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Can’t get enough Live 9 information? In cased you missed it, here’s a nearly hour-long presentation. It’s notable for Ableton founder and CEO Gerhard Behles talking about what matters in an instrument, then “discovering” that Push fits in a backpack, for Dennis DeSantis doing a beautiful job of showing what really musical workflow looks like, and Jesse Terry brave enough to do a live set on hardware that’s only just been finished. I say this partly because I have to do presentations, too, and – it’s not easy. I think they do a good job of sharing their ideas honestly and clearly; it’s up to you to judge whether those ideas fit your music and whether you invest in their creation.

Bonus: isomorphic pitch layouts.

The setting is the private event you may have heard about. Last week in Berlin, a number of artists, partners, and press were gathered along with Ableton employees to witness a private event launching Live 9. I became briefly concerned that I was going to find out I was already dead, or having some strange dream, given the number of people I knew who were there. (Crap – really, we didn’t manage to get off the island? Did the plane crash on the way to LAX for NAMM ever happen? I’m so confused.) People came all the way from New Zealand. I came all the way from Kreuzberg.

It’s also worth noting that Robert Henke is not in this video. While, even viewed from the outside, Robert clearly continues to influence what Ableton does, the best place to find him is doing extraordinary work in performance and research, internationally. I point this out only because I think some people assume everything in Live springs from Robert’s head. That’s not the case – and it fails to appreciate all the other things springing from Robert’s head. It must be nice to focus on being a user of Live; I’m sure given what I’ve heard about gen that he’ll do some incredible work there.

Anyway, now the content of this presentation is available to all of you. Let us know if you see anything you missed. And enjoy the dog and pony show. (Darn, now I want to see a show with dogs and ponies.)

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Thavius Beck live in Los Angeles playing the legendary Low End Theory party, in 2009.

Whadayaknow, Ableton users?

Whether you’re an existing user or considering it for the first time, this month online school Dubspot is giving away 30 video lessons on using the software, free, through the end of June only. So, I turned to my friend Thavius Beck (Plug Research Records), LA-based producer and rapper, and master instructor, to make something exclusively for CDM to add a little more free knowledge. If you are playing with Ableton for the first time, you can unlock the 30-day free trial and give it a shot.

I’m just glad to read Thavius’ tips. You’ll feel a little more like an expert afterward, I guarantee – or, alternatively, count how many of these you did already know. (Yes, some of us have been using Live since its first release.)

30 Tips for Ableton Live

Thavius Beck

1. Holding SHIFT while adjusting a Transpose parameter with your UP/DOWN arrow keys will Transpose by an octave instead of 1 semitone

2. “Z” will transpose your computer keyboard DOWN one octave. “X” will transpose it UP one octave

3. “C” decreases the velocity of midi notes entered with the computer keyboard or mouse by 20. “V” increases the velocity by 20

4. You can disable the grid in the Arrangement View and in the Sample Editor by Right-Clicking in the grid area, and selecting OFF under Fixed Grid in the contextual menu

5. Individual drum cells in Impulse can be routed to other audio tracks to be mixed separately or given individual effects. Enable the I-O (inputs and outputs) button on the Session View, and in the Audio From tab select your Impulse instrument. In the tab below that, you’ll see all the sounds in your Impulse. Choose one, then either arm the track or set the Monitor status to IN.

6. The Ableton Device Spectrum not only shows you the frequencies being generated by your music in real time, it also will show you the specific note that a frequency corresponds to. Hold your mouse anywhere over the graphical display in Spectrum and a box in the lower right corner will show you the exact frequency, decibel level, and corresponding note based on where your mouse is.

7. If you have Live Suite, when using Slice to New Midi track try slicing to a single Sampler instead of the Built-In preset. When your slices are in the Sampler, you can change the pitch, attack, decay, voices, etc. of all the slices at once without using Macro knobs.

8. Right-clicking on the crossfader allows you to choose different crossfader curves.

9. If your audio interface has multiple outputs that are enabled (go to Live’s Audio Preferences and select Output Config), you can enable a separate CUE output so you can monitor on your headphones without affecting what is coming out of the Master. Make sure your I-O button is enabled, and on the master channel you will see Cue Out and Master Out. If the Cue Out is different from the Master out, your tracks solo buttons will become cue buttons, allowing you to cue up tracks in the headphones while the party people continue to party…

10. AutoFilter and Gate also have sidechain sections that allow an incoming signal to trigger/exaggerate/alter the effect.

11. Right-clicking on the metronome allows you to set a count-in. Helpful if you need to record something right at the beginning of bar 1.

12. If you need to record multiple tracks at once, go to Live’s Preferences, select the Record/Warp/Launch tab, and under the Record section disable the Arm button next to where it says Exclusive (you can also do the same thing to the Solo button if you want to solo multiple tracks). Ed.: I feel a little differently than Thavius on this one. I like that when you arm one track, you de-arm another. Generally, if I do want to arm multiple tracks, I’d rather hold down the “shift” key when selecting arm – the same for Solo. So consider that an alternative tip 12! -PK)

13. If you haven’t already, stay in that same page of Live’s preferences and turn off Auto-Warp Long Samples. This will prevent Live from putting a million incorrect warp markers on your audio when drag a longer audio file into it and enable Warp.

