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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » Ableton-Live


No, that isn’t a leak of Ableton Push 3 (details, celebrity comment)

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 21 Sep 2020 11:35 am

Will there be a future version of Ableton Push following Push 2? Most probably. Is this it? Absolutely not.

The post No, that isn’t a leak of Ableton Push 3 (details, celebrity comment) appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

sequencer.wtf is a Max for Live toystore, from Shanghai’s ayrtbh + Gooooose

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 3 Aug 2020 12:56 am

Two of Shanghai's most adventurous experimental electronic artists have opened up their toolset, with sequencer.wtf. The Envelope Sequencer is the latest to join these Max for Live treats - SEQUENCER ELECTRONICS.

The post sequencer.wtf is a Max for Live toystore, from Shanghai’s ayrtbh + Gooooose appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Trigger Songs in Ableton Live, on Novation Launchpad and Ableton Push

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 25 Jun 2020 12:52 pm

Okay, you're ready to play a live set in front of a camera and stream. Or you want to finally finish some songs by actually playing. Here's the solution - ready for your hardware grid.

The post Trigger Songs in Ableton Live, on Novation Launchpad and Ableton Push appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Learn to build your own Sample Mash device in Max for Live, and chat with your teacher

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 22 Jun 2020 4:49 pm

Yes, there's a powerful toolkit for making instruments and effects inside Ableton Live Suite. But how do you get started actually using it? Follow along here.

The post Learn to build your own Sample Mash device in Max for Live, and chat with your teacher appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Latest TouchDesigner visual tool streams for free, integrates with Ableton Live, and a lot more

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 13 Apr 2020 9:22 pm

While you’re staring at your walls, maybe it’s the perfect time to realize the kind of trippy visuals that happen in your dreams. That ranges from beginner-friendly Ableton and streaming integration to advanced physics.

Visual development tool TouchDesigner regularly includes major updates, but this one is unusually chock full of important updates.

Check the tutorial.

You can stream and route video and audio between apps – in the non-commercial version. There are two pieces to this – NDI support is now free, and there’s a special video output feature that can now support major services like Twitch and YouTube.

NDI, NewTek’s cross-platform protocol for handling audiovisual feeds, just became a lot more important – because it’s what you would want to broadcast to YouTube, Zoom, Slack, Skype, Facebook, and others. NDI was already a useful power tool, but now it’s in the non-commercial version – essential while a lot of people are on suddenly limited incomes.

Here is a dead-simple guide to getting it up and running: https://derivative.ca/community-post/broadcasting-social-media-touchdesigner/62737

That’s in and out support, so possibly invaluable even if you don’t intend to stream anything.

The Video Stream Out TOP is the other side of this – RTMP support for Twitch, Mixer, YouTube, Facebook, and the like. (YouTube is a work in progress.)

There’s updated Ableton Live support. Automatic installation, the ability to bind to Ableton parameters and Macros, more support for song information and chains, and just a whole bunch of little additions and fixes are included in the latest TDAbleton. So now’s the time to work on scoring music videos or building next year’s AV show, in other words.

There’s now expanded support for NVIDIA FleX, a powerful real-time particle simulation. (pictured, top, in case you wondered what the heck that was) Nvidia says they’ve made this “artist-focused” to make it easy to mimic the dynamics of real-world cloth, bodies, rope, fluids and gases, and other effects, live. In TouchDesigner, now all of those parameters are available to perform with, live, with a physics solver built on the engine. You’ll need Windows and an NVIDIA GPU, but if you’ve got one, this puts them to real use. You can even make your own smoke monster.

Finally, you get to do what you want with fluids, just emitting them all over the place.

Okay, that came out wrong. Just check their support: https://docs.derivative.ca/Flex

More Kinect Azure support: The latest version of Microsoft’s Kinect computer vision tech was already supported in TouchDesigner, but now you can take its ability to see through our bodies and imagine skeletons (ewwww) and output to depth and color space.

