iproducer #4 – Unlink and Conquer + Bonus from Gustavo Bravetti on Vimeo.

Exclusive to CDM (and Vimeo), Live guru Gustavo Bravetti offers a deep tutorial in sound creation in Ableton using “unlinked envelopes.” He assembles quasi-modular routings of effects into one another to create some unusual sounds. I think there are some inspiring techniques here, even beyond Ableton Live – I’d watch it even if I weren’t a Live user.

Gustavo writes:

“This workshop demo video is about using Live’s unique clip unlinked envelopes and Ableton’s effects to easily create elaborated sequenced sounds as well as a “how to” create a bass, a tuned bass drum, a clap and hi hats.”

So, what’s the beauty of the “unlinked envelope”? By separating the envelope length from the length of a sample, you can take a sample of one length and modulate it in time independently with an envelope of a different length. A short sample can warp in a longer block of time for more variety – a 1/16th note sample, for instance, transformed over a bar or two. Add the ability to route the envelope into effect modulation, and you can start to think extreme sonic freakiness. Here, that serves Gustavo’s own electronic palette, but it could suit a variety of musical aims.

You can also go the opposite direction: you could take a long sample and modulate it with a short envelope. For instance, you could select a 30-second oscillating texture, and apply a very short envelope, like a single sixteenth-note peak, in order to create an evolving high hat.

You can think of the unlinked envelope as a modulation source for a variety of sonic targets. It could be a short sample, a chain of effects, or a synth. Here, Gustavo sticks to built-in Live devices, but you could easily add your own plug-ins of choice – especially now that Live has added the ability to more easily choose which third-party plug-in parameters you wish to target.

Part of why I say this is about more than just Live is that you can begin to see how thinking in envelopes can make your musical content more dynamic, a technique you can apply to any environment that allows this sort of routing. It certainly illustrates the power of Live in a way that I think a lot of people miss.

To watch the full HD version, head to Gustavo’s Vimeo account.

I’m going to be organizing a compendium of our best Live tutorials soon; if you have external tutorials you’d like us to link up, let us know.

Previous Gustavo-fueled mayhem:
Ableton Live Follow Actions, Dummy Clips, Making Snares
DIY 808, IDM 101
Gustavo Bravetti Show Us How To Glitch out Ableton Live
Hexagonal Sequencer with vvvv, MIDI, Ableton, and Soon Wii, Camera Input
Live + FM8 = Drum Kit Love: Free FM8 Drum Kit Download

  • Seppe

    WOW… this guy knows how to work it…

  • damn, I should've thought of that. There were so many times in Live where I wanted to apply an LFO to an arbitrary parameter. This is still a round-about way of doing it though, since it's constrained to clips.

  • UTM

    This is pretty cool. It was a little hard to follow on first viewing, but should be easy to follow along with pause/play. One nice thing about Live is the ability to route one channel through another and stack up lots of dummy clips with various lengths and follow commands controlling various parameters. It's a good way to get interesting generative content going.

  • Paul

    Can't watch the video Yet

    but as far as applying an LFO to an parameter in live

    I just started putting together a korg nano kontrol pure data patch

    where on the first page you have 8 randomized to a line variable speed midi ccs

    the second page has 4 user writable sequence recorders

    haven't finished with the last two pages yet but it's to sit alongside or underneath the monome

    if my only Internet wasn't an iPhone for now I would upload some stuff I may have to just make do with the camera on here

  • Andreasfr

    By far the most inspiring Ableton tutorial I've ever seen! You gotta pay good attention, though..

  • wi_ngo

    Rad. Bravetti's videos are the best, this one being no exception. Lot's of simple, yet very cool tricks I've never thought of.

    But, yeah – whew! Lightning speed. I was trying to watch while eating lunch and had to keep pausing it because every time I glanced down at my food I would be in danger of missing something.

  • Sick! Absolutely blazing fast. I had no idea about unlinked envelopes. I mostly have been working from the arrange page..I can imagine they function the same way there?

