In my experience of playing live with Elektron gear i’ve noticed you can either program everything to the smallest resolution possible (readymade kits, patterns, putting together chains and songs, editing performances, scenes ect…)or just start from scratch and build it up from there.
I was wondering how many of you tend to program everything and then simply press play and let the magic happen while occasionally hitting a performance knob, and how many of you create sounds-kits-patterns on the fly as you are performing.
Surely you’re using both methods, but i’m wondering to what extent do you use each method?
and if you are programming something in forehand what do you prefer programming? the kits? patterns? arrangement?
I spend 20 /30 minutes per sound. Then i save it. The kit gets fully exploited with macro controls, i pre program with probability trig´s, check that everything is in harmony. Then i like it for 3 days - and then i start from scratch with the next 4 patterns. I think i am not fast enough to do everything on the fly, need more practice.
I use my gear mostly in the studio. Sometimes I write melodies with the OT or MM, then record the MIDI to my DAW for further editing. With the A4, I program tons of sounds from scratch and then use them with my DAW for recording into my tracks.
i relate to this although hoping the Digitakt “Sound” option saving for single samples rather than Kits is going to help with the quick import of individual samples that have been prepared with a range of settings.
Thank you for your replies. It’s inspiring to see how you work with your Elektrons.
As for me:
I usually start by sculpting the sounds from scratch. I try to be systematic in the choice of the tracks and it’s function, for example i usually use track 4 for bass sounds, while track one i leave for more pads sounds.
In the AR it’s easier because every track is dedicated to a certain sound and already labeled. I mean, you can’t get confused inserting hihats when you wanted kicks.
I then save the kit.
After that i start working on a pattern, first only the 16 steps, and then later (If needed) i add more pages.
If i find something like, i move on to another pattern in the bank (A1-A2… ect) always copying the previous pattern and pasting it to the new one, and then i work on that pattern.
if i change any sounds (That is not as a way of performance but rather a permanent change of the sound) then i save the kit that will be linked to the pattern i’m working on.
This applies both the A4 and AR.
i continue in this way trying to build different sections of the same “song to be”. after gathering enough patterns (Usually it’s between A1-A12 per song) which serve as differnt sections to a song, then i start working on the chains\song mode.
Trying to calculate how many loops i want of each and which mutes to program from each loop ect…
Btw, since i work on both the A4 and AR i always link the patterns in both in a parallel way, say i’m working on the A7 pattern in the Analog Four i will also use the A7 Pattern of the Rytm.
and i also name the kits with the same name. All that just to not get confused.
After chaining some patterns and looping them a set amount of times, i press play and start improvising some parameter changes and if i find something that works for me really well repeatedly i will create a performance knob for it (or a performance makro if it’s several changes that are supposed to happen simoltenously)
Frankly, i’m not using the performance mode\scene mode as much as i want to (As the guys in ELEKTRON say: “ideally, you shouldn’t leave the Performance mode while playing”) i’m still busy understanding which parameter change works best. it feels like everytime it can be something else…
So that’s where i am right now as an Elektron user.
I totally relate to Sternenlicht (Comment above) saying that he likes something for 3 days and then starts from scratch again.
It happens with me as well. more then just a psychological-personal charechter, this statement basically doesn’t allow me to rethink a process and really dive into something for further investigation that is so essential when making music. I don’t really know what it is, but i’m always compelled to start something from scratch then continuing a work i’ve started a few days ago.
Does anyone else has this behaviour when it comes to working with A4\AR?
Working pretty much the same way as you with one more thing that I’ve added to my workflow and that’s proven to be quite productive:
I always try to record a take of what I’m doing every session, even if its imperfect or that the different sections aren’t planned/thought of yet.
This let me hear it back with fresh hear (even just 15 minutes later) that I never get when I’m performing it on the elektron rig. When I perform, my ear tends to focus on whatever sound I’m controlling instead of the big picture
So many ideas get generated this way as well where I kinda “force” myself to record a whole song from half-finished ideas. Improvising this way often leads to new paths
Way easier to know next morning that you should mix down that snare or whatever than with ear fatigue during the session
It helps assessing progress on a track by having different recorded versions (like you could have in a DAW project). Really got me out of the “I’m just jamming/messing around with these boxes and never finishing anything” feeling.
Surprisingly, some of these takes ended up as finished/almost finished tracks