Ableton Live 8 is here, and by now, you’re like familiar with some of its banner features. But we wanted to learn more about how features could be used in creative, new ways, or even misused. I sat down with Ableton’s Dennis DeSantis in the Ableton office here in New York to talk about some creative applications of new Live 8 features, starting with groove extraction and quantization.

Dennis is the right guy to consult when it comes to rhythm: he’s a talented composer, a classically-trained percussionist, and a founding former member of the ground-breaking Alarm Will Sound ensemble, which plays music from Varese to Aphex Twin. (Dennis himself was responsible for some of those Aphex Twin remixes.)

In part 1 of our 3-part series, Dennis looks at ways in which groove extraction can be used as a powerful dynamic quantization tool. That was always my hope for Live, going back to very early versions; it was incredibly frustrating that you had only limited, mechanical-sounding “swing” features that couldn’t be controlled. To some, Groove Extraction may simply mean copping specific grooves from samples, but it’s actually capable of dialing in a custom groove with real ease.

In part 2, Dennis shows how a similar technique can bring a simple percussion pattern to life, replicating the sorts of organic variations that happen with real players.

See also part 3 for alternative techniques with the Frequency Shifter – tune percussion with this effect instead of getting the usual metallic special effects.

These are “power features,” capable of a wide variety of results, but they’re also accessible enough that anyone could easily learn to use them. Have a look.

Incidentally, the audio is a bit odd as we recorded this on St. Patrick’s Day, and even twelve stories up, the shouts on the streets in Manhattan made it sound like the French Revolution was happening below us.

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  • contakt

    WHOA! This is amazing. I am looking forward to more of these.

  • Very, very nice. I'd never even considered the use of the random parameter in the groove function until checking this out. I'm gonna have some fun messing around with this now!

  • UTM

    I actually like the background crowd noise. It's going to be hard to resist squandering my tax return on a Live 8 upgrade.

  • Random feature is nice. The straight time vs. swing time is gonna be fun to try and get those Simon Posford time signature shifts.

  • Fantastic stuff. Simple, subtle, and totally usable. Perfect for video tutorials. Thanks Peter + Dennis.

  • It's people cheering in the street because they're excited for Live 8. 😉

  • Thanks for making this video. I'd like to see more ableton tutorials from you and Dennis.

  • jimmy

    that was fantastic. all three were great. many thanks.

    i was trying to figure out where i knew dennis desantis' name from looking over the live manual…i saw alarm will sound in denver just a couple of months ago. woot.

  • Really great, thanks – looking forward to more.

  • really good videos Peter,more please!
    i love live 8,actually the only thing i DON'T like is that i can't use KORE 2 with live (8.01) yet,because i get parameterjumps when turning the Kore controller's knobs(works fine with live 7 though,so i'm sticking to that for the time being)
    anyone else having this issue on Mac?

  • Really nice video. thanks. Regarding pb with mac, Live 8 takes far more CPU than Live 7 on my macbookpro… Hope they fixe that in the next upgrade

  • hmmm, any get these videos onto their iphone, mine doesn't like them 🙁

  • sorry, i meant, has anyone managed to get the videos onto their iphone? doesn't work for me… must drink more coffee! 🙂

  • Sloofin

    I love that sequence but I'm sure it's a Tangerine Dream song…anyone remember an old Tom Cruise film called Risky Business? Sounds very similar…I think it's a song called love on a fast train…great seq! And Live is now replacing Logic as my main seq after 15 years of sequencer monogamy lol it's finally mature enough and has all the bits in place….making music is fun again! Keep up the good work guys

  • gbsr

    you can also midimap the amount slider in the groovepool 😉

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  • Cadiz

    Hi Wasili, KORE is working fine in Live 8.0.2b2 (latest beta).


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  • Excellet. more please.

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