Ableton has announced the release of Live 9.2. This free update includes refinements to Live’s audio warping engine, the introduction of latency-compensated automation, a new Tuner device, and [Read More]
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Ableton has announced the release of Live 9.2. This free update includes refinements to Live’s audio warping engine, the introduction of latency-compensated automation, a new Tuner device, and [Read More]
Gustavo Bravetti is indeed a man of mystery. The Uruguay-born artist is a live virtuoso of dance music, pulling out all the stops. And in his latest feat, he tackles a trio of Elektron black boxes.
Fortunately, it’s not all mysterious. The Ableton Push-controlled, Max for Live-based tool that gives him these octopus-like powers over the gear will soon be coming to you.
First, let’s watch. Even if this isn’t your own musical idiom, you have to concede it’s a nice rig, nicely played. And it’s a pleasure to premiere here on CDM:
The secret sauce is something called Performer. Built in Max for Live, it gives you snapshot controls over Elektron’s Octatrack, Analog Rytm, Analog Four, and Analog Keys.
The big picture:
Performer is a master snapshot controller made with Max/Max For Live (Cycling 74). It allows you to store, recall, and modify a set of parameters on the fly adding a considerable amount of power while performing live with the Elektron’s black boxes. If you have also the Ableton/Akai Push controller (other devices compatibility to be added later upon request), you can control and monitor most of the Performance’s parameters/functions from there, store/recall Performer’s Snapshots, change mute states etc, etc.
What you get is the ability to pull up parameters on the fly. That includes scenes, patterns, and track mute/level, plus performance knobs and pads, depending on the particular piece of Elektron kit. Each bank stores 16 snapshots, and you get a whopping 64 banks.
You can recall snapshots via pads on Push or from the Octatrack (or via the device itself). And recall can be quantized.
That means you can create structures by modifying parameters, call them up quickly (on the beat, if you choose), and then use your free hands to improvise still more. As is often the case, adding more structure has the opposite impact of facilitating more improvisation.
If you don’t own Max, a standalone copy is available.
The patch is now in beta. It’s not available widely (apart from on request), but we hear it’s coming soon.
But all of this is also a great excuse to discover the output of a rich group of producers from Uruguay. Our friend Cooptrol has put together a compilation of 26 artists dubbed Misterio.
Amigos de Cooptrol (Friends of Cooptrol) is a compilation of Uruguayan electronic music artists. The purpose of this compilation is to integrate and promote artists from the Uruguayan electronic music scene. These 26 tracks were produced exclusively for this compilation. The artists were given two simple guidelines: to make a “misterious” track, and to keep its duration under 3.30 minutes. The tracks are in alphabetical order of artist names. If you click on each track you can see the artist info and image.
It’s beautiful and diverse — and it includes the track seen here. Give it a listen:
The post Watch Ableton Push Tame Elektrons Live, Hear Music from Uruguay appeared first on Create Digital Music.
Novation’s Launchpad has seen slimmer and smaller versions. And upcoming is a Pro version with pressure/velocity and MIDI in and out.
But if you just want the grid, you can now get the base model with RGB color. It’s officially called the Launchpad mk2. No availability or pricing yet (damn you, unstable Euro), but you can sign-up for notification.
The update has the same basic design as the original, but updated with styling from its Pro sibling, and RGB color behind the pads for more visual feedback.
Here’s the obligatory video of the new model, which gets a very cute studio setup and a live performance by Buddy Peace:
That basic model does quite a lot.
Beginners: For beginners, you get a lot of bundles. Live Lite, a gig of samples, and the Bass Station plug-in are included.
Ableton Live users: In Ableton Live, you’re pre-mapped to Drum Racks, mixing, and Max for Live.
iPad owners: And this is a grid that works with just about anything. Ableton Live is the original use case, but the driverless model plugs into an iPad, too. There’s official support for Novation’s own Launchpad app.
