Lately I’ve been getting back into live vinyl sampling & slicing sessions using Ableton Push 2. The Push 2 workflow lets you slice by beat division, region, transient, and has a rapid flow for manually slicing.
I know quite a few people who own the Push but in past conversations I learned some of them were not familiar with this workflow so I thought I do a post on this to help get people up to speed.
Plus the Push is 5 years old and there are a sea of videos out there so I thought I’d save you some time curating a few task-specific specific videos to save you time. I also include some historical videos on the creation of Push 2 in regards to live sampling and slicing vinyl.
First up, here is a short clip from a recent session with an old lute album :^) All the melodic elements were sliced. Drums were from a factory pack.
Once you get the hang of things, live sampling and slicing is an organic and fun way to build unique new tracks, instruments, and drum racks. I love this quote from Push 2 Product owner Jesse Terry in this regard.
Why is sampling important to me? For me its about the search and rescue of forgotten moments of beauty.
While Push 2 is a purpose-built hardware interface for Ableton Live it’s clear from one of the original launch videos from years back that live sampling and slicing was a primary use case. This video is not instructive bit gives you the vibe of the workflow.
Sampling Vinyl How-To Videos
First up is a video on recording audio by live sampling audio into a clip then converting to a simpler using just the Push 2 hardware.
This next video conceptually picks up where the last one left off with a sample loaded into a Simpler. The video illustrates slicing to transients and converting to a drum rack.
Behind-the-Scenes Video with Vinyl Sampling Use Case for Push 2 from Ableton Loop 2015
Now that you know how to live sample and slice check out this cool behind-the-scenes video from the Push 2 launch session at Ableton Loop 2015 with Push 2 Product owner and designer Jesse Terry. His talk starts at around 03m40s but I recommend you just start at the beginning to hear Ableton CEO Gerhard Behles tee up the session.
It’s clear from Jesse’s presentation that his love for vinyl sampling heavily informed the design of Push 2.
If you carry on the video to 21m07s you’ll see the introduction of Ableton’s program to donate Push 1’s from trade-in programs and Live to schools and educational initiatives. At 27m35s Dylan Wood talks about the Sound Team’s work and the addition of analog modeled filters to Sampler, Operator and AutoFilter. Note these have since been added to other instruments in the lineup like Wavetable. At 41m00s we hear from Michaela Burgle who talks about flow state and introduces Ableton Link.
I hope this article helped saved some time for those getting sarted with Push 2 or reinvigorated you long-time Push 2 users to go forth and slice up some vinyl. If so take a moment to subscribe or leave me a tip to buy me a beer or coffee :^)
We couldn’t hold our Loop Summit for Music Makers in person this April, so we’ve decided to bring a little of the Loop spirit to you, wherever you are.
On every day of the weekend, from April 24–26 the Loop website (https://loop.ableton.com/) will transform into a hub for music-making challenges, creative inspirations, and a few live-streams from some of our favorite artists.
Every morning at 11am CEST/5am EDT the Loop Team will share a dose of inspiration and a music-making challenge for the day, along with any instructions and materials you’ll need to take part.
Then, at 7pm CEST/1pm EDT we’ll broadcast live from an artist at home, for some insight into their creative worlds and technical setups:
If you miss any of the live broadcasts, they’ll remain available to view throughout the weekend on the Loop website.
Each day ends at 9pm CEST/ 3pm EDT with an invitation to join us on the digital dancefloor for a home-brewed club night with United We Stream, in support of some of our favorite Berlin club institutions.
We’ll be hosting a discussion throughout the weekend to share your process and swap results with fellow music-makers.
Use the hashtag #LoopAtHome and join us on the Loop website from 11am CEST on April 24 for a welcome from the Loop Team, and to start making some music together.
Some weekend listening and patching ideas for for you. Pink Floyd is streaming full length concerts as part of the @YouTube Film Festival. Plus down below find a link to how to make “On The Run” with OSCiLLOT by Max for Cats.
Head over to the Pink Floyd channel on YouTube now for PULSE which is the first full performance available as part of the four week @YouTube Film Festival. Next Friday, at 5pm, Pink Floyd Live At Pompeii will be added to the Festival’s offerings. #StayHome
Ableton Loop is a summit for music makers. I was all set and super excited to go to my first Loop in Berlin this year. Of course that isn’t going to happen as the IRL event was postponed to 2021.
So today I was quite exited to learn that Ableton is planning on an online version of this year’s event!!!