14. Complex warp mode may sound better than Beats for warping full songs and playing them below their original tempo, but be careful… Complex and Complex Pro are the only two warping algorithms that alter the quality of your audio even when it’s playing at the original tempo. They can also introduce some odd phasing issues when playing song with deep sub bass… Complex Pro is good for acapellas, but I suggest using either mode with a bit of caution before playing a gig…

15. If you change the Global Clip Quantization to NONE, you can scrub through your audio in the Sample Editor by hovering your mouse right below the loop bracket (so it becomes a speaker icon), click and hold, then drag the speaker icon through your audio clip.

16. You can create your own Slice to Midi preset by opening up a blank Drum Rack or Sampler, adjusting the parameters to your liking (you could even add effects to the blank Drum Rack if you like), save your new preset by hitting the disk icon in the upper right corner of the effect (or rack), and then dragging that preset into the following folder in your Live Library: Library/Defaults/Slicing. Next time you Slice to a New Midi track, try out your new preset…

17. Another way to manually “slice” a sample is to drop an Audio Clip into several different empty cells in the Drum Rack, and change the start point on each on so they each play a different part of the sample. The same thing can be done with the Sampler.

18. You can remove the Stop button from a blank clip slot by Right-clicking inside of it and selecting “Remove Stop Button” (or use the shortcut Command/Ctrl-E)

19. You can set the launch tempo of a Scene by Right-clicking inside the scene (next to the scene number) and selecting Edit Launch Tempo, then type in the tempo. You can also just rename the scene and type in the tempo followed by BPM.

20. You can also set the launch time signature of a Scene by Right-clicking inside the scene and selecting Edit Launch Time Signature, and then type in the time signature. You can also just rename the scene and type in the time signature (e.g. 7/8).

21. If you press DELETE while any parameter is selected, it will be returned to its default setting.

22. Double-clicking on any of Live’s Browser shortcut buttons will collapse any unfolded folders.

23. You can write your own notes in the Info View of clips by Right-clicking on any audio or midi clip and selecting Edit Info Text

24. You can drag any Groove Pool template into a midi clip slot to see the velocity and timing of the groove.

25. You can change the Launch Quantization of individual clips by enabling the Show Launch Button (the L button under the Clip View) and changing the Quantization from Global to something else.

26. If you want to MIDI or KEY map buttons to let you select or scroll through your Scenes, select with MIDI or KEY map, and you’ll notice buttons that appear above the Master fader and below the Stop Clips button. The first button will play the selected scene, the next two are arrows that can be mapped to buttons to select the next or previous scene, and the final box can be mapped to a rotary knob to scroll through your scenes.

27. You can automate tempo changes in the Arrangement View on the Master channel. On the Master channel in the Arrangement View, select Mixer in the Device chooser box (top chooser box), and then in the Automation control chooser (bottom choose box) you’ll be able to select Song Tempo.

28. If you select a parameter, it will be selected in the Automation chooser box on that track automatically. This is very helpful if you want to automate a parameter but aren’t sure exactly where to find it in the automation chooser box.

29. You can drag and drop a quicktime movie into the arrangement view so you can write music to picture.

30. If you set Locate Points in the arrangement view, you can MIDI or KEY map buttons to the Previous and Next Locator buttons (the left and right arrows above the first track in the arrangement view).

BONUS – Enable Info View to find out about any parameter that your mouse is hovering over. Very helpful if you don’t know all of the areas I refer to in the previous tips. Enjoy!

For more of this kind of knowledge, check out Dubspot’s full 30-lesson course with Thavius free – while you can.

http://www.dubspot.com/ableton3030/

“Did You Know?” Video Series

Very much along the lines of these 30 tips, earlier this year, Thavius also did a series of videos for Dubspot entitled “Did you know?” They focus on topics you perhaps should know about Ableton Live, but that some users – beginning and advanced alike – might have missed. Here’s that complete series.

Previously

Once More, From the Top: Learn Ableton Live in Videos, from the Very Beginning

http://www.dubspot.com/ableton3030/

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(((unartig))) lives & works in New York City and has been involved in documenting various aspects of underground culture for more than 20 years. Aside from A/V recording, activities included promoting D.I.Y. shows and contributing to print magazines in Germany and the United States. None of the footage is available for sale or trade but screened worldwide on a free admission basis.

http://unartignyc.com/recordings/

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On Monday, I told you about The Nobel Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College, in St. Peter, Minn., where top neuroscientists are speaking about the mind, the brain, and what it means to be human.

Now, I have some good news for those of you who couldn't play hooky this week, couldn't get tickets to the free event, and/or don't actually live anywhere near St. Peter, Minn. You can watch The Nobel Conference online.

Today's lectures will be broadcast on a live feed. You can also submit questions through the site and participate in the Q&A after each lecture. The first speaker is John Donoghue, director of the Institute for Brain Science at Brown University. Starting at 10:00 am, Central, he'll be talking about a topic near and dear to every Happy Mutant's heart: "Merging Mind to Machines: Brain Computer Interfaces to Restore Lost Motor Function."

