Ableton Live is like a next-gen sequencer vs. the old standbys of Cubase, Logic, and Digital Performer. Like its name implies, it’s performance-oriented – you can collect and organize lots of musical elements into a palette, then start triggering and layering them in real-time. It has features which can script these triggers and even randomize them a bit.Smart time-shifting software handles beat matching in real time – so of course it’s popular among DJs (I heard one DJ say that using Ableton is “like cheating”).Traditional sequencer features are here as well – an arrangement window and lots of included virtual instruments, VST support, etc., all ably implemented.Ableton has loads of cool features, this is clearly designed by someone really into electronic music and knows what musicians need. I’ll still use Digital Performer as my main sequencer, but I’m going to spend February working in Ableton for my RPM challenge project.I decided to get started a bit more quickly by taking a class – a little synth shop called Robotspeak on Haight Street in San Francisco does Ableton classes – I just took it from a composer named Chachi Jones. It’s $200 for 4 2-hour sessions, so you’re paying $25 an hour (actually a good price for this kind of thing).
The class was a good investment – it saved me a lot of time noodling trying to figure Ableton out. Seeing the features in action and hearing how they work, all that.
Chachi’s a good guy and his music is real good. All done in Ableton – check it out – also he does video shows as well, he’s got one track on Google Video in particular which will let you hear something a bit more ambient:
More of Chachi’s videos here…