With Loop delayed until 2021, we’ll bring a bit of that community to you at home. We’re planning three days of curated live streams and daily music-making challenges, as well as a place to discuss the process of making music and share results. Save the dates: April 24-26. More info is coming soon.
One part field recordings and one part additive synthesis, Spectral Textures is a unique instrument that blends together two distinct worlds of sound to create vibrant atmospheres, textures and progressions…
The majority of Spectral Textures’ presets consist of two sound elements – spectral samples created with a digital additive synthesizer and field recordings – in combination with effects…
Sourced from an abandoned garden center in eastern Germany, an assortment of unique field recordings infuse many of Spectral Textures with a vibrant, real-world timbres. The site’s dilapidated greenhouse and a variety of scattered metal, wood and glass objects found there provided some truly fascinating sound sources…
Ableton has just extended the free trial the Live 10 Suite free from 30 to 90 days (including the ability to save and export). So whether you are running Live Intro or Standard and were curious about awesome synths like Wavetable or Operator or Max for Live devices – or you are new to Live – here is a chance to put it all through some paces and make some art while you are isolated.
– 13 Instruments to try (including Wavetable, Operator, Sampler, Analog and more) – 56 Effects for processing audio and MIDI (including Echo, Pedal, Beat Repeat, Amp, Vocoder, Glue and lots more) – Instant mappings so you can use Live with your keyboards or controller. – Max for Live so you have access to a range of instruments, effects and customizations created by the Live community.
Last month I participated in #jamuary and created 7 new songs which I’ve posted as videos to this YouTube playlist. . It was really inspiring and freeing to just go for it and finish these short musical themes.
Via @truecuckoo … “The idea with Jamuary is to get going with what you have, and to help get comfortable sharing and performing little jams, and to get to know each other and appreciate what everyone is doing in the electronic music independent scene. Post a little music snippet every day of jamuary, or for as many of the days that you have the energy to. Browse the hashtag and get inspired. Get to know musicians you had never heard about, and perhaps even make some friends along the way.”
Below are the individual vids below (click on the pics of vids if you are reading this via email). The are numbered based on the day in January in which they were released.
Let me know if you have a favorite in the comments.
Day 04 Featuring the iPad and Resolume
I created the song from scratch in Korg Gadget. I’m still amazed at how fantastic these virtual Korg synths sound!
In this piece I used Korg’s emulations of the Arp Odyssey (Arp ODYESEi aka Lexington) and Korg Mono/Poly (MonoPoly aka Montpellier) for the leads. The bells from the gadget synth Helsinki which are bit-crushed. Drums are from various drum gadgets. The earth shaking smooth bass is from an emulation of the Korg MS20 (iMS-20 aka Memphis). I performed, arranged and mixed the piece in Gadget then rendered it out to AudioShare.
From there I normalized the audio and then exported to dropbox. To create the video I took a screen recording of the audio running in the AudioShare player on the iPad. I then trimmed that and used it as a source for Resolume. I then performed real-time synthesis using that video as a source.
Day 05 Featuring the iPad and Edradour 10 Year Single Malt Scotch
My #jamurary2020 Day 05 is improvised piano with Frippertonics looping with additional live sampling powered by Edradour 10 Year single malt scotch 🥃 😋.
I’m using a gorgeous virtual grand piano from the Korg Module app. I’m feeding that into the fantastic Audio Damage Enzo looper to do Frippertronics looping. Once I get some music rolling I live sample the looper plus live playing into the Samplr app. All this is being run through the gorgeous Eventide Blackhole reverb.
Day 06 on iPad and Launchpad Under the Watchful Eye of Gort
My #jamurary2020 Day 06 – under the watchful eye of Gort – is once again made all on one @Apple iPad Air with no external synths or audio processing. #aum is the host and the musical bed is a string part improvised with lovely @sugarbytesofficial Factory synth into an instance of the most amazing @audio.damage Enzo looper and a beat I created with most groovy @olympianoiseco Patterning 2.
I improvise a lead on @cmepro Xkey Air keys over the bed with the killer @korgofficial iMono/Poly synth and start fading in parts with the LaunchpadX. My lead and the musical bed start to fill up effects buffers in @sugarbytesofficial Turnado and I then improvize and control slicing in real-time with Launchpad X. The @Eventideaudio Blackhole appears throughout the signal flow to give the piece some sense of space.
Day 07 Performed on iPad at a Local Coffee Shop
I recorded my Jamuary2020 Day 07 synth improv video from Bittersweet Cafe in n Louisville, CO while enjoying a cappuccino ☺. One again this is on an @Apple iPad Air with no external synths or audio processing. #AUM is the host.
