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A New Book from Ableton Wants to Help You Make Music

Imagine if the Eno/Schmidt Oblique Strategies, a music theory book, and an Ableton quick-start manual all got caught in a transporter accident with a bunch of different music producers.* That seems to be what you get with Making Music: A Book of Creative Strategies. In one sense, the aim is to be none of these things. It’s not a manual. It’s not a template for music making. It doesn’t, apparently, rely much on musical theory in the traditional sense. But, then, if you know the man behind it – Dennis DeSantis, a classical percussion virtuoso and composer turned documentation czar …

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Bleep’s Rad-Fi: Hackable, Bendable Synth and Effect on a Breadboard

How much freedom do you want when building things? You want the ability to experiment and make choices, but you also want the process of making to be easy enough that you can play. Bleep Labs last week introduced the first two kits in a series they’re calling Rad-Fi. The idea is, follow the instructions, and you can build a synth and an effect quickly by connecting parts on a breadboard. That makes kit assembly stunningly easy, because there’s no soldering involved. It also means it’s very possible to make modifications by snapping in additional parts, or, if you want …

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A Toe-Tapping, Dancing 3D-Printed Robot Plays Music

Making Music With Poppy from Pierre Rouanet on Vimeo. It can “learn” to tap its toe and bob its head. And then it can make sounds as you move its arms. It’s a robotic interface for music – a bit like playing with a very smart toy doll. To show off its interactive/interfacing abilities, the team behind Poppy used music. Poppy is a robot that can be produced with a 3D printer. All the hardware and software are fully open source. The idea – fused with cash from the EU’s European Research Council for funding science and creativity – is …

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Mods Make The Moog’s Werkstatt Synth More Educational, More Fun

It began as an exclusive for a limited-edition workshop. But it’s turned into more. Moog’s Werkstatt synth is a lovely little analog synthesizer in its own right. But, driven by its educational mission, it’s also become a means of learning electronics. This is a synth you want to hot-rod.

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Photo (CC-BY-ND) Bill Selak.

Here Are Your Best Black Friday Deals on Music Tools

Sure, Black Friday may conjure unpleasant images of hordes rushing a Wal-Mart. But with so much of music gear now online in software form, it is a chance to load up with some new music tools for the winter (or, erm, southern hemisphere, the summer), save some money, and make more music. And that’s a good thing. So here are some of the nicest-looking deals in our inbox, too good not to share.

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Learn to Use Komplete 10’s Real Gems – Those Great New Reaktor Instruments

Just because there’s a nice marketing angle doesn’t mean that it has to be the story for you. And that’s been true of NI’s big, splashy product launches. Sure, there’s the epic-looking Traktor Kontrol S8 hardware launched this week – but you tell us you might be just as pleased with a compact controller or an update to the iPad app. And Maschine Studio does wonderful things with its big screens – but the MK2 still has great pads, costs less, and fits in a backpack. And then there’s Komplete 10. Yes, NI is keen to talk about its light-up …

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Learn to Jam with Just One Synth Voice: MeeBlip + Ableton Push vs. Gustavo Bravetti [Video]

Ableton Live and Ableton Push afford new ways of working, allowing you to put loads of parameters beneath your fingertips. Of course, the means of doing that may not be immediately obvious, behind the dance between grid, encoders, and automation envelopes. Leave it to Montevideo-born, virtuoso dance music maestro Gustavo Bravetti to show us how it’s done. Gustavo pairs the MeeBlip SE, the enhanced “digital freak” original version of our synth, with Live and Push. To connect the hardware with automation of the external synth, he uses a Max for Live patch for the MeeBlip (which you’re free to download …

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Photo (CC-BY) @ fr4dd. Music below.

In 20 Minutes, with 20 Cables, Learn to Get Started with Modular Synths [Video]

Modular aficionados are fond of describing the potential of their boxes full of wires as unlimited, endless. That might well raise the question – where do you actually start? Schneidersladen, the unofficial headquarters for European lovers of Euroracks hidden away above a grocery store, has an intro course. Don’t watch this expecting stunning sounds – this isn’t about showing off. Instead, get ready for a big basket of bread and butter, the starting points to learn how to actually begin working. From there, you can get as fancy as you like. But the pace is methodical and beginner-friendly. German, but …

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Watch BT Reveal Sound Design Tricks with Free, Geeky CDP – Then Learn it Yourself

From the mysterious underworld of 80s sound software, it’s a library of free sound transformation tools so cool you’ll happily head to the command line to run them – no real-time preview to be found. No, seriously. Even if the fanciest you get is changing a preset in Logic, you want to hear about this. Self-professed addict of sound geekery BT took to a packed room at New York’s Cielo to tell an assembled group of aspiring producers why they should embrace the Terminal. His video is a fantastic introduction to the tool. Dubbed Composers Desktop Project – after the …

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Making Music Tools Free in Pd, from Hacking to Playing: Photos and Impressions, Amsterdam Thursday

There is something phenomenal happening in music technology right now. We usually write about the developments in the tools themselves. But if you want to see new things happening, it’s often more about the spread of knowledge around those tools. Watching it evolve is astounding. Focus only on the tools, and the landscape hasn’t changed much in recent years. But look at the people using them, and it’s a different story. More and more diverse audiences of artists are picking up the skills to use these inventions, and they bring a wider range of aesthetics and ideas to how they’re …

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