Creating Organic Rhythms With Found Sound

Learn the common ways to manipulate found sound to fit your project.

Found Sound is a brilliant way to add an organic flavour and sense of depth to your productions, but in many cases your recorded sounds may require a bit of processing to help them complement the groove.

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Approaches

There are two main approaches when using found sound in your projects. 

• The ‘as is’ approach
• The heavily processed approach

The heavily processed approach delves more into the realms of creative sound design whereby a lot of the rules go out of the window. So in this case we will be focusing on the more subtle ‘as is’ approach.

 

The ‘As Is’ Approach

Whilst we refer to this as the ‘as is’ approach, the found sound will still require a degree of processing because it is highly unlikely that the recorded audio will be perfect, in time and free from any imperfections right out of the field recorder.

Some of the processes we would expect to do with this approach are:

• warping & timing changes
• transposition
• fades
• dynamic control (compression & sidechaining)
• slicing & reversing
• Eq (low cut any unnecessary low frequencies)

 

Importing Sounds into The Project

This is as simple as locating the folder in your finder window or file folder and draggin the selected files into the project onto a new audio track.
You may also wish to spread the sounds across individual tracks ready for processing separately. This can be achieved by holding the Cmd function when dropping the samples files.

 

Auto Warp Long Samples

In some cases the audio being imported into Ableton may automatically warp to the tempo of the project. To prevent this, head to the preferences and disable the ‘auto warp long samples’ feature in the ‘record/warp/launch’ tab.

If you intend to manipulte the timing of the audio you will need to turn warping on and select a suitable warp mode. This will lock your recording in time with the project tempo.

We can force our own rhythms into the recordings by allowing ableton to place warp markers on any of the detected transients in the audio. to do this:

• Press Cmd +a to select all the audio
• Press Cmd +i to place a warm marker on each point
• Move the warp markers around to create a rhythm (this works best if you set your grid quantisation to 1/16th and loosely stick to the grid).

Groove Tips

• don’t warp the audio exactly to the beat as this will feel very robotic. a rough quantisation which may deviate by a few milliseconds will add a nice natural groove.

• If you prefer to quantise your beats, you can later add a groove to the found sound using the groove pool

• When using the ‘beats’ warp mode, try altering the beat preservation settings to reduce the decay and ambience of each sound. This will work similar to gating the signal and can help to tighten up the groove or simply work as a creative effect. 

• Experiment with side-chain compression to get your new groove working in tandem with other parts such as your kick drum.

 

 

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