30 Days of Free Ableton Push Tutorial Videos, Now Also Downloadable

Ableton’s Push really is growing on me; it’s astounding to have lots of the working methods from software integrated on a piece of hardware, in pads and buttons and knobs. But because it does so much, because it’s open to so many tasks, it isn’t something that reveals itself in just a day. From mapping harmonies across the pads to understanding every last edit workflow, it takes some time. Josh Weatherspoon took an interesting approach this summer and spent 30 days both teaching himself to better use the hardware, and sharing techniques one at a time, for free, on YouTube. …

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Stirring Solo Vocal + Ableton Push: Thomas Piper, Live at Webster Hall

If the computer can do one thing, it is to vastly expand what a single musician can do live. Whether you rise to that challenge has everything to do with who you are as an individual musician. It’s about the person as much as the machine. Thomas Piper, Jr. is at his absolute best in a soulful, no-holds-barred, energetic performance New York’s famed Webster Hall. (His son Zion, by the way, is also terrifically talented.) Here, his vocal is front and center far more than the computer, but the digital instrument also supports what he’s doing. At the Kompakt pop-up …

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What’s in the Ableton Live 9.1 Public Beta, How to Get It

We broke the news of the headline Live 9.1 features – dual monitor support, melodic sequencing and automation step sequencing on Push, and high-quality sample rate conversion. CDM may have had the exclusive on this, but it was still surprising to see a point release attract so many readers. The lesson seems clear: a targeted update with features requested by users can be as welcome – or even more welcome – than a big, paid update. Smaller developers have done those sorts of updates for some time (Reaper comes to mind), but perhaps it’s a lesson bigger players can apply. …

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Interview: Sheffield’s The Black Dog Branch into Controllers, With Crowd-Funded Gear

The Black Dog are titans of experimental techno and house, with a long record to match. (We reviewed – and praised – their latest album, Tranklements.) But you may not associate them with manufacturing hardware. As the landscape of crowd-funded music hardware grows, though, that’s exactly the venture they’re now willing to take, as the members of that group co-found a new, England-based manufacturing company dubbed Machinewerks. And the results so far already give insights into what they value in controller design and how they use those controllers in their music. They’re now well on their way to funding a …

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Novation Releases $99 Launchpad Mini Grid, $99 Triggers and Knobs [iOS, Mac, PC]

Here’s this week’s theme from Novation, in a nutshell: Stuff that costs US$99 (street). Stuff that’s ultra-mobile/portable. Stuff that works with Mac, PC, and iPad. CDM readers already worked out that they weren’t done, watching the video for the $99 Launchkey mini keyboard, which also fits this theme and combines pads, knobs, and keys. Looking closely at the video, you nailed one of the product releases: a smaller version of the Launchpad grid controller, the product that perhaps more than any other popularized grids in the mass market. (Outside the mass market, that honor surely goes to the monome.) So, …

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Live 9.1 Preview: Dual Monitors, More Push Sequencing, High-Quality Sample Rate Conversion

In the midst of a pop-up week of events held with Köln’s Kompakt Records, Ableton has offered a surprise peek into what’s coming soon to Live. 9.1 is a free update for all users, adding some widely-requested features. There’s no release date yet – we’re awaiting a more formal announcement with details soon – but we have gotten a look at what’s in store. Ableton’s Dennis DeSantis gave attendees a demo of three upcoming features: 1. Dual-monitor support, finally allowing you to see Arrangement and Session Views side by side 2. More functionality in Push, including step sequencing of melodies …

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Bitwig Watch: Endless, Open Modulation; Grid Control; Sounds from Thavius Beck

Yes, you have our attention. LF-Ogling this one could raise an eyebrow or two. We’ve been waiting for Bitwig betas to start to look like something that’s ready to use, and for Bitwig Studio to start to set itself apart from a certain, popular live performance / clip-launching DAW that’s made a few blocks away in Berlin. (Cough.) But at last, it looks like that wait is over. Bitwig is performing tricks we haven’t really seen in this sort of tool before – and the complaints we’re hearing most from the ever-ornery Internet crowd has changed from “been there, done …

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Grid Tricks: Japan and Jeremy Ellis Show Us How Maschine, MPC Can Be An Instrument

They’re two alternative universes with musical wonders in them, places we wish we could live. They both begin with the letter ‘J.’ One is Japan; one is … Jeremy Ellis. Each might as well be their own wonderful planet. In this case, each is also promoting Native Instruments’ Maschine hardware/software combo, but they’re doing it in a way that’s musically meaningful. First, let’s talk about Japan. The problem with many artist promos for music products is that they tend to trade on celebrity, bringing all the depth of sports stars endorsing a brand of sneakers. But I was glad to …

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Grid Tricks: How Launchpad S Differs, Emulate Push with Launchpad, 11 Launchpad Display, More

Life on the grid gets better and better. Yes, these blinky, lighty arrays of squares do continue to proliferate. But musicians are also hacking away to make them more useful. And they do that with perhaps nothing as much as the Novation Launchpad, a kind of workhorse of the grid world. While one of the simpler grid controllers available, Novation’s hardware is also uniquely affordable – and uniquely rugged, standing up to plenty of abuse. Here, we get to see how the Launchpad S differs from the original, how both Launchpads can emulate Ableton’s flashy-new Push, and what happens when …

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Grid Tricks: Mega-Bass 2020, Delicious Live Performance Groovebox [Launchpad + Reaktor]

Mega-Bass 2020 – Teaser Performance from Icebreaker Audio on Vimeo. Look through that VHS fuzz, and listen as a Casio VL-Tone and synth go ultra-retro – they even play a cover of Jan Hammer. But that’s not what this story is about. This story is about using more simple grid techniques to create something that lets you improvise using your hands, to play music freely without looking at the screen. And Mega-Bass 2020, while still building on the grid ideas of monome et al, is a very sharp user-created marriage of software and hardware. With electric-pink and grape-on-gray retro graphics, …

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