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 »


The new Push hardware may have been the big, new shiny from Ableton this week. But for Live users, the software changes in 9.5 may have the greatest impact on day-to-day music-making life.

Live 9.5 has arrived as a free upgrade for Live 9 users. The biggest change is the new Simpler, but some other additions and changes are significant, too. Here’s a look at what’s new and how to take advantage of some of 9.5’s less-obvious capabilities. Continue reading »

::vtol:: prankophone from ::vtol:: on Vimeo.

If you pick up the phone and instead of a robocall or someone pocket dialing you, you get what sounds like a synthesizer that’s lost its mind, blame the Prankophone.

Since we’re going to cover the latest from Ableton and Korg and so on in detail, we practically need a column for the quirky, prolific inventions of one vtol, aka Dmitry Morozov. Call it the Internet of Insane Things. (IoIT?) Continue reading »

okgo 4

Okay, OK Go fans – now there’s synth hardware as quirky and charming as the band’s Internet-viral synth-pop.

We got our hands on a very limited edition KORG volca sample made especially for OK Go. This is the battery-powered sample unit with grungy digital sound playback and loads of knobs for manipulating sound, plus the usual touch strip step sequencer for making patterns. It’s fun to play, a unique collectors’ item even if you just want an extra sample playback instrument around. And the built-in samples can be terrific, as you can hear in our playlist. Continue reading »


Whatever identity crisis and legal wrangling may be going on at SoundCloud at the moment, the site’s DNA is all about creation. That’s where the site came from – initially, with labels and producers as a way of sending around tracks – and it remains the strong point. SoundCloud is the operating system for music sharing and discovery for creators much in the way Facebook is the OS for social interaction and YouTube for video.

Of course, lately, SoundCloud has largely been in the headlines for “hey, my account was taken down for posting mixes” or “PRS wants royalty payments.”

So, here’s a change of pace. The site has a new mobile app out geared not just for listening, but for creators managing accounts. And, here’s a reversal: while the app coming to iOS soon, it’s Android first. Continue reading »