px18timeline

See the 1995 Monolake step sequencer that inspired Ableton

Remember 1995? Computers onstage were still a comparatively risky proposition – often relegated to MIDI, more prone than today to instabilities, and absent today’s DJ and live performance apps. Monolake, which is now just Robert Henke, was both Robert Henke and Gerhard Behles. (Gerhard is now plenty busy being CEO of Ableton.) And then there was Monolake’s PX18 sequencer, a step sequencer – cum – timeline with loads of interesting tracker-style and mathematical-musical features.

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microdrum

Robert Henke’s Free MicroDrum Will Take You Back to the 80s

Cue Huey Lewis and the News singing “Back in Time,” because we’re going back to the 80s. And where we’re going, we don’t need … stereo. Robert Henke (who has of late mostly shed the Monolake moniker) has a brilliant new Max for Live drum machine that borrows some of the limitations of vintage 80s drum machines. There’s a particular nod to drum machine pioneer Roger Linn (credited as such). But this isn’t just 80s nostalgia. MicroDrum’s restrictions, sound, and use of ideas from that hardware can bring new creative possibilities. Features: Zoom in on samples to 10 ms and …

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smwtrio2

Listen to Gerhard Behles (CEO, Ableton) and Matt Black (Ninja Tune, Coldcut) on Music and Democratization

Music in the Age of Democratization: Gerhard… by SMWBerlin Music as social medium is perhaps as profound as any connection as we can have between people. And it’s a unique pleasure to get to reflect on that with someone like Gerhard Behles or Matt Black. Yesterday, we got both at the same time. I’ll even listen to this conversation again; there’s plenty of fuel for further thought. Before apps, Gerhard Behles and Robert Henke shared their Monolake Max/MSP sequencer (by Henke – still available); back when music production offered little in real-time, they had the vision to offer Ableton Live. …

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See the Max Patch Robert Henke Built Before Ableton Live; Hear the Music it Made

This is what a Monolake live set sounded like in 1999. And in the days before Ableton Live was a finished product, running patterns was a job for self-built software in Max. Robert describes the music thusly: This is a live recording, captured at Ego club in Düsseldorf, June 5 1999. The music has been created with a self written step sequencer, the PX-18, controlling a basic sample player and effects engine, all done in MaxMSP, running on a Powerbook G3. The step sequencer had some unique features, e.g. the ability to switch patterns independently in each track, which later …

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Robert Henke Hacklab + RA Exchange: Hard Work, Solving Creative Crises, and Lasers

We get to continue the conversation around Robert Henke’s process and his magnum opus laser-show that closed CTM Festival on Sunday. Will Lynch from Resident Advisor joined us in the MusicMakers Hacklab to sit down with Robert. Here, Will talks to Robert about his music, his approach, and how he tackled the challenge of making laser shows more than just a gimmick. Robert is an incredibly-disciplined person – he basically took just this time off from the studio to come talk to us. And that showed in the extraordinarily prolific, detailed work in Lumière. Punctuated by visual rhythms, each split-second …

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Krake, Killekill, and the Growing Appetite for Experimental Electronic Music [Listen, Pictures]

Summertime may conjure images of Ibiza and middle-of-the-road festivals in Europe and America, “summer jams” and the musical equivalent of the beach book. And there’s nothing wrong with that; anyone who would deny people the pleasure of listening and dancing to music they love is kind of a jerk. But this stereotype can also obscure a simple fact: music at the edges, music falling under the broad umbrella of “experimental” is actually becoming remarkably popular. What’s beautiful about “big tent” experimentalism is that it can encompass a broad range of music. Musicians playing clubs no longer fear angular sounds and …

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Bleeding-Edge Musical Innovation, Live from CCRMA; Full Report, Monolake + Tarik Barri Live

Ivory tower, let down your hair. Make no mistake. The slightly-impossible-to-pronounce acronym CCRMA (“karma”), standing for the not-terribly-sexy “Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics,” is one of the world’s hotbeds for innovation in electronic music. From the lowest-level DSP code to the craziest live performances, this northern California research center nesting at Stanford is where a lot is going on. So, when they put on a concert, this isn’t just another dry exposition of “tape” pieces, academics scratching their chins and trying not to nod off. (Trust me: I’ve … on occasion darned nearly rubbed my chin raw …

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Ableton Posts Nearly Hour-Long Live 9 and Push Preview Event from Berlin

Can’t get enough Live 9 information? In cased you missed it, here’s a nearly hour-long presentation. It’s notable for Ableton founder and CEO Gerhard Behles talking about what matters in an instrument, then “discovering” that Push fits in a backpack, for Dennis DeSantis doing a beautiful job of showing what really musical workflow looks like, and Jesse Terry brave enough to do a live set on hardware that’s only just been finished. I say this partly because I have to do presentations, too, and – it’s not easy. I think they do a good job of sharing their ideas honestly …

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The Hive synth. Photo: Q.Smith, Yes Dear Ltd.

Of Bees and Oscillators: Bioni Samp’s EP Full of Eco-Influences, Homebrewed Gear [Listen, Gallery]

If electronic music sometimes seems to contain the secret dance language of insects, mysterious coded rhythms and swarms of sound, an EP released this summer by an English producer makes the connection explicit. Bioni Samp sends us his strange and wonderful sonic journey into the colony. In tunes alternately atmospheric and danceable, at least of the sort to which you might wiggle your thorax in a deep, dark hive, The Island uses every possible sonic resource. Artist Bioni Samp is a producer and video artist from Leeds, Yorkshire now living in London. He points CDM not only to these wonderful …

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BiosphereLustmord

Good Listening: Sample Unsound Festival’s Brilliant Lineup, Coming to NYC This Month [Stream]

This might look like Tatooine, but it’s in fact the deserts of New Mexico, where artists Biosphere and Lustmord visited this year in a musical exploration of some of America’s – and nuclear power’s – darker past. The project promises to be a highlight of Unsound in the world premiere of a new, commissioned work. Photo courtesy Unsound Festival. There are festivals, and then there’s Unsound. While so much in electronic music programming walks the line between club accessibility and more adventurous experimentation, some time falling over one side or the other of that divide, Unsound consistently hits the center …

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