I’ve tried to save nearly every single audio track I’ve used for production material, since four years back or so. Usually when the track is finished, I dump out the audio material as 24-bit audio AIFF files, and stuff them into my main sound bank. Then later I could go through and find things for re-use.
Recently I had to go in and look through a lot of material. As I did a lot of stuff in the pre-complex warp mode days of Ableton Live, the default warp modes were not optimized. Complex warp mode close to really good — you could hear artifacts, especially with low energy bass lines, but it’s the best we could get just now with the Ableton platform. So I’ve been painstakingly opening audio file after audio file, adjust the gain settings and switching warp modes.
The other thing I didn’t do in the early days — always learning along the way — was to encode the key of the melodic audio tracks, major/minor and so on. I actually found out when going through tracks that I tended to make a lot of synth tracks not major/minor, rather dorian major/minor and similar scales that could be used for either major or minor work. Interesting. Somehow my mind was thinking about re-use while doing the actual arrangements.
Anyway, by encoding the key in the file names and the clips, I could quickly scan in the browser for various audio material with a specific key, or close enough as in complex mode I could change the key.
This will be handy soon as I’m preparing for a live event at a local art gallery. I was thinking about composing something new, half-fast ambient music, but then I realized that instead I could just use all the material in my ever-growing sound bank for live improvisations. So I’m now telling the organizer that I’m not composing anything, instead using old material for new songs. Hehe.