Slice of Winter from Bjorn Vayner on Vimeo.

Hate soundware and generic downloaded samples? You’ll love this. The “Slice of Winter” sound pack created by Covert Operators for CDM doesn’t have a single sound in it – not one; you bring your own. Instead, install this pack and you get a whole mess of slicing presents for use with Ableton Live’s Slice to New MIDI Track feature. Grab an audio clip (or record your own), hit Slice to New MIDI Track, apply a preset, and you get a new Drum Rack instance with slices mapped to pads, effects, and live controls. (You can see what I mean as Bjorn plays around with the feature in the video.)

Naturally, this works nicely for drum loops, but if you apply to vocals or weird found sounds or other material, you can get all kinds of results. You’ll need Live 7 as it’s a new feature, but you can use the free trial to try it out; the trial is still unlimited time-wise and now even saves for the first 14 days.

It’s not so much that this is something other tools can’t do – even some hardware drum machines have a similar feature. But in the context of Live, slicing takes on a different quality. It integrates with all the clips you have sitting around your session, can map to those warp markers, and gives you virtual drum machines with live controller mappings and the ability to insert effects (including third-party plug-ins) on each pad.

We feature this technique in the CDM Winter Guide for two reasons. One, it’s a perfect antidote to sets that get boring because you have clips looping endlessly. Two, you can get a lot of mileage from this feature musically, so it’s something to live with for a while (which was the idea of the guide). In the guide, we have a detailed tutorial for using the feature, how to make your own presets (which isn’t clear in the manual), and some creative ideas. Francis Preve joins in with some tips; he used this feature heavily on his single “Caboose.” Previously:

Free Tutorials, Techno iPhone Ringtone from Francis Preve, Celebrating Single “Caboose”

Get the Guide + the Pack

So, be sure to not only grab the sound pack but download the free PDF, or get the bound treeware version to keep on your desk:

Print Edition + Free PDF Download @

Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

And for the free Live Pack download from Covert Operators:

More Brain Dumps on Live

Covert Operators also makes other lovely stuff for Live and live performance, including software (like a utility for making better use of the BCR2000 controller), Live packs (free and fee), and an in-depth video subscription series with power tools for Live use.

If you want still more Live knowledge, Grooveboxmusic has a limited-time deal on three hours of free tutorials, on special through the end of the month: Free video tutorials [, via the ever-vigilant]

Now pray for a snow day to actually get some Live time for music making! (I know I’m hoping for one. Or an Elton John Day.)