It’s easy to forget that some of the simple joys of electronic music are foreign to many lay people. Odds are, if you read this site, you’re an intelligent and well-informed digital musician. (I don’t mean to stroke my own ego, either; because so many of you are intelligent and well-informed digital musicians, you send a whole lot of the information my way that makes this site even possible.) But for all the extensive discussion, a lot of what digital musicians seek to do in their performance is simple: they want to make their work expressive and performative, and convey some part of that gesture to audiences to include them in the action.

And so it is that a video of a live mashup is impressing general audiences as much as it is enthusiasts. It’s not a complex work, but it’s brilliantly performed, and in incorporating some 39 songs into one epic mash-up of Ableton-synced clips, it presents plenty of touchstones for audience members. The ingredients: FL Studio, Ableton Live, a Novation Launchpad, and a Novation ReMOTE Zero SL MKII.

It also helps being really good, as this person is: the “mash-up” is never awkward or overwhelming, and rather than boring bar-long sync, is played live with 16th-note clips. It isn’t so out of the ordinary compared to other virtuosic MPC videos, but that’s the joy of the Web: the best players do actually get their stuff in front of lots of eyeballs.

What’s also interesting is that, because it incorporates pop songs and you can see visually what he’s doing (in a design first seen on the software for the open-source monome platform), general audiences are picking it up. A few examples:
“Pop Culture” mega-mash-up: 39 songs in three minutes [Bailey Johnson for CBS News]

The video viral “video chart” at The Guardian, UK’s daily paper

College Humor’s Biggest Thing

No less than Kylie Minogue tweeted about it. Thanks to Novation’s Chris Mayes-Wright for keeping track of this video’s meteoric rise in the past four days. Artist Relations once meant mainly keeping celebs happy; now, it includes catering to YouTube stars, which I think is a nice development!

Launchpad, indeed. A video goes viral simply because someone plays really well, and shares what they’re doing in a way people can understand. And that’s a really good thing. Picture: the Novation Launchpad controller, which draws inspiration from the monome community and platform’s grid-based goodness. Photo (CC-BY-SA) aleXwire.

That popularity may encourage some trolling and jealousy, but I have to say, I’ve seen just as many hard-core Ableton and monome users and whatnot also drool over this video. (Thanks to everyone who sent this in – a lot of you sure did and I’m only now getting around to it! Blame constrained time and poor Internets here on the road in England.)

If you aren’t necessarily into pop samples, though, I think this shows that even some simple performance elements can appeal. Sure, we love far-out interfaces and big visual impact around these parts, but you can also simply turn off that bar-long quantization or whip out your instrument of choice – keys, strings, voice, pads, or whatever it is – and actually play. Most people really get and appreciate that, and it’s fun for the player, to boot.

And on that profound bombshell, I wish you a very happy weekend indeed.

  • omg, that's cooler than cool. thanks for the share, eheh. i like the flashing colors the most.

  • sjc

    I wonder if for the fun of it, anyone could estimate what the production of those 39 songs costs?

  • Oops, I think someone just figured out how Daft Punk produced it's first two albums.  On another note, although I'm not into mash-ups per say, this one certainly takes it to the highest level of artistry.  Hell this mash-up probably sounds more interesting than the original track source material.  Three Thumbs up! 

  • Bats

    This seems more like an audio-collage than a mash-up (and I mean that as a compliment). Great stuff.

  • Yep, what we used to call a Megamix back in the day. Very well done though!

  • best part, that kid is 17!!!!

  • So cool, I love seeing all the different directions people can take with this stuff!  That's a pretty awesome button solo at the end, I wonder how that is happening… : D

  • shim

    honestly peter, are you implying that if someone doesn't like this "performance" than he/she is a troll or jealous? popular=good?!
    am i reading that right?
    simple performance elements do appeal yeah, and so does mc donalds. all this is really missing is Tn'A and some explosions. sadly, for me, this blog has steadily swirled around the drain over the last 2 years.

    "what have we learned?"

    create disposable music.

  • Disliking this video doesn't make you a troll, but posts like that might. You could respectfully disagree with Peter without calling the blog trash, for example.

    As for my own opinion: I'm not big on the pop, but I give the performer credit for making a well-structured mix with enough performance elements to make watching his fingers interesting for the average consumer. He's certainly no Edison, but still has good enough timing to not use 1-bar sync, as Peter notes.

    In short, the music is a bit too "mainstream" for my underground-hipster tastes, but I'll concede to his skills as an entertainer.

    I do wonder how much of the performance is planned, or if he plays differently every time (otherwise, what's the point of playing live?)

