The first challenge of Loop’s Music-Making Weekend: Build your own Gizmophone. Get the details at the link below.
I find I’ve been spending more time making music and sound with my laptop while in isolation than with hardware. Of course I’m still making music and sound with my Elektron boxes, but I’m just noticing the laptop is getting more use in my day-to-day.
Perhaps it’s because I can just take it anywhere in the house and wherever I end up sitting becomes my creative space. While in the past I might have used my iPad for this sort of thing, I find I’m on my iPad more for reading books, blogs, news and connecting with people so the laptop seems like a break. Topsy-turvy times for sure but a good reminder of the the amazing sonic arsenal of tools that sits within most of our laptops.
As you’ve probably seen in recent posts I’ve been spending a lot of time with Ableton Live and Push 2 along with all of Live’s devices and instruments. Over the years though, I’ve created 100s of presets for some amazing virtual instruments.
So I’ve started a new project to dust off some original presets for Live and other commercial synths and get all the sounds out of the archives and back in play on my laptop.
I just restored my collection of original Zebra presets. Here is a short video from my Instagram of a sound that is quite Krell-like. I’m just holding a single key 😀.
A quick post to share a video of a new original preset that’s in progress on the most amazing @Ableton #Wavetable#synth. This one is inspired by Kraftwerk and it called “Numbers” 😀. #SaturdayNightSoundDesign.
This was made entirely with Push 2 without using a mouse. As I’m using Push I incorporate the touch strip, velocity and pressure into this sound.
In a related note I’m slowly working my way towards a whole pack of Wavetable presets so subscribe to be notified of my progress along with other Modulate This! posts.
I’m a big fan of the new Launchpads and just saw that Novation just tweeted “Enrique takes you through everything you need to know about Custom Modes using Launchpad X and Novation Components >>>” https://youtu.be/eUJ2WnlC_WU
The methods shown in the video also apply to the Launchpad Pro [MK3] and Launchpad Mini [MK3].
With Launchpad Pro [MK3], Launchpad Mini [MK3] and Launchpad X, we’ve created Custom Modes, a feature that allows you to design custom layouts for whatever your specific setup demands. Custom Modes can be used to bring to life software and hardware (or a mixture of both), by providing a blank canvas for you to build unique control layouts. In this video, Enrique takes you through everything you need to know about Custom Modes using Launchpad X and Novation Components.
More Links on Custom Modes
- Discover more about Launchpad [MK3] Custom Modes: https://novationmusic.com/en/news/launchpad-custom-modes
- Check out the Launchpad range: https://novationmusic.com/launch
- Connect with Novation:
In collaboration with Max for Cats and Sonic Bloom, we’ve made the Stray Cats Collection, a free Pack of Max for Live devices. (Note: this Pack requires Max for Live, which is included in Live Suite or available for purchase for Live Standard.)https://www.ableton.com/en/blog/ideas-offers-making-music-home/
More Links from Sonic Bloom and Max for Cats
Learn more about this book here https://makingmusic.ableton.com/about.
We’ve reduced the price on all editions of Live by 30%. This offer includes new licenses as well as upgrades. Log in to see your available upgrades.https://www.ableton.com/en/blog/ideas-offers-making-music-home/
Here is video of an improv with Ableton Live and Push2 I streamed to Facebook Live earlier today. The video is a download from my FB live stream so low rez but you’ll get the idea.
I improvised it all on-the-fly. Prior to playing I setup a few tracks such as a Simpler containing a sample from a cylinder phonograph, a track with Max for Live Granulator II along with some drum racks. Ableton was kind enough to give me a copy of M4L device called FlexGroove.
I’m just wrapping my head around it and in this piece I’m using it on the piano part of the piece to pull notes off the grid. I start using it at around the 3m50s mark. I’m really looking forward into digging deeper into this device.
FlexGroove is a Max for Live device for off-the-grid MIDI sequencing. Give parts an expressive push and pull, fluidly transition from one time signature to another, or play with unconventional swing patterns.https://www.ableton.com/en/packs/flexgroove/
In a related note I’ve been experimenting with OBS Studio on Windows 10 with Ableton Live and will share some tips on configuration soon. Subscribe to get notified of this and other posts via email.
This week I composed a new pieced called “Press 3” which starts of at 80 BPM and makes it all the way to 764 BPM 😯. He
Here is a video snippet where I’m clocking along at 382 BPM.
Thanks J.L. Kane for hosting and Mechant Metrique for shooting this on his phone.
Soon after I did a live studio recording of the piece and released as the first episode in Season 3 of the Sonic Encounters Podcasst.