Advanced users, customization: Linux, Windows, other apps, all work, too, because the Launchpad has class-compliant drivers. This hardware has also been well supported by the community for apps ranging from Bitwig to Renoise, partly because of its low cost. Because it’s simple to program, it’s a great choice for Max and Pd and Reaktor patchers, too.
But that’s all true of the whole family at the moment.
So, is this the Launchpad I’d get? Absolutely not.
Yeah, I have to admit, I think Novation has nailed it with two models. The Launchpad Mini is incredibly small, so for a dead-simple grid to just toss in a bag, I’d opt for that model – partly because I don’t need all those colors. The Pro, meanwhile, is brilliant in that it works with MIDI, and much to my surprise will support standalone operation. It’s not necessarily the most responsive controller in terms of pressure sensitivity (I still like Push and Maschine for that, or the Linnstrument if I want to get really serious). But it may prove to be the most versatile. There’s more to say about the Pro, but expect our review as they arrive this summer. (I got to play with a prototype, alongside our own MeeBlip, this summer.)
All that said, I’m sure the RGB Launchpad will be perfect for some. And Novation has done a superb job of rounding out their lineup with options for every use case, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. That lets you be modular and carry just what you need, and that, I think, is a very good thing.
Plus, I still can’t kill my original Launchpad (serial #7, believe it or not), even after copious amounts of abuse. So I think putting your faith in this line isn’t a big risk.
Ableton’s Push remains the hardware to beat as an expressive instrument with lots of other features. But it’s not much use outside of Ableton, it’s not available in anything other than the flagship model, and it’s heavy (which may be a good or bad thing, depending on whether you’re next DJ gig involves Ryanair).
Novation at the moment has pretty much every other possible base covered.
Now I just have to bide my time waiting for that Pro model.
The post Novation’s Launchpad Grid, Now in Color, for Ableton or iPad appeared first on Create Digital Music.
If you want to control Ableton Live from an iPad, you’ve loads of options. If you want to control Traktor – not so much. The best all-in-one option is Traxus Control, which is free (though it requires Lemur).
Now, one app does everything. The same app has modes for both Ableton Live and Traktor – meaning you can tote one iPad and be ready for both the live set and the DJ set. And on the Traktor side, you get fluid integration with Native Instruments’ DJ software – ironically, when NI themselves have no such controller app.
And the advantages are clear: no room to tote more hardware? Cramped DJ booth? Tired of having to use the mouse and display just because something you need wasn’t mapped? Doing a mix or podcast on the go and don’t have a controller handy? Solved.
At the heart of the new system is a Traktor controller module, adding to the Ableton Live modules that were already there. (Live modules include clip control, lovely XY pads, mixing, and a MIDI keyboard for melodies.)
For Traktor, you get three views: Player, Mixer, and FX. (One module is free to try out; Conductr is fairly functional even in free mode before you commit to in-app purchases for extra features.) As with Conductr’s Live controls, you can customize your iPad to view whichever modules you like. Keep one on the display to make things simple (ideal if you’re augmenting other hardware), or fit up to four to cover all the bases. There are options for display, too.
Inside the Traktor module, you get control of up to four decks.
There are tools for looping, jog/bend, tempo, sync, cueing and transport, and the like. And the interface really comes alive with effects controls – something I already liked about TKFX.
All of this is fit into the tidy, stylish Conductr interface.
You also can use your iPad in either wired (USB) or wireless mode, depending on your preference.
See more in our gallery.
Now we just need something like this for Serato.
The post Conductr Controls Traktor and Ableton All in One iPad App appeared first on Create Digital Music.
Imagine if the Eno/Schmidt Oblique Strategies, a music theory book, and an Ableton quick-start manual all got caught in a transporter accident with a bunch of different music producers.*
That seems to be what you get with Making Music: A Book of Creative Strategies. In one sense, the aim is to be none of these things. It’s not a manual. It’s not a template for music making. It doesn’t, apparently, rely much on musical theory in the traditional sense.