Python support has been enhanced and, if you hadn’t been checking a while, is already up to Python 3.7 support.

Full release notes:

https://derivative.ca/release/202022080/62768

And downloads:

https://derivative.ca/download

The post Latest TouchDesigner visual tool streams for free, integrates with Ableton Live, and a lot more appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Free for your inspiration: new Max for Live devices, Ableton Creative Strategies e-book

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Fri 10 Apr 2020 4:51 pm

Deals and offers are all over the place, but what will actually help you get over creative block and make something? These free Ableton Live add-ons and an invaluable book make a great place to start.

Making Music: Creative Strategies for Electronic Music Producers is a written book – not a YouTube channel, not a device. But it was one of the more ambitious and influential music tech projects of recent years. It’s the work of Dennis DeSantis, who has a deep background in concert music. The book takes on how to start, strategies for creating new and varied ideas, ways of solving problems, and how to finish – all with a mixture of music theory and software practice. And maybe that’s the best way to describe the state of music making now anyway – theory and (electronic) tools are blurred. The Ableton touch is there, but it’s applicable to other tools, as well.

You’ll find it on a new page Ableton have compiled, free for download in .pdf.mobi, and .epub format.

Ideas and Offers for Making Music at Home

Don’t forget that Ableton Live itself is available now in the full Suite edition for a 90-day unlimited trial.

And speaking of that, this exceptional collection of Max for Live devices is also now available, a collaboration between Ableton and the wonderful Sonic Bloom and Max for Cats. They had me at the name:

Stray Cats Collection

But this is some next-level goodness here:

MSE synth, looking very classic synth - Oberheim-ish.
MSE synth, looking very classic synth – Oberheim-ish.

A vintage-tinged, Oberheim Four Voice-influenced MSE synthesizer.

SEQ8 step sequencer (more traditional analog design).

ConChord – nice cure for the common step sequencer.

ConChord, a “pulse-based chord step sequencer” – so you can sequence full chords as well as steps, and look at those steps in terms of pulses, for more open-ended patterns.

Stochastic Delay, which eschews the usual repetitive quality of delays with variable unpredictability.

Weird reverb algorithm, made usable.

Verbotron – an elegant little reverb, drawing on an algorithm from Finland’s Juhana Sadeharju. (You’ll find other iterations of the underlying algorithm in the open source world – as GVerb. But think of this as a nerdy, unique esoteric reverb to get you out of the everything-sounds-the-same world of effects.)

Color.

Color is a “sound texture” device – so it’s a bunch of different retro sound models, mimicking the grit of vinyl, tape wow and flutter, drive, and EQ. Putting them all together gives you a nice console to shape your sound without overwhelming with controls or getting lost in a bunch of plug-ins. That last bit, I heard about a friend of a friend who made that mistake. Not me. I’m a professional. I would never get distracted by endlessly tweaking a bunch of plug-ins and then toggling them on and off over and over again. I mean, I just never get distracted in general. You’ll see that not happening right now. Wait, where was I?

SkramDelay is actually kind of the odd effect out here, in a good way – modulated dual-channel delay with more randomness.

Check them out, free:

https://www.ableton.com/en/packs/stray-cats-collection/

And that seems like a nice, healthy diet balancing some bread-and-butter features with pretty esoteric and experimental stuff, in such a way that you could easily apply anything in between. If that’s not what Ableton has always been about, I don’t know what is.

Speaking of which, bonus – only because Robert Henke was sharing this on his social media this week – watch the Ableton co-founder product some synthetic sounds using Live as instrument. One of the first videos Ableton ever uploaded to the then-new YouTube service (CDM was in its second year):

Despite the grainy video, this is actually just as relevant an approach to sound design and routing in Live in 2020 as it was in 2006.

