loop Station can be a great looping tool for live performance

 

Tools

 

People / Music

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