What is local? Perspectives on music-making in a hyper-connected world
At the most recent Loop event in Berlin, music makers from all over the world came to share experiences and explore new ideas and approaches at the historic Funkhaus complex. For all the forward-looking ideas and novel perspectives presented and discussed at the summit, the format of the event […]
- Free tier for basic functionality; Pro version for your wildest scripting dreams come true
- MIDI Learn support (with Chrome)
- Shift + Modes available to create virtual banks (Pro only)
- Easy troubleshooting messages + comprehensive documentation
- One-to-one support with great response times
- No easy way to change feedback color for RGB devices
- Could use a script wizard with common scenarios (similar to how XtremeMapping does for Traktor)
- Missing copy/duplicate commands to replicate similar parameters
- Commands sorted randomly in the main list – you’ll have to hunt to find the command just added
THE BOTTOM LINE
If you’re new to scripting in Ableton, this tool is a must. It will not only save you a massive headache, but also allows you to learn how it works as you go since Remotify also gives you an uncompiled “.py” version of the files so you can have a look at the code. This app will make basic mapping tasks a breeze.
For the more experienced user, the app can help tame complicated scenarios and perhaps provide the inspiration needed to finish that ambitious project you’ve been continually putting off until you really “get it”.
Remotify is a platform to challenge the unknown void of scripting in Ableton and bring custom control surfaces to the masses. To many, Ableton scripting is a dark world full of confusion and endless frustration. In this complex world, it seems like only the truly worthy are able to […]
Remotify is a platform to challenge the unknown void of scripting in Ableton and bring custom control surfaces to the masses. To many, Ableton scripting is a dark world full of confusion and endless frustration. In this complex world, it seems like only the truly worthy are able to unlock the mysteries coded in Python. Why can’t every controller Automap like an APC40 or a Push 2? The reason for all this heartache boils down to one thing: there’s no UI available for Ableton scripting.
Product Reviewed: Remotify
Price: Free version with basic functionality, Pro (with extended functionality) is $57 (one time purchase), 1-month subscription at $9
Ableton Live Set Export The New ‘Must-Have’ Feature For iOS Music Apps
Ableton today introduced Ableton Live Set Export – a new software development kit for iOS that’s designed to make it easy for developers to add ‘Export to Live’ functionality into music apps.
As their intro video demos, Live Set Export addresses a growing need for Live users. As more musicians are jamming with iOS music apps, they want to be able to move their musical ideas to their desktop DAW.
In the demo, Patterning developer Ben Kamen and Triqtraq developer Sebastian Schatz demonstrate how an iOS jam session, using multiple devices and apps, can be saved to a Live Set and then arranged in Ableton Live.
These iOS apps have been updated to support Live Set Export:
Details on the Live Set Export SDK are available at Github.
We expect Live Set Export to be added to the ‘must have’ feature list for iOS music apps that do sequencing, because of the popularity of Live with electronic musicians.
What do you think? Check out the video and share your thoughts in the comments!
Introduction to Creating your Ableton Live Performance Template.
This is the first article in A series of articles on Performing music using Ableton Live. The reason this topic needs to be a series is because it is not a simple answer. Everyone is different and, everyone has different needs. Yes, you could get someone’s template, learn it, get good with it, and be good to go. Using a pre-made template may work for some people and by all means explore. If nothing else you will get ideas on what you like and do not like. You also may find a template that almost suits your needs that you can modify for Performing using Ableton Live. This particular article is not about templates. I will not even really be talking to much about setting up Ableton Live either. I will be talking about the processes of preparing yourself for performing live with Ableton Live.
The first step in the processes of setting up an Ableton Live set for live performance is conceptualization. Visualize yourself on stage. What do you see? Are you solo? Are you in a band? Do you have a light and video show? What are doing? What instruments are you playing? How are you interacting with the music you are presenting to the world? Imagine yourself from the audience perspective. What does the audience see? How are you going to make a lasting impression on the audience? Take your time with this part. Visualizing your live performance is the most important step. Write it all down. Go see shows and pay close attention to what the artists are doing. take note of not only what impresses you but also what impresses the audience. Even though it mat seem like everyone is a producer, musician, or DJ, you are actually a minority. The majority of music fans have little to no idea what is actually happening on stage. They are there to be entertained. Also, consider the kind of music you are playing and the environment of your normal gig. Are hidden away in a DJ booth playing dance music? Are you the center stage focal point of the music? Are you A supporting performing? All of this has relevance to how you perform live and how you set up your rig.
