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(Mark Mosher Music News) Artist News Music Video Performance Videos Videos

Behind-The-Scenes Notes for My 2010-2015 Dark Sci-Fi Techno Show + 2013 Cover of Daft Punk”Derezzed” (Mile High Edit)

What follows is a rather detailed journal of my 2010-2015 Dark Sci-Fi Techno Show.

What Motivated Me to Write this Post…

While I was working on a playlist for the upcoming Rocky Mountain Synthesizer Meetup 7th Birthday Party at Tilt Arcade I thought about Tron which made me think about a cover I’d done back in 2013 of the song “Derezzed” by Daft Punk.

My cover of “Derezzed” (Mile High Edit) was really an illustration of the show concept I designed and performed from 2010-2015. While that show was performed with all original music I also thought it would be fun to do a cover with the same show design – because – well I love Daft Punk. So let’s start with that…

Video “Derezzed” Cover (Mile High Edit)

I re-sequenced the song from scratch (no samples for the original were used). I performed the music and visuals live in a single take with no edits.

My rig at the time was Ableton Live, Percussa AudioCubes, Moog Etherwave Theremin Plus, and Tenori-On sending MIDI notes to an Ableton Rack with VSTs. I used the Machine to control the arrangement in Ableton on-the-fly and to live sequencing the parts I wasn’t playing live as well trigger clips in Live to automate changes in Resolume. The AudioCubes were used to trigger and control effects through gestures, as well as add 4 more dimensions of gestural control for effects for the Theremin. I used the Tenori-on to improvise a lead :^) More on all this below…

Background & Show Design

I created the show concept in support of my original alien invasion sci-fi theme concept albums Reboot, I Hear Your Signals, and – at the time – the forthcoming Fear Cannot Save Us.

Note: These albums are available on Spotify, Apple Music and most other outlets. The albums are free “name your price” on Bandcamp.

My design goal was to have the audience more easily relate to what I was doing with a complex and abstract rig by incorporating controllers that offered real-time visual feedback. This would allow them to correlate what I was doing with what they were hearing from the speakers. As the show evolved I amplified this further with projected visuals with real-time FX using only live camera input.

Visually the show design was a inspired in part by Tron, and John Carpenter’s “They Live”. I also used additional lighting to create shadows inspired by German expressionism films like “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari“.

Here is an example of a live performance. More videos from shows at the bottom of the post.

Mark Mosher Performing “New Heart Beating” Live at Electro-Music Asheville 2014 Festival

Rig

Here is a rundown of how it all worked.

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(Modulate This) iOS

iPad Experiment Controlling Sunrizer Synthesizer from TNRi

In this video, I'm experimenting with using an TNRi  on iPad to drive the Sunrizer synth which is running in the background.

I've used the physical Tenori-On W for over two years. I prefer to use it as a controller and run racks for virtual instruments running in Ableton Live or to turn external hardware rather than using it's internal synth engine. So naturally, after getting TNRi for my iPad I wanted to replicate the same idea.

Luckily, certain synths such as the wonderful Sunrizer (http://beepstreet.com/) can remain running in the background allowing you to switch over to a controller app such as TNRi.

This video shows all this in action. Here is the setup:

1) Start Sunrizer and find or create a patch to your liking
2) In the top-right of Sunrizer is a button labelled 'BCK". Click it and it will start blinking yellow.
3) Click the Home button on your iPad
4) Start TNRi
5) Launch the menu by clicking the status window above the play button
6) Select "Preferences Menu" and turn "Local Control" to "Off".

 

That's it, now all the MIDI gets pumped through to the background app.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder CO

www.ModulateThis.com
www.MarkMosherMusic.com

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(Modulate This) Synth: Tenori-On

Video: Tenori-On with 2.1 Firmware Being Remote Controlled from a Computer Using maxMSP

In my last post I mentioned that the Yamaha release new firmware 2.1 for the Tenori-On which among other new features allows for programmatic control of the hardware via MIDI Sysex.

TimL over on this thread over on the Tenori-On forummentioned he has already started writing a MaxMSP patch! He just posted a videoon his YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/timmeahh) showing his progress:

V2.1 introduces the remote mode allowing MIDI sysex data to be received and perform all regular functions of the Tenori-On. This maxMSP patch shows a few of the basic functions which can be done remotely. This minor update of the tenori-on firmware releases more of this unique instrument's potential.

