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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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford vs Ableton Push

This is … real. This is really the famed “crack-smoking” mayor of Toronto, laying down a beat live with Ableton Live and Ableton Push. And it’s definitely not an official Ableton artist endorsement, nor is Rob Ford a certified Ableton trainer. (Though if he does want to consider another career…) Well, some people do find Push addictive. Next: Putin on monome? If you aren’t impressed by Ford randomly jabbing pads, you might watch this instead, via Synthtopia:

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In Sync, Spare, Beautiful Audiovisual Duet of R. Lippok + D. Delcourt [Mapping Festival, Ableton]

R. Lippok + D. Delcourt – Raster Noton Showcase, Mapping Festival 2013, Geneva from Dimitri Delcourt on Vimeo. Minimalism for its own sake isn’t terribly meaningful. But economical sound and geometries can become a medium for beautiful moments, if artists truly focus on form and relationship. It’s doubly true when combining music and visual elements, and that leads to some gorgeous intersections of the aural and optical in the work here. Robert Lippok, the Berlin-born Raster-Noton artist, and Dimitri Delcourt, the Swiss designer and live visualist, collaborated in one of my favorite performances of last year’s Mapping Festival in Geneva, …

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Fake a Modular Rig inside Ableton Live with DopeMatrix, Then Play it from a Controller

Are modular rigs too pricey for your budget? Hate the thought of all those patch cords, and wish you could just have everything at the ready on your laptop? DopeMatrix might just be for you. That’s “Dope” as in “Doepfer,” and they aren’t just making something modular-ish here. They’re actually giving you a set of sounds from popular Eurorack synth modules – think A-110, Plan B, Cwejman, and Piston Honda. Those four oscillator modules are coupled with twelve effects modules and a step sequencer with matrix controls. Built in Max for Live, you can add the modules (and dozens of …

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M-Audio Trigger Finger Pad Controller is Back – with a Step Sequencer, High-Res Screen

This is not your father’s Trigger Finger. The Trigger Finger has to be one of the biggest success stories in controllers, ever. Back before “controllerism” was a thing, this was what you took along – cheap, light, easy-to-abuse, it was a warhorse 4×4 grid of pads with faders. I’ve watched Flying Lotus tear up his; I’ve seen it win laptop battles. I’ve seen people play them with pads weirdly half ripped-off and all the knob and fader caps missing. I’ve seen Trigger Fingers that looked like someone dragged them through the mud tied to a pickup truck. (I knew that …

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Getting Intuitive with Machines: Inside the Music of Lando and Machinedrum

Getting closer to your machines shouldn’t mean getting further from the feelings that drive your work. That sense of instinct is what keeps music moving forward. How do you make that connection? How to you link your musical roots to the track you’re banging out in the studio today, that first intuitive inspiration to the end product? It’s nice to have artists like Machinedrum and Lando for some insight – even if you’re working in a different genre – as they have a terrific handle on the craft of channeling emotion into finished tracks. Odds are better that you know …

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Digital Warrior Goes Open Source, DJ-friendly Step Sequencer Hardware Gets Better

A USB-connected step sequencer with controller is now improved, and open source. The Digital Warrior is a boutique hardware controller hailing from Cyprus, combining a 16-voice, 32-step sequencer with four pots and two three-color endless encoders, all attached via a driverless USB connection. It’s capable of acting as a step sequencer/controller with any tools you like, but out of the box includes support for Traktor remix decks and Ableton Live control. The remix deck functionality with Traktor is a particular draw; developer and producer/DJ Tomash GHz pioneered this particular way of combining step sequencers and Traktor’s Remix Decks. (Check out …

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A DIY Multitouch Music Controller, monome-Style, Built From Scratch [Instructables, Arduino]

Complete with color LED display and interactive sensing, this clever DIY project from Amanda Ghassaei is the real deal: a multitouch table used for music, constructed from scratch. And step-by-step instructions on Instructables mean that you can try the same idea yourself. The 8×8 matrix and the notion of independent light-up LEDs, along with some of the firmware, come from the monome project (and the open arduinome clone). But here, that idea is extended to seamless touch sensing, measured by infrared. Multitouch Music Controller from Amanda Ghassaei on Vimeo.

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Look, two monitors! (And this could explain the popularity of this update - for many, the laptop is one display.) But there's more in 9.1, including some subtle but critical bug fixes; now we get those details. Photo courtesy Ableton.

Live 9.1 Arrives; Get the Most Out of Its Push Sequencer, Get Ideas Going [Free Resources]

Live 9.1, in beta for some weeks, is now available to everyone. We’ve covered in some detail what 9.1 includes. But if you’re a Live 9 user, you shouldn’t hesitate to grab this. I’ve been splitting time between 9 stable and 9.1 beta, and the beta has been operating perfectly for me. If you have two monitors, of course, you get dual monitor support – or dual window support on bigger displays. (Sadly, I don’t have either at the moment, so haven’t been able to test that). But everyone will benefit from enhanced audio rendering and stability improvements – the …

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scratchtrackplug

Scratch Anything, in a $20 Plug-in: MIDI, Turntables, and Hosts Like Ableton Meet

Turntablism is still alive, but surprisingly, turntable techniques haven’t entirely harmonized with modern DAWs. One of the first products ever covered here on CDM was Ms. Pinky, a combination of software and vinyl, which recently saw a Max for Live iteration. But Scratch Track is about the most universal, easiest way yet to drop scratching into a project. It’s a VST plug-in, compatible with OS X (10.6 or later) and Windows. It works with turntables. It works with MIDI. It works with host automation. It works with host automation and MIDI even if you don’t have a turntable. And there’s …

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