If, for some reason, you can't start your morning off with healthy dose of cyborgs, all the lectures from Tuesday and today will eventually be archived as online videos. Right now, there's only one lecture available this way—yesterday's morning session on new therapies for autism. I've embedded that video above. But check the Conference's site for other lectures, coming soon!

Video Link

Thanks to Lisa Dubbels for pointing this out!

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The CityMedia system is an open platform for the exploration of public screens and new forms of collective interaction. It uses multi-touch sensors, 3*d body tracking, webcams and internet connectivity to connect people, data, media and objects. CityMedia systems can connect to other CityMedia systems, with the first two exhibited simultaneously in Aix-en-Provence and Marseille during the month of April 2011. Tthe CityMedia Project can currently be experienced at the Bâtiment d’art contemporain as part of the Mapping Festival in Geneva, Switzerland until the end of May 2011.

Over the past year, we have been building and experimenting various applications at the Atelier Hypermédia in Aix-en-Provence and at the Master Media Design —HEAD Genève. We were also joined in the prototyping phase by students and teachers from the Studio Lentigo, ESBA Marseille, the École spéciale d’architecture Paris, and the École nationale supérieure des arts décoratives, Paris. Over forty students have built about twice as many prototypes in 10 different sessions dedicated to designing, prototyping and developing uses for and with the system.

There are currently about 25 applications presented in the system, with eventually more to come at the end of a workshop dedicated to Kinect hacking this Thursday, May 26, 2011, also at the BAC. This workshop sold out very quickly, and unfortunately we do not have any more room for extra participants. So please people, stop begging, it’s heartbreaking. You are welcome to come at the end of the workshop though, and watch as will attempt to add any working applications developped during the workshop into the system.


While the project was developed principally at the Atelier Hypermédia in Aix-en-Provence, our students in the Media Design Master at the HEAD did a considerable amount of work in the design and development of the various applications and contributed as well to the design of some important platform components; as a consequence we wanted to show the result of this work in Geneva. Given that there was already this interresting festival dedicated to real-time visualization, and given the amount of body tracking and various other techniques of real-time image manipulation we use in our system, the venue seemed appropriate.

Finally, I will be giving a talk Wednesday afternoon at 16:30 at the auditorium of the BAC, along with Jean-Baptiste Labrune and VJ Fader, moderated by Nicolas Nova. For my part, I’ll be exploring some of the artistic and speculative predecessors to Microsoft’s latest Kinect device, and will finish with the artistic work, research, and collaborations that allowed us to quickly get up to speed with these new devices.

P.S. There are some good pictures of the exhibit over at Pasta&Vinegar: From Hal to Kinect: live visuals, music and body tracking technologies – Mapping Festival Geneva

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Ready to make your Ableton Live pattern programming a bit more polyrhythmic with the power of math?

In Monday’s reflections and round-up of cycles and circles, I mentioned Euclidean evenness and Godfried Toussaint’s research. The basic idea is that a mathematical algorithm for spacing pulses has a lot in common with traditional preferences for polyrhythms spanning everything from rock hits to conga patterns and musical cultures around the world.

Reader Tony Wheeler has turned those patterns into MIDI clips so you can drop patterns into Ableton Live. Drum patterns and dance music are obvious applications, but this could be an idea starter for melodic patterns or music in a variety of idioms.

Each individual pattern will sound like an isolated cycle; it’s often when you put them together that they’re most compelling. Here’s an example; Tony added a regular bass drum just to make things more grounded (it actually calls attention to the asymmetry of the other patterns).

ScaledKit by wheelmaker

Tony has another terrific tool for Ableton Live that generates the AMS files used by Operator to tune oscillators to alternative pitches, as we covered previously:
Free Utility Makes Endless Oscillators for Ableton Live Simpler, Sampler
Direct link: AMS File Utility for Ableton Live

And for harmonic experimentation, see the Circle of Fifths Chord Resource:
Circle of Fifths Chord Resource in Ableton Live

This is all fairly academic stuff, but the funny thing about it is there’s nothing stopping you from making either a dance music hit or some experimental new kind of music that doesn’t sound like it came from Ableton.

Alternative tunings for Operator oscillators and Euclidean polyrhythms? There are many tools aside from Ableton that will work, too, but whatever your tool, this could be a great way to jump-start a musical idea. Airport layover, meet musical productivity.

Updated: Another great way to go is the Eckel VST plug-in, also donationware. It works on Mac (Universal) and Windows, and since you can dial up parameters, may be easier to use than the MIDI clips, depending on your workflow – especially since you can still choose pitch. (Or, hey, grab both!) Thanks to John Larsby for the reminder:
Shuriken.se: VST – Eckel

For Dr. Toussaint’s part, you can glance over his syllabus on Discrete Mathematics — and find a reference to Tony’s Ableton experiments.

Grab the download and read more on this topic (free, donations welcome):
Euclidean Rhythm MIDI File Resource in Ableton Live [Age of the Wheel]

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