Don’t forget that for more inspiration, you can check out some of the guides I’ve done recently for Riemann Kollektion:

Max for Live: the techno producers’ guide

Tutorial: Unlock hidden sound tricks in Ableton Live 10’s effects

And you don’t want to miss Sonic Bloom for more resources and patches and more – source of this collection above:

Sonic Bloom: All Things Ableton Live, Push & Max for Live

The post Free for your inspiration: new Max for Live devices, Ableton Creative Strategies e-book appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Spin abstract geometries from your music, with Ableton Live visualizers by artist Arash Azadi

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 8 Apr 2020 5:22 pm

Many of us imagine visuals when we close our eyes and listen to music. Here are two devices you can drop directly into Ableton Live to make that happen – from an artist whose work weaves together visual and sonic realms.

Iranian-born, Armenia-based composer and music and media artist Arash Azadi has built his own body of evocative work that explores imagined topographies of sound and image. (We put out one on our Establishment project – see below.)

What’s special about these devices is you can connect to his imagination – and let these inventions interpret your music live, too. One works with generative visuals, and one with a camera.

Sonic Geometry is a reactive visual generator that spits out gorgeous abstract imagery in response to your sound input. It’s a minimalistic mathematical sacred sonic geometrical trip.

It’s also a great example of Max’s power to allow people to build on one another’s work and create variations. Sonic Geometry began its life as Sound Particles by Kevin Kripper, and Arash took it in another direction. That’s long been a part of music composition (see cantus firmus tradition for one example); patches and code in these environments make it easier in the medium of software.

https://gum.co/sonicgeometryv1

Here’s how to use it, step by step:

If camera input is more your speed, look to Body Glitch, which uses live video as input instead of sound.

https://gum.co/bodyglitchv1

Arash’s music

Come for the Max for Live Devices, stay for the experimental releases? Arash has been prolific lately across a variety of great projects; here are some of the most recent.

His new Structure Experience serves as a platform for artists around Armenia, across the full electroacoustic and electronic spectrum, through-composed and improvised.

https://www.structuredexperience.com/label

That includes Totem and the Fears:

The EP is a sonic pilgrimage of the soul liberating itself from the mind. Through repetitive phrases and circular rhythms, Azadi and Marutian create hypnotic soundscapes to open the windows of listener’s subconscious. The recording is the outcome of a fully improvised set at Azadi’s studio. This is the first time that Arash Azadi appears as the pianist on a record.

Marut Marutian: electric guitar and pedals.
Video by: Karen Khachaturov Photography

https://structuredexperience.bandcamp.com/album/totem-and-the-fears

There’s the side project Marginal Twilight, which marked the occasion of the Persian new year already disrupted by quarantine and lockdowns – a solitary new beginning:

In these times that we all are separated from each other and in fear of death, it’s good to realize that nature is becoming new and spring is bringing life to earth. Even now we can choose to celebrate life and Nowruz the Persian New Year (the New Day) through music and dance.

It’s earlier work, but I’m still quite fond of Arash’s Geosonic Journeys for us – and people slowly keep discovering its aural landscapes:

All the best to all our readers and my friends in Iran and Armenia and around the world. We’re listening. And I miss a lot of you.

The post Spin abstract geometries from your music, with Ableton Live visualizers by artist Arash Azadi appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Not in C: transform pitch with Scale-O-Mat for Ableton Live [M4L/Suite]

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 8 Apr 2020 4:48 pm

120 bpm. 4/4. C major. Yawn. What if you could use those same Ableton Live project defaults to do something different? A new Max for Live devices dares you to do just that.

It all started with an idea from the mighty composer/artist Tyondai Braxton. Developer Tim Charlemagne wove that notion into Scale-O-Mat – an all-in-one pitch transformer device for Max for Live (so compatible with any copy of Ableton Live Suite).

You can start simple – the devices let you change a scale over the whole project. You can filter out notes that don’t fit the scale, or constrain notes to the scale you want. That could mean basic transpositions, too – for instance, if needed by instrumentalists or vocalists.

But Scale-O-Mat goes deeper, too, with multiple devices that talk to one another, up to four different groups, a chord feature, presets, and of course, a ton of scales.

