Some CDM commenters accuse this site of being shills for Ableton, of giving disproportionate coverage to Ableton Live and Push. Others accuse us of being hipsters, endlessly talking about things like 8-bit video game consoles and Nintendo.

And so, I’m pleased to come to you today with a 30,000 word, peer-reviewed white paper relating the latest developments in high-end studio consoles, using a highly disciplined double-blind test to evaluate the impacts of analog summing on the behavior of migratory birds.

Or… no, actually, let’s feed the trolls.

It’s hard to believe, but our friend Brian Funk aka AfroDjMac has been steadily designing wonderful Live packs for two years. (And, hint, if you want to use these in another host – like the nearly-released new Reason – you can, as Live just stores its samples. In fact, I’d love to see someone do that with one of Brian’s packs. Consider it a challenge.)

In his latest, he uses an actual “official” ocarina to make a really lovely-sounding sampled instrument. He tells CDM:

I am writing to share word on my latest Live pack, which marks 2 years of making these guys. This one was created with a ceramic ocarina, straight out of the Legend of Zelda. The instrument rack does a pretty faithful reproduction of the ocarina itself, but as I like to do, I also let it get pretty weird 🙂 I designed it to work well with the Push, taking advantage of the aftertouch to control subtle pitch (vibrato) and the filter frequency. In the video I play through a couple of melodies straight out of Zelda to keep things authentic (there are some really interesting melodies in those tunes).

In the post I’ve also got a new song I just released that makes use of some other Live packs I’ve done. I hope you enjoy the vibe of that 🙂


Ocarina of Live Ableton Pack + 2 Years of Packs and Tips!

And the track:

If you want to support AfroDJMac’s work, he’s also offering a full archive for $15 – nice idea, and worth the gesture, I think!

It’s timely, too, with Nintendo doing a new Zelda game on 3DS. Actually, no, scratch that. That’s not really different from any other time since the first game.

But, wait, let’s give you more freebies. Ableton notes that duo Ruwa is giving away Max for Live devices (and Max standalone applications, meaning you don’t need Live, again) along with an album. It’s not a new idea – Monolake did this with Max patches before even the founding of Ableton – but it’s nice to see more people take it up.

One example: *picsynth converts images to sounds.

It’s a nice way to share with listeners, as you get a second layer of experience of what the artists are doing and a closer sense of how they put their music together.


And the album, with downloads:


From the Brooklyn-based experimental duo of Adam Rokhsar and Constance Leonard.

Via the Ableton blog

But there’s still more. has been around for one year, to AfroDjMac’s too, and Afro is quick to point us that way, too. is a bit different; it represents “ideas for Ableton Live.” It’s the work of composer and pianist Yehezkel Raz, whose beautiful piano (and Push) playing earned some attention here earlier this year.

The birthday gift goes to you. You get all of his ideas and devices and creations, ready to use, plus a wind chimes project (seen below) and melodic Max for Live device. (Wind chimes were apparently inspired in part by David Abravanel.)

Wonderful stuff, all:

It occurs to me that this is not all simply promotional trickery. Perhaps part of what motivates these artists is that sharing in this way appears to have a positive effect on discipline – both in the act of getting things out there and public, and in the feedback loop that generates. And, in fact, that’s the kind of essential discipline that makes musical practice work: you practice those long hours at home alone partly because of the feeling you get when you share. I don’t think that’s being overly naive; I think there may be some real psychology to it. And it sure benefits us as musicians and humans, so it’s nice work if you can get it.

If you in turn do things with these tools, or make tools of your own, don’t forget to let us know about it.