Yet another example of the benefit of opening up architectures for programmatic control. I’m looking forward to seeing what Tim and others come up with.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Synthesist | Composer | Keyboardist | Performer

www.ModualteThis.com
Official Web Site: www.MarkMosherMusic.com
Listen/Download Albums: www.MarkMosherMusic.com/music.html

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Ableton Live Performance Videos Synth: Tenori-On Theremin Videos

Free Music Friday: “Dark Signals” Electronica Track and Video by Mark Mosher

Watch Embedded Video (I recommend watching in HD!)

 

"Dark Signals" is a song from my album I Hear Your Signals. This is an original dark electronica song with driving big beats, bit-crushed high-hats, a dash of ambient texture, and distorted synth leads. It's one of my favorite songs off the album and is becoming a crowd favorite at live shows.

In the spirit of Free Music Friday you can get this song, or the entire album over at http://markmosher.bandcamp.com name your price (enter $0 for FREE).

The song and video are Copyright 2010 Mark J. Mosher and are under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

Listener/Viewer Notes
markmosher_dark_signals_01

This video is in HD and I captured the audio full fidelity right from my sound card.  So I recommend you listen with some good headphones or on a good system. You can play full screen, and or stream to your home theater via Tivo, Apple TV.

The video and audio were captured in one continuous take with no content edits so you can here a few artifacts and – dare I say it – teeny mistakes here and there which I left in as it’s part of the “character” of live performance. The only editing is on the video side where I added camera movement, camera mixing and visual effects.

Composer/Producer Notes
markmosher_dark_signals_04
The song is original and was composed and produced entirely Ableton Live 8 with virtual instruments and lots of native Live effects. I either played all the notes, hand programmed the notes, or played them live.

The song is peformed in Session view. I have all the scenes laid out so I can control the arrangement on the fly in session view. I’ve mapped a foot controller plugged into my Novation Remote SL MIDI mapped to “Scene Launch” leaving my hands free to play and configure the Tenori-On function on the fly while advancing the arrangement. This also means I’m not locked in and can change the arrangement or extend scenes if I like.

It’s a little hard to see, but when I’m playing keys, I’m riding the modulation wheel to add grit. I’ve also use after touch to add distortion like effects.

The Moog Etherwave Theremin signal is converted from pitch-to-MIDI using a VSTand is driving a textural pad from a virtual synth.

At the 1:42 mark I’m playing lead using Tenori-On matrix controller sending MIDI notes to a virtual synth running in Live. I also use a different “layer” in the Tenori-On to play the nasty metalic pad sound.

markmosher_dark_signals_02

The blinking cubes are Percuss AudioCubes. Normally I use these as controllers, but in this song they are light sources which I programed and control using RGB MIDI clips from live.

I created a copy of this set for performance and then froze and flattened tracks with virtual instruments that were either not being played live or were not being modulated live. As a result, I got my set load time down to about 6 seconds and my CPU load down to around 10-20% peaking at around 25% even though I’m playing some VSTs live.

Enjoy,

Mark Mosher, Electronic Musician, Boulder, CO
www.ModulateThis.com
www.MarkMosherMusic.com

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Ableton Live Synth: Tenori-On Tutorial

Tutorial: How To MIDI Sync Your Tenori-On with Ableton Live

Tenori-On_Live  
In this post I offer some tips on setting up the Tenori-On for use with Ableton Live as a Synth Rack. I’ll also cover how to compensate for MIDI Timing Issues.

CONFIGURING THE TENORI-ON FOR USE WITH ABLETON LIVE
When I use the Tenori-On with Ableton Live, I don’t use it’s internal synthesizer engine. Instead, I route MIDI output from Tenori-On layers to corresponding virtual instruments hosted out of Live.

  • To mute the Synth Engine in the Tenori-On use menu Preference Menu->Local Control and set the parameter to “OFF”
  • To configure Tenori-On as a MIDI Slave use menu Preference Menu->Syncrhonize and set the parameter to “SLAVE”
  • I then send MIDI to Ableton LIVE via a the MIDI ports on my Novation nio 2|4 Sound card. Any MIDI port that Ableton Live can see will do. The nio is configured to receive MIDI input, output and sync. image

CONFIGURING ABLETON LIVE TO RECIEVE NOTES
Each of the 16 layers within the Tenori-On transmit on a different MIDI channel.

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In Live, I configure corresponding MIDI tracks for each layer on the Tenori-On I want to receive MIDI data from. In the example on the left, you can see that I’ve created three tracks within Ableton Live with and instance of Gladiator, and two instances of Alchemy. Note that the MIDI from is set to the nio 2|4 and a specific MIDI channel is used for each device to isolate MIDI note data for each track.

Don’t forget, you could also use Instrument Racks, Sampler, or drum racks to map multiple samples and/or instruments to Tenori-On notes.