Ableton’s own Push hardware comes with a decent selection of scales and modes, from “church” modes like Dorian to Indonesian and Japanese selections. Tobias Hunke has added to those selections, which you should check out both for use with this device and outside it. Check those here:

https://www.ableton.com/de/blog/explore-new-scales-40-free-presets/

https://abletonkurse.wordpress.com

Scale-O-Mat works in tandem with Tim’s other Max for Live creations, so you can work with his chord device and elaborate modular sequencer.

It’s great stuff, both for people who have had some theory and those who didn’t but want to spice up their lives a bit.

Download for 10 € / US$12 (includes VAT).

https://www.soundmanufacture.net/scaleomat/

The post Not in C: transform pitch with Scale-O-Mat for Ableton Live [M4L/Suite] appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Exclusive: a gig and a half of finely-crafted Riemann techno sounds, free for 48 hours

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 31 Mar 2020 7:20 pm

It’s hard to get that deep, crowded club feeling right now in isolation. So here from our friend Florian Meindl and Riemann Kollektion is a big boost – and a master class in techno craft.

Honestly, I’ve said this to folks before, but I’ll say it again – it really says something to me about Riemann and Florian that these demo songs bang harder than most released music. It’s almost worth just browsing this 1.4GB collection of 24-bit sounds just to understand a bit about how his heard works. (I’ve been browsing through.)

So, for 48 hours, just for CDM, Florian has swapped over the price of one of his best sound packs – Best of Riemann 2019 Techno (24bit WAV – Loops & Oneshots). (Ah, I remember 2019 … so … fondly now …)

There’s now really no reason not to get started. Ableton has a free 90-day trial of Live Suite, just announced, which even includes Max for Live. (It’s normally 30 days.)

https://www.ableton.com/en/trial/

Then you can read the free guides I wrote for Riemann Kollektion to get going:

Tutorial: Unlock hidden sound tricks in Ableton Live 10’s effects

Tutorial: Super Fast Arrangement in Ableton Live 10

Max for Live: the techno producers’ guide

Plus if you have some hardware – even some stompboxes will do – you should also check out Florian’s approach to analog effect chains in that tutorial.

Then stock up on the samples with the free Best of Riemann pack. And sorted.

For some more inspiration, here’s a bit of how Florian works live – very hardware focused, but something you could apply to other setups, as well, in terms of raw musicianship and sound:

The post Exclusive: a gig and a half of finely-crafted Riemann techno sounds, free for 48 hours appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Did Apple just leak a new version of Logic with Ableton-style clip launching?

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Sun 29 Mar 2020 8:47 pm

Apple appears to have accidentally leaked an upcoming version of Logic Pro with the signature feature of Ableton Live – nonlinear pattern launching.

While spotted on Reddit, the source of this leak at the famously secretive company appears to be … Apple itself. As I write this, the screenshot is still live on a public education site:

https://www.apple.com/education/products/

If this is real – and not a mock-up that accidentally wound up on the page – it represents a landmark. That landmark might best be described as “what took you so long,” arguably, given that Apple Loops have been a feature of Logic Pro and GarageBand back to the reveal of GarageBand in January 2004. (Time flies!)

We can pretty easily analyze the screenshot. At the top, new icons appear to let you view a nonlinear Session View-style layout, the normal track arrangement, or both. (In this screen shot, the two are side-by-side.)

Navigation icons.

As with other copies of Live’s signature Session View, the horizontal and vertical axes are flipped. So whereas Live shows you tracks the way channel strips appear on a hardware mixer, vertically, Apple opt for a view more like a software DAW. Tracks are laid out horizontally, so that they match up with the arrangement.

The grid. Note the circular displays with waveforms – something seen in iPad apps, for instance – though essentially the opposite of Ableton’s embrace of minimalism.
Remix FX – here made to look very Ableton-esque. (These were in GarageBand; I can’t recall exact versions and the relation to Logic… anyone?)

