Re: improvising

Subject: Re: improvising
From: Damian Stewart (
Date: Fri Mar 18 2005 - 18:21:06 EST

Quoting John Kamevaar <>:

> Yah, OK but what do you do with it, with "no prepared......"? The
> only thing I've been able to do that's spontaneous and immediate is
> "scrub" files - it's very percussive and noisy, if you like that....

i use Ableton Live.

1) make sure i have loooong samples, like at least 15 seconds, so that
the looping aspect isn't immediately apparent.

2) whack on an EQ and start searching through the frequency bands,
exploring the sound, trying to find something interesting in it while at
the same time trying to put interesting noises out the speaker. using
rich samples like field recordings works well here. if i'm playing as
part of a group i like to sample the group tuning up and fluffing about
and then use that.

3) find an interesting loop. or not, if i'm playing in a non-loopy way.

4) add whatever effects strike as being interesting at the time, and set
them up to modulate so i can forget about them and not have them become

5) ... really depends on what noises i'm making at this point, how happy
i am with them, what the rest of the group is doing if i'm part of a
group... having set the 'instrument' up i just play /music/ from here
on. sometimes add another layer, add effects, remove effects, changing
the routing of the signal, create feedback loops; strip everything back
and play with the eq (the eq is my main generative device for making new
noises, there's just so much exploration to be had with an active
four-band parametric eq on a rich source sample); shift the loop points,
slow down the sample, speed up the sample (abusing the realtime
pitch-shifting without time-stretching engine that Live has so it turns
my sound into stuttery jabs or metallic overtones or whatever, ometimes)...

it's different every time, really.

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