Soundtrack 2011.11.a

Ableton Live’s capability to treat audio like elastic and sync up sets of tracks together, or allow real-time improvisation using clips of music make it an incredibly popular tool for DJs and remix producers. Although I have used Live in that way, what I love most about Live is its sound design capabilities. Often I’ll just dive in, create rich instrument layers and effects chains using Live’s racks, and come up with something inspiring in minutes.

This track is a great example. It came about by a complete accident. I’d opened up a new project in Live and was fooling around with some clips and effects chains when I started to hear some interesting results. Live was essentially modifying the sound of a loop, slowing it down and lowering its pitch, in a kind of time-based feedback loop inside the rack and out of my control.

It sounded great, but there was a problem.

I happened to be using a laptop running a demo copy of Live at the time, and the demo version won’t let you save your work. I realized not only would I never be able to actually capture this project, and save it for another day, but more importantly, the sound coming out of Live at that precise moment I’d never hear again because of the randomization I’d built into the effects.

So with the track still playing, I ran into my studio, hooked up the audio out of the laptop into my studio machine’s audio input, and captured the output. I let it run down the loop to basically nothing. I then took that output, loaded it into Live on my studio computer and built the rest of the track.

The original loop degrading over time made me think of a rainy night in a future dystopia. So with images of Blade Runner in my head, I took that as the inspiration for the rest of the material that I added to the final track.

In dystopian societies people are often numbers. So I decided to leave the title as the date on which I composed the track.

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