Grid Machine Slice: Custom Kontakt Sample Library, Gone Mad

I tend to tune out when it comes to sample libraries, but here’s one that takes the scripting capabilities of Native Instruments’ Kontakt sampler to extremes. The Grid Machine line developed by Lindon Parker (Channel Robot) and distributed by LoopMasters brings to Kontakt the sort of grid-based, sliced-up sample manipulation we’ve seen in the monome community and in custom tools in environments like Ableton Live and Renoise. Using KSP, the scripting environment in Kontakt, these produce entirely-custom instruments that cut, chop, stutter, reverse, mix, trigger, sub-loop, re-trigger, and modulate. You can change speed, mute, skip, reorder, and play patterns, and …

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MachFive 3, in Pictures: Hybrid Sonic Powers, Nerdy Programming Features, and Prettiest Sampler Yet?

MOTU’s MachFive sampler, while perhaps not getting the kind of attention rivals from NI and Steinberg have, has had in its history some compelling features. Those features were in a multi-window interface, though, that not all of us loved – while I can’t find the review, I know when I covered it for Keyboard, I praised powerful editing features like the slicer but lamented the UI. MachFive’s new UI looks radically different. The tabbed layout and modules and preset browsing all recall NI’s products, but there are new twists, too, like slick, readable waveform views, gorgeous EQ visualizations borrowed from …

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NI Launches New Software Updates from Kontakt to Drums – and Puts Everything on a Hard Drive

Kontakt – is it the answer? Is it the reason that everything happens? Native Instruments today launches a new version of its flagship Kontakt sampler with new filters, effects and processing, improved sound quality, and sound design features. NI also refreshes Komplete – including, at last, a Komplete bundle that really does include kompletely everything. And we see new products covering drum samples and grooves and studio effects, too, as well as a major update to the sound design and processing capabilities of Guitar Rig. Sadly, that isn’t the Komplete Infinity package we saw lampooned last week, which promised “quite …

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Designing Music, in an Art:21 Interview with Electronic Instrument Creator Todd Bailey

He’s built an open-source, retro-tinged 8-bit sampler, “Where’s the Party At?” (I’m been building the second generation now, so expect a review by early August.) He’s had electronic instrument designs on shelves at the retail chain Target and on the walls of the Whitney Art Museum in New York. He just completed a set of luxury chandeliers, when he wasn’t making waves in the circuit bending scene. Todd Bailey is the kind of Renaissance artist at the center of the new DIY scene. There was a time when engineers and artists were separate groups, and big laboratories worked how to …

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Maschine 1.6 Sample Workstation, Now with Plug-ins, Makes a Standalone Workflow Solution

I’ve been following Maschine since prototype stages. The idea was at once obvious and welcome: build a software workstation, tightly integrated with pad hardware control, that fuses hardware sampler working methods with the on-screen flexibility of software. It’s software that focuses on working with sounds and patterns, outside the DAW-style metaphors. Of course, there’s one thing you might quickly miss about your DAW – certain software instruments or effects that are available as plug-ins. That makes 1.6 the version a lot of people have been waiting for. With plug-in hosting capabilities, it could now be your all-in-one production and performance …

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Renoise 2.7 Adds Sample and Slice Savvy; Tips and Inside Info from the Developers

Who says we should have only one set of assumptions when it comes to how music software should work? Renoise remains a vision of an alternate reality where mod trackers – musical editors with vertical, pattern-based views instead of horizontal, linear piano roll views – are our present and future. And Renoise keeps getting better and more modern, demanding less of a sacrifice from those coming from other music production tools while strengthening the unique elements of its musical workflow. We get a first look at the new features here for Mac, Windows, and Linux users, as well as the …

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Video: Live Beatmaking and Musicianship on Display; Details from the Artist, Logic Sampling

Let’s be frank. Computers really don’t demand any musicianship; they’re a blank slate with which you can do anything you like, and quantization is always close at hand. But bragging rights aside, whatever anyone else may think of the results, playing musical elements live can often be more satisfying. And it’s refreshing, at a time when software seems to be bending over backwards to offer bleeding-edge technology to compensate for your lack of time and tune, to see people getting more dextrous, not less. Ukrainian-born, Toronto-based artist Andrew Andriyashev, going under the name Triple A production, sends along a video …

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How the Octatrack Sampler Actually Works, in Hands-on User Videos

I thought the promo video from Elektron perfectly explained, in practical terms, how their recent Octatrack sampler works. You plug it in, push some buttons, turn samples into techno, and then everyone turns into squids and dies. (Hmmm… that does suggest something perhaps a future firmware update might want to address.) But it seems some readers wanted more than sci-fi short films and inscrutable jams – they want to know how this beast actually works. Happily, reader Genjutsushi has obliged us with a video that explains its functions; see top — it’s shaky, but useful, and no squid are in …

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Octatrack Hands-on Videos Begin to Appear, Featuring New Elektron Super-Sampler in Action

Elektron’s Octatrack sampler is shipping to producer’s hands, bringing this multitrack, time-stretching, step-sequenced, modulation-packing digital sampling hardware to real-world music-making. The results make comparisons like “Ableton in a box” seem pretty fair – and give you more an idea of what the thing does than Elektron’s bizarre (and wonderful) short science fiction film, which seemed to suggest the box would incite revolutions and make you grow tentacles and change into a tortured alien. (See below) Two of the people I’d most want to see work the device are featured in the videos above – at top, Richard Devine, and at …

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The Handheld Studio Evolves: Beatmaker 2 Developers Explain their iPhone Workflow

Music production once meant getting into a studio. Portable multi-track tape and later the computer liberated us from that, and the “bedroom studio” was born. When capable Palm handhelds hit the market, musicians imagined yet more mobile means of production, and everything from Game Boys and PSPs to phones, even before the iPhone, have been pressed into on-the-go music-making service. In all that time, though, the way you actually make music in your palm has been a work in progress. Intua’s BeatMaker was one of the first applications to demonstrate what might be possible on Apple’s handheld, and a radical …

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