After you spent some time on the visualizing the next step is conceptualizing. We still are not even going to open Ableton Live in this step but gather up all your gear. If you do not have any gear you will need something, anything. The number one rule of performing live is Do Not Touch Your Laptop on Stage!! I have one exception to this rule for the producer/DJ type that generally performs in a DJ booth. I will talk about that soon. Touching your laptop on stage is boring for you and the audience. I have mixed feelings about iPads those can be ok, but no touching the laptop. Use midi controllers to interact with your music. With the exception of some DJ’s do not put the laptop between you and the audience. It blocks the energetic transfer between you and the audience which can cause a lack of connection. If you come from a performance musician or DJ background you probably know what I am talking about. The magic is why we get on stage and why people become your fans. So imagine your live performance rig. Check out all the awesome gear that exists today. Watch videos about the gear. Watch videos of people performing with the gear. Think about what you want to do on stage. What instruments do you want to play? Do you want to finger drum? Do you want to play everything live? Live looping? Do you want to have a mix of playing live instruments and prerecorded loops or backing tracks? Do you want to just play over backing tracks? Play full tracks? DJ? Enhance the sound of your band? So many ways to perform live! Don’t forget about lighting and video, yes Ableton Live can tell other software and hardware what to do.
After you go crazy conceptualizing all the amazing possibilities of performing live. Look over that massive gear wish list that you just created and simplify. You are not an octopus my friend. Yes, the audience may perceive you as being an entity of many limbs but you actually only have 4. The second rule of live performance. Keep It as Simple As Possible! (but don’t talk about it). The biggest problem with Ableton Live when using it on stage is the limitless possibilities. You need a box. So your gear will become your box. You will need to shape your live set to your gear. That is why thinking about what you want to do is so important. You have feet too. Live loopers, controllerists, and instrumentalists can potentially all benefit from a foot controller. Another thing to think about is changing presets on the controller. I personally can not stand changing presets on my controllers while I am performing. I prefer to have dedicated functions that are always in the same place. This will help you to develop muscle memory. In the end, your live rig is an instrument. You will be able to play your live rig like an instrument. When you get good and your live rig you can focus on the music and the energy so you can take the audience on a journey. I like lots go knobs, faders, and buttons. APC 40, Launch Control, Launch Pad, Push, Quneo, and more. So many controllers out there. They all have strengths and weaknesses. Finding that combination is the trick. Personally, when I started doing this in 2007 there just was not that many choices. The trigger finger, Some cool Novation stuff, and my first controller, The Akai MPD 24 had just come out. I was inspired by the MPC so snagged that quick. My rig has evolved a lot over the years so do not be afraid of change. At the same time do not get every new shiny thing that comes along.
I want to side track real quick. Keeping to the “Keep it Simple” ethos I am directing this specifically to the DJ/Producers types. The ones that are always hidden behind a DJ booth where no one can see what you are doing. Your goal is to make music so awesome that the audience does not bother to look at you because they are dancing their asses off. They should not be watching you, filming you, they should be dancing. Personally, it drives me nuts when people are standing in the way filming the DJ’s head from the area that should be reserved for dancing. Here is a little secret, I do not know anything more simple than some headphones and thumb drives. The club probably has a really awesome Pioneer CDJ rig. Bring some CD’s for backup but thumb drive and headphones are magic. Get awesome with a DJ rig and control that dance floor. You want to add some live elements check out some iPad apps. Imaschine 2 is awesome, yes it is limited but it is simple and fun. I know plenty of DJ’s that use Ableton. Yes, Ableton can be an amazing DJ tool, but just because you produce in Ableton Live it does not mean you need to DJ with it. Personally, I love using Vinyl, CDJ’s, and Traktor to DJ. If you are a DJ you need to be able to use it all. At one of my recent shows, I was set up to do a live set in a DJ club. I had 1 deck to scratch Vinyl, Ableton Live, A Traktor Z2, Apc 40, and a Quneo. That is actually one of my scaled back rigs. I dropped my first sample on Vinyl then when I fired my scene no sound. I could see green audio on my master bus. My Audio interface was set up correctly. Volume was up on the mains. I had no idea what the issue was. So I dropped a Portishead record on my turntable. I went back to troubleshooting but I was quickly running out of time. I decided to get the CDJ’s going. I put my thumb drive into the CDJ. Nothing, CDJ did not read. I quickly grabbed my CD case out of my bag and started playing some music. The audience has no idea that I am having issues. I while playing on the CDJ’s I rebooted my laptop then switched back to my live set after a few tracks on the CDJ’s. If all I could do was use my laptop I would have been screwed. Moral of the story always have backups, and Portishead can save your butt!