But, then, if you know the man behind it – Dennis DeSantis, a classical percussion virtuoso and composer turned documentation czar – this all makes sense.
The book is divided into the three places where you might become stuck creatively:
And in each section, it includes both problems and solutions, plus hands-on reflections from artists, ranging from experimental to club. (I wish it had sections for “soups” and “desserts,” but this isn’t my book.) Sometimes, it’s talking about specific harmonies in house music. Sometimes, it’s reflecting on the very act of listening.
In fact, if anything, the whole thing seems a bit like Fux’s Gradus ad Parnassum rewritten, Julia Child The Joy of Cooking style, for anyone frustrated with a blank or overcrowded Ableton Live session display.
But I’m delighted to see it. I can’t imagine myself trying to organize a book in this particular way – we’ll talk to Dennis shortly about how he went about it and offer an excerpt for you to read, if you’re curious. But it seems a marvelous challenge. And it represents the sort of discourse I hope we have more of – one that lies at the intersection of philosophy and creativity and the specific particularities both of musical craft and technological praxis.
A composer in the 18th century had to tackle, simultaneously, the deep meaning of poetry and whether that clarinet player could really easily finger that melody they just wrote. So it shouldn’t seem a conflict of interests when we have to wrangle with a particular detail of automating a plug-in and the grand sweep of the form of the track we’re finishing. The clash between the specific and the profound, and the desperate struggle to actually make something we like, is at the essence of creative process.
If you have specific things you’d like us to ask Dennis about this question, or documentation of music software in general, or cool things he knows about new music on the marimba, let us know.
More info, excerpts:
Note to wise people: has any music software company really done anything like this? I don’t think so. For that matter, I can only think of a handful of books that attempted this sort of scope (though a smattering of this way of thinking has been added in over the years). One advantage of Ableton as patron: you don’t have to convince a publisher this would work.
Obligatory nerd-out: *Okay, think of this as the reverse of the transport accident in Season 1, Episode 5 “The Enemy Within.” In this version, all those parts form some new composite that comes out neatly as a … book. Which is cool. Also, Space Dog. I may be a hopeless nerd, but the advantage of hopeless nerds is we always know where to find weird furry unicorn dogs for you.
The post A New Book from Ableton Wants to Help You Make Music appeared first on Create Digital Music.
Ableton Live is happily running on your laptop. It’s not yet running on your iPad or tablet, or optimized in any way for touch. And that’s left a window wide open for touch controllers.
Now, the question is, is there room for yet another control app? touchAble retains the crown for all-around control of Ableton Live; there’s very little this app doesn’t do, from replicating Live devices to MIDI editing to custom templates.
But the relaunched LK, released today, has a few reasons for consideration, as an alternative or complement to other solutions.
First, if you’re an Android user, LK’s Android tablet support alone means it just became your go-to choice if you have a tablet that isn’t an iPad.
Second, LK’s simplicity and modular design I find appealing, as you’ll see in screenshots here. LK’s narrower focus in its main controller view make it particularly accessible. Devices open below the clip/mix view and expand and collapse just as they do in Ableton Live. And dedicated views for MPC-style pads, an X/Y viewer, and MIDI control are clean and easy to understand.
The MIDI PADS module alone I find worth the cost of entry, even if you’re already using another iPad tool for Ableton control. With chord mode, friendly controls, and a built in arpeggiator with sync, plus lots of space for your fingers on the layout itself, it’s darned-near perfect. I increasingly find an iPad mini an essential accessory for work – and something I can fall back on when I can’t lug around extra gear but want to keep making music. It’s also easy to imagine this running alongside a Push for even less reason to go over to the computer screen – which can be a real concentration breaker when you’re trying to stay in the flow.
When you do want to connect LK, you can use either a wireless connection or a wired MIDI connection. The latter works with a 30-pin or Lightning (or Android USB) cable, so that you don’t have to worry about a wireless connection getting flaky when you’re trying to work.