  • Also, the intro text "Here are 39 songs that I like" reminded me of Jason Forrest's mashup "My 36 Favorite Punk Songs."

  • Peter Kirn

    @shim: No, you're not reading that right. That's your own special reading and not in any way what I intended, so I'll leave you to it. I'm all for criticism; I just anticipated some criticisms coming out because the video was popular or based on the sample content (a few pop songs) rather than the actual substance of the performance — I'd rather focus on the latter. It seems to me a fairly simple solution, but in a good way: one well-executed, and a basic idea applicable to very different music (like, with experimental samples instead of pop clips, or whatever it is you happen to like, personally, which is naturally what you should use!)

    I've been told I've been going down the drain more or less since the beginning. So long as I don't hit the bottom of said drain, I guess I'll keep writing. 😉

  • Mercury

    Baby Sebastian 

  • dyscode

    Honestly, I am getting bored by those Ableton Sync-Triggered Clip-Fire videos and Artists.
    I think, one of the rules for visual performance is to make your audience realize the connection between the sound and what you are doing.

    The video just shows some abstract clip firing & FX on/off without any clue what he´s actually doing, thus I am not able to appreciate his skill or the work he put into preparing the set. It could be just fake.

  • Very cool piece indeed. Makes me want to put down my violin and dive into controllerism full-time.

    Am I right to think you could accomplish a similar performance with an APC-40?

  • first off i want to say I love this blog post (prob even more than I like the video).
    the idea that it provides "touchstones for audience members" is really key, thanks for bringing it up peter.
    I remember when I first started using monome emulators with my launchpad my flat mate was blown away by seeing that kind of visual performance. Now he was not someone out of touch (in fact he developed lots of cutting edge mobile gaming stuff), but I realised that all the videos of edison, galapagoose, et al were still pretty under the radar, they certainley weren't being picked up by the news or Kylie Minogue (the debate around their respective roles in fact dissemination can come later).

    In terms of the skill in the video itself. yes it might be quantised, yes the clips are already from well produced pieces, but c'mon, he throws it all together with some great flair, (and you could dance to the whole thing 🙂 )

    I've prepared my diving kit so that i can follow this blog as far down the drain as it goes.
    Keep it up Peter.

  • The video went viral on a popular Dutch website too. People were mostly commenting about how difficult it looks. 😉

  • Smash Hat

    Like it, nice!

  • Dave TechDiff

    I thought that was fun, saw it appear on b3ta a couple days ago, it's amazing to see how quickly things can spread. The performance is tight and well crafted, someone could just as easily mash 39 tracks together and for it to sound terrible. He's done an excellent job of combining them and structuring his performance, that's what makes it enjoyable.

     As you say, it also displays the potential for new interfaces to translate to an audience exactly what the performer is doing, which is great news. it is far easier for someone to appreciate virtuosity when there is visual evidence of it. 

    It's the combination of both, an enjoyable performance and an easily understandable technical demonstration. Some magic tricks are just as impressive after the gimmick has been revealed.

    best of luck to him, and hope you enjoy the UK Peter!

  • tastee cakes

    Neat video, good if not great execution of a 'mash-up' or 'audio-collage', skilled user of the tech, and its always interesting to see those not in the know react to how there favorite tunes of the moment are created, etc… BUT… IMHO this type of 'sound' and/or 'music' is obviously made with this type of tech. What I mean to say is that it's aesthetic is blatantly that of the technology it is made from. It reeks of a launchpad launching audio samples from Ableton Live. OR, I'm sure someone could easily create an approximation of this tune in FL, w/o the 'live' aspect. Gated samples, side compression everywhere, re-sampled, re-chopped, re-arranged, stretched, triggering synced clips…ahhh those synced clips! Lets say it again, differently: Triggering clips that are synced. Today's tech can literally allow you to program an array of pads/keys/buttons w/ corresponding 'clips' in such a manner you could let loose a Tasmanian devil on top of your controller and out comes a 'banger of a mash-up'. This is true. I myself and friends have done said set-ups (w/o the T. devil of course) and simply threw our hands/fingers sloppily across our controllers and, low-and-behold, out came a perfectly synced funky banger of a track that had enough musicality and club appeal but was entirely 'plastic' and 'pre-packaged' sounding at the same time.

    Lets not forget that the 'mash-up' has direct roots to DJ's mixing/cutting/blending 2 records together creating that '3rd' song. Does that make the 'art' of the 'mash-up' the DJ mix of our time? the zeitgeist mix? Ugh, I sure hope not. Again, IMHO, this 'mash-up' sound quickly grew tiresome for me, if not all together tired, boring, attainable, and un-original. Unfortunately, its hard to escape it these days.

