Musical Physics, Baby! A 3D AV Sequencer Box, Physics Resources for Max

The Box from Mike Todd on Vimeo. Knobs and faders, we love you on hardware. But when it comes to the unlimited possibilities of the computer, we know how to get the party on: “Add some physics bodies.” (See below; that’s really a quote.) Mike Todd, whose work we’ve seen before on CDMotion, sends us a physics-based sequencer/synth built in Max/MSP and Jitter. It’s a quivering, humming three-dimensional world of sound, in which visuals and noise are entangled in a single design. (Ableton Live acts as a sound engine.) As Todd says, he’s “not sure which CDM site this would …

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Giant Steps for Step Sequencing: Two Free Ableton Sequencers, with a Twist

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of physical control of a step sequencer for immediate, musical results. But you’d be forgiven for thinking there isn’t much more you can do with the concept. Think again. New step sequencers demonstrate how to get more with less, using clever tricks to maximize the musical variations you can get with just a few pads. They’re each free, and they’re each from Ableton Live, coming to us from our friends Sebastian Tomczak aka little-scale, the obscenely-prolific musical inventor in Australia, and Matt Black (UK, of Ninja Tune / Coldcut fame) working with Ableton guru …

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In Berlin, musicians and creators gather to work collaboratively on new means of creation and performance. Imogen Heap and her team are among the participants, presenting an interactive workshop on wearable tech. Photo from TEDGlobal 2012 in Edinburgh, by James Duncan Davidson.

Hack Into MusicMakers’ Future in Berlin [CTM Open Call]

Happy New Year, from the future. It’s too late for sci-fi movies with a dateline of 2013. If you want something futuristic, you’ll just have to get to work. That’s what we’re doing in Berlin at CTM Festival later this month, with some of our favorite artists and engineers and designers and artist-engineer-designers. And we’d love to have you join us. We’ll have live music to enjoy. That includes high-tech original creations — Sonic Robots’ real-life 808 drum machine and band, and Tarik Barri and Lea Fabrikant with their three-dimensional audiovisual space trip. Tim Exile will treat us to his …

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Hands-on Live 9, with Robert Lippok: Producer Talks Process in Videos

Ableton visits the home studio of Berlin-based producer Robert Lippok (Raster Noton, To Rococo Rot). I’m a great fan of Robert’s work; to me, it’s full of musical imagination, and I like his reflective-but-free approach to his music. I had the fortune of interviewing Robert about iOS over the summer in front of the CDR Berlin crowd. (CDR is an excellent, multi-city event that puts production technique under the spotlight.) I know one of the things Robert probably wanted to talk about was the new stuff in Live 9. Now, he can – and it’s interesting to hear what moves …

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Jace Rupture, the man who makes plug-ins mystical. Definitely counts as Advanced Ableton. Photo: Xabi Tudela, courtesy DJ Rupture.

Advanced Ableton Only: A Master Class in Live Music Making, from NYC, DJ Rupture [Video]

Tekserve is known to many New Yorkers as the place they go when their Mac is in trouble and need of repair – a place so infamous, it made an episode of Sex in the City, with a waiting room as tense as that in any hospital. But it can also be a terrific hub for tech and knowledge. Amidst many gatherings of Ableton users, the meetup that takes place at Tekserve is heavily tilted to advanced knowledge. Fortunately, you can absorb that wisdom from anywhere in the world, not just on the island Manhattan. Our friend Ben Casey shares …

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Make a New Sound: Scanned Synthesis on Wablet for iPad Features Utterly Mad Meshes

It’s a good sign when you need to invent a new verb to describe using a music tool. And so, get ready for some wabbling. Feel like there aren’t any new synthesis techniques? Scanned synthesis is a reasonable example. Fundamentally, it involves wavetable synthesis – producing new sounds by playing back recorded wavetable content – but navigates those sounds by “scanning” through pitch and timbre independently at slow speeds. By doing so, it simulates slow vibrations in the real world, and it leans heavily on the way human physical control and hearing work. The technique was developed by Bill Verplank …

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Grains as Instrument: Free and Open Source Hadron Synth, Now VST, AU Plug-in [Videos]

Synthesizers can sometimes seem stuck in a groove, an endless, repeating parade of identical virtual analog synths. If you want something different, the Hadron Particle Synthesizer could fit the bill. It’s a synth. It’s a sampler. It’s an effect. It’s a synth that can morph from synth to sampler to effect. Based on granular synthesis, sound is transformed into new sonorities, sometimes liquid, sometimes stuttering, layered here for even more complex sounds. Earlier versions ran in the sophisticated, evergreen sound-coding tool Csound, and in Max for Live. But if you felt left out, a new version now works as a …

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Endeavour’s Evo, Touch-Sensitive Keyboard, Reimagined, Now From EUR499 [Gallery, Videos]

Endeavour’s evo keyboard closely resembles a conventional music keyboard controller. But its piano-style keys and high-performance internals are custom engineered from the ground up for additional expression. High-speed connections mean lower latency than is possible with MIDI, and touch- and pressure-sensitive keys allow additional ways of adding to a performance, all in an aluminum case hand-built in Germany. I was impressed playing the keyboard at Musikmesse earlier this year, but cost put this innovative instrument out of reach of many would-be experimenters. Now, as the product matures, pricing is coming down to Earth. A 24-key version – perhaps just fine, …

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3 Things You Can Do in Ableton Live Now: Modulation, Dual Displays – Sorta, Pressure Grids

The Ableton Live 9 beta is trickling out, but not officially released until next year. Ditto that saucy new Ableton Push controller. And some users are complaining about things that aren’t in the feature list for Live 9. Waiting’s no fun. Let’s do stuff now. Here are three examples of things you can do right now, today, with your current version of Live. In fact, all three wind up being applicable to Live 9, too. 1. Modulate anything. First, I’ll start with my favorite. EXT, at top, is a free Max for Live device that does modulation. Unlike the new …

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The new Session View. Yes, it's a different color. But mostly, look to the bottom of your screen: automation recording in clips, and curves in automation, at last.

Ableton 9 Live: More Tools For Starting – and Finishing – Music [First Hands-On Details]

Ableton today has revealed the details of Live 9, alongside new hardware called Push. The software update brings new ways of transforming sound into MIDI, new and improved devices for shaping sounds, tools for automation that work inside clips and with curved interpolation, a new Browser, and a number of interface and usability enhancements. There are also some features, conceived for Push, that could benefit people using any hardware controller they choose. And alongside these enhancements, you’ll also find a host of new sounds and preset content with which to work. First, here’s a quick look at what’s new, before …

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