Some CDM commenters accuse this site of being shills for Ableton, of giving disproportionate coverage to Ableton Live and Push. Others accuse us of being hipsters, endlessly talking about things like 8-bit video game consoles and Nintendo.

And so, I’m pleased to come to you today with a 30,000 word, peer-reviewed white paper relating the latest developments in high-end studio consoles, using a highly disciplined double-blind test to evaluate the impacts of analog summing on the behavior of migratory birds.

Or… no, actually, let’s feed the trolls.

It’s hard to believe, but our friend Brian Funk aka AfroDjMac has been steadily designing wonderful Live packs for two years. (And, hint, if you want to use these in another host – like the nearly-released new Reason – you can, as Live just stores its samples. In fact, I’d love to see someone do that with one of Brian’s packs. Consider it a challenge.)

In his latest, he uses an actual “official” ocarina to make a really lovely-sounding sampled instrument. He tells CDM:

I am writing to share word on my latest Live pack, which marks 2 years of making these guys. This one was created with a ceramic ocarina, straight out of the Legend of Zelda. The instrument rack does a pretty faithful reproduction of the ocarina itself, but as I like to do, I also let it get pretty weird :) I designed it to work well with the Push, taking advantage of the aftertouch to control subtle pitch (vibrato) and the filter frequency. In the video I play through a couple of melodies straight out of Zelda to keep things authentic (there are some really interesting melodies in those tunes).

In the post I’ve also got a new song I just released that makes use of some other Live packs I’ve done. I hope you enjoy the vibe of that :)


Ocarina of Live Ableton Pack + 2 Years of Packs and Tips!

And the track:

If you want to support AfroDJMac’s work, he’s also offering a full archive for $15 – nice idea, and worth the gesture, I think!

It’s timely, too, with Nintendo doing a new Zelda game on 3DS. Actually, no, scratch that. That’s not really different from any other time since the first game.

But, wait, let’s give you more freebies. Ableton notes that duo Ruwa is giving away Max for Live devices (and Max standalone applications, meaning you don’t need Live, again) along with an album. It’s not a new idea – Monolake did this with Max patches before even the founding of Ableton – but it’s nice to see more people take it up.

One example: *picsynth converts images to sounds.

It’s a nice way to share with listeners, as you get a second layer of experience of what the artists are doing and a closer sense of how they put their music together.


And the album, with downloads:


From the Brooklyn-based experimental duo of Adam Rokhsar and Constance Leonard.

Via the Ableton blog

But there’s still more. has been around for one year, to AfroDjMac’s too, and Afro is quick to point us that way, too. is a bit different; it represents “ideas for Ableton Live.” It’s the work of composer and pianist Yehezkel Raz, whose beautiful piano (and Push) playing earned some attention here earlier this year.

The birthday gift goes to you. You get all of his ideas and devices and creations, ready to use, plus a wind chimes project (seen below) and melodic Max for Live device. (Wind chimes were apparently inspired in part by David Abravanel.)

Wonderful stuff, all:

It occurs to me that this is not all simply promotional trickery. Perhaps part of what motivates these artists is that sharing in this way appears to have a positive effect on discipline – both in the act of getting things out there and public, and in the feedback loop that generates. And, in fact, that’s the kind of essential discipline that makes musical practice work: you practice those long hours at home alone partly because of the feeling you get when you share. I don’t think that’s being overly naive; I think there may be some real psychology to it. And it sure benefits us as musicians and humans, so it’s nice work if you can get it.

If you in turn do things with these tools, or make tools of your own, don’t forget to let us know about it.


  • The Loop Loft

    And let’s not forget the free “Sound of Skin” Ableton Live Pack:

    • AfroDJMac

      A very cool pack indeed!

  • kent williams

    I’m always amazed that someone would take the time to comment on CDM dismissively. Umm… why aren’t you off finding something you LIKE BETTER somewhere else on the FRICKIN INTERNET?

    I think that CDM has a definite editorial perspective, but it’s up front. Of coure Peter uses and enjoys Ableton Live, of course he’s living in Berlin, yadda yadda. There’s no such thing as a blindly objective blog. You come here for PK’s unique perspective, and the fact that he can write intelligently about things that interest you.

    Oh and +1 on anything The Loop Loft does. I don’t buy everything they make, but what I’ve bought has been top quality creative tools.