  • very impressive!

    perhaps i'm a minority here, but i really enjoy pop music in addition to the super experimental stuff. It makes me really happy that this sort of technology is going more mainstream. There's no reason why musicians like this guy should be limited to the more tech-y crowd.

  • Well although i don't really dig the music showcased here, I have to reognize the care put into the performance, and the overall entertainment side. the 16th quantize is merely a technical limitation 1 bar or more long audio clips need to be quantized, because how do you correct sync once the clip is triggered? I am myself a user of launchpad as a nonome and can hardly use it any other way. However softs like mlrv2 allow to push thing further proposing to chose between quantized and non quantized audio trigger, that you can adjust to the type of sample you play.

  • this is exactly the type of videos i search for on tubes, so i'm pretty happy it gets to reach a larger audience!

  • QA

    from my perspective this video isn't worth this board. i've seen this kind of lame mashups so many times… i thought CDM was supposed to show off something original and groundbreaking ;-/

  • Whatever the discussion this is all about…this is AWESOME!

  • QA…if this is lame…than show how us.

  • …how you can do it better, that it is not lame, i meant.

  • Bella

    Pretty damn good stuff. Well done, obviously well rehearsed as well. Well, well!

  • QA

    @pulsn don't be lazy and do the search on youtube 🙂 besides, the music in this video is crap as well.. but that's a matter of taste of course

  • love it!

    "BUT… IMHO this type of ‘sound’ and/or ‘music’ is obviously made with this type of tech. What I mean to say is that it’s aesthetic is blatantly that of the technology it is made from." yeah, that always annoys me when listening to keith jarretts koeln concert. without the piano it'd be so cool. but like this, with the 88-key limit? or… wait…
    what do you suggest? aesthetics, without the burdon of its physical existence, of its tangible becoming-real-world? come on.
    i can live with comments like "i’ve seen this kind of lame mashups so many times" but not with this pseudo-intellectual disguise of goold ol resentment.

  • deb

    me, i live and work in the fairly weirdo music/new media world. and am in awe of someone who can craft a good song. and me, i liked it.

  • @QA, i did and 99% of mashups on YT are a big heap of poopoo…thats why i like this one. It´s simply well done!

  • "BUT… IMHO this type of ‘sound’ and/or ‘music’ is obviously made with this type of tech. What I mean to say is that it’s aesthetic is blatantly that of the technology it is made from."

    Isn't that one of the reasons why making new instruments is cool? We get to hear music pushed in new directions.

  • pfft, say what you want about the music but this kid got skills. technical skills perhaps but skills nonetheless. everyone can make a mashup but not everyone can make a mashup that mashes up good. also that key solo at the end pretty much sealed the deal eh.

    i didn't really think that video was exciting, nor was the music anything to my liking but i do appreciate his skills. i challenge all of you haters out there to make a better one with the same flow.
    go on, make my day.

  • QA

    @pulsn: well… check the NI Maschine videos or MPC videos which are way more advanced. of course the music is a matter of taste after all, but my point was – I come to CDM to see the new ideas, but this one is just nothing new. when i bought my launchpad 1.5 yrs ago i was digging thru launchpad resources and found way more interesting setups/templates and live performance ideas than this one is. what the guy shows here is just simple clip triggering which are probably set to legato mode and that's it. i've done the similar one about a year ago just for fun, but i wouldn't dare to upload it to youtube cause it ain't worth it for the reasons i mentioned above:)

  • Anonymous

    I think this video was amazingly done and focuses on some things that are rarely mentioned when hackers come up with new implementations for devices like the launchpad. The launchpad has been part of my rig for close to a year now, and as I try out different patches, like Stretta's m4l suite, or the aurex sequencers, I realize how valuable they are for production purposes, but how impractical they are in a live setting. Kudos to Madeon for finding an expressive and intelligent way to use the launchpad in a Dj set (keyword here… at one point people actually APPRECIATED this art-form), rather than just using it to cue beat-matched tracks.

    @QA, how about you SHOW us a better way to do this? I know plenty of the guys who made the patches you're talking about and they would appreciate this just as much as I did.

    Also, @Peter, your analysis is always thorough and hands-on. Thanks for the hard work and time you put forth each week, I'll def follow you down the drain. If Prince was right the whole internet will be down the drain in 2 years anyways, so why sweat it?

  • theo den brinker

    I thought it was well executed video. 

    @Tastee cakes et al who dismiss the video – give us your video and music links and let us judge who does the better work.

  • hater

    mainsteam shit is mainstream…

    I'm always surprise about how "digital" musicians are amazed about low technical skills on some fancy gadjets.

    This is McDonalds of music.

