wrangler The Art of Producing Ambient and Downtempo

The Art of Producing Ambient and Downtempo

Jun 08, 2020 1:49pm

In her first lesson for Mixmasters, Liz Cirelli explores the art of producing ambient and downtempo music. Breaking down both versions of her track made with Minkski: ‘Nothing Nothing’. This tutorial is also full of tips that you can apply to any genre. 


Liz Cirelli is a classically trained musician, former DJ turned producer. Her sound can be best described as a hauntingly beautiful blend of electronica, downtempo, dream pop and contemporary classical.

Here are some of her production insights, demonstrated in Ableton Live:


The Art of Producing Ambient and Downtempo: Producer Insights

  • Use different bass sounds to add texture and keep the listener interested.
  • Filter elements in and out in ambient and downtempo music so that you have a one moving layer of sound. 
  • Always use Auto-filter for filter automation, EQ Eight is only made for cutting and boosting frequencies. 
  • Use reverb on strings to give overtones more colour. 
  • Bonus Tip: Layer bass sounds an octave up to make them audible on laptop and phone speakers. 


Full Tutorial Description

  • Breakdown of Liz and Minski’s downtempo and ambient versions of ‘Nothing Nothing’.
  • Processing elements to create space and give each one maximum impact in the mix.
  • Using Ableton Live’s ‘slice to new midi track’ function. 
  • Using Effectrix to create drum variations.
  • Layering basslines. 
  • Using filter automation to add depth and interest when producing ambient and downtempo.
  • Processing live instruments. 
  • Using Overdrive and a bitcrushing effect to make things get a little crazy.
  • Healing Frequencies. 


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