As I continue this Reasonable Friday, here’s a reader report on how to use Propellerhead Reason live in performance. He’s making use of the terrific Windows-only MIDI tool Peter Tools LiveSet — more on that in an upcoming story. And he’s taking his one-man band to an environmental-activist music festival outside Sydney in gorgeous environs (pictured).

Stevo writes us:

I have been working on organising Reason for use in a live situation . . . I am a solo artist producing entirely on a laptop. I have a controller keyboard, a [Behringer] BCF2000 controller that is locked to the main mixer, a Korg Kaoss 2 pad, and a copy of Peter Tools LiveSet. I am a loop-based type of artist, meaning I like to mess with ideas as loops and rarely program a song from begin to end, as this ends up doing my head in . . .

Here’s how I set up a track. I fill up the 14 tracks on the mixer with programmed sequences. Generally I look at a loop of about 32 bars as this gives a bit of room for changes, turnabouts, etc. I then use liveset (controlled by my master keyboard) and program 12 preset mixer settings that reflect a movement through the track. All the devices in the track are then Combinatored (you can set up numerous Combinators and centrally control through the midi busses). I use the kaoss pad to control the rotaries on the combinator. i then go and tweak each device in the Combinator programmer so when i play with the Kaoss Pad I get something interesting.

The BCF controller gives me hands-on control of 2 send effects and mute/solo. I set up another Combinator that contains 2 different send effect arrangements. I again tweak the programmer settings for these effects and also control these via the Korg Kaoss Pad.
And then it is a matter of playing around. The end results are very hands-on and can be quite unexpected and unusual. The benfit of LiveSet is that with the press of a key you can power into a new arrangement.

I have a 3GHz Pentium 4 with 1 gig RAM and this arrangement pushes the processor to its limits. I find I can finally make the type of computer music I have been trying to make for the past 7 years. As far as recording goes you just copy and paste the loop to as long as you want, record arm all the tracks and off you go.

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Soon I will be adding some tunes created using this method. I have a gig at a festival at the beginning of November where I will test out this setup on a 10k system. Bear in mind that it takes a minute or 2 to load new tracks so you need to have something for the mix as well.

There you have it. My own setup for loops wouldn’t be Reason — I’d just ReWire Reason into Live, and I expect many of you are in a similar boat — but I’m really intrigued by LiveSet and love the Combinator.

So how are you working live with Reason, Ableton, or other programs? Let us know, via comments or by emailing me.