    And now, something different :&nbsp ;

  • strunkdts


  • Steve Angstrom

    I don't think the point of this article is "listen to this mashup. it's amazing!"
    The point of this article is "the general public are just now digging this, let's think about that".  Or, forget the musical merit aspect – let's examine how the current electronic music and performance technology is perceived outside our community. in short: the general public admire our modern blinky button toys, it seems cooler than a keytar.  So: Result. 

    It seems many commenters here are focusing on the musical merit. Which is missing the point really. 
    Meanwhile, I am taking point-missing to a whole other level. 

  • troll

    this is not cooler than a keytar :&nbsp ;

  • QA

    @Anonymous: said it before and gonna say it again – this shows nothing new. And it's not about ME showing you something better. Maybe I can't do any better after all. But I've seen THIS and way better than this more than a year ago, so once again – it's nothing new and doesn't belong here imo. But if you wanna see what's worth – there's tons, just use your time and common sense using youtube search 🙂 and only because general public is DIGGING this video doesn't mean it's worth talking about, i'm not gonna mention you loads of crap general public is digging too and which doesn't eventually end up on this blog hence why i like CDM for being unique and not being a time waste.. but this one, come on..

  • Leslie

    That was absolutely mind blowing video…
    Simply brilliant 🙂

  • Jan G

    I'm really sick of this "oh no this is not creative" talk of some trolls. As soon as something reaches many people and becomes popular there is always an army of trolls (not lovers) who has nothing better to do than talking that down. To quote a collegue of mine: "This are people who never had one tracks in the charts – I hardly believe that they EVER finished any track , because they don't have the time to – cos their spamming forums with shit all the time."
    What this young boy achieved is awesome and transports the feeling that music is fun. This reaches many people and so it becomes popular. All his songs show a creative level and level of detail I haven't heard in most productions in the past. Keep on, Madeon!

  • I agree with Jan G.  Digital Music really isn't about who's the best musician.  It's about the sonic works resultant of ones use of a given  technology.  If you wan't to make great immortal works of art to last throughout the ages, you should probably take up acoustic instruments and impregnate your works with your own personal human experience.  

    As far as digital music goes, it's often the non-conventional-musician types who produce the most interesting electronic music.  For example Aphex Twin and Autechre.  As far as I know, these guys don't play conventional instruments; however their sonic expressions in a class all their own.  In other words non-musicians often make really good digital expressions.  In the end, it's all music.  All music is noise to some extent.  

  • tastee cakes

    @rosa Your comment proves your comment's point. Well done. I in no way resent the video or the maker or the music. I simply DO NOT like it, and gave a fairly simple reason as to why. You can spout your Keith Jarret argument all you want and replace him with any other awesome musician who uses and is known for a specific instrument and playing style. Who's getting pseudo-intellectual? What, you mad? Mad that I don't fall in line with most people on this thread/board? Does everyone have to stroke each others egos here? No. I gave the dude props right off the bat, he has some obvious musicality and musical inclinations, i.e sense of rhythm, timing, some creativity composition and performance of course. I never said I made anything 'better' either, just that I have made quite similar sounds in a different, albeit easy even random manner. Honestly rosa, I can live with most comments, but you obviously are scraping the insides of your noggin trying to figure out what I clearly and concisely laid out as my opinion. Posting a link to 'High Fidelity'? ..face paaaaaaaaalllllllmmmmmm! Ugh… I hope you know you're just a part of that 'scene' if you think I am. Let me try to be a little less 'fake-smart' with you: its a fact, music tech (hardware and software) is making it far too easy for anyone (musicians and non-musicians alike) to make 'music'. My main discussion was about the 'mash-up' aesthetic: its sound, how it directly relates to teh tech making it, how it is fast becoming homogenized, and how it is replacing (not truly evolving) the art of DJ'ing. Now let me get my smoking jacket on, as I'm hosting a MENSA get together tonight.

  • I love this. It's fun to watch but I also enjoy just listening to it and wish there was a high-quality version I could download. I have a launchpad and it's not easy making it sound the way Madeon does.
    BTW I'm pretty sure it's set on 8th note quantize, not 16th note, or the BPM would have to be really slow.

  • L0g1c

    This mashup is awesome! i just want to point out that although the idea of launching the clips like he is, is pretty basic, the actual mashup designed by him is extremely structured. The kids name is Madeon (that's also his stage name), hes 17 and he also makes original music, which is being recognized by some of the most famous performers in digital music and beyond! 

  • Although a fan of his music, never knew that Madeon was a “Youtube Star”.  

  • Although a fan of his music, never knew that Madeon was a “Youtube Star”.  

  • Although a fan of his music, never knew that Madeon was a “Youtube Star”.