When a workshop becomes a
Ableton isn’t a company with product news every other month, preferring to wait for more occasional, big announcements. Well, last night brought a big slew of big announcements. Walking distance from legendary Berlin clubs Berghain, Tresor, Watergate, and Kater Blau, a select auditorium of attendees to Loop were treated to a string of news, keynote style. You’ve probably already heard about new Push 2 hardware and Ableton Live 9.5, but there were a number of revelations to go along with those headlines. You might even soon be trading in your Push for kids or jamming wirelessly with friends – really.
For many of us, there’s a special pleasure to seeing someone play live – and dancing to someone playing live. And by “live,” I don’t mean “a bunch of your tracks cued up as scenes in Ableton Live or on an Elektron.” I mean genuinely improvised. Electronic dance music naturally lends itself to on-the-spot creation. A rigid grid, easily-understood conventions around instrumentation and form, and the fact that styles like techno are built around machines all add up to natural experimentation.
Reaktor 6 is a powerful blank canvas that can turn into almost any music tool imaginable. But that much power can be, well, overwhelming. So today, we’re fortunate to have some guides into what that means. Today in Berlin, I’m fortunate to emcee an evening in Berlin featuring both the people who built Reaktor and some top artists finding ways to make music with it. Updated: this event is over but an edited video is coming soon – plus more content/tutorials around Reaktor.
You’re under stress. Trapped in a fluorescent-lit prison of your own making, chained to your desk behind the cold glow of your computer. You dream of being a futuristic cosmonaut-tourist, truly getting away from it all. French-born photographer/filmmaker Diane Drubay has what you need. Her hyperreal, dreamy videos use real seaside footage, warped into acidic colors. To gaze into her sunsets and rippling surfaces is to give yourself the holiday in the Alpha Centuari system you’ll never have. (Okay, it really is all Earth – maybe Earth is space-ier than you thought.)
In the age of five- and six-figure commercialism, empty and sugary big-stage shows, “DJ” has for some become the butt of a joke, a self-caricature. But DJs are essential to music lovers – now more than ever, with a deep catalog of records past and an astounding volume of new work produced daily, with the DJs shaping tastes and tone in clubs and beyond. Even if you never step into a club, these are the people shaping the way your audience hears. And so it’s refreshing to see the work of Mint Berlin, a booking agency augmented by parties and …
We’ve seen apps made exclusively for touch devices like the iPad. And we’ve seen very basic touch support in desktop apps. But Bitwig Studio 1.3 is both. So, on the same day we find out about a proper touch laptop, we also get a DAW that’s ready, today, to take advantage of it. (See also FL Studio below, though Bitwig brings specific support for Microsoft’s new displays, and some new ideas.) Also, is Bitwig actually trolling Mac fans, or Apple? Because Bitwig is touting the fact that OS X will at least get its new “E-Cowbell device.” (I’m not making …
Jamming: the idea is to make music by connecting directly to gestures so you make something spontaneous. And if music technology is jam session friendly, this finally means you can do it together – not just alone.
If you like dirt in your distortion, now you can have … literal dirt. Like, a big pile of Earth inside a Eurorack, conditioning an amplifier circuit and producing distortion. That kind of dirt. I don’t want to say that Eurorack buyers will now buy anything, but you be the judge: 40 buyers sold out the first run of the ERD/ERD “Earth Return Distortion” and filled up the wait list. (What I don’t know is whether anyone took the manufacturer up on the sale offer – send dirt from a cool place, get a discount.)
Reaktor Blocks Love Eurorack from listentoaheartbeat on Vimeo. Sorry, couldn’t resist. Can you combine computer software with analog hardware? Can you route control signal from computer software to hardware? Can you combine something accessible with a grid (like a drum machine) with more advanced, open-ended machines with wires? Yes, yes, and yes. Does all modular synthesis stuff sound like indecipherable noodling? Do you have to make a religious decision between analog and digital, hardware and computer? Do all modular setups have to be sprawling rigs that eat up all your money and home? No, no, and no. Make what you …