Really, my issue with this is that you wind up with kind of a jumble of interface elements. That’s been the challenge in other DAWs trying to do the same. (An ill-fated effort in Cakewalk nee SONAR springs to mind; MOTU has tried the same in DP, but it’s a bit too soon to know yet how DP users are responding.)

Part of the appeal of Ableton Live is that the entire engine and software operation are structured around the idea, and the UI is clean and compact as a result. Here, part of the reason people may have responded that the image was fake was that it gives the user a lot to digest.

You’ll also see X/Y-pad effects at the bottom, including a filter and repeater – aping something that was in Ableton Live way back at the start.

I’m not sure how users will receive this. It could represent a blow to Ableton in the crucial education market, however, regardless – because it might allow education buyers to standardize on just Logic seats. But it represents a challenge independent software developers face, up against a company the size of Apple, when it comes to value.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t assume anything until there’s official word from Apple. Given this absolutely represents some kind of screw-up, it’s possible the screenshot itself is not representative of something Apple will actually ship.

And I wouldn’t worry too much about Ableton – the company has proven time and again that users are loyal to its workflow and simplicity, whatever the competition. Those of us sometimes swapping between Logic and Live might meanwhile just find this a welcome convenience. Time will tell.

Mainly I’m just sorry for whoever is working at home who may have, erm, just let this out.

The post Did Apple just leak a new version of Logic with Ableton-style clip launching? appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Add these Max for Live devices for inspiration in Ableton Live – or learn to make your own

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 25 Mar 2020 6:43 pm

A surprising number of Ableton Live users haven’t discovered the power of Max for Live inside. Here’s how to get started – but, oh, you’ve seen it all before? Okay, smarty-pants, learn how to make your own devices, too.

Beginners and those needing some fresh ideas…

Anxious times can be a big barrier to inspiration. And that’s why this guide is useful now. Max for Live add-ons can be particularly useful not just for solving problems, but pushing you in a different direction or getting you back in a state of play. That’s been useful even for me – I was feeling stuck, and wound up finding some new tools that got me going again, just while writing this.

As long as you’ve got a copy of Ableton Live Suite, Max for Live is waiting for you. If not, it’s also a pretty major reason to upgrade.

I’m thrilled to again partner with Riemann Kollection to make a complete guide:

Read up, get started.

Max for Live: the techno producers’ guide

It starts at the beginning; no previous knowledge – what Max for Live is, how to use it, and how to get started with a lot of useful devices in a host of different categories.

Max for Live has an impassioned following, but I suspect a lot of users of Live are afraid to go there. Here’s the thing: you really don’t need to know how to use Max. The fact that Ableton baked in one the most mature and most powerful toolkits for making music production and live visual inventions means you can use the tools everybody else is making.

As it happens, ELPHNT also produced a two-part list of their favorite devices on maxforlive.com. I purposely ignored this list, and still imagined we would overlap. Speaking to the depth of the M4L world, not one device is on both lists. (I even plugged ELPHNT on my list, but it’s not in the Ableton.com story!) Read: [ Part 1 | Part 2 ]

… and those ready to make your own stuff

Okay, maybe you are curious to dig into Max and Max for Live and try customizing devices or creating your own from scratch? And, uh, maybe for some reason you find you have a bit of time on your hands? Well, you’re in luck.

Ableton has an official page with resources. Pay particular note to this line – “Access the Max for Live built-in lessons by clicking on the Help menu–>Help View.” That’s really where you most likely want to begin.

Max for Live tutorials and learning resources [Ableton]

Probably the best comprehensive resource is this Kadenze course from the imimitable expert Matt Wright; it’s a full course equivalent to serious college instruction, and it’s free:

Programming Max: Structuring Interactive Software for Digital Arts

But for a single video intro, try this:

or this –

or this –

More recently, Cycling ’74 also shared best practices in making devices, which would be useful if, uh, you want to share with others. (I mean, for yourself, be as horrible as you like!)