I started off by improvising a loop with a bell pad sound using @sugarbytesofficial Factory synth performed with GeoShred Pro as a MIDI controller using @audio.damage Enzo looper. I then used @audio.damage granular synth Quantum to make a textural bed underneath. The source is from an original field recording I made New Years Eve 2018 in a tube station in London. It’s about 200 people singing the same song as they jam into a tight tunnel to access tracks below ground. I build a loop using @audio.damage Enzo. The @Eventideaudio Blackhole appears throughout the signal flow to give the piece some sense of space.
I then live programmed the drums and bass elements using @olympianoiseco Patterning 2 with the circular grid and with real-time recording with pads on the glass. I finish off with a little distorted lead using GeoShred Pro with Factory synth.
A tech note – this was all battery-powered and also wireless as I used AirPod Pros to monitor the iPad and used AUM to record digitally record the session. GoPro Hero 7 was used for the video. It all fit into a small sling bag 😎.
Jamuary 2020 Day 13 – Nord Lead 4 Morph Mania
For my #jamuary2020 Day 13 I’m using only my trusty @nordkeyboards Nord Lead 4 with 3 custom presets from “init” arranged into a “performance” with a split.
For those not familiar with the Nord Lead 4, it has 4 complete synthesizers each with their own FX each. Presets called “programs” can be placed into one of four “slots”. Slots can be combined into “performances” where you can perform with all four slots in concert.
For EACH synth instance you create both impulse and continuous morphs which allow you to save states for pretty much any parameter in for the preset in a slot without changing presets 😮. You can save and trigger 7 impulse morphs per slot with impulse morph buttons on the left next to the wooden pitch stick. Morph buttons are momentary switches but you can latch them as I do 26 second mark. Continuous morphs are mapped to the groovy pumice mod wheel (or map this to an expression pedal).
I used this custom set of presets and “performance” when I performed as a special guest for the Boulder Laptop Orchestra (BLOrK) at the @cu_atlas Atlas Black Box at @cuboulder back in 2017. For this performance I used only the Nord Lead 4 with 14 programs each with a large number of morph states. Video here https://youtu.be/ScpItttfGlY.
My Day 29 #Jamuary is a #MusiqueConcrète piece I improvised using ONLY samples I recorded at my favorite barber shop @rockbarbers (http://www.rockbarbers.com/). A big thanks to Rock Barbers for allowing me bring my @zoomsoundlab H1n recorder to do a field recording session at their place 😀.
I made this using a @microsoft Surface Laptop 3 on Windows 10 with @Ableton Live, #Push 2, Wavetable, one drum rack and 3 instances of @audio.damage Quanta. This play-by-play below applies to the long version which is on YouTube here.
I start off playing an instance of Ableton Wavetable. I made a custom preset by importing the sound of a barber shaving cream hot lather dispenser to make a custom wavetable. The right waveform is barber shears. Further #SoundDesign from there to make it all an instrument. I play this on an Ableton #Push2 controller and record the notes I’m playing on-the-fly to create a MIDI loop. A bit of Echo and Reverb on this.
Once I get that going I move on the 2nd track which uses the most amazing @audio.damage Quanta granular synthesizer where I use a sample of barber shears. I improvise and record notes into a loop. I sweeten this using the Amazing Noises Outer Spaces @c74connect Max for Live reverb.
I move on to a 3rd track. Again I’m using Quanta. This time I’m doing granular synthesis using a field recording of the cash register drawer opening. The ding bell sound played across the keyboard and stretched with granular synthesis sounds a bit like chimes. Once again I use Outer Spaces as my reverb.
I move on to the 4th track, use Quanta yet again and this time the sample is the sound of a comb being banged inside a barber comb jar with Ableton Echo for effects.
I move on to the 5th track and bring things to a crescendo using an Ableton Drum rack loaded with samples of the footrest being dropped on an old barber chair, the sound of the razor strap on that old chair being jiggled, the din of the shop, shears, an electric clipper, the comb banging on the jar, and a blow dryer. I then start to fade dial back the energy and eventually return back where I started at Ableton Wavetable with a bit of barber shears.
Earlier today my go to synth news site Synthtopia published a post about the new Ableton Learning Synths site… ” Today, Ableton quietly launched Learning Synths, a new website that teaches the fundamentals of synthesis in an interactive way.”
It’s an interactive media site called Learning Synths. You can use the site right from within their browser on your computer or mobile device.