    • Peter Kirn

      Heh, don’t worry about it, in this case I’m only having some fun with myself.

    • The Loop Loft

      Thanks for the kind words, Kent! We try our best to keep things interesting and human… especially in the case of the skin loops :)

  • basshell

    i dont know about CDM being a shill for ableton..but i do think they are guilty of giving disproportionate positive coverage of Ableton Live ..i while before live9 was released i contacted CDM to tell them about a dissapointing email i got from ableton regarding live9s lack of automation quantize… is the messege i sent them…….

    ..hello to you guys n girls at CDM..

    this may interest you..

    i sent ableton an email the other day asking about automation quantize

    in live 9..

    here is the original email.

    .Dear people at ableton..

    _my name is Gary and i have a question regarding live 9..

    _Will i be able to quantize automation data in live 9??….Another way

    of asking the same question is….will i be able to automaticly snap

    envelope data to a grid in the same way you can do with midi



    _i have been wanting this function since live1was relesed back in

    2001..i gave up buying live at version 5 because that feature was

    never addressed…i would love to buy live 9 from you guys ,but untill

    this simple function is added.. i think ill pass..


    _As of yet the closest thing to a solution has been this



    _Please give good news..your hopefully Gary

    here is there answer…

    Dear Gary,

    Thank you for writing to Ableton.

    While we have added the function of automation being able to be

    Warped, we have not added the ability to quantize automation


    You can still draw in automation on the grid, however.

    We apologize if this email disappoints you. We do feel that the

    improvements and additions to Live 9 have been quite substantial, and

    hope that you still consider giving it a try.

    Please feel free to contact us with any further questions or


    With kind regards,

    Tim ………………………………………………………………………….

    Peter Kirn replied …………….Interesting – thanks for passing this along. I’m going to have a look at this myself next week

    then i posted the email on CDMs facebook page….but it was removed the next day…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….i i realy would not be surrprised if ableton make some sort of financial contribution to CDM in exchange for advertising dressed as favorable reviews…but mabey im just a cynical old git …………..
    peace Gary

    • Peter Kirn

      I didn’t remove any post. Actually I’m behind on posting a review of live 9 partly because of the complexity of these sorts of (very valid) issues.

      The same complexity cannot be said of something like “I’ve got a bunch of ocarina samples.” 😉 I try to strike a balance. Some of these issues by definition have to be handled by Ableton support, which I don’t represent.

    • gary

      well peter you may not have removed the post but someone did..

    • Peter Kirn

      Gary, it’s not my understanding that anyone removed this post. There are only two of us moderating the Facebook page. I’m checking with Marsha, the other person doing that.

      But, you know, quite frankly, I get thousands of bits of reader feedback every week. With any piece of software, there’s a long list of features that people want that may not be there. And even in a review, I don’t feel that your job is necessarily to list everything that is or isn’t there; I think you try to form an actual opinion.

    • gary


      1. To look over, study, or examine again.
      2. To consider retrospectively; look back on.
      3. To examine with an eye to criticism or correction
      4. To write or give a critical report on
      5. To reexamine in order to correct possible errors.

      6. To subject to a formal inspection

    • Peter Kirn

      Yes, like I said a couple of times. I haven’t written that yet. You know, you can write your own review. Seriously. Or you can just keep giving me a hard time. Your choice.

    • gary

      just pulling your chain peter…the folk over at CDM do a great job..almost as good as synthtopia.

  • AfroDJMac

    Thanks Peter! I must echo those words and say that discipline is a huge reason. Making something to share every week forces me to work on something new every week. It makes me think of new ideas for instruments and test them out. It forces me to review my techniques and tighten them up so I can share. It keeps me organized and gets me labeling macro knobs and presets properly. It’s a great exercise in challenging myself to try to come up with something worth sharing. The community reach is incredible too. I think it’s safe to say I’ve gotten more back in inspiration and positive encouragement than the hard work I’ve put in. Truly amazing!

  • lala

    to bad, a evaluation of the impacts of analog summing on the behavior of migratory birds would have been cool

    • David Prouty

      I also wanted the article on analog summing & the behavior of migratory birds. We can only hope Peter gets out his birdwatching gear and drags some binoculars + an SSL console into the wilderness sometime soon.