Multichannel audio is what is really useful in the most recent major upgrade:

Finally, because of the current crisis, you can shadow a college course in Max here. I once taught this course for CUNY. I would not be able to do it now – Max has changed radically since I did it, and I have forgotten a bunch – so I’ll be checking it out! There are some sharp tips in there. (and if you know Max a bit, crank up the speed and pretend you’re Data from Star Trek as you go rapid-fire through the parts you know.)

Overwhelmed?

Well, this is about play. So as I said, it’s totally valid to just grab a fun device or two and … try something.

So I still recommend my guide – as a break from dev work, or if you realize your brain is more tired than you thought and you got over-ambitious (never happens to me – I’m lying):

https://riemannkollektion.com/blogs/techno-producer-knowledge-hub/max-for-live-the-techno-producers-guide

See the complete Riemann techno producer knowledge hub for lots of advice.

Images courtesy Ableton.

The post Add these Max for Live devices for inspiration in Ableton Live – or learn to make your own appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Ableton are ready to get you off the grid with the new FlexGroove device

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 19 Mar 2020 4:15 pm

You’ve got tons of devices that let you tweak sounds of synths and effects with knobs. So why not warp time, too?

That’s the idea of FlexGroove, the latest add-on for Ableton Live and Max for Live. Just as you use envelopes and breakpoints to control volume or effects parameters elsewhere in Live, this tool lets you go in and speed up time, slow down time, and transform groove and meter just as easily.

Even as a big believer in words (words rock!), that is something that screams out for a demo. And once you hear this, you’ll get right away why you might want something that does this:

Speeding up (accelerando), slowing down (deccelerando), expressive give and take (rubato), and meter changes are essential building blocks of music in a wide variety of genres and cultures. So on some level, it’s weird that they tend to be hidden in machine music interfaces, in hardware and software – or at least relegated to working on just a master tempo track.

That said, putting them into a dedicated device like this means you can treat these elements in a focused, compositional mindset. And device creator Martin von Frantzius, a composer and musician himself teaching in Germany, has pulled out all the stops.

So you get six timing modes, each with its own presets:

  • Free time (drawn in with breakpoints)
  • Acceleration
  • Deceleration
  • Sine/half sine curves
  • Ratio – (which lets you do metric modulations)
  • Swing

And there’s a built-in pair of step sequencers, plus controls for humanization and velocity, plus probability.

Basically, you fire this up, then spit out clips. Some of the ideas here are really performative, so it’s a shame in a way that it doesn’t focus on playing these things like an instrument. On the other hand, I think for composers, someone adding excitement to a score bed, creating a dynamic break/drop in dance music, and otherwise spawning a ton of more interesting clips – it looks seriously addictive.

And it should also cure you of the dreary feeling of a bunch of on-the-grid monotonous and unmusical clips in your Session View. I just now got the NFR, but this looks worth 39EUR to me.

https://www.ableton.com/en/packs/flexgroove/

Got patches of your own, or favorites from maxforlive.com? Let us know! The more time-warping devices, the merrier, really!

And it’s great to see Ableton continue to use ableton.com as a kind of label for creative Max patchers.

Check out Martin’s page for tons of interesting teaching and engineering and violin and composition projects, like an online church-organ you can play, and — this, for more experimental time-bending with violin:

The post Ableton are ready to get you off the grid with the new FlexGroove device appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Strokes is a powerful Euclidean drum sequencer, inspired by a real-life master drummer

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Fri 21 Feb 2020 9:49 pm

The latest pattern tool for Ableton Live and Max for Live is a source of complex rhythms, new ideas, and performance tools. And it all started with a good read about a real drummer.

The overload of social media and news means we live in a great time to slow down and read a book. And so even with a load of Max for Live devices out there, our story begins with some in-depth reading by developer John Howes unplugging from the screens and having a proper read.

Jaki Liebezeit: Life, Theory and Practice of a Master Drummer by Jono Podmore, published last month. Hardback and digital editions are still available on the crowd funding page.

