It’s the future – this time, for real. Yes, today, the 21st of October 2015, is the destination “future” in the Back to the Future movies. (Photoshopping created some false alarms on other dates.)

And that’s time to look back. Ha, remember 1985? An arcane format called “MIDI” was king. (Kids, ask your parents.) The big synthesizers came from Roland, KORG, Moog, and Yamaha. The most sought-after computer was from a company called Apple. People made electro and dance music hits using mono, analog synthesizers and and digital pads and samples and deep basslines, sought after the creations of the likes of Roger Linn and Dave Smith. You could buy a drum machine like the 808, or a bass synth like the 303, and dance in colorful Nike and Adidas outfits, and …

Okay, that was weird. Uh. Yeah. So, uh, anyway, I guess it’s actually “2015” that hasn’t aged well, not 1985 – but I digress. (Though we do kinda sorta have those hoverboards now.)

Anyway, one thing 2015 does have that would impress 1985 kids of course is Ableton Live and Live plug-ins. And that means some clever person – intrepid Max for Live developer Yehezkel Raz – has taken advantage of 10/21/15 to build a genuinely useful plug-in.


No, this isn’t just a DeLorean dashboard time machine mock-up that shouts Doc Brown quotes at you. It’s an actual effect.

Set it to 1985, and you get analog VHS-style warble and hiss, like you recorded your Ableton session over some recordings of Knight Rider and Fraggle Rock.

Set it to 1955, and you get that essential warm vinyl sound.

Check the video for more; I’m still waiting on the finished plug-in.

You can pre-order it for any “fair” price. If you’re Marty, that will hopefully be a few bucks to support the developer and make future timelines nice and rosy. If you’re Biff, of course, you’ll just specify “$0” and then threaten to beat me up if I don’t talk to my friends at Ableton about getting you a free NFR license of Live 9 Suite. Nerds.