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(Modulate This) Synth: Tenori-On

V2.0 Tenori-On Firmware Update is Here!

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The long awaited Tenori-On V2.0 update has just been released and is available for download. Below is the list of updates from the Yamaha web site:

  1. Tighter operation – Through internal software refinements the Yamaha engineers have successfully improved the overall processing performance, giving the Tenori-On player the experience of a ‘tighter’ and more instantaneous real-time performance instrument.
  2. Improved MIDI sync – A high percentage of Tenori-On owners use their instrument in conjunction with a computer-based DAW. This combination gives maximum sonic versatility. The new Version 2.0 firmware now responds to the F2 MIDI Song Position Pointer message allowing it to be seamlessly integrated into all popular DAW systems.
  3. Global Mute – Its now simple to Globally Mute the Tenori-On audio output for all tracks by using R4 and L1 top panel buttons. This allows performers, especially when using the Tenori-On with a DAW, to create dramatic mutes (and unmutes) via shortcut keys, without having to enter the deeper menu architecture of the Tenori-On.
  4. Reset Loop Timing – When changing loop speeds and accessing the unique Tenori-On layer loop points, its possible to have different tracks running out of sync with each other. This can create a unique musical feel however, at some musical moment, its good to be able to reset all loop points. In the original Tenori-On firmware this feature was buried deep within the menu structures however, with Version 2.0, this is now available from the top panel buttons. Simply by hitting the combination of L4 and R1 all tracks will reset to their original loop timing points.
  5. User Scale – A feature that has been highly requested by the Tenori-On enthusiasts is the ability to expand and edit the instruments global note scaling. Rather than being confined to a range of 16 consecutive notes per layer, its now possible to create a global ‘User Scale’ allowing different notes from different octaves to be accessed and sequenced within one single layer. This new function will open up many new musical dimensions for the Tenori-On player as any note can now be assigned to a layer.
  6. Swing – With a new ‘Swing’ function implemented in Version 2.0 its now possible to give the entire instrument a new level of musical ‘feel’. With a -23/+23 swing parameter its also possible to fine tune this ‘feel’ using the jog wheel in real-time. The new Swing feature is especially creative when Slaved to an external DAW as it allows the Tenori-On to swing while the DAW remains rigid.

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The update is delivered as a .zip file. Update process is very straight-forward and is done via the SD card. I just updated mine and it only took a few minutes.

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The zip file also contains a .PDF with documentation for updates.

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You can download the Tenori-On V2.0 from Yamaha’s web site http://www.global.yamaha.com/tenori-on/downloads/#a04.

Mark Mosher
imageElectronic Music Artist
Louisville/Denver/Boulder

http://www.modulatethis.com
http://www.markmoshermusic.com
Download my REBOOT Album: http://www.RebootAlbum.com

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Ableton Live MIDI Synth: FAW Circle Synth: Tenori-On Videos

Using Ableton Live to Add Velocity to Incoming MIDI Notes from Tenori-On (or Launchpad)

In this YouTube Video, I demonstrate how to use Ableton Live 8 and the Velocity MIDI device along with a dummy clip to add velocity to incoming MIDI notes that are a fixed velocity. I illustrate this with the Tenori-On but this concept will work with any MIDI device.

Once velocity is introduced into the equation you can then do all sorts of interesting things with modulation. In the video I use velocity to modulate the filter frequency with Circle. Of course you could just as easily use this to play different samples in a velocity split with Sampler and so on.

Update: Note this same technique will also work for adding notes to incoming MIDI from User Mode 1 from a Novation Launchpad which is also fixed velocity.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Composer, Sound Designer
Louisville/Denver/Boulder

http://www.modulatethis.com
http://www.markmoshermusic.com
http://www.twitter.com/markmosher

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Download/Buy my album REBOOT on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes

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(Modulate This) Contollerism Midi/USB Keyboards & Controllers Synth: Tenori-On

Hands-On with the Tenori-On: First Impressions + Integration with Ableton Live

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Now that REBOOT has released, I’m gearing up to perform these songs live. One of my goals it to make the performances more visually interesting, help the audience connect with what I’m doing musically, and not spend an entire set hunched over a laptop.

I just added a Tenori-On White to my rig to help achieve this goal and to use as a controller and sequencer for composition. In this post I’ll offer some first impressions and notes on use.