The late Jaki Liebezeit was the drummer from German experimental rock band Can. (See obits in The Guardian, Rolling Stone.) Lovers of his work successfully crowd-funded the exhaustive bookJaki Liebezeit: Life, Theory and Practice of a Master Drummer.” (Well, you inspired me to get this, too, John!)

Part of why I love software in music is that it can mirror compositional ideas, the practice of musicianship. So sure enough, while these Max for Live devices aren’t instant “Jacki in a Can” (uh, sorry) – that rock band did spark some investigations of rhythm and pattern in software. And now you can reap the benefits, and see where it takes you.

Euclidean rhythms are nothing new – the basic idea is to spawn somewhat symmetrical patterns mathematically. It’s grown in popularity partly because these symmetries are commonly found in music as diverse as cumbia and Bulgarian folk music. Strokes builds on this idea by conceiving rhythm as a “flow controller” for rhythm – letting you “focus on the overall movement” of patterning in time. You get controls for length, “radius,” “strokes,” and “shift.”

Strokes.

It’s just a really elegant, visual interface for the technique. And by reducing everything to those four controls, there’s space to add channels – a full eight of them, so you can layer really complex polyrhythms.

Preset storage, recall, and morphing is available in both Strokes and Weights.

There are loads of other features, too:

  • On-the-fly controls, including variations and fills (so this is great for performance)
  • Snapshots – store, recall, and crossfade between four, and then create 12 automatic variations
  • Link for repetitive beats, unlink for polyrhythms
  • Pattern automation and modulation, plus MIDI output (which you can then route straight into Ableton Live for later editing and arrangement)
Clock adjustments.

You can also now add accents and swing, and create dotted and triplet rhythms with a custom clock rate selector.

And then there’s Stroke’s companion, Weights. The notion of weights is using the same technique for modulation – 4 buses you can route anywhere, complementing Strokes’ 8 channels of patterns.

Route to a Live parameter, or a VST plug-in – whatever. Inside Weights, you can also shape the modulation signal, modular synthesis fashion – using slew limiters and delays, for instance. And you can again work with snapshots and morphing and use automation and modulation with that.

Modulation routing in Weights.

In other words, these two tools let you turn Ableton Live into a semi-modular powerhouse for exploring polyrhythms, both in musical note/percussion patterns and modulation.

So, uh… whoa.

https://www.congburn.co.uk/strokes

Strokes is GBP 10 to download. Weights is a GBP 10 add-on; it requires Strokes, so think of it as an expansion pack.

Strokes is GBP 10 to download. Weights is a GBP 10 add-on; it requires Strokes, so think of it as an expansion pack.

If you just want a demo, though, you can grab the simple ‘alpha’ version and try that for free.

Really brilliant stuff – and John has a whole independent Bandcamp label to check out, too, while you’re at it. People making fascinating music and fascinating music tools – something about the times we live in.

The post Strokes is a powerful Euclidean drum sequencer, inspired by a real-life master drummer appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Bionic synthesis: artists make music with a prosthetic arm, eye motion

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 17 Feb 2020 6:47 pm

Accessibility in music can mean expanding expression beyond what is normally physically possible. For one artist, that means jacking a prosthesis as CV – for another, overcoming paralysis to make music with eyes alone.

Bertolt Meyer was already producing and DJing, even with a birth condition that left him without the lower portion of one arm. But he hacked his arm prosthesis to jack control voltage straight into his modular – connecting to synthesis more directly than most before would even imagine.

In the case of Pone, a seminal French hip-hop producer, the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) left the artist without muscle control of his body. Using an eye interface, he has managed to publish a book on the disease.

But he has also turned to music production, connecting open, hackable eye tracking solutions to Ableton Live. The eyes act as a (very slow) mouse – in this case, the screen-and-pointer GUI paradigm of the software is an aid to accessibility. Inspired by Kate Bush, he has made an instrumental album called Kate & Me entirely using his eyes.

