iMaschine, the iOS drum machine, is back in a new version. Now in mini, pocket-able form, you get arrangement and live play features from the desktop edition. For iPhone 6s/6s Plus owners, it also responds to 3D touch.

I always keep sketchpads around – literal sketchpads, of the pencil and paper variety. So when software is described as a “sketchpad,” I take that seriously. Continue reading »

Kim-TAL 2

For me, it goes back to Lil’ Kim.

Let me back up. Much as we take it for granted in 2015, once upon a time in a far-gone decade called the 80s, sampling was a new technology. Groundbreaking (and expensive) instruments such as the Fairlight CMI and Synclavier brought new possibilities for playing with recorded audio. Suddenly, sounds and sequences which used to take days of work from skilled tape manipulators became keyboard-mapped.

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It’s clear right away that Kiran Gandhi is an “always-on artist.” We’re sitting down with the drummer/singer/electronic musician/businesswoman at Ableton’s Loop conference, and as she reflects on the acoustics of the outdoor tent where we’re recording, she sings an impromptu recording into her phone. There’s even a lyric reminding her to write about tents.

The tone is set for our whole conversation: as Kiran longs for a higher-fidelity phone microphone, technology alone can’t keep pace with her spontaneity. Continue reading »

“Gesture” is a term that gets tossed about regularly in modern interaction design. But to me, the word is most deeply associated with classical music – and the gestures that first brought me to music, the piano. In this video for TED@BCG, I got to talk about that and why I think it can inform design through today’s newest interfaces.

In rapid-fire form, obviously more could be said about this. Continue reading »

Digital, analog – whatever. Let’s see what happens when Ableton’s latest digital hardware, the new Push, meets Eurorack, for a sort of convergence of the stuff electronic musicians are talking about right now.

(Don’t worry; we aren’t going to a round-the-clock all-Ableton format – the Berlin developer is notoriously conservative about spreading out releases, so let’s give them this week as a special occasion. And, anyway, there are some tips here relevant to Eurorack users with or without any Ableton products. Plus, you might just like the music.)

We stopped by the studio of Berlin-based musician Kaan Bulak. He’s an Istanbul-born German transplant multi-instrumentalist with a love of polyrhythms and a knack for getting technical. And the first thing he did with Ableton’s new hardware was see how he could integrate it with an analog modular rig.

Here’s how he did it, by his explanation – and the modules he’s using could help you out with any computer/modular hybrid rig: Continue reading »

Music software can make you feel good. Music software can also make you feel almost guilty. And sometimes that makes you feel good.

David Abravanel takes the updated Live 9.5 Instant Haus device (in Max Essentials) for a test drive, in combination with Simpler’s new slicer mode. Somehow, no one has done a video on this yet – maybe because they don’t want you to see how easy is to make breaks. With Instant Haus’ new pattern options for breakbeat-style sequencing, it’s crazy easy. That’s also a chance to show off the extra-gritty new modeled-analog filters.

And if you’re thinking this could be a way to breathe new life into old clips, you’re right Continue reading »