Here are the best new features in Ableton Live 9.5 [Videos]

The new Push hardware may have been the big, new shiny from Ableton this week. But for Live users, the software changes in 9.5 may have the greatest impact on day-to-day music-making life. Live 9.5 has arrived as a free upgrade for Live 9 users. The biggest change is the new Simpler, but some other additions and changes are significant, too. Here’s a look at what’s new and how to take advantage of some of 9.5’s less-obvious capabilities.

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Ableton Push 2 Hands-on Review

The new Ableton Push is here. From a distance, it looks like the same rectangular grid with some color screens. But using it person is an entirely different experience. We’ve gotten to spend an extended time with the new Push, so we can let you know what that’s like. Here’s the simplest way to put it: Ableton has kept the same basic layout and form factor of the original, yet somehow made every single detail better. From hardware refinement to software integration and functionality, everything feels like 2.0. Ableton repeated that they’ve completely re-engineered Push themselves. But even if they …


Exclusive Hands-on with Komplete Kontrol S25 Keyboard [Pictures, In-Depth]

That NI is making a keyboard to provide access to its Komplete line of production tools should surprise no one. And not just because of numerous leaks – it’s the next logical step for the Berlin software developer. After all, NI has an entire line of hardware that makes access to Traktor easier for DJing. And it developed Maschine, a software tool that from the beginning was built to facilitate hybrid hardware/software workflows. The thinking is simple: computer software offers terrific versatility, but when it comes time to actually explore sounds and play, you want knobs and faders and buttons …


In a Holiday Greeting, Digital Animators Turn Back to Folding Paper – and Vintage HBO

Holiday Card from Shilo on Vimeo. If hearing the tune from the vintage HBO intro/bump doesn’t send a little nostalgic chill down your spine, you probably didn’t grow up in the US in the 1980s. Looking back at this old animation earlier this year, I was struck by the old way of making motion graphics. As dramatic music swells in the background, the camera pulls back, sweeping theatrically over an intricate set of the American landscape as the sun casts its final light. It’s all shot real-for-real, real models, real, physical details, all with the kind of physicality that digital …


QuNexus: Slim, Expressive Keyboard in Exclusive Hands-on CDM Review ($150 Street)

Computers and other electronic hardware can be anything as an instrument. But that means you may need something different when it comes time to play them. The first thing to say about QuNexus is that it isn’t a piano. But the first thing to say about pianos is that they’re not at all portable – and they are built for striking strings rather than playing synths. Think instead of QuNexus a super-portable controller for a variety of uses, with added sensors for expression. It’s a hybrid input controller that values expression and mobility above all else. Keith McMillen gave CDM …


Tested: MS-20 Mini versus Original MS-20, in the Studio [Discussion, Audio, Photos]

MS-20 mini, on the left, next to the original, on the right. Photos: Peter Kirn and Benjamin Weiss for CDM and DE:BUG. It’s the news collectors of vintage synths on eBay probably didn’t want to hear. For $599, Korg has made a new MS-20 that the company says has “perfectly reproduced its circuitry” for an “authentic” sound. You can read our full review of the MS-20 mini, and watch a video, whether or not you’ve ever used the original. But if you are curious how a new MS-20 mini stacks up against the vintage MS-20, we hauled both into the …


Tracks of the Moment: Matthew Dear “Her Fantasy,” “Crimewaves” Demand Your Attention

Actually, with this image, I should have made the headline “your attention is kindly requested.” The singer/producer in the UK in 2010. Photo (CC-BY-ND) blikeng – Magnus Aske Blikeng. It’s my belief that Matthew Dear is truly the electronic trouvère of this generation. Beams, from the Ghostly label he helped establish, isn’t due until the 27th of August. But “Her Fantasy” is enough to make you prick an ear up. His rough-velvet voice surfing a thickly-layered electronic groove, the track channels Brian Eno’s collaborations with David Byrne, from the calculated electronic ostinati to the self-aware, quirky, hyperreal-punk poetry and vocal …


Journey Game Out Today; Designing Feeling, Timeless Design

“Can a game move me?” That’s the deceptively-simple quandary posed by producer Robin Hunicke of thatgamecompany on the eve of the release of their new PS3 title, Journey. But it’s a serious question, one that lies at the heart of all we do in creating digital music and motion. I often have conversations with other makers about whether the ephemeral aesthetic objects of our creative output are meaningful. To put it more bluntly: are we actually doing something productive with our lives? (Oh, admit it. The question must have occurred to you now and then.) But this idea of transforming …


A Massive Bundle of Game Music, the Magical Machinarium Score, and the Quiet Indie Music Revolution

As musical old-timers repeatedly sing the sad song of the supposed demise of the full-length album, a funny thing has happened. Lovers of games have taken up a growing passion for game music, and in particular the indie score for indie games. Independent game publishing and independent music composition – from truly unsigned, unknown artists – go hand in hand. Indeed, the download and purchase charts on Bandcamp are often dominated by game scores. Fueled by word-of-mouth, these go viral in enthusiast communities largely ignored by either music or game reportage. Far from the big-budget blockbuster war game, these scores …


Intricacy, Organic Form, and Perception Games: Jennifer Steinkamp's 3D Animations

Steinkamp’s organic 3D projections, up close, as constructed in pixels. Image (CC-BY) Mike Linksvayer. Visualist/VJ and motion graphics artist Annapurna returns to CDM – see her kick-off post in which she talks about her own work. In a medium where too often people are interested only in the newest thing, the latest Vimeo upload, devoid of any history, Annapurna returns to some artists whose greater body of work has contributed to the scene over a period of years. Jennifer Steinkamp’s designs are a reminder of the longevity of digital motion, and the potential for lasting impact. -Ed. Jennifer Steinkamp is …