Ok, so you know what you want to do. You know what gear you want to use. You have a good idea of how you want to perform. Next step, skills. You need skills. Templates and gear do not give you skills. It is time to figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are. Are you an awesome guitarist that wants to become a live looper? Have you ever done any live looping? you are going to need to be awesome at live looping. It is time to develop that skill. Are you a hardware looper transitioning to Live looping in Ableton Live? I hate to break it to you but the workflow looping with Ableton Live is a little different then looping with hardware. You have a lot more options and can do more epic things live looping in Ableton but it will not be exactly the same. You want finger drum like Jeremy Ellis, Divinci, Mad Zach, or any of the other awesome finger drummers out there. Yes, they have how-to videos and templates that you should watch but nothing will replace skills. Mad Zach has one of the best finger drumming tutorials I have seen. Check it out. You need to practice. No matter how awesome anyone is at something at one point they sucked and had no clue what they were doing. The only cure for suck is practice. Practice will always cure suck. So figure out what skill you need and the live those skills, breath those skills, figure out ways to alway be practicing. Even thinking about practicing increases your skills. You can actually finger drum and beatbox everywhere! I used to always practice my two and three finger bass plucking technique. I did it so much I would do it without even knowing. In the processes of developing any need skills, your live set will start to take shape.
Finally, here we are. You know what you want. You have the skills to do it. Now it is time to get that live set dialed in. I want to reinforce Keep It Simple. Most importantly keep your interaction on stage simple. Sometimes that will involve some complex tricks under the hood. that is fine, but keep that as simple as possible. You will also need to keep an eye on that CPU. In future articles, I will talk about the nuts and bolts. I will talk about how to actually set up your live set and I will go into a number of different styles of live performing. So for know get back to practicing. Another thing about practicing, you want to be awesome you must keep practicing as do I.
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Ableton Push 2 and Live 9.5 is here!!
Exciting times are here! Not only has Ableton released the Ableton Push 2, but also a new software update, Ableton Live 9.5. This is an overview of some of the newer features of this awesome device. The Ableton Push 2 has a number of cosmetic and ergonomic upgrades as compared to the original Push. Most notable is a larger Full Color Display, which provides more in-depth feedback and control over Ableton Live.
Physically a number of controls have been moved for better ergonomics and feel on the Ableton Push 2. The Master Volume knob has been moved away from the main macros, which will help to avoid accidentally adjusting the Master Volume.
The octave controls are now where the navigation button used to be, which is really handy when playing instruments. Also the navigation button has been moved closer to the add track, add device and browse buttons; which is nice because you can now also use the nav button to navigate the browser when in browse mode.
The Master button will now toggle between the master bus and last selected track. Both the mute and solo select buttons have been moved to the left next to an additional button, Stop Clip. When you hold down the Stop Clip button, you can then use the row of buttons just below the display to stop the clip in its corresponding track. Holding down shift and then pressing stop clip will stop all clips.
Just below the Mute, Solo, and Stop Clip Buttons, a Convert button has been added. The convert button will change the current clip or instrument into a different format. This means that when you record an audio clip and then press Convert on the Ableton Push 2, it will convert the audio clip into Simpler. After doing some editing in Simpler, you can press the Convert button again to convert the Simpler clip into a drum rack.
The User Mode button is now on the top right, this will be nice for people using user scripts or custom mapping, because you can quickly locate the button and switch in and out of user modes. Next to the User button, a Setup button has been added. In Setup mode, you can quickly switch between scene and clip workflow, adjust the brightness, and adjust the feel of the pads, using 3 levels of control sensitivity, gain, and dynamics. This will help you really dial in your personal feel on the pads. Everyone has their own preferences, and now it is easier than ever to make the pads respond exactly how you want.
The USB input has been recessed which will prove to be a more reliable connection. Ableton Push 2 feels a little light but still very solid. Besides the new layout and the new buttons, you will find the real power of the Ableton Push 2 when you dive in and start working with Ableton Live.
In Clip Mode, you can now see the wave form of audio clips, and have access to a number of clip controls including zoom and loop position. You can even change the Warp modes without touching the mouse.
The Ableton Push 2 workflow with Simpler also allows for editing without the mouse. You can press Add Device, use the navigation pad to select A sample, choose between 3 different modes, change the warping, and much more; all without leaving your device. With the new full color menu screen, there are a lot of features you can work with straight from the Ableton Push 2. This allows for a much more fluid workflow, as you’re not having to go from device to keyboard and back again.