I spent some time poking around in the site and feel it’s a great site for students or up -and-coming musicians and producers who want to learn more about synthesis so I wanted to also do a post to spread the word.
I also wanted to do this post to share a mind map I made from the course menu (hamburger top right) which illustrates the comprehensive the site content.
Synthesizers are at the foundation of many different kinds of music. They’re musical instruments that can make a huge range of sounds. But they can be hard to understand.
Learning Synths is a new, interactive website that puts a powerful but easy-to-learn synthesizer right in your web browser. It’s free, sounds great, and works on any internet-connected device. Best of all, it comes with its own step-by-step lessons so you can explore and learn the fundamentals of synthesis at your own pace.
The lessons in Learning Synths start with the very basics, so they’re perfect even if you’ve never used a synthesizer before. Or dive right into sound design with a rich-sounding instrument that’s built for exploration and play.
Outline in Mind Map Form
The course is quite interactive and comprehensive as you can see from the mindmeister mind map of the site outline I created below.
Ableton Live 10.0.6 is now available. For me the biggest news here is they “updated the bundled Max application to Max 8.0.2.” This means some advanced Max for Live devices ( ex. Isotonik Studios Signal) no longer require you to download Max 8.0.2 and point to that version in Preferences. More info on 10.0.6 over at the Release Notes page.
Live 10.1 Beta
Ableton Live 10.1 is in public beta. It’s a MAJOR point release that will be a free update!
The ability to import your own wavetable or samples into the Wavetable synth. This is huge!
A new device called Delay that “Combines Simple Delay and Ping Pong Delay and adds feature upgrades” like modulation. Jump, Fade-In and Pitch controls which you could only access by right-clicking on the device title bar are now on the front panel.
VST3 support. “Plug-ins that crash no longer cause Live to crash. In addition, Live will not need to wait for the plug-in scan to finish in order to launch.”
New Channel EQ device
A palette of automation shapes and the ability to transform automaton horizontally and vertically, the ability to edit the value of an automation breakpoint using a context menu, and more.
Improvements to Arrangement Editing including improvements in zooming and scrolling, resizable Arrangement Overview
I just finished watching the latest Push 2 videos. I use Live 10 and Push 2 almost every day and learned some new things – so I differently recommend watching these videos whether you are new to Live 10 and Push 2 or a seasoned player.
The videos offer an overview of Live 10, Setup, Interface, Instruments & Effects, and Workflows.
In a related note, I’ve been running 10 in beta since September and the beta was so solid I gigged with it. I installed the final version today without issue and am up and running making music and sounds with Push 2.
I’ll leave you with a little video I made with the beta using the new Wavetable synth.
Thanks for reading,
Synthesist, Electronic Musician, Producer
Boulder, CO ModulateThis.com
I’ll be performing as part of the Denver Synth_Drone Collective for the Sunday November 26th Textures Ambient Showcase at Mutiny Cafe in Denver – a perfect way to wrap up your Thanksgiving weekend :^). We’ll be the only act and will perform from 7-10pm. Below are my rig notes for this event for which I’ll be playing music plus performing visuals for the entire night. Here is the event link.
Modelling the Rig
For this show I’m doing visuals which means I’ll be using a Windows 10 laptop with a touchscreen. To keep the rig lean, I’ll use the laptop for my audio rig as well. For visuals I’ll be using live camera input and video field recordings from my travels.
Here is my sketch of the overall rig.
Here is the rig in reality.
Windows 10 Laptop with a Touch Screen
Audio Portion of Rig
Ableton Push 2
Xbox One Bluetooth Joystick Controller (for Granulator II)
Ableton Live 10 (beta) for real-time sound design using
Ableton Wavetable (beta)
Max for Live
Multimapper XBox 360
Sustain If On
Focusrite Scarlet 2i4
Here are some pics of the main synths. First up the wonderful new Ableton Wavetable which is now in beta.
Next up Tone2 Nemesis FM synth.
Visual Synthesis Portion of Rig
MIDI Fighter Twister
Logitech C920 HD Webcam
Original video field recordings
More on Denver Synth_Drone Collective
The Denver Synth_Drone collective is made up of artists bios+a+ic, Kuxaan Sum, Mark Mosher, Chris Sessions, Sean Patrick Faling, and Chris Frain.
The collective does improv limited by the following rules. Each member plays:
One synth at a time
Only a single note at a time
Of course once a note is triggered members can change the timber and pitch any way they like. It makes for super interesting drones, chords, textures, and movement.