I’m using Ableton Live 10.1 Suite, Push 2, Novation Launch Control XL, Suface Laptop 2, Outer Spaces reverb (Max for Live), and U-HE Zebra 2 and Hive.
More on Beat Cypher here https://www.facebook.com/groups/1980133178941598
I got my first set of Percussa AudioCubes in late 2009. They have informed and inspired so many of my songs and have been an integral element of my live performances throughout the years. With my 10th anniversary approaching this year I thought it would be fun to look back at some of my favorite moments with the AudioCubes to date and also offer some thoughts on where I’m heading next with the AudioCubes.
The AudioCubes are a collection of wireless intelligent light emitting objects, capable of detecting each other’s location and orientation, and user gesture (Wikipedia)
Before we go any further I first wanted to offer huge thanks to Bert and Celine from Percussa who have provided musicians and multimedia artists with such an innovative, transformative, and expressive solution that allows us to build custom signature “instruments” for studio, performances, and installations. I especially appreciate their willingness to listen and incorporate feedback year after year to support artists.
The Evolution of AudioCubes in My Video and Pics
AudioCubes have gone through several revisions, with the latest version, the Wireless AudioCubes PRO, featuring full wireless communication and high end materials and components.
Through the years I’ve upgraded my cubes and all my cubes are now AudioCubes PRO so you’ll see various generations in the pics and videos.
Ableton just released a fantastic interview with New York trumpeter and composer Jon Hassell.
The interview covers among other things his studies with Stockhausen, his coining of the term “Fourth World”, his early work with Fairlight CMI, work with Bob Moog on a sound sculpture, with lots of inspiring information on his practice and art.
There was this guy named Bob Moog who came around with his new idea of one Volt equals one octave, which became the Moog synthesizer. (We actually collaborated on a sound sculpture later; a tape loop within a box that had a double reflective mirror on the inside, and every time there was a “blip”, a colored light went off. It was like this little fairyland of blips going by and each one had an output to six speakers around the room.)
Check out the article here:
2018 then seems to be auspicious moment for Jon Hassell to release a new album. Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume One) is his first collection of new music for nine years and represents an updated reconfiguration of all the signature elements of Hassell’s magical realists soundworld: the lush chords and fine-grained textures, the oddly intricate rhythm structures that propel forward while revolving around their own axis, and of course, the treated trumpet lines, sounding somewhere between an intimate whisper and a chorus of conch shells.
Listen to his latest album on bandcamp: Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume One).
Check out Jon’s bandcamp page here https://jonhassell.bandcamp.com/.
Synthesist & Multimedia Artist
Isotonik Studios and my friend and amazing sound designer AfroDJMac just came together to release ADM Drums by AfroDJMac. The collection contains drum samples and presets made over the years by the prolific AfroDJMac which were then curated and organized by Isotonik Studios’ resident Ableton Live Pack expert Animus Inviduous (aka PerforModule).
An amalgamated collection of more than a hundred and fifty Drum Racks, one thousand Drum Loops, and two thousand Drum Hits crafted by AfroDJMac over the years, organized into a single mega pack which installs the vast content into one’s Ableton Live Library in a usable structure for instantaneous creativity.
The end result is an epic Live pack containing 151 Drum Racks +1430 Loops + 80 MIDI Clips + 4 instrument racks + 2333 drum hits!
AjfoDJMac made a nice video walkthrough of the pack that’s which you can see on Vimeo.
I’ve received an NFR copy and so far I’ve only been able to spend on hour with ADM Drums but I’m pretty excited about the release so I wanted to do a post on first impressions.
Install is a one-step process and the Live Pack installs directly into Live’s factory packs folder. With this many racks, loops, clips – this is a real time saver both on install and when you go looking for things later.
While I’ve barely scratched the surface – I’ve already found the drum racks very useful and inspiring. I especially dig “ADM COIN-OP Drums” and the VHS kits. There are five 64-pad kits in the “Experimental Kits” folder which are super fun – such as “ADM PO 64 Pad Drums” and “ADM Tension”.
Ableton Push 2 Tip: When using 64-pad kits, press the “Layout” button on the right side to cycle through to 64-pad mode.
The organization of this pack is amazing and even includes an extensive Lessons File that gives you information on each kit and even links you back to AfroDJMac’s original blog post from when these packs were first released. This is pretty handy as you’ll be able to then watch the detailed videos AfroDJMac made for each kit.
Price is Price £59.00 which is about $77 US at the time of this article. My view is this is an amazing value when you consider that you are getting fantastic source material and meticulous racks (and more) by AfroDJMac – all wrapped with Isotonik Studios amazing organization. The end result are some inspiring kits you’ll be using right out of the gate – and more importantly – all this organization will make it a snap for you to make your own custom drum racks.
