Screenshot from "first half of lesson 1 from Paul Maddox's Techno and Tech House Production in Live 9 Course".
By Alexander Castiglione
Thanks to the people over at ProducerTech.com, a UK Based audio production tutoring outlet, I had the chance to check out their Techno & Tech House Production series for Ableton Live 9. I can say with full confidence that it’s not only a comprehensive module to both learn and hone your existing skills, but also very accessible to both the newcomers and seasoned audiophiles alike.
Like all techno tracks, these modules start with creating the low frequency drum and bass, and not just with laying out the midi track. No sir. These actually get into how to sample, create, and layer your kicks to get a lush, punchy sound for the skeleton of your track. Everything from simply midi-quantization to full out engineering of the sample clip, this will induct even the most novice of producers into the intricacy (and at times sheer simplicity) of getting a kick ass kick drum.
From there, it goes on to teaching the production and application of high frequency drums in module 2, and for once a module actually gets into the meat of headroom, spatial track creation, being aware of the full spectrum of your EQ and getting the best sound possible. All the while the chapter demonstrates Live’s amazing capacity to create unique grooves from scratch utilizing their EFX and side chains, as well as demonstrating how to implement macros. I could bore you with the ins-and-outs (pun intended) but this review would go on for pages talking about attack, decay, sustain, etc; and Paul Maddox (aka Spektre) does a great job walking you through it, no matter your skill set.
The third and fourth parts I found to be the most insightful; Making Synth and Vocal Parts, and Arranging Pt 1, respectively. It shows how to use midi and Simpler, the native sampler, to create accurate and quantized vocal grooves and breakdowns. All of this, up to the point of the arranging module, is done in the clip view; we never even see the arrangement view until Module 4. Once there, Maddox walks the user through basic track arrangement, now that he has shown you how to build out a comprehensive track, complete with everything except for EFX. He shows you how to create a track, build it out, and implement it, all the while engineering sounds from scratch.
In the final two modules, he goes over arrangement a little more in-depth, and also final mixing and mastering. With some great hints, even seasoned producers can pick up a trick or two, and find some great workarounds that didn’t exist in Ableton 8.
Without going into boring detail, this module is definitely a great addendum to someone with a background in music production, or at least a working knowledge of how to build a track in Ableton; as it gets very detailed with macros, attack, sustain, release, delay, and chaining EFX together. If you’re new to the wonderful world of music production, I recommend you take their entry level classes on how to use Ableton in a basic format, but if you’ve already been playing around in Native Instruments’ powerhouse that is Ableton, you can pick things up in this module very quickly.
As no stranger to DAW’s, I found this to be extremely insightful, and a great learning tool for seeing an established producer’s – Paul Maddox – working style, and how he creates a track from scratch without getting tripped up, whilst utilizing all that the platform has to offer. So, in closing, whether you are new to production and have a base, but want to learn how to make tracks in the specific realm of Tech House and Techno; or a seasoned producer just trying to learn a new skillset, I highly recommend this course. Check it out at live-courses.com or producer-tech.com
As always, thanks to Producer-Tech.com for making these courses available for review.