MIDI control isn’t limited to Ableton Live, either. The app outputs MIDI, so with a little configuration, you can use it with external gear alongside your Live set, or control something else altogether.
Last week, we saw another option for routing MIDI between apps and computers in the form of midimux. Developer Nuno Santos and I just tried out Midimux in conjunction with LK, and it works perfectly. That opens up additional routing options for those with more sophisticated setup ideas in mind. Previously:
Now, Across iOS and Mac, Everything is Musically Connected [Video]
Here’s How To Connect the iPad’s Easiest Pattern Maker to Your Mac [Video Tutorial]
There’s really nothing stopping you from trying LK, too. The app is free, with each module operating for 15 minutes. That gives you time to see if you like this approach. If it fits your approach, you can unlock modules a la carte. I’m also intrigued to see where the LK developer goes next with future modules – I’m hearing word of a piano style controller and a step sequencer.
LAUNCHPAD – US$ 8.99
MIDI PADS – $ 4.49
MIDI CONTROLLER – $ 4.49
XY PAD – $ 4.49
LK replaces the previous app LIVKONTROL, but if you already bought LIVKONTROL, get in touch. Nuno tells CDM, “We are offering the activation of the respective modules to all previous buyers that present to us the purchase receipt.”
Nuno’s tech startup Imaginando in Braga, Portugal has been busy. It’s also the source of the excellent TKFX, which I find – by far – the easiest way to control effects in Traktor when DJing. More on that soon:
TKFX Gives You Crazy-Easy iPad, Android Control of Traktor Effects, KAOSS-Style
Documentation is online:
I’m having a lot of fun with it. Here are some shots of it running on my device:
The post LK Gives Your iPad or Android Tablet Easy Control of Ableton Live [Gallery, Hands on] appeared first on Create Digital Music.
Hey, sometimes it’s the simple things.
I was going to write something, but – well, it’s a tuner. Watch the film, from Ableton Liveschool. And I have to say, Ableton has found a way to make this Device more interesting than previous Max for Live efforts. It even has a histogram.
Perhaps the most newsworthy element here – a sign of the times – is that the resurgence of analog synthesizers has meant that tuning outboard hardware is now again an application for tuners. You’ll see in the video here an example with the classic MOOG Minimoog, but see the Ableton-shot photo below for an Arturia MicroBrute. Keyboardists, not just guitarists, are now using tuners, too.
If only we had some digital means of keeping things in tu– jeez, what the heck is going on, anyway? Strange, cyclical days.
Music software can treat devices as melodic instruments, as percussion, as audio effects… so why not visuals, too? Of course, there’s no substitute for a dedicated visual artist / VJ in a set, but Brainwash HD at least gives you the tools to integrate performance visuals as an element of a set in Ableton Live. It’s the visual equivalent of the sound modules we’ve been looking at lately.
And Brainwash is just one of a number of clever little Max for Live modules from Isotonik Studios, as seen in the video at top. CDM has gotten an exclusive first look at what they’ve been building.
Before we get to those acid-watched visuals, this showcase also shows Max for Live tools you might use for any number of tasks. Follow and Return allow you to trigger actions based on clips. Follow expands on the built-in Follow Actions in Live by setting up any action you want when a clip finishes playing. I’ve long felt that Follow Actions were needlessly neglected by Ableton since their introduction; I’d still love to see more internal, integrated behavior, but for making your own custom performance rigs, this looks terrific.
And yes, this performs something Live itself ought to do, but doesn’t – it lets you set Scenes as Follow Actions.
The Return device is a hub for adding modulation, also triggered by clips (and Session Automation, which means you can draw in envelopes for extra precision and control).
You’ll find those devices – and others – in what Isotonik calls the “Modular Series.” This is modular not in the sense of sound modules – more like utilities that listen in on activities in Session View and respond accordingly.
