Speaking of goodies for Ableton Live, NYC-based electronic artist and songwriter AfroDJMac has been creating some unusual, nicely quirky Device Racks for Ableton Live. Unlike a Max for Live patch, these are accessible to anyone with a copy of Ableton Live – and may be easier to edit for those of you not comfortable tinkering around with Max patches.

Each creation begins with a sample, then twists it into playable instruments in virtual device racks. AfroDjMac has been releasing these racks on a weekly basis; weeks two and three are already looking good. At top, a 1960s Gibson acoustic guitar meets an Ebow for some lovely string timbres.

The Ebow itself is a pretty terrific invention:
Battery-powered and handheld-sized, it’s a shortcut to ethereal sounds.

Another example, seen below, is a reversed piano. That sounds not terribly interesting, but he’s loaded it up with clever delays and programming and created something pretty deep. The piano itself is worth mentioning, too – a 1913 Kranich and Bach upright piano.

All you need is a recent copy of Live, and you can open the sets directly. In fact, this is a reminder that sets and racks remain the best way to distribute simple creations for Ableton Live, even if Max for Live is a good choice for much fancier tricks. It still makes me wonder what the best way to distribute samples may be, with various competing formats; I’m open to ideas beyond the obvious “big ‘ol folder full of files” technique.

Read up more on the artist’s blog:
Free Weekly Ableton Live Rack #2 – “AfroDjMac Gibson Ebow Pad” and Live Video Performance from Brooklyn
Free Weekly Ableton Live Rack #3 – “AfroDjMac Reversed Piano”

Below, you can see what AfroDjMac’s live set is like – and yes, apparently rock clubs do allow laptops these days, if you bring a mic: