Still evaluating Live 8 – or want to learn more about how to use it? You can now read my review of Ableton Live 8 free on Keyboard Magazine’s site:

Ableton Live 8 Review [Keyboard Magazine]
See also (via comments) Nick Rothwell’s review for Sound on Sound June [subscription or US$1.49 fee required]

Keyboard doesn’t yet have comments, so feel free to discuss – or disagree – here.

I wanted to back up a little bit and consider Live as if for the first time. Now, I had also personally heard at least Robert Henke complain at one point that reviews of Live were uncritical. That to me would be a flaw as a reviewer, because all software designs involve compromises, so no software can ever be perfect. Here, I still feel there’s legitimate room for improvement in terms of the way Live handles interactive clip triggering and how it assigns control. Of course, we’re not just passively complaining about it – there’s also a community of Live users working to hack in functionality they need using the Live API, both via Python and forthcoming Max for Live.

Also for the review, I shot some quick video demos of features that were easier to show than describe, namely the new instrument Collision and the Vocoder effect. These are basically mini-tutorials on these creations. See Collision at top, Vocoder after the break at bottom. Fixed! Now the top video is actually the Collision video. (Oops.)

I’m a huge fan of physical modeling and Applied Acoustics, and Collision is one of the best percussion models I’ve seen. It starts to approach some of what’s possible in Apple’s Sculpture in Logic, but in a much more focused context, and with some unparalleled resonators (which you can also use on their own in the form of Corpus). See the top video for a walkthrough of the interface.

We may need to revisit the vocoder issue as there’s a new vocoder in FL Studio (Vocodex in the current beta), plus the existing vocoder in Reason. Sounds like there’s an article here waiting to happen. I like Ableton’s vocoder, though; it’s a different implementation and coupled with their unique Frequency Shifter, you can get some really unusual sounds.

For more Live 8 learning (and a more in-depth discussion of different ways of approaching the Frequency Shifter):

Live 8 Videos: New Warping Explained, APC + ReMOTE SL Integration

Ableton Live 8 Misuse: Ping Pong Psuedo Scratching Effect Video Tutorial

Ableton Live 8 Creative Tutorial Videos: Using and Misusing Groove Extraction

Ableton Live 8 Creative Tutorial Videos: Misusing Frequency Shifter