But let’s talk about this visualizer tool. It’s intriguing stuff – a bit like having an analog video synth built into Ableton Live – and I know it’s something many of you have been looking for. The tool, just updated as “Brainwash HD,” is the work of Ned Rush. If it reminds you of VIZZable, a similar series of modular video plug-ins for Ableton Live, that’s no accident – VIZZable actually assisted on this project to improve output.
Here’s Brainwash in action, combining audio modular with its visual capabilities:
As described by user SunFallsMusic:
Here, Brainwash is loaded in Ableton Live 9, with my eurorack modular being the audio source.
Thonk Expanded Turing Machine is the complete brains behind this session driving all the percussion via the Steady State Fate Propagate. & the SynthTech Modular e355 providing the all the background texture thru the Make Noise Erbe-Verb.
And an earlier video. I like the desription “hipster’s psychedelic dream tube” – sounds about right.
- Live audio input from wherever the Device is inserted
- represent sound with waves or bars
- Feedback, rotate, and zoom are where this gets interesting
- Freeze, color, tone
- Live parameter control – so mapping to MIDI is a good idea
- High-resolution output
- 64-bit support
- Syphon support on Mac
- Spout support on Windows
Syphon and Spout support in particular I think will interest you, as it of course means you can capture this as a video – ideal for uploading.
I’ve been playing around with it a bit, and I’m impressed. Performance for me is pretty lightweight, adding very little overhead on my 13″ MacBook Pro Retina. It’s possible to go more minimal and less psychedelic, too, if you want – that’s all down to the controls.
Seems interesting. With this and VIZZable out now, you have some real options for adding visual output to Live sets. If you make anything cool, do send it our way!
Check out the device:
For Brainwash HD:
The post Add Visuals to Ableton Live with One Device, and Other Neat Tricks appeared first on Create Digital Music.
Racks and knob-encrusted modules and wires tangling together to make sound – this is a perfectly lovely thing. But the computer sitting in front of you, the one you probably turn to when it comes time to record and produce, is also capable of vast sonic powers. Why force a choice between the two, when that machine can let you explore the frontiers of sound, too?
The recent announcement of OSCiLLOT brought open-ended patching to Ableton Live users. But it’s only getting started. Today, we get to see it evolve, learn to use it to make the sounds we imagine, find out about the development process, and better understand why it matters.
And now is the perfect time, because OSCiLLOT’s creators have been busy beefing up the system they just unveiled. For starters, there’s a new tutorial video to teach you how to use it (top). And, you get two new modules: a comb filter, plus a terrific feedback module that lets you route sound back into your modular rig. (I’m especially pleased about that, as I was getting muddled coming from Pure Data/Pd, in which feedback loop routing works differently. Well, and because generally feedback is great fun.)
OSCiLLOT versus Max 7. First off, let’s clear up some confusion. Cycling ’74′s Max/MSP recently brought its own modular environment to the table, entitled BEAP – the feature I called one of the best reasons to upgrade to Max 7. And so some readers assumed that this means OSCiLLOT is redundant. It’s not. If you’re using Max directly for patching, BEAP is still a great environment – one that can help you learn modular synthesis techniques, make some great sonic creations, and connect to outboard gear.
But OSCiLLOT isn’t BEAP. BEAP is a great learning tool, but it’s not so great when it comes to using Max inside Ableton Live. BEAP is monophonic, for one thing; OSCiLLOT gives you polyphony, which makes more sense on a computer. And – here’s the deal-killer – you can’t patch BEAP live when you’re working with Ableton Live. (You have to enter edit mode – and at that point, you’ve lost a true modular feel.)
OSCiLLOT, its creators tell CDM, is really built to be a modular instrument running inside Ableton Live. Not only does it support full polyphony, but you can even re-patch your creations as you play inside Live. That makes this much closer to the software equivalent of having physical modules and patch cords, and it transforms OSCiLLOT into a spiritual successor of beloved musicians’ instruments like the now-defunct Nord Modular. (The Nord was specifically an inspiration for the creation of OSCiLLOT, for any of you missing that hardware.)
