Hands-on with Livid Base Controller, and Streamlined Control of Ableton Live [Musikmesse]

One highlight of Musikmesse for me was getting to catch up with Jay Smith of Livid Instruments. Base, their touch controller (grid plus touch strips), is even more appealing in person than online. And it seems like it could really sit in a niche in controllers, even with lots of grids out there these days. By comparison, Novation’s new Launchpad S, while much cheaper, lacks pressure sensitivity. And Ableton’s Push also leaves plenty of room for Base. Push I still think is a terrific controller, even as it has some growing pains with its initial launch – I’ve had some …


Grids for Visuals: OhmRGB, Block Meet Vdmx, More Options from Livid

Livid Instruments is now best known as a “music” controller maker, but the DNA of the company comes from live visuals. Accordingly, the OhmRGB looks a bit like a visual controller – banks of faders on the left and right of a grid, crossfader, and groups of parameter controls all give you a hint that you might use this for two-channel visuals. The makers of Vdmx have a terrific, detailed tutorial on mapping OhmRGB to their popular semi-modular Mac visual software. Two Channel Video Mixer template for Livid OhmRGB Slim It’s just a test, but there’s also some wonderful mayhem …


Spray Cans and Beamers: Urban Projection Mixes Pixels, Live Mural Painting

Stylus – Episode #1: Projection Mural from Urban Projections on Vimeo. The movement forward in projection isn’t so much about projection mapping in the geometric sense as it is a chance to find a new materiality for digital imagery. In this work, the artists blend pixels and paint so that the different media can coexist. In a beautifully-documented project, Rebecca Smith and Pete Barber show off their technique for mixing live mural painting with projection and – via stylus – “digital drawing.” Thanks, Bec, for sending this info CDM. The artists, based in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire [UK], write: S T Y …


Connect Four: 4 Decks, 4 FX Units, Advanced Traktor Mapping [Video]

DJ tool makers keep working on integrated hardware/software solutions – as they should. But meanwhile, creative DJs and hackers keep rolling their own, personal solutions – as they absolutely should. Here’s one of the latest in action. Stewe on the DJ TechTools forums rigs a four-deck, four-effect mapping for the CNTRL:R, the Livid Instruments-Richie Hawtin collaboration. It makes for some intelligent, performative DJ setups here – and four of each, to me, is often more than enough musical elements to get creative. (One might argue that not only about DJing, but live electronic musical elements in general. There’s something about …


Faders, Pads, Knobs: Livid’s Alias 8 is a Bread-and-Butter Controller With Things You Actually Want

As controllers get wild and creative and integrated with software, here’s one that might be simple and versatile enough to work with anything for some time. Photos courtesy Livid Instruments. Finally: a boring controller. No, that’s a good thing. We’re in an amazing era of controller hardware, witnessing an explosion of kit with fancy features, tight integration with software, and slick oceans of colored LEDs packed with sophisticated sensors. Only… wait a minute. Sometimes, you want something fairly generic that maps easily to a variety of software, not just the new Abletive Tracktletron DJ Studio Pro Scratchly Edition. Something with …

Crafted from aluminum, this DIY controller puts some of the store-bought options to shame. Photo by the creator, Adam Dzak.

DIY Maven: Apollo 13 is a Beautiful, Handmade Aluminum Ableton Live Controller

Years ago, when the phrase “controllerism” was still yet-to-be-coined and there was no official hardware for Ableton Live, DJ Sasha had one hell of a custom piece of kit. The Maven featured oversize, hard-to-disconnect plugs and beautiful metal hardware. Years later, it’d still make any Ableton user drool. What’s a Live user to do? Stop drooling, and start building. DIYer and musician Adam Dzak did just that. He created his own MIDI controller, constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum, and used Ableton Live scripting to tailor control to software. The result is something a bit like the APC40 made by Ableton and …

Control from your [Livid] Code, without [writing] code. And that's an excuse to show this beautiful custom Livid Code controller, one of a number of devices from Akai, Livid, and Korg supported with this powerful tool.

A Controllerist Dream Come True: Custom Mappings in Ableton Live, Without Code

You’re not other people. You want things your way, right away. You might not want to buy a new controller for each piece of software, or, worse, the latest controller that purports to control said software, and then live with the particular way in which the two integrate. You want things to work the way you want things to work, darnit. Hidden in the depths of Ableton Live, MIDI Remote Scripts have for some time allowed you to map controllers to software functions. Now, you could do fancy things with Max for Live, but that means, first, buying Max for …

Can make the biggest acts' live shows tick - but can also rock a live performance like she's just landed from a flying saucer. Check. Laura Escudé, achieving superhuman levels of music-technological knowhow, can still share what she's learned with us Earthlings.

Live Music Tools at the Bleeding Edge: Laura Escudé, From Herbie Hancock Collabs to Solo (Live Berlin, Sat)

It’s one thing to talk about tools. It’s quite another to put them into action, to make them withstand the rigors of creative process and idiosyncracy, let alone the torture test of touring. Laura Escudé is as deep in the trenches, on a day-to-day basis, as just about anyone on the planet. The music tech guru has worked with some of the world’s best-known artists, bending technology to their imaginative desires and world-trotting live shows. (Think Herbie Hancock, Bon Iver, and Cirque du Soleil, among others.) But she’s still found time to develop her own, unique sonic voice and live …


Mixing Knobs with iPad Touch: Liine Griid + Livid Code Now Available (and Core MIDI for Griid, Too)

Users of Ableton Live, among other tools, have a dilemma. A touch display like the iPad is really good at simple triggering and interactive displays – navigating Live’s grid of clips, for instance. It gives you visual feedback without having to hunch behind your laptop, and it makes seeing (and touching) clips far easier. But it gets fairly clumsy when it comes to manipulating mixer levels and effects: there’s no physical feedback for what you’re doing, and it’s too easy accidentally jump between values or bump the wrong mixer channel. Physical knobs and other controls are perfect for mixing and …


If I Only Had a Brain: Livid Builder Brain v2 Could Be Heart of Your Next DIY Project

If you’re dreaming of creating your own controller from scratch, there are certain basic elements you’ll need – and a strong case for reusing, not reinventing, the wheel. There are a range of products out there that cater to you DIYers; Livid’s Builder line is certainly one of the most comprehensive. It’s a line of hardware accessories that help you piece together MIDI controllers with all the requisite knobs and buttons and sensors you might like, and its brain just got an upgrade. The soul of any controller is the electronics and microcontroller that read all of those inputs and …