When Producing and DJing Collide.
Ableton Live is probably the most popular Digital Audio Workstation for Techno. It is the preferred DAW for Techno artists such as Steve Stoll and The Advent. Relatively user friendly, it’s loaded with techno, loops, instruments, and effects that gives any producer the power to make premium Techno music. Sprinkle in a little acid onto the track with bass pitching Roland 303 emulator, for instance. But what had always set Live apart from other music production equipment was its crossfading and beat matching capabilities that allowed you to produce and remix music in real time. “Live” was more than just software. It is a true musical instrument that makes a DJ more than someone who plays a playlist.
By using this piece of software, DJs were able to turn the heads of the people on the dancefloor towards them instead of towards each other. It was clear that DJs controlled the party! It made them live performers and, in the process, transformed the dynamic of dance music in the twenty-first century.
A Child of German Techno.
Perhaps Ableton Live’s natural connection to Techno music can best be illustrated in the software’s origins. Although officially launched in 2001 by German music software company Ableton, the revolutionary program that would come to be known as “Live” was conceived and developed in the emerging Techno scene of 1990s Berlin. It was during this enchanting time of open-ended musical possibilities that two young computer programming students, Gerhard Behles and Robert Henke, first met and instantly hated each other. But they did, however, share a passion for electronic engineering and this new form of computerized dance music that emerged from the ashes of Acid House. Behles and Henke worked together in the Techno music collective Monolake and combined their computer programming talents to create an innovative software that could not only make electronic music, but could do it on the fly. Its original purpose was simply to help them make music with Monolake on stage, but by the end of the decade, it was ready for retail to the rest of the world. The Techno scene had exploded and it needed Ableton Live.
The World That Live Created
Ableton Live cost as low as $99 for the simple download version, and upwards toward $800 for the full Suite. This is nowhere near cheap when compared to other economically friendly DAWs such a FL Studio. But few would argue that you don’t get your money’s worth with the dynamic features of Live.
The speed of producing and arranging music with Ableton Live sets it miles apart from the competition. It’s for the DJ gunslinger, ready to remix a track or create a new song on the spot, in front of a club full of people.
The impact that this software had on the history of modern Electronic dance music is immeasurable. It removed the large boulder from in front of the dark cave where nerdy-tech-head producers were creating music and allowed them to be on centerstage like true rock stars.
This DAW helped DJs find their identity in music. They didn’t just spin records anymore. They created music. They defined genres. DJs could freestyle and improvise like jazz. Live paved the way for entirely new performance paradigms such as the live music festivals that dominate the concert world of today. Ableton Live not only builds music, it helps build universes around it. It made the Techno scene of today truly come “a-Live”!