Yes, you know the phenomenon – loops sometimes get repetitive, cycling without variation. You can’t really blame the tool; Ableton Live, for instance, certainly allows loads of variation with automation envelopes. But as demonstrated in the latest beta video, Bitwig Studio will provide plenty of functionality for editing changes in audio clips.
I’m not totally in love with the content of the video itself – I hope we can give the beta a go soon to check out the stretching algorithm with some other audio. But the features look very nice indeed:
- Multiple audio events inside a clip
- Drag to slice up new regions inside a clip (ideal for reordering, editing)
- Extensive options in the Inspector, for quick access to time options, edits, reverse, legato, pitch, and so on
- Without needing envelopes, make edits to regions, including adding silence
- Precise tools for working with the stretching algorithm with independent settings for regions inside the clip.
There’s also the usual transient detection and so on found in most DAWs. But the ability to freely create regions inside the clips – regions inside regions – opens up editing powers with less work.
And if you can keep with it, watch as they start getting into lots of micro-edits toward the end. For compulsive editors, it’s neat stuff. It’s another chance to bring back IDM.
The bad news: you still have to wait for Bitwig. But there are some nice ideas here.
The challenge: fit everything you really want from a bass synth into a 4″ x 4″ square. Make every parameter hands-on, with full-sized knobs and switches. Give it an analog filter that can be angry, not just nice.
Our solution: MeeBlip anode. It’s the new collaboration between CDM and instrument designer James Grahame. Together with James’ engineering work, we’ve cooked up a little package that focuses on packing personality:
- Digital oscillators meet an original analog filter
- Grungy, bass-heavy sounds
- Compact, 4” x 4” case (approx. 100 x 100 mm)
- Modulation, envelope, tuning, and pulse width controls
- MIDI input for compatibility with vintage and modern hardware, computers, and (with a compatible adapter) iPad and iPhone
And here’s what anode sounds like – completely unprocessed, recorded straight out of the anode’s audio jack (more sounds to come):
Price: US$129.95 / 129,95€ / £109.95
From now through December 3, though, you can it at a special Thanksgiving discount for presale customers:
US$109.95 / 109,95€ / £94.95
meeblip.com/get-one/ Continue reading »
Ableton still doesn’t make an iOS app for Live. The software seems to lend itself to direct touch interfaces, emphasizing live performance and improvisation and real-time workflows. But there’s little reason for the developer to make one themselves: there are just too many superb third-party solutions, and they continue to dazzle.
TouchAble 2, available now, goes further than any app has before. If hardware controllers or the mouse or computer keyboard act as narrow windows into what Live can do, the latest TouchAble just seems to do … everything. Short of Live running on a touchscreen directly, TouchAble brings what the application offers to a fully touch-based interface. And because it redesigns each interface for touch, what you get is something far beyond what Live would offer just plunked onto, say, a Windows tablet.
If it’s a parameter, you can control it.
If it’s a MIDI message, you can control it.
If you want to make your own layout, you can – with XY Pads, Faders, Rotaries, Labels, Buttons and Containers. (There’s still reason to consider TouchOSC or Lemur as alternatives, even so; those apps allow for generic templates, not just those that control Live, and offer their own widget libraries and scripting possibilities, if you so choose.)
If you want to run several TouchAble instances at once, you can.
TouchAble also opens up not only the usual mixing and clip launching. With TouchAble 2, you can go deep into editing, the Browser, and playing instruments, too. Push does that beautifully in hardware, with tactile feedback; TouchAble’s advantage is that the interface is a display, and choices are broader.
New creation choices: Continue reading »
Acid techno is transformed into dub-y trance in the masterful hands of TM404, aka Andreas Tilliander, aka Mokira (under Type and Raster-Noton). In a beautiful video released this month, a lineup of blinking Roland boxes becomes simply mesmerizing. It is technically acid techno, yes, but here those rhythms rotate gently in hypnotic harmony.
Not that TM404 can’t also dial his ensemble of analog voices into a dervish-like dancefloor frenzy. That side was on evidence Saturday night in Berlin. Ostensibly, Andreas was there to promote Elektron’s new boxes, as a big Analog Four Keys banner hung behind him, but he might just as well have arrived as a Roland artist endorsement. (Well, as a Roland artist endorsement who came via time machine from the 1980s.)
Here’s an example of what that sounds like. It sounds like acid, complete with the requisite 303 squelch, but adds asymmetrical twists, rendering it in abstract, tribal energy.
As it happens, looking at how Andreas plays answers some of the controversy over the weekend to Elektron’s approach to sampling. In the launch event, Elektron talked about skipping the laptop and using one of their machines as the “studio.” That claim might make more sense with the addition of their OctaTrack, at least, but it raised a larger point (a funny one, given the room at the time was full of laptop-using artists, let alone a number of NI and Ableton employees).
I clarified details of the sequencing functions. Basically, you get sync via MIDI and DIN out, and must use CV/gate for anything else – that is, you can only step-sequence analog gear. But part of the advantage of connecting gear, as seen in this video, is really about using the onboard sequencing, because it externalizes each musical element. The parade of light-up buttons is a little like looking over the shoulder at the notated part of an individual musician in an orchestra. So sync, for many Elektron customers, is probably enough.
That isn’t the way everyone wants to work. But if you do choose to work that way, this isn’t a bad way to go about it. And TM404′s musical imagination can be inspiring, however you play.
This recording is Andreas’ favorite ten minutes from the Insomnia Festival, in Tromsø, Norway in October: Continue reading »
Not just an Analog Four with a keyboard, says Elektron. The Analog Keys also boasts a joystick, step sequencer, and hands-on workflow. Photos: Benjamin Weiss, De:bug.
