Here are some nuggets of wisdom I took away:
Start with small steps. Small musical steps. Achievable small steps.
Writing a whole song is daunting but capturing a soundbite is easily achievable.
Make it personal. Start with the sounds from the day to day.
Record it. Whatever it is.
The ambient sound of the local shopping centre. That audio interview. The pop song that's played incessantly on the radio.
Use a dedicated sound recorder or your phone. Just record it.
Start hoarding musical clips.
With the help of Ableton, these musical clips become the building blocks of a track.
The shopping centre audio becomes a loop after effects are applied to it. That's the first layer
The clipped sound of an exhalation in that audio interview could be the sound of a drum's high hat.
Applied rhythmically, judiciously, could be another loop. The second layer down.
The third loop, the slowed down vocals on the pop song becomes another layer.
There it is, a basic track drawn from the personal experience of the mundane day to day.
More loops can be added of course and there will be more than enough material to work with (remember the hoard of musical clips?).
The end point to finishing a track then becomes an exercise in deselecting, culling and stripping away the unnecessary.
Take away all the effects, sleep on it and see if the track stands on its own after some time has passed.
Top of the line equipment unnecessary, all it takes is a computer capable of running Ableton.
There are hundreds of free plug-ins with lots of different sounds and effects out there.
Technical proficiency not required.
Rick's enthusiasm for ambient sound was infectious. Creating a track doesn't seem all that daunting now.
Annabel - Hack Sounds group member