You’re probably so used to sync being broken that the first time you see Link, you might not believe what’s happening. Link began its life as a research project and has turned into a full-fledged product from Ableton. But unlike Push or Live, Link itself isn’t something you buy. Instead, it’ll be built into software you use, and unlock seemingly magical wireless (or wired) sync. The upshot: the electronic jam session is about to get a whole lot easier. And with a beta out today, that’s not some unknown future. It’s right now.
iMaschine, the iOS drum machine, is back in a new version. Now in mini, pocket-able form, you get arrangement and live play features from the desktop edition. For iPhone 6s/6s Plus owners, it also responds to 3D touch. I always keep sketchpads around – literal sketchpads, of the pencil and paper variety. So when software is described as a “sketchpad,” I take that seriously.
Whatever identity crisis and legal wrangling may be going on at SoundCloud at the moment, the site’s DNA is all about creation. That’s where the site came from – initially, with labels and producers as a way of sending around tracks – and it remains the strong point. SoundCloud is the operating system for music sharing and discovery for creators much in the way Facebook is the OS for social interaction and YouTube for video. Of course, lately, SoundCloud has largely been in the headlines for “hey, my account was taken down for posting mixes” or “PRS wants royalty payments.” …
Ableton isn’t a company with product news every other month, preferring to wait for more occasional, big announcements. Well, last night brought a big slew of big announcements. Walking distance from legendary Berlin clubs Berghain, Tresor, Watergate, and Kater Blau, a select auditorium of attendees to Loop were treated to a string of news, keynote style. You’ve probably already heard about new Push 2 hardware and Ableton Live 9.5, but there were a number of revelations to go along with those headlines. You might even soon be trading in your Push for kids or jamming wirelessly with friends – really.
The iPad has matured into a serious musical instrument and production tool. So it only makes sense to give it a serious audio interface. Now you can add to the list of candidates MOTU’s MicroBook IIc. MOTU announced this week their mobile interface is class-compliant, which means you can use it with the iPad. Since powering an audio interface would drain the iPad’s battery, you’ll instead connect this device via USB and the anachronistically-named Camera Connection Kit adapter, then use the AC power adapter in the box for juice. (It’s bus-powered on other devices.)
touchAble remains the deepest touch controller for Ableton Live – or anything else – on iOS. And now it’s on a bargain sale, withs some new features, too.
I have two words for you: multiple playheads. Oh sure, you’ve got your piano rolls and your step sequencers and your arpeggiators. But can you roll like Johann Sebastian (or Arnold… as in Schoenberg)? Can you take a single melody, and make more complex patterns by echoing them, turning them upside down? That’s the idea behind Fugue Machine.
Jamming: the idea is to make music by connecting directly to gestures so you make something spontaneous. And if music technology is jam session friendly, this finally means you can do it together – not just alone.
The iPad isn’t just a gadget any more. There’s now enough of an app ecosystem that investing in an iPad is investing in a creative platform that turns into lots of other things. That is, it really is like another computer. For music, that means a lot. An iPad is a drum machine, or a vocal processor. It’s a practice aid, a simulated guitar amp. It’s an extension of your desktop music software, too, whether controlling instruments and transport in Logic or live sets in Ableton. It’s a DJ tool. Of course, the same is true of a computer. And …
The music industry is fantastic at hindsight. We’ve obsessed over the spread of online piracy, the death of the CD, then the impact of streams. But every measure of the business model is somehow framed around acquiring records. And it’s about passive consumption. We have to remember, though, that passive consumption is itself really the outlier. Until the dawn of recording, music only existed when you played it. Our current copyright and licensing system was first structured around sheet music. And that world never went away. Precise recordings can give you the experience of listening, but no technology can give …