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From the Heart of Belgrade’s Underground, Inside a New Festival Experience

Summertime. You certainly can’t complain about your options in electronic music festivals. But in some of the best festivals, there’s also a sameness – talented lineups, repeated from weekend to weekend. That predictability is part of the draw, part of the commercial viability of many of these events and of the artist industry they support. But where do you go if you want something different to happen? If you want a mix of music that’s different, an environment that’s different, if you want all the things that wouldn’t work elsewhere? One place to go is the countryside of Serbia, from …

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This Virtuoso Ableton Push Performance Comes Full of Tips for Controllerists

Jesse Abayomi, Ableton Product Specialist, is one heck of a virtuoso Push player. And you can learn something from him, too. Performance technology doesn’t always add to performance, it’s true. But when the machine and human are in sync, it’s beautiful. People can develop their musical chops and machine control chops at once – improve on their musical practice and technique. And when that happens, the quality of performances actually gets better. I’ve seen a funny thing as Push has crept into performances. Just as with the spread of custom controllers in the past, access to more playing technique has …

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Insane Colors, Touch, Knobs: Ander’s Crazy Custom Live Controller, and Some New Music

What if software could leap off the screen, transforming into physical form? Ander’s custom controller for live performance looks like just that. An epic array of candy-colored buttons, with a dizzying arrangement of knobs atop it, it’s the opposite of what many live performances these days can be. Rather than a spectacle that distracts from the live performance, it is a spectacle that embodies the performance – not only Ander’s physical gestures, but the way he conceives his music. By making all of his set touchable – even though that involves a lot of advance preparation – the performance it …

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Pushing the Live Performance Envelope in LA: Mike Slott, Artists on Video; Party Friday

Music has always moved forward when people get together to play. Groups of artists in Los Angeles’ Interface LA collective – and other California groups, like LoveTech and controllerism.com – are challenging each other to keep expanding their technique in playing electronics live. I’m pleased with CDM and some of our friends to support a party Friday night in downtown LA celebrating playing live. Interface LA is a group centered on live electronic music performance and interactions. We’ll be bringing you video coverage after the event here, thanks to talented videographer Charlie Visnic. But we can kick things off now …

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Major Traktor Software, Audio Hardware Updates; DJs and Live Electronic Artists Alike May Be Pleased

Traktor 2 is a new “generation,” says Native Instruments, of its flagship DJ software, along with upgraded hardware interfaces. The upgrade is so capable, simply calling it a “DJ” product may be inadequate. Just as Ableton Live’s user base grew to incorporate DJs, Traktor’s capabilities move easily into live performance and remixing, too. It’s still Traktor. But drawing on Traktor’s background, it’s Traktor as a DJ tool that, aside from just playing auto-beat-matched tracks, can transform into a sampling and remix tool with some far-out sonic effects, for a more dynamic live show. However you classify yourself, the update promises …

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A Stunning Live Performance on Roland’s 1996 Workstation, VS-880 (Bonus: MPC3000!)

From comments (thanks, Charlie Cowper!), here’s a live performance by Japanese electronic artist Rei Harakami on nothing more than a 1990s-vintage multitrack digital workstation, Roland’s VS-880. (The VS-880 was introduced at NAMM in January 1996.) Harakami is a virtuoso on this machine, not simply playing back tracks but dancing through menus and settings and adding live mixing and effects. It’s a mix performance, yes – but it’s a seriously impressive one. And it shows how much this now-“vintage” machine can do, even with some simple parameters. I’m almost afraid to mention the VS-880, lest we get an arbitrary direct translation …

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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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Artists We Love: edison is monome Instrumentalist; Look Ma, No Loops!

edison – tonka truck from edison on Vimeo. edison has become an underground sensation, a monome-playing virtuoso with soul. And now he’s just showing off. Sure, the monome lacks velocity sensitivity, but here, it remains an instrument, a 64-button sampler. It’s not so much the tool itself as the choice: edison has chosen to focus on this interface and build musical dexterity on its grid, to be a monome player. I caught the artist live at the monomeet, a get-together for the fans of the instrument, and can say he’s not just some online video wonder – if you can …

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monome News: Max for Live with 7up, New Grayscale, Mass Kit Builds, NYC Fest

SevenUpLive 2.0 Preview from bar|none on Vimeo. Planet monome is getting to be an exciting place. The biggest news: SevenUpLive, an extraordinary original application that melds the monome as controller with a set of Live functions, is getting a major rebuild and Max for Live support. Mapping the buttons of the monome to a set of Live sonic magic, SevenUp transforms the monome – and Live – into an interactive compositional instrument, with looping, sequencing, and melodic and rhythmic manipulation. With Max for Live integration, that will also allow people writing Max patches for Ableton to use their work as …

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ParamDrum: Reaktor-Powered Drum Sequencer an Rx for Drum Variety

ParamDrum TR Edition from Peter Dines on Vimeo. Imagine a machine that lets you walk a thin line between control and chaos. You’ll be tweaking it, for sure – you’ll want to invest a sufficient amount of time shaping its sounds and adjusting its instruments to alter its flightpath. But once set in motion, it will give you variety and delicious insanity. That’s the idea behind Peter Dines’ ParamDrum, a Reaktor drum machine with granular goodies inside providing sample manipulation and a set of clear sequenced controls for adjusting parameters. The “Param” bit refers to the parameters you’ll control – …

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