There comes a point when a piece of art is so refined that the products, byproducts, and even messiest and most defiled anty-products of that piece of art look good. The old rule that the back of the cross-stich should look as nice as the front applies throughout all kinds of art, whether it’s computer programming, music, or athletic prowess.
You’ve got your face deep down in the last algorithm that will finish your crowning achievement of the last nine months of work. The goal is met, the task is complete, but the project is a mess.
Now its done, and you start polishing and packaging it up, writing API docs, making CD art, distributing re-usable instrument tracks for the rest of the world to see – the piece is packaged and ready to ship.
Ableton live is one of those pieces of fine art, where the purity of the design lends itself to producing beautiful musical sets, even among some of the crappiest work you’ve done. The layout of the clips, the coloring and grouping of the built-in tools, everything can end up being a work of art in it’s own, not just the final audio dump that you’ll stick on your new album.
Go download the free Múm set on Ableton’s site and check out the work that they’ve done. If you don’t have Live just download the free demo.
First off, everything sounds amazing. Any clip sounds good with any clip. Even a monkey could play a nice sounding song here. This is the meaning of the back of the cross-stitch work. The loops are clean, refined, polished, done.
They also spelled their name with inactive tracks down at the bottom of the set, and spelled their name again in midi notes in each of those tracks. I know this is poking at nerdy details, but this set just emanates the very cleanliness and artistic presentation that such a flexible tool makes possible. It’s just a feeling I get, man.
This software makes me want to be creative, whether I like it or not. Not only that, but it plainly shows the way to easy and readily available creativity, without having to wade through the much of documentation and technical cribby-crap.
Ableton have nailed the solution to the music problem. They have nailed it, and then shown us what we didn’t know we wanted to do in the first place. They’ve redefined the industry. While people preach this crap all the time, you almost never really see it.
Because of this, Ableton Live is the best piece of software out there.