  • Denis

    it's always fun watching this guy doing his thing. thumbs up!

  • usedtobe

    thanks peter!

  • usedtobe

    keep em comin'!

    this is the same way i make grooves on the game boy(and live :)). lsdj has tables that work just like clip envelopes. way cool!

  • excellent video! Gustavo's tutorials are quickly becoming some of my personal favorites- I recommend his ones on Lead/Follow actions on YouTube as well.

  • @usedtobe – actually, good point. It might even be nice to take some broader techniques and try to talk about them across some of our favorite tools. 😉

  • holy crap! a. had no clue about unlinked events, and b. nice echo effect!

  • c.db.sn

    grrrrrrrrreat vid. i've got a show on sunday that is all about ambient slow motion drones… was gonna wing it, but not so much now. now i'll wing it with the help of some unlinked clip envelopes. (i always wished i had 8 arms for tweaking….)

  • Mark0

    Really nice tutorial. I always use unlinked envelopes set to uneven beat to automate the offset parameter of the audioclip (exp. breackbeats) it's lots of fun, instantly you get nice variations from the same beat!

  • now imagine that you make the automations with oscilattors or audio signal in maxforlive when it comes out.. rather that using a knob or a fader to control the parameter of the synthesis used to trigger parameter in ableton using mfl, imagine, you can using objects such as analyzer~ or bonk~ to make generative stuff.. and man.. you must be kidding.. this is only exploring the maximum of live to idm style with very simple stuff.. now imagine your self with a complete setup by maxforlive and ableton live 8 and taking advantage of everything a guy knows in terms of syntesis, data management, programming, and generative stuff..

    wow.. max for live please com out

  • @Tiago – true, although to me the appeal there is being able to have deeper live control of the tool. (Otherwise, you'd just wind up leaving all your generative stuff running and have nothing left to do!)

  • Thanks for the video Gustavo Bravetti. Fun to watch and very informative! Lots of little tips and tricks in there (many of them Live 3 features!). Thanks again for making this. Dave

  • ? Bravísimo Bravetti! ?

  • this concept works really really well with many granulator effects and hell…even simpler!! or even a drum rack!! you can get some downright grainy effects if you do unlinked uneven automations on the loop/start/end/loop length knobs on the loop section of simpler…you have to be a bit selective on what you use though!! gotta make use of the looping and looping fade sections…and you'll probably want to use more percussive sounds because there is intense pitch shifts!! and anyone remember that grain delay anyone can make on Reaktor 5? you can automate the shit out of that!!

    hopefully you guys try some of this stuff out…it's light on your processing power and you will explore some untapped granular sonics!!

  • usedtobe

    @tiago yes 🙂

    "are you suggesting that maxforlive didn't CHANGE everything? cause maxforlive changed everything, brian. max for live changed everything."

  • This is ridiculously AWESOME!!!

  • DubStepper

    Wow, this is truly amazing stuff.. Manipulating unlinked envelopes really has alot of potential and power. Gustavo and CDM, thank you guys so much for posting this, this is an awesome tutorial!!!

  • erick

    As usual Gustavo bloods out Live functions. Now he's what i call a "power user". Possibilities for sonic construction become endless with this software and such a software guru. This would make Ableton's programmers say: "We never conceived envelope programming would get so serious and inspiring"

  • major

    he makes it look so simple, great stuff

  • thnx dude… best ableton video ever !!!….

    im been looking for this info like this sooo long

    keep em coming!

    we are all one 😉

  • usedtobe

    this shit works fabulously with my sh-32. goofy roland VA but every parameter can be cc controlled, epic quasi generative blippy grooves. love it

  • daniel

    Great Video.

    Very professional!

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Kevin

    Thanks for posting this. I have this exact tutorial with additional commentary posted to:

  • Kevin

    Thanks for posting this. I have this exact tutorial with additional commentary posted to:

  • Kevin

    Thanks for posting this. I have this exact tutorial with additional commentary posted to: