Maschine’s Audio module has arrived, with looping and time stretching. And that makes the perfect time to look at some new ways of playing Maschine.
Meet the Audio device
Maschine has had a year full of growth – new features, new ways of working from the community. As of Friday (well, after some glitches with the update server), that also includes an update that delivers a feature Maschine users have been asking about the longest: pitch-independent time stretching and looping. (2.7 added this on Friday; 2.7.1 is current as of the weekend and has some additional fixes.)
Time stretching was already available offline, but now you can do it interactively in real-time – which is great for jamming and performance and more fluid workflows. The specific implementation here in Maschine is also unlike what we’ve seen elsewhere; it’s very, for lack of a better word, Maschine-ish.
The bad news is, this isn’t integrated with Maschine’s existing Sampler module. The good news, perhaps, is that this means the new module is focused on its own set of functionality, and won’t disrupt what’s already there. (I’m going to play around with it a while longer to reach my own conclusions on how I feel about this decision, but it certainly does keep each module cleaner and simpler.)
Here’s a great demonstration of how that Audio Module works:
(Ha, that musical example is a bit wacky, but… you can of course apply this to whatever music or genre you want; I’ve done some really experimental stuff on Maschine that I suspect no one would guess was that tool)
Plus new scales
Also in this release: you get all the custom scales that had previously been available in Kontakt, for more exotic melodic constructions! That’s a must, too, on the 4×4 pad grid, since it’s easier to map scales in advance than to only work chromatically.
Workflow with Maschine, Maschine Jam: Videos
I’ve seen a lot of people posting the sentiment lately that music making isn’t just about updating to the latest-and-greatest — and I certainly agree with that, that’s fair. But some updates do come from real user needs and remove technological barriers to things you want to do.
On the human side of the equation, of course, you’ve got all the ways people pick up an instrument and make it their own. And the Maschine community this year has been astounding – all the reviewers, users, experts, trainers, and yes even the Maschine team themselves.
From the same creator as the video above (“loopop”), here’s a unique take on how to use Maschine Jam, the clip launching grid + touch fader hardware for Maschine, alongside the traditional Maschine hardware. He takes on Jam as a “virtual conductor,” a mixer for different parts, and even an easy way to strum instruments. It’s a reminder that it’s best to think of Maschine as a live interface, not something specific to a particular genre. And the result is something different than what I’ve seen from other interfaces (like Abletoh Push), demonstrating how many different directions live interfaces for computers can go.
Maschine has also worked well as a hub for other instruments – hardware and software alike. It can be a trigger for snapshots in Reaktor, as we saw in our run-down of Belief Defect. (I’m reprogramming my own Reaktor-based setup, so I’ll do a more complete tutorial soon.)
And you can use snapshots and morphing with hardware, as loopop shows in this video. This was initially a Jam feature, but it has extended to other hardware controller.
(I just played right before Grebenstein Friday night, and he was using a Maschine MK1 alongside the Vermona as his live rig, so more possibilities with this setup. It blew me away; it was really tight.)
This next example is worth another story on itself – I’m a huge fan of Reactable’s recent, overlooked apps for sequencing and drum pattern creation. The latter, SNAP, has integration with Maschine Jam. The upshot: instead of repeating the same old loop over and over and over and now I’m bored, you can work in a fluid, live way to create more human, varying patterns. Watch – the Jam stuff kicks in part of the way through:
Stepping outside of one genre can often help you to better understand techniques and musicality. So here’s DDS with a great series on Maschine from the perspective of a hip-hop producer. (If you make hip hop-influenced music, that’s already relevant – but even if not, listen to the producers of the genre that gave you so much of how we think about this hardware in the first place!)
Finally, worth a read:
If you have more tips / tutorials or videos to share, send them in and I’ll update the article here.
And in the interest of fairness, we’ll have a bit more on the Akai side of the equation shortly, too; it’s also been a good year for the rival MPC.