Favorite Features

  • Built-in Synth engine, integrated sequencer, built-in speakers and SD card for composition and performance on the go
  • Runs on batteries
  • You can use it as a MIDI controller
  • Fantastic user interface and work flow
  • Visual representation of music
  • Ability to load 48 samples allowing you expand the palette when you are not using it as a controller

First Impressions on Design
image I was actually surprised when I unboxed the Tenori-On. The unit was like 20% smaller than I thought it would be after seeing it in picture and videos – and that’s a good thing. Tenori-On is clearly designed to be held with both hands using the thumbs and fingers to access function buttons plus reach inside to hit "LED" buttons. This being the case the small buttons allow for a smaller matrix so you can access a more with thumbs and fingers on either hand. The case is made of metal and machined by robots. All the controls are flush even with the rounded contours – very nice!

LED Buttons
One of the main reasons I got Tenori-On White was because the LED lights are visible on the front and the back. So when you play, the audience sees the lights as well. This feature is unique to Tenori-On white.

Learning Curve
Tenori-On is a proprietary system and the navigation and functionality is pre-configured. One advantage of pre-configured control schemes like the APC-40 (assuming you don't remap) and Tenori-On is that the learning curve is quite short. With both of these products time from setup to being productive and creative was extremely short for me.

In Use
Tenori-On is simply a blast to play. Beginners will be able to get something musical going right away. Advanced users who spend the time to “transcend” the navigation system will be able to create interesting musical and visual performances as well as use the Tenori-On as a sequencer and controller.

Of course like with any instrument, practice is what’s going to make this a great performance tool. In only about an hour I had 80% of the features memorized. In about 3 hours I was navigating layers, blocks, modes, and tweaking parameters in real-time without looking at the function buttons.

Using Your Own Samples  and Storing Data
Using a free Windows/Mac utility, you can build three customs instruments with up to 16 samples each. Each sample is limited to 900ms and you can’t edit much. Even though it’s no replacement for your sampler, it’s enough to allow you to transform the Tenori-On’s pallet support your needs. Revision… Samples, songs, blocks, layers can be saved and loaded from an SD card. Sample memory is non-volatile so samples remain in memory even if you turn the unit off and back on again! That is good news since it takes about 3 minutes to load 1 user voice containing 16 samples. You definitely will want to get your samples all installed before you perform – either that or you’ll need a Tenori-On roadie :^).

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In Use As a Controller with Ableton Live tenori-driving-absynth5
You can go way beyond the built-in sound set plus add some visual sizzle to your performance by using Tenori-On as a MIDI controller. The picture above is of the Tenori-On and my laptop running Ableton Live 8. The Tenori-On is in slave mode and Ableton is the Master clock. I’m using the MIDI ports on my Novation NIO Sound card to connect the Tenori-On to Ableton.

Each of the 16 layers within the Tenori-On transmit on a different MIDI channel. I created tracks with instances of Gladiator 2, Alchemy, Sylenth1, and Absynth 5 each listening on a different MIDI track number.

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By default different performance modes (Score , Random, Draw, Push, Solo) are hard-coded to each layer. There is a “hack” to override this (see links at bottom of post).

In my test set, I used Solo Mode to sequence a bass line into a MIDI clip in a Gladiator 2 track. The above picture illustrates my use of Draw Mode to play some awesome motion pads in Absynth 5. Push Mode is also great for synths like Alchemy and Absynth.

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In some cases I wanted to switch modes and record all note data into one MIDI clip. When going this route set the track MIDI input to “All Channels”.

Sync
I’ve read that some people have has issues syncing with DAW’s. It must be true as there is a firmware update coming to improve sync.  In my limited use I’ve not had much trouble and it works just fine. My guess is those having trouble are pumping out lots of data from multiple layers.

Price and Tenori-On Orange
Tenori-On White has been out for a few years. The price has slowly dropped and it goes for $999 today. Yamaha recently announced Tenori-On Orange for $699 with availability in January. To get the price down they changed the case to plastic, took the LEDs of the back and took away the battery power capability. All other features are the same. Of course these are some of my favorite features for White was a clear choice for me.

Where these the right choices? Are these prices too high? There are lots of discussion about this on sites like Synthtopia and Create Digital Music. While I would loved to have paid less, I don’t regret the purchase at all.

Conclusion
So far, the Tenori-On has exceeded all my expectations. Once I got it out the box I found it hard to put down. I’m enjoying using it as an alternative to my computer and for making music on the go. Using it as a controller definitely boosts my creativity. It’s unique features make it a it a nice compliment to my ACP 40.

Links:

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Composer, Sound Designer
Louisville/Denver/Boulder

http://www.modulatethis.com
http://www.markmoshermusic.com
http://www.twitter.com/markmosher

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Download/Buy my album REBOOT