Co-creator Nico Starke notes that the philosophy of OSCiLLOT is a bit different, as well, architecturally speaking.
I think Oscillot is indeed more tailored to making music. One aspect that is maybe not so obvious at first glance is that many BEAP modules are very large, which makes it a bit tricky to navigate around in a larger patch. Oscillot modules are a bit more optimized in that regard.
By the way, in the end, Nico notes it’d be nice to use BEAP and OSCiLLOT together. If you’re listening, [BEAP creator] Stretta, we’d love to see interoperability here! (Stretta’s talents in the Max and monome communities are incredible, by the way – search for his name and you’ll see what I mean. A Stretta – Nico – Christian team-up is basically a dream team. Anything we can do…)
How it was built. Making OSCiLLOT work this way inside Ableton was a big engineering challenge. “After we had the rough framework working,” co-creator Christian Kleine tells CDM, “the big challenges were the undo system and GUI performance.” That’s right – you get undo. You can learn more about how the product was engineered in an extensive interview Max for Cats posted to their site:
Nico adds that the other biggest obstacles were — “getting patch cables to work in a locked patcher / or respectively in Live … saving module data like positions, connections, parameters with a Live set / preset — unfortunately we didn’t get that for free as in traditional Max devices.” And he reiterates that adding undo and redo actions was non-trivial. “[Undo/redo] works automatically in traditional Max devices,” Nico says, “but not in scripted patchers as we use in Oscillot.” And polyphony required some effort, too. “Eventually this was easier than expected,” he concedes, “but it took a while to figure it out.”
All of this, Nico says, added up to four to five years of work. “I took very long breaks in between, but it all started quite some time ago,” he says.
How to use it with hardware. No need to incite a software-versus-hardware modular debate here: OSCiLLOT is something you can combine with a physical setup. Max for Cats promise a tutorial film on that, but in the meantime, users like Fernando Carvalho are already off to the races:
To integrate OSCiLLOT with your modular rig, as with any software/modular integration, you need a DC-coupled audio interface so you can wire your audio interface to your gear.
Not all audio interfaces have that functionality. You’ll find a detailed compatibility list via Expert Sleepers (who make their own fine software for the task):
Silent Way: Device Compatibility
More discussion available on a MuffWiggler thread. (Site down as I write this.)
Basically, just about anything MOTU will work, plus the superb RME FireFace and Apogee Symphony. But so, too, will various cheaper options, including Alesis, so if you weren’t planning on investing in a higher-end option at the moment, you still have choices.
“I’d second Christian’s recommendation for Expert Sleepers interfaces,” says Nico. “These are just fantastic. Other than that, MOTU interfaces will usually work fine, too.”
And the OSCiLLOT team wants to make hardware interfacing still easier. “We’re just finishing up some new helper devices for working with external synths,” Nico tells us, “like a CV calibration tool (for proper 1V/Oct scaling) and a multi-channel CV routing tool. These aren’t necessarily required to control external synths, but will make it a bit more convenient when working with Oscillot.”
But where should you learn more about synthesis? Christian from Max for Cats has some tips for us on that, too. For learning this tool specifically, he tells us, “Reading the Quickstart lesson, trying to understand the examplesm and watching the tutorials seems to me a good start.” But brushing up on the basics is never a bad idea for any of us.
Gordon Reid has done a wonderful series on synthesis that Christian endorses:
That’s half a decade of articles you can read there, a free, in-depth course in mastering synthesis. (Ignore the 1999-2004 dates – the stories are just as relevant now. Hey, some skills stand the test of time.)
And Nico says, well, get your hands dirty. “I’d really recommend to just plug stuff together and see what happens,” he says. “The big fun with modular synths is making happy accidents. Maybe start with a simple synth or a simple audio effect to understand how the system works (our first tutorial video should cover the basics), then add more modulators, sequencers, etc.”
The post How OSCiLLOT is the Smartest Way to Put a Modular in Ableton appeared first on Create Digital Music.