Learn More and Buy
Learn more and buy at https://isotonikstudios.com/product/drums-afrodjmacs-grand-collection/.
Synthesist & Multimedia Artist
I can’t make it up skiing on this snowy Colorado Saturday so I’m spending some quality time with Ableton Wavetable. I’m making some custom presets running Live on my Microsoft Surface Pro 4 with Live 10’s new Pen Tablet Mode. It’s a pretty fast and wonderful to use the pen to work with Wavetable!
Synthesist, Electronic Musician, Producer
Ableton Live 10 has Been Announced!
If you haven’t heard, Ableton Live 10 was announced today. Woot!
Create bolder sounds with Live’s new devices. Stay in the flow with a multitude of workflow improvements. Do even more away from the computer with Push. Build your sound with a curated library. And get the unlimited potential of Max for Live, seamlessly built in.
Live 10 will be available in early 2018.
Here is an intro video from Ableton (which was posted this morning and has already creased 52k views).
On Spending Time with the Beta
I’ve been a part of the beta program for a few weeks and find the update to be quite transformative – so much so I find it quite difficult to revert back to 9. I’ve already got a lot of hours into tracks with Wavetable, Echo, Pedal, Drum Bus and all the other new features.
Two quick features I want to point out are Capture and Device Visualizations on Push 2. I use Capture constantly (video).
I’ve come to think of Push 2 as my instrument, and the new device visualizations make it even more so (video).
Wrap Your Head Around Live 10
There is already some great coverage of “what’s new” and some “how-to” videos are already emerging from some of my Ableton Certified Instructor friends. So rather than repeating what’s already been said I’ll offer a few links to help you wrap your head around Live 10.
- Ableton’s Live 10 Page – Ableton has done a great job creating text and video walk-throughs. If you want to know ALL the new features that have been added (so far) go all the way to the bottom of the page. There is an accordion there where you expand each type of update.
- Create Digital Music: “Ableton Live 10 in depth: hands-on impressions, what’s new” – Nice article with additional notes and analysis on the update.
- Ableton Live YouTube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/user/AbletonInc/videos
- My friend AfroDjMac already has some vids up on his channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/AfroDjMac/videos
The timing of the beta for me couldn’t be better for me as 1) I’m back in the the studio working on new tracks and 2) I’m working on a big refresh of my live performance multimedia set which has always been Ableton eccentric. I’ll be using Live 10 from here on out for these projects and I’m excited to share some insights I discover along the way.
Watch for original posts on my journey with Live 10 as well as posts passing along other resources I discover along the way via my category “Live 10″.
I switched to Ableton Push as my primary controller four years ago then upgraded to Push 2 in 2015. It’s become my primary “instrument”. I love the pad sensitivity. However sometimes after a long day of typing at work, I want to play music without piling on repetitive strain. And sometimes I want to record full velocity then go back in an edit velocities after-the-fact.
Luckily, Ableton has provided a simple way to to toggle fixed using the “Accent” key.
The pads are velocity sensitive, but if you want to temporarily override the velocity sensitivity, press the Accent button. When Accent is enabled, all played or step-sequenced notes will be at full velocity (127), regardless of how hard you actually tap the pads.
Enable Accent to Play or Record at Full Velocity.
Note, when you toggle accent, the accent button will blink.
Winter is here in Boulder, CO. This time of year I tend to do a lot of sound design work next to a nice warm fire :^) I traditionally pick one synth to focus on and create patches from INIT. This year I picked an old favorite, U-He’s Zebra 2.
I’ve already got 70+ patches I’ve created throughout the years and a custom Lemur patch I made for the iPad. I’ll be focusing on adding expressive control to the existing patches and making new ones.
I’m also working on a Max for Live device that will allow me to modulate commonly used CCs such a Modulate, Aftertouch, Breath, as well as 4 X/Y pads without having to have a hardware controller. This will allow me to test these patches without having to pop open the Zebra interface which is quite handy for couch potato sessions.
Future Sound Set and Controller Bundle?
Perhaps I’ll package all this up into a bundle later on in the year. If you’d be interested in this, drop me a note through my contact form. You can also subscribe to Modulate This! by email if you want to following along in your inbox.
Past Works with Zebra 2
For now I’ll leave you with a few past songs I’ve created using Zebra 2.
“The Knowing and the Dark Mirror” from my album Fear Cannot Save Us.
4 Instances of U-HE Zebra using patches from my library Outpost Airlock which you can download for free here. Performed on Ableton Push 2.