I’m here in Berlin where Elektron is introducing the new Analog Keys synth keyboard as part of their Night of the Machines event. (Later tonight, we get the likes of The Field and TM404 playing live.)
We also have images and video by my friend Benjamin Weiss of De:bug Magazine — see their report with more pics.
It’s worth watching that video, because of one thing: polyphony. An OS update should bring that polyphonic capability to both Analog Four and Analog Keys soon.
Elektron are quick to say that the Analog Keys is not just an Analog Four with a keyboard slapped on – though the two do appear to share the same architecture. The emphasis is on hardware workflow, with the return of the joystick (as beloved on SFX-6 Monomachine), an updated internal step sequencer, and lots of controls. The step sequencer may be as big a deal as the keyboard; it boasts some impressive features, including the ability to set per-step presets and control external gear via CV. There’s no MIDI out from the step sequencer, unfortunately, though you can now use the Keys in a “master controller” mode – that is, as a standard MIDI keyboard. Of course, if you have an Analog Four, you know that already, though it seems we will see some firmware updates this week. (It will ship with 512 presets and preset storage capability. “Even flute sounds,” says Elektron.)
Clarification: This has caused some confusion, so here’s how it works:
- MIDI output: MIDI out is restricted for now to the Controller Mode, though you can use both that mode and the internal step sequencer at the same time. The sequencer controls external sounds; the master controlled features control external gear.
- DIN: Sync signal only – but this lets you sync other drum machines and use their internal sequencers, which is still fairly nice.
- CV out: Send up to four CV/Gate signals (via two physical ports, two signals each) to analog gear.
Continue reading »
It seems everyone is thinking in LEGO these days. There’s littleBits, which snaps together analog components with magnetic connections. There’s Patchblocks, which connects digital modules you can then re-program onscreen.
And now, there’s Palette, a set of controller blocks that snap together and connect via USB. It gives you knobs, sliders, and X/Y controls for manipulating any software – from music to apps.
The crowd-funded project looks smart in both hardware and software design. And software easily extends what it can do – whether you’re playing a DJ set in Traktor or editing graphics in Photoshop. (Smart segues between those roles in the promo videos.)
Oh, and yes – it also does pulsing RGB LED disco effects, for added visual feedback.
It also represents a new approach to the development process itself. Crowd-funding is big, yes. But “incubators” are next – an attempt to not only immerse projects in necessary capital, but in a broad range of experience. (Here in Berlin, a new incubator is showing results tomorrow, in fact.) And for Palette, that meant spending weeks in Shenzhen, China, bringing the product designers closer to the people who design and make the components – those knobs and faders and USB connections on which the product relies. It’s part of the HAXLR8R incubator, which features the likes of Atari’s (and Chuck E. Cheese’s) Nolan Bushnell and our friend Mitch Atlman (Mitch was also one of the inaugural CDM Handmade Music/Musicmakers participants back in New York).
It’s startups with hard, real results, not just apps or websites.
And that’s doubly relevant here, because Ed Sharma of Palette tells us he doesn’t just want your enthusiasm or money – he wants your input and collaboration. “We are just engineers,” Ed tells CDM, “and the input of you and your readers readers can help shape this technology.”
So, what do you get?
Continue reading »
Moby’s next collaborator is … you, possibly. Photo courtesy Moby.
What do you do when you’ve been one of the biggest impacts on electronic music, outlasting a succession of trends and fads, remaining one of the best-known names in sound? I mean, you can’t just start giving things away, right?
Actually, if you’re Moby, that’s exactly what you do. He wants you to collaborate with him – and he’s made it really easy (even if you want to get something out of the result).
It’s safe to say Moby is different from many of his peers. At the young age of 48, Moby has managed to be a presence in multiple epochs of electronic music, and now is headlining tiny venues as well as big ones, collaborating with Record Store Day – and NASA, quick to distance himself from one-time label EMI as he goes on the attack against the RIAA. And now, he’s releasing stems on BitTorrent. Explaining the decision to Mashable, he said he’s happy to have you profit off his stems and donate to charity or take your friends to dinner. (Actually, put that way, I suddenly feel much happier about my Bandcamp revenues. Who wants some pho to celebrate the Humane Society?)
And he’s embracing chaos:
When people try to control content in the digital world, there’s something about that that seems kind of depressing to me. The most interesting results happen when there is no control. I love the democratic anarchy of the online world.
He goes further, saying (with respect, in fairness) when Thom Yorke complains about Spotify, “You’re just like an old guy yelling at fast trains.”
You Can Remix Moby’s New Album Thanks to BitTorrent [Mashable]
Of course, you want that anarchy to be creative, not technical. So, while the BitTorrent decision is cool, we’re pleased to get the scoop from Moby and NYC-based collaborative startup blend.io that the stems will come to that platform, too. With blend.io, you get additional collaborative tools that make it easy to track changes, see how others are collaborating, and smoothly integrate work on stems and revisions. The whole system works via file management tool Dropbox (nice enough, given their free account will accommodate a decent-sized audio project), and it even works directly with Ableton Live and Pro Tools.
Moby’s project files, as seen on blend.io. This isn’t just stems: you get the whole projects, and easy access to extensive options for collaboration and revision tracking, so you can actually get some work done. Images courtesy blend.io.
This stuff matters. It’s one thing to talk about online collaboration and sharing and remixing. Too often, though, the experience is musician-unfriendly. Technically, it’s too much of a pain, and artistically, you’re often limited by fine print attached to remix contests. This project is different on both levels. It makes things easier and less restricted both in the tech and your freedom to do what you want with the remix.
We have an exclusive VIP invite code for CDM readers to get started, free:
I spoke with blend.io founder Alex Kolundzija via email from New York. Continue reading »