And … wow – it’s everything you’d expect from a hip-hop innovator like Pone, astonishing as you think of the effort that went into production. It’s a testament to the power of musical imagination, and the potential of that imagination to connect in any way it can with the outside world.

The album is a free download from the album site:

Check the release party:

The Guardian has an extensive article on his story. There’s some sobering information, too – like the lack of French insurance support for the condition.

Pone: the paralysed producer making music with his eyes [The Guardian]

There’s not nearly enough attention paid to accessibility in the music tech industry. It’s not some novel edge case – it hits right at the core of what music technology for expression is fundamentally about. (And even accessibility defined in narrow terms is bigger than you think – so for instance 1 in 20 KOMPLETE KONTROL users take advantage of features for the visually impaired.)

I wrote about this in a blog story for Native Instruments, which deals with their products but also a lot about the process for developing these features – it’s relevant to anyone reading here who makes music products. (And even though this deals with vision accessibility, there are lessons relevant to other matters, too.)

Designing for the visually impaired

It’s also worth reading Ashley Elsdon’s writing on the topic, like this story for us:

The post Bionic synthesis: artists make music with a prosthetic arm, eye motion appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Someone made a Pomodoro timer for Ableton Live, so you can stay productive, take breaks

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 12 Feb 2020 5:45 pm

Productivity engineering has come to music production. A popular method for timeboxing is now available as a free Live add-on.

Have you ever sighed in relief to have a big, uninterrupted span of time – only to wind up wiling it all away with procrastination? And then have you found yourself with a particular deadline – like an hour left in your music studio before your partner arrives to kick you out – and suddenly find you’re focused?

The basic principle here is that, paradoxically, even as we hate schedules and deadlines, constraints can help us focus. By constraining our time, or timeboxing, we can concentrate more easily on a particular task.

The Pomodoro Technique is this boiled down to a really simple cycle. It’s named for a kitchen timer – you know, the thing often called an egg timer because it’s shaped like an egg, but in this case apparently with a model shaped like a tomato. It’s the late-80s invention of Francesco Cirillo, who I understand even liked the ticking sound. I hate ticking – uh, especially while making music – but sometimes setting a timer can make it easier to tackle a task you’re putting off.

While invented in the late 80s, Pomodoro Technique has spread more widely in the productivity craze of the Internet age. Of course, there’s a Lifehacker guide to getting started. (It was even updated as recently as last summer.) And yes, Francesco is around and will gladly take your money.

Now, it may seem a little strange to do this when you’re working on music, which most of us think of as a diversion. Isn’t music supposed to be endlessly fun and something we can concentrate on without any challenge? But apart from more rote work or making a Max for Live patch or carefully editing envelopes, anything that requires you to focus your brain benefits from breaks.

And that’s really what the Pomodoro Technique is about. It’s not actually the 25 minutes of focus that is the most important. It’s the break. (Perhaps part of why you’re so eager to procrastinate is a legitimate impulse by your brain that you’re overly and unnaturally focused on something.)

There’s plenty of science to back this up. Selecting just one useful overview:

Brief diversions vastly improve focus, researchers find [ScienceDaily summary; original paper in Cognition, 2001]

There are lots and lots of Pomodoro-themed timers out there – or you can use any timer (as on your phone, wristwatch, a physical egg timer, whatever). (The Pomodoro timers sometimes have special features dedicated to the technique, and at least pictures of tomatoes, which as a fan of the veget— erm, fruit – I enjoy.)

pATCHES, a site and Patreon subscription creating resources for producers, has an experimental Max for Live plug-in. Apart from letting you run the thing inside your session, it even stops your transport when you’re due for a break – if you find that useful.

https://patches.zone/max-for-live/pomodoro

I’m curious to hear if people find this useful. It is easy to forget that, as much as we mystify music process, what we’re really taking care of is our brain.

The post Someone made a Pomodoro timer for Ableton Live, so you can stay productive, take breaks appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

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