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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Free Mark Eats Sequencer, A Beautiful Example of What Pattern Making Can Be [monome]

If we’re living in a golden age of resurgent synthesizers, we’re also in the midst of a renaissance in step sequencers. Faced with the challenge of making machines make musical sense, the lowly step sequencer – a kind of relic from the days of more primitive hardware – is getting renewed. The latest example is Mark Eats Sequencer, a labor of love for the monome platform. And just as we’ve seen with Tomash Ghzegovskyy and Traktor or Julien Fayard and his MTRX-8, this is not so much about reinventing the sequencer so much as getting as much mileage as possible …

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Launchpad + Raspberry Pi = Standalone Grid Piano Practice Machine, Boots in 10 Seconds

A standalone grid musical instrument? Done. And it can be a new way to venture into the worlds of harmony. Marc “Nostromo” Resibois is back with another clever Raspberry Pi hack. We saw him last fall, beating KORG to the punch with his own – digital – MS-20 mini, using the Pi. It’s still appealing, in that he has some other synth ideas the analog recreation can’t muster. This time, he’s made a standalone practice instrument for grid players, using a Novation Launchpad and the Raspberry Pi computer. Some shopping around for a Launchpad could mean you could put together …

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DJing with Step Sequenced Traktor: Remix Decks Meet New Hardware

Light-up colored grids are hardly news in the controller scene. But what makes original, boutique hardware worthy of the name “Digital Warrior” is the unique take it brings to DJing and live remix – pushing the envelope with Native Instruments’ Traktor (all the while perhaps making even Ableton Live a little bit jealous). The new hardware takes Traktor’s Remix Decks and transforms them with built-in step sequencing, in a kind of mash-up of a lot of different techniques. You have to see the results in action to really appreciate how nice that can be. CDM reader and electronic music inventor …

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30 Days of Free Ableton Push Tutorial Videos, Now Also Downloadable

Ableton’s Push really is growing on me; it’s astounding to have lots of the working methods from software integrated on a piece of hardware, in pads and buttons and knobs. But because it does so much, because it’s open to so many tasks, it isn’t something that reveals itself in just a day. From mapping harmonies across the pads to understanding every last edit workflow, it takes some time. Josh Weatherspoon took an interesting approach this summer and spent 30 days both teaching himself to better use the hardware, and sharing techniques one at a time, for free, on YouTube. …

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aleph Soundcomputer: Interview with monome creator Brian Crabtree and Ezra Buchla

aleph is something of a curiosity: it’s a dedicated box uniquely designed for sonic exploration that isn’t a conventional computer. It comes from the creator of the monome, but while dynamic mapping is part of the notion, it is the first monome creation capable of making sound on its own. The monome is a controller that uses a grid for whatever you want; aleph is a self-contained instrument that makes any sound you want. In review: aleph, from monome: Programmable Sound Computer That Does Anything But this isn’t only a story about some specialist, boutique device. It’s a chance to …

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Stirring Solo Vocal + Ableton Push: Thomas Piper, Live at Webster Hall

If the computer can do one thing, it is to vastly expand what a single musician can do live. Whether you rise to that challenge has everything to do with who you are as an individual musician. It’s about the person as much as the machine. Thomas Piper, Jr. is at his absolute best in a soulful, no-holds-barred, energetic performance New York’s famed Webster Hall. (His son Zion, by the way, is also terrifically talented.) Here, his vocal is front and center far more than the computer, but the digital instrument also supports what he’s doing. At the Kompakt pop-up …

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Interview: Sheffield’s The Black Dog Branch into Controllers, With Crowd-Funded Gear

The Black Dog are titans of experimental techno and house, with a long record to match. (We reviewed – and praised – their latest album, Tranklements.) But you may not associate them with manufacturing hardware. As the landscape of crowd-funded music hardware grows, though, that’s exactly the venture they’re now willing to take, as the members of that group co-found a new, England-based manufacturing company dubbed Machinewerks. And the results so far already give insights into what they value in controller design and how they use those controllers in their music. They’re now well on their way to funding a …

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Live 9.1 Preview: Dual Monitors, More Push Sequencing, High-Quality Sample Rate Conversion

In the midst of a pop-up week of events held with Köln’s Kompakt Records, Ableton has offered a surprise peek into what’s coming soon to Live. 9.1 is a free update for all users, adding some widely-requested features. There’s no release date yet – we’re awaiting a more formal announcement with details soon – but we have gotten a look at what’s in store. Ableton’s Dennis DeSantis gave attendees a demo of three upcoming features: 1. Dual-monitor support, finally allowing you to see Arrangement and Session Views side by side 2. More functionality in Push, including step sequencing of melodies …

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