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TEDxTalks


Wrangling MIDI: Owen Biddle & Zach Danziger of Mister Barrington at TEDxUmassAmherst

By pre-recording their speech, Owen Biddle and Zach Danziger set out to challenge assumptions about live electronic music. Far from being canned, they improv...
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Imagine any acoustic instrument able to act as a synth, and you begin to appreciate the potential instrumental pioneer Paul Vo may be about to unlock.

As we reported last month, music-technological innovation can absolutely involve guitars, not just synths with keyboards. So, it’s fitting that we tun now to a lover of keyboards and guitars alike, Chris Stack, for a look in video at the work of Paul Vo.

Vo may not be a household name in sound tech, but he should be, as the inventor of the impressive Moog Guitar. Here, we get look back at what came before — and what’s next.

Below, Chris gets his hands on a one-of-a-kind prototype that came before the Moog Guitar, in the form of a fretless model. You can see the fruits of the labors on Moog Guitar in the video at bottom, which demonstrates what a versatile electronic instrument this can be – as much a “synth with strings” as anything, beyond only what you might think of in guitar tone.

But having done fretless, electric, bass, and lap steel, Paul Vo’s tech now reaches a truly new frontier: the acoustic guitar and other stringed instruments. And that could be very big news. Watch, at top. It’s still early to fully grasp what this instrument may be like, but already there’s something really special going on:

The Vo-96 Acoustic Synth is the newest innovation from Paul Vo, the inventor of The Moog Guitar. It opens a new method of musical expression called Acoustic Synthesis. Will Rayan and Vincent Crow of The Electric Jazz Project try it out for the first time.

Code-named LEV-96, the concept instrument here uses harmonic content from strings as its source material. The inventor explains:

The numeral 96 refers to the number of individual harmonic control channels. Each channel is capable of controlling the behavior of one harmonic partial of a string’s timbre. 16 such channels are instantiated per string. 6 x 16=96

And if your mind isn’t blown yet, here’s more from Paul on how he’s thinking:

Add-on hardware, says Vo, will unlock the harmonic content of acoustic instruments in a way you haven't ever heard before. Photo courtesy Vo Inventions.

Add-on hardware, says Vo, will unlock the harmonic content of acoustic instruments in a way you haven’t ever heard before. Photo courtesy Vo Inventions.

With Acoustic Synthesis™ any acoustic musical instrument – any object that makes a sound – can be enhanced to bring out its hidden acoustic voice. Think also of potential new instruments – playable objects of acoustic art.
So far I’ve worked mostly with vibrating strings. The musical instrument string is arguably the most ubiquitous means of making music. It’s also the most difficult to vibrate coherently using electronic control. One idea I had back in 1979 turned out to be a great solution. I was amazed to find it was still unknown and patentable 20 years later.
Over the past 50 years or so we have accepted and become familiar with using synthesizers to create an endless variety of sounds electronically. I’m saying we are now beginning to extend this idea into the physical realm. We can make the virtual become real. We can artistically create new sounds by bringing out modes of vibration that have up to now remained hidden within the material objects we call musical instruments. Through Acoustic Synthesis™ the same sonic exploration is possible for other acoustic instruments and even creative objects of acoustic art that no one has imagined – not just yet anyway.
Analog Synthesis. Digital Synthesis. Acoustic Synthesis™: it isn’t empty hype, this really is a distinctly different and new method of voicing instruments, designing new sounds, and making music.

He covers this on his site:

Vo Inventions

Finally, a look back at the best-known Vo project, the Moog Guitar:

Chris’ site has been recently improved, so it’s well worth exploring all that he’s doing with creative instrument adventures and exploring sound design.

http://experimentalsynth.com/

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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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野生の野望: YMO-Related Japanese Pop Mix 

Put together by Root Blog, a 17 track compilation of quality 80’s Japanese pop music, all related to members of Yellow Magic Orchestra:

This is a compilation (with separate tracks, i.e. not “mixed”) that I gave to some friends last Christmas season as crash course to Hosono/Sakamoto/Takahashi’s pop productions. Had a few people request that I up it here…so, here you go!

Miharu Koshi – “Parallelisme” from Parallelisme
Testpattern – “Souvenir Glacé” from Apres Midi
Yukihiro Takahashi – “Curtains” from Neuromantic
Chakra – “You Need Me” from Satekoso
Tamao Koike – “Automne Dans Un Miroir” from Automne Dans Un Miroir
Yellow Magic Orchestra – “Gradated Grey” from Technodelic
Sandii – “Zoot Koot” From Eating Pleasure
Susan – “I Only Come Out At Night” from The Girl Can’t Help It
Haruomi Hosono – “Sports Man” from Philharmony
Miharu Koshi – “Scandal Night” from Tutu
Haruomi Hosono – “Strange Love” from S.F.X.
Hajime Tachibana – “Rock (New Version)” from Yen Memorial Album
Masami Tsuchiya – “Rice Music” from Rice Music
Ryuichi Sakamoto – “Thatness and Thereness” from B-2 Unit
David Sylvian & Ryuichi Sakamoto – “Bamboo Music” from Bamboo Houses
Yellow Magic Orchestra – “Wild Ambitions” from Naughty Boys
Taeko Ohnuki – “Inori” from Alfa/Yen: We Wish You a Merry Christmas

It was hard to choose one track as an example (it could have been the slower-paced yet suductive “Zoot Koot”), but chose something more pop, catchy, and fun.

Links to get hold of the compilation can be found at Root Blog here

(via prostheticknowledge:)

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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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I'm waiting for a puzzle game driven by grammar.

Since we last caught up with it, the extraordinary-looking (and sounding) Fract OSC has released a bundle of new screenshots, and they’re a bit pretty. Described as Myst meets Rez meets Tron, a first-person puzzle adventure in an abstract world, designed around electronic music. The game, they say, is inspired by synthesisers, in a world that “literally runs on sound”. Previous footage has been remarkably interesting, but arguably not that pretty. However, that’s beginning to change, thanks to some new atmospheric art, and some extremely effective lighting. Take a look.

(more…)

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