Life makes it super easy to create beats from the sounds you’ve captured. Any file you record or import is sliced automatically into one-shot samples. Life then finds a beat that fits a selection of those samples. You can click ”Randomize” to get a new beat with a different selection of samples, or you can pick one yourself using ”Browse”. Once you’ve found a beat that you like as a starting point, you can tweak it using powerful macro controls, or edit it in detail on the ”Edit” page.
Listen to your source file
The upper part of the window shows the current Source File that you have loaded into Life, sliced into one-shot samples. Each slice has been given a color based on its sound, so slices that sound alike have similar colors. In general bass sounds are more yellow/red, and treble sounds are more blue/teal.
- Click the ”Play” button to the left of the waveform to play the entire source file from start to finish.
- Click an individual slice in the waveform to play that slice, normalized but unprocessed.
- To enable denoising of your source file, click the “Denoised” toggle that shows up when you move the mouse cursor to the left of the waveform.
Listen to your beat
The lower part of the window shows the current Beat, using the slices that are highlighted in the waveform. In the middle is the ”beat circle”, a visual representation of the beat, with a play button in the middle.
- Click the ”Play” button in the middle of the beat circle to start or stop playback of the beat. You can also use the ”Play” button in the control bar at the bottom, or, if you’re running the standalone version of Life, press the [Space] key.
- Click the ”Lock” icon next to the play button in the control bar to automatically start playback when your DAW starts playing.
Find a beat to start from
The easiest way to find a beat is to click the ”Randomize” button while playing until you hear something you like. Every time you randomize you will get a new beat using a different selection of slices from your source file. If you realize that you clicked randomize one time too much, you can undo the last randomization by clicking the small ”Undo” button that shows up next to the randomize button. (You can press the [R] key as a shortcut for “Randomize”.)
Another way to find a beat is to click the ”Browse” button and select a beat from the Beat Browser. Here you can see and listen to different beats and choose one you like. (You can navigate between the beats using the arrow keys, and press the [R] key to choose a random beat.)
As you change the beat, the waveform will change to highlight the samples that are used in the new beat, and the beat circle will change colors to match.
Control which slices are used in the beat
You can control which slices are used in the beat using the ”Favorite” and ”Skip” buttons in the waveform.
- Favorite a slice by clicking the ♡ button above the slice in the waveform. Favorited slices will always be used in the beat, if possible. Click on the button again to un-favorite a slice. Hold down the [Cmd] key on Mac or [Alt] key on Windows key when clicking to favorite or un-favorite all slices.
- Skip a slice by clicking the X button below the slice. Skipped slices will never be used in the beat. Click on the button again to un-skip a slice. Hold down the [Cmd] key on Mac or [Alt] key on Windows when clicking to skip or un-skip all slices.
When you’ve favorited or skipped slices, Life takes that into account when you randomize or browse beats.
Tweak the beat with macro controls
When you’ve found a beat that you like as a starting point, you can tweak it using five powerful macro controls:
Controls how dense or sparse the pattern is.
Controls how syncopated the pattern is.
Controls how similar the first half of the pattern is to the second half.
Explore different sound processing options. The further from the middle you move the dot, the more variation is applied. Hold [Alt] on Windows or [Cmd] on Mac to tweak Sound/Pattern Variation at the same time.
Explore different variations on the same pattern. The further from the middle you move the dot, the more variation is applied. Hold [Alt] on Windows or [Cmd] on Mac to tweak Sound/Pattern Variation at the same time.
The macro controls affect multiple parameters at the same time, and even re-assign which slices are used in the beat. If you go into the ”Edit” page and edit the beat yourself, e.g. by changing the sound processing or editing the sequencer pattern, the macro controls will be reset to zero. Your edited beat then becomes a new starting point for the macro controls.