For this post Im going to go through a quick method on warping music in Ableton Live. Warping in Ableton is the process of syncing music together , although Ableton is excellent at this (with production ) , importing full tracks needs that extra work to get your mix sounding right.
In Ableton Live ,you set your initial tempo by either scrolling , typing in a BPM or tapping your desired tempo. This will be the tempo of which your tracks will be warped at. You wont be restricted to this tempo either as you can set a scene in your live set to be a different tempo. This is done by right clicking on the required scene and selecting
“Edit Launch Tempo”. By doing this will allow you to start your set with one tempo and gradually build up to another.
Drag in your first track into an audio channel and select the clip and in the edit menu below press “Warp”.
There are different warp modes in Ableton these are :
- Beats: Good for simple percussion or drum loops
- Tones: Good for monophonic instruments or vocals
- Texture: Best for pad sounds
- Re-pitch: Changes pitch of your track while warping
- Complex Pro: Best for complex arrangements
From the above menu , Complex Pro would be more suitable as we will be warping a full track which will have many transients throughout. Select this menu and on the audio waveform , zoom in and place a warp marker at the first beat (kick drum) of the track, this is done by double clicking on the track at the desired position. The warp marker is indicated by dark orange shape above the file.
Right click on the warp marker and select “Set 1.1.1 here” , this will start your track on the first beat , as you can see in the image above , there is a section of silence before the track actually starts, by just warping from the start would cause timing issues as your tracks were mixing together.
Once you have the track set to 1.1.1 , then right click the warp marker again , this time selecting “warp from here” .
Turn on the metronome and listen back to your warped track to ensure its in time.
Repeat this step for each track in your set.
Once you have 2 tracks warped , drag them into the arrangement view and play both tracks at the same time ensuring that they are in sync, visually the kick drum should be on the start of each bar as seen in the image below.
Once you have two tracks synced then you can start to build a set either to record or to play live. This quick method is ideal for anything 4/4 and for getting a general mix going and for building a set. Ableton is a powerful Dj tool which allows you to play parts of tracks, add your own samples , play a few different pieces of music together and mix elements of other genres. Surgeon and Max Cooper are a good example of this who Dj solely with Ableton live . Ive posted this before but the video below is probably one of my favourite Boiler Room sets , here Max Cooper uses Ableton live which is controlled by an Akai APC40 MK1 and an iPad running Lemur is used to add glitch samples. He starts with a classical piece by Olafur Arnalds and basically does a live remix of it , adding his own beats and glitch samples.
Im straying off topic a bit , I hope you learned a bit about warping music in Ableton and preparing for a Dj set, have fun with it and be creative.
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