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Ableton hacks: map anything, even Kontakt and Reaktor

Isotonik’s £22 PrEditor is the powerful mapping functionality Ableton forgot. It lets you customize the mappings of a variety of controllers to your music software, opening up custom controller arrangements and tailored interactions to support the way you play. And the latest version does still more. Hackers and patchers will love this – whatever tool they use. If you use Reaktor, that environment is available – doubly useful now because of Reaktor’s beautiful Blocks modular environment. (There are quite a few things I prefer in Reaktor, so being able to map its controls to my Push means I may completely …

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Sail a Sea of Sound, in Beautiful World of Max Cooper and Tom Hodge

Producer Max Cooper, alongside his collaborator Tom Hodge, this week shares an intimate reflection on what motivates him in sound and science. In the video for Sonos Studio, the Belfast-born musician describes loving when sound “wraps you up in this warm … sea.” But there’s a system that reveals itself, even as the scientific method can unfold the mysteries around us. So if this music sounds personal and secret, perhaps it has a direct analog to Cooper’s past life as a scientist, the “introspective side of science,” as he puts it. That is, ” whether it’s a piece of music …

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These Tools Plus Live 9.2 Could Change How You DJ and Play Live

Ableton Live can be a fantastic tool for playing live, for improvisation, and for studio work. But while some people put together very effective DJ sets, it doesn’t always stack up to other software out there in terms of satisfying certain significant DJ techniques. And that’s too bad. Because if your DJ aspirations include lots of creative juggling of beats, Ableton Live would seem perfect. The DJ Collection from Isotonik Studios – the advanced Max for Live hackers who have been releasing a dizzying array of tools for customizing how Live works – provides some of the tools advanced DJs …

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Home Alone Remixed Live on Ableton, Launchpad; Mega APC Mashup

Home Alone (Ableton Live Remix) from Keenan Gaynor on Vimeo. It’s the holidays, a time for family, and to ponder when controller mappings meet one-shot clip triggering, cable TV, weird child neglect, and brutal violence against slapstick criminals. Yes, of course – it’s the time-honored tradition of Ableton Live and Home Alone. There’s the 2010 original remix on Launchpad. But, unlike the Home Alone movie, the sequel’s even better. Last year, Keenan Gaynor quietly updated the remix on a Novation Launchpad Mini. And clearly he’s picked up some better techniques in Live. (Pro mode, anyway!) So, even though the original …

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Get Your Ableton Grids in Order, Free, with Launchsync

In live electronic music, the endless free expanse of the computer screen tends to run up against the limited ability of your brain to tell just which freakin’ track am I on, anyway? In the studio, it can be annoying. Live onstage, it can be train wreck-inducing. Ableton Live’s Session View has for years exacerbated this problem. You can limit your options to eight (or even four) tracks. But that doesn’t always work. You might need more than eight tracks for particular routings of audio or MIDI. And unless you use Device Racks and chains, you’ll also need extra tracks …

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Learn How Pantha Du Prince Combines Acoustic Instruments with Ableton Live, In C

Before triggering clips and samples on the computer, Pantha du Prince and The Bell Laboratory “trigger” the musicians. Yes, before there were machine clips, there were human patterns, and in performing Terry Riley’s legendary classical new music composition “In C,” the ensemble has to do just that. In a beautiful chorus of chiming tones, that orchestra is augmented with digital embellishment. The result makes for a live performance that expands the role of the computer into a large-scale instrumental ensemble, venturing into territory perhaps not as often associated with Ableton Live as genres like dance music are. But Ableton has …

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Control, Shortcuts for Ableton Starting at $99: A Look at the New AKAI APC Line

For any tool that has “live” in the name, physical control will always be important. And so even with a broad market for controllers targeting Ableton’s flagship software, now including the slick Push hardware from Ableton themselves, AKAI’s re-vamped APC line earned intense interest when it debuted at Musikmesse this month. Let’s make sense of what the new APCs can do and how you might choose between models. I got some hands-on time at Messe, and now even in advance of a review of finished, shipping hardware, it’s worth teasing out the breakdown of the 2014 APC line. The original …

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Reading List: The Best of the Web, from Vintage Grooveboxes to APC Sequencers to Indeterminism

There’s a beautiful river of information for electronic musicians out there, if you can only navigate its currents. In our new series, we pick out some of the best selections, since we can’t always squeeze in a full article of every terrific gem out there. It’s like a window into our inbox. And for the first edition, we’ve got a lot – resources for Ableton and wireless MIDI and Logic, deep thoughts on production and folk music and indeterminism and robots learning to play in a band. Queue it up for your reading pleasure. (We’re big fans of Pocket for …

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Control from your [Livid] Code, without [writing] code. And that's an excuse to show this beautiful custom Livid Code controller, one of a number of devices from Akai, Livid, and Korg supported with this powerful tool.

A Controllerist Dream Come True: Custom Mappings in Ableton Live, Without Code

You’re not other people. You want things your way, right away. You might not want to buy a new controller for each piece of software, or, worse, the latest controller that purports to control said software, and then live with the particular way in which the two integrate. You want things to work the way you want things to work, darnit. Hidden in the depths of Ableton Live, MIDI Remote Scripts have for some time allowed you to map controllers to software functions. Now, you could do fancy things with Max for Live, but that means, first, buying Max for …

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A Monster Max for Live Patch Slices, Dices, and Controls Ableton

You have the con: for tactile control, the patch is fully integrated with Akai’s APC40 controller for Ableton Live. Photo courtesy Darren Cowley. Ableton Live may have “Live” in the name, but just as with any musical equipment, getting it ready for a show often involves elaborate configuration to make reliable control a reality. Over its decade-long life, Live has been tweaked, adjusted, and cajoled into road-ready digital rigs. With Max for Live a kind of software developer kit for Live users, that has led some users to share their configurations. I’ve been watching Darren Cowley iterate his own Isotonik …

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