Ableton Does an Event: Loop to be “Summit for Music Makers”

They moved from one flagship software product to adding one piece of flagship hardware. Now there’s a flagship event, too. It’s called “Loop,” and it will be held 30 October – 1 November in Ableton’s headquarter city of Berlin. It’s clearly in part a summit for the Ableton Live community. But just as their recent book covered the creative process rather than Live per se, the event is pitched a convergence of creativity and technology generally. It’s not just talks or demos, either. The event organizers are combining hands-on workshops and invites educators. There’s also a collaboration with CTM Festival …


Get Inspired with Excerpts of Ableton’s Making Music Book

Following our interview with author Dennis DeSantis, we can start your weekend with some sage advice from his book Making Music. While published by Ableton, this isn’t an Ableton book. It lies as the boundary of software and music, at the contact points of creativity in the tool. For a CDM exclusive excerpt, I wanted to highlight two chapters. One deals with the question of how to overcome default settings – this cries out as almost a public service announcement for people making 120 bpm 4/4 tunes because that’s what pops up when you start a new project in Live …


Non-Oblique Strategies: Author on the Discipline of Making Music

The blank screen. The half-finished project. The project that wants to be done. We talk a lot about machines and plug-ins, dials and patch cords, tools and techniques. But the reality is, the most essential moments of the process go beyond that. They’re the moments when we switch on that central technology of our brain and creativity. And, very often, they crash and require a restart. So it’s about time to start talking about the process of how we make music – even more so when that process is in some sense inseparable from the technology we use, whether the …

Been there. The artist Dillon, working magic on the studio and stage - but finding her muse in bed and beta waves, half-asleep with no one else around.

Writing Music When You’re Vulnerable: Dillon on Finding Creativity in the Middle of the Night

Electronic music has become associated with over-the-top lyrics, the plastic veneer of party-time superficiality. But in any medium, some people are writing from the heart, and that can obscure a simple reality: writing from your most vulnerable places can be hard. Whatever your music-making medium of choice, you may resonate with artist Dominique Dillon de Byington – born in Brazil, raised in Germany, now goes by the simpler Dillon. Berlin-based, English-language Electronic Beats has taken their superb video series Slices from a hard-to-locate DVD to the mass audience of YouTube, and shorts like this demonstrate why that’s good news. Dillon …


Experimental Printing in Aspirin and Tobacco, and the Narrative of Substances

REIGN OF ART – Stefan Guzy / Bj√∂rn Wiede – english subtitles from Kings&Kongs on Vimeo. It’s decidedly non-digital inspiration – but serious inspiration. Finding the “narrative of substances,” this film reveals the new, experimental approach to materials. It’s a sense perhaps born in the digital age of hybrid forms and endless possibilities on virtual canvases. It’s also reborn in the return to materials you can touch with your fingers directly. And then you’re suddenly printing with aspirin, tobacco, fat, ash… In Deutsch but subtitled in English, online video short series “REIGN OF ART” visits experimental printers Stefan Guzy and …


Show Us Your Home Studio, Workspace – or Closet; For Dolby, It’s a Boat

A little stretch of desk, a couple of monitors, and a copy of the free and open source DAW Ardour running on Linux, (CC-BY) wstryder / Lauri Rantala. (Note: this is presumably Lauri’s studio, and is certainly not mine, seeing as I can’t play the guitar, and thus recording the results of me playing a guitar would be somewhat less than fruitful!) I’m done with posting for this week as it’s time to overhaul my (very, very humble) apartment studio space and gear closet. But that seems the perfect time to ask you how you set up your musical workspace. …


Brains, Computers, Focus: How Do You Stay Productively Creative?

The original pomodoro. Photo (CC-BY-SA) borgmarc. For an artist, being productive and being happy are often closely intertwined. Whether you’re polishing off an album, practicing your instrument, patching or coding a new musical tool, or managing your career, music requires immense levels of focus and discipline. Then there’s the matter of the stuff that tends to be an obstacle: your day job, your to-do list, your taxes. Most musicians aren’t full-time, but even if you are, sometimes the greatest challenge is simply hurdling everything that isn’t your music, leaving you time for what is. Digital technology is naturally the bread …


Low-Budget, High-Creativity Tribute: Star Wars Uncut From 15-Second Fan-Made Clips

If it’s not already “viral”, I’m sure it will be soon. Less than a year ago, Casey Pugh – then a developer at Vimeo – invited people to join him in remaking Star Wars, 15 seconds at a time. The final scene was completed on the 25th of February, and they’ve just released “The Escape”, a teaser from the project. Star Wars Uncut “The Escape” from Casey Pugh on Vimeo. This has so much awesomeness going on, I just don’t know where to start. There’s so much inventiveness, creativity, and pure fun displayed in this trailer, I can’t wait to …


Imogen Heap on Twitter: Real-Time, Real-World Creative Process

Photo: Lee Jordan. Speaking as a sometimes-music-journalist, I’ve always had the sneaking suspicion that we were all part of a vast conspiracy. Our job can become wrapping big-name artists into a polished, glamorous narrative. There are small nods to humanizing them, of course, but the message can quickly become: this person is special and different from you, this is the person you should want to be or want to consume, and as a result you’ll buy our magazine. I’ve never believed that myself, and I do believe a lot of great music writing is something very different, but there’s always …


noatikl: New Generative Music Engine, So You Can Rock Out Like Eno

Soundscape #1 from Umcorps on Vimeo. Tired of waiting for Spore, the upcoming Will Wright game that will feature organic, generative music by musical legend Brian Eno instead of … looping … the same 8 bars of audio … over and over again? Want to explore your own oblique strategies in music making and create evolving generative compositions? noatikl could be for you. Co-creator Pete Cole, who evidently found us by googling Eno, wrote us last week with the details: intermorphic (http://www.intermorphic.com) yesterday launched the noatikl generative music engine. You can think of noatikl as a "spiritual successor" to the …