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.
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
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
Despite the economic downturn, 2009 was thankfully a huge year when it came to new technology for electronic music artists. Rather than try and cover every significant release, I’ll instead list some of my favorite products and notable trends.
The Year of Ableton What a big year for Ableton. Live 8 with great new features set, Max for Live, 10th Anniversary of Ableton, launch of Live Intro, dedicated hardware controllers (APC40 & Launchpad). Awesome!
Grid (Matrix) Controllers
Grid controllers everywhere in 2009. New controllers like the APC40, Launchpad and Bliptronics 5000. Continued development with existing controllers like Tenori-On and Monome. The grid metaphor also became quite prevalent in apps as well. I have the APC40 and Tenori-On and simply love them.
Percussa Audio Cubes “Tangible Interface”
Not new in 2009 but new to me, Percussa AudioCubes are self-powered wireless computer systems. Cubes can detect and interact with each other and can detect the proximity of your hand near a cube face sensor and send this controller information to your DAW or to various free software apps provided by Percussa. I working with a 4 cube configuration within Ableton Live.
Fantastic Synths A great year for virtual instruments. Below is a list of new and updates synths that I used over and over again in 2009 for both sound design and for music performance.
u-he ACE (Any Cable Anywhere) This synth just released by I use it all the time now! It’s a fantastic virtual analog synth with a great UI with patch cables. Sounds like butta’.
The newest download they offer is Espionage – a collection of sounds from from their past and future commercial projects. Presets include select sounds from SoundWrecks,Surgical Tools Vol1, and previews from the upcoming The Muses: Covert Midi Effects, The Muses: Covert Audio Effects, and Constructs.
Note: Live 6.0.3 or higher is required to use this pack. The pack is not compatible with older versions of Live.
In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to configure an external audio editor within Live, then invoke this editor to tweak audio within a clip. In this case I’ll be using the external audio editor to a normalize the audio within a clip, but you can use the audio editor to make any edits you wish. This tutorial assumes you have some sort of audio editor application already installed on your system.
First you need to configure Live to specify the external audio editor you who want to use. To do this, use the “Options-> Preferences…” menu, then click the “File Folder” tab. Click the “Browse” button in the Sample Editor section. You can now browse your system for the executable of the audio editor you want to use. In the case of this example, I’ve selected Sound Forge. Close the preferences dialog box. The editor is now configured for use within Live.
Now, double-click on an audio clip you want to edit. To invoke the editor, right-click the waveform in the “Sample Display/Note Editor” window then select the “Manage Sample File” menu option.
This causes the select “Replace Sample Files” window to open. Click the “Edit” button for the sample you want to edit.
This launches the external audio editor and loads the sample into the editor. Note that this also takes the sample off-line within Live.
You are now free to perform any edits you wish — and in this case I used Sound Forge to normalize the audio. Once you’re done editing the audio save it using the appropriate commands from within the external audio editor.
Now return to Live (you can leave the audio editor open if you like). You’ll notice that in the “Replace Files Window”, the “Edit” button is illuminated for the sample you’ve been working on. Click the “Edit” button to reload the sample into Live and bring it back online.
As you can see from the waveform display below, the sample has been normalized and has a much higher amplitude.
Prior to Ableton Live 6, to select a device in a chain you had to use your mouse to scroll through the list of devices. This made finding and selecting devices rather tedious when a large number of devices were involved. This problem was compounded with the introduction of Racks.
There is a new feature in Live 6 that allows you to pop-up a hierarchical list of all devices in the chain and/or rack then select the device you are interested in.
To use this list:
Pop-up the list. In Windows, right-click in the Track View Selector. For Mac Users, hold down your Ctrl key then click on Track View Selector.
Select a device in the list. Click on a name in this list. This will bring this device into focus.
This feature is especially handy when dealing with Racks or Sampler patches containing a large number of devices. The image above (click to see larger view) illustrates this pop-up with a Rack Preset called "Depth of Field". As you can see, this Rack contains multiple chains with multiple instruments and effects.