With Ableton Push 2, you can now open and close racks and grouped tracks by pressing the button below the display that corresponds to the group or rack. It’s as easy as that. Pressing the Mix button will allow you to quickly adjust volumes, pans and sends; and pressing the Device button will give you access to the devices.
When the device is selected and you press the same button again, you will be in Full Device Mode. The buttons above and below the display will be dedicated to the selected device, so you can easily change banks and modify all the parameters in the device. Press the button named for the device, which is located on the top left, to exit the Full Device Mode. You will still have access to whichever bank was last selected, plus be able to navigate your set.
As you can see, the buttons are developed to be self explanatory and intuitive. This really allows for a smooth workflow and a pleasurable production experience. This is just a small example of what the new Ableton Push 2 can do. With the improved layout and powerful features, this really does need to be the next addition to your production arsenal. Once you see how well this has improved the music making experience, you will wonder how you ever managed without it. Welcome to the new standard, brought to you by the Ableton Push 2.
For more information and to download live 9.5 or purchase Ableton Push 2 go to the Ableton website. https://www.ableton.com/
Check out some of my Videos on Youtube Channel, I get into some of the features of the Ableton Push 2 and Live 9.5.
11 Tips for Ableton Live Performance
I have performed live music in as a musician in traditional bands, a controlerist/musician in electronic bands, a solo electronic music performer, a DJ, and even as a VJ. Over the years I have picked up a few things that have helped me to put on better and better live shows. so here is a short list of tips for electronic musicians and DJ’s to think about when performing live.
1 Keep it Simple
This is the tip that is applied to everything. Keep it simple! When you are prepping for an Ableton live performance you want to keep everything as simple as possible so that you can focus on your performance.
2 Build Your Box
We are always trying to get outside of the box, but the box has something that is very helpful. The box provides limitations that help you to keep it simple. Let your controllers be the box. Take a good look at the available midi controllers. Not all midi controllers are well suited for an Ableton Live performance rig. I live the Keith McMillen Instruments Quneo for the size and versatility. I love the Akai Apc 40 for its ease of use with in an Ableton Live performance set. The Ableton Push is great as an instrument and grid launcher. do many options. Pick your controllers and work with in the limitations of the controller. Design your Ableton Live performance set to fit the controller. View your controllers like an instrument.
3 Do not Touch your computer
Watching someone on stage standing behind a computer is boring. As a performing using the computer in front of you is uninspiring. Get the computer out of the way. Try not to put the computer between you and your audience. If your performing an original Ableton Live Performance you are not DJ. So perform, the crowed wants to see a performance. refer to tip number 2. Your box is your instrument. Your instrument is your performance. Build your performance set so you can do everything you need to do without touching your computer.
4 Never let them see you sweat
If your computer is on fire and melting act like it is part of the show. If the audio drops out and everything is silent.. yell at the crowed and hype them up. It doesn’t matter who’s fault the problem is, don’t bring attention to the problem.. act like it is part of the show and solve the problem. Some times that is harder the others. It helps to have a back plan. an Ipod, instruments, other band members.. anything to keep the crowed entertained and distracted while you or some one else solves the problem.
5 Be prepared
Have a back up plan. If your computer is broken be ready with a thumb drive so you can potentially borrow some one else’s. Have a small case of CD so you can play on CDJ’s, maybe an ipad, instruments, anything that you can do to make the show go on. Have extra cables. Be able to get from what ever your outputs are to XLR, 1/4 inch, and RCA. Bring extra usb/firewire/thunderbolt cables. have adaptors. I always have a stereo 1/8inch to left/right 1/4 and RCA just incase my audio interface breaks. This also helps you to be the hero. Promoters, bookers, and artists will remember better if you save the day.
5 Use a master Ableton Live Performance Set
In most cases you do not want to load a new Ableton Live set for each song. Create one master set that has all your songs in it so you only have to load one Ableton Live set. It may seem impossible, but trust me not only is it possible but 99% of the time it is the Absolute best way to perform.
6 If you do not play it, tweak, or manipulate it, render it.
Render your midi tracks to audio clips. If your processing your music with lots of effects and not manipulating anything render to an audio clip. Not only with this drastically cut down on your CPU usage but you will be able to better organize your live set to fit your box. you can also think in stages. Say you have a synth patch and you want to manipulate the filter cut off and lfo. Render the synth to audio with the filter open and then use auto filter or another filter on the audio.
7 Keep it Simple, Seriously!
you do not need to trigger everything and do everything. Unless of course that is your performance then by all means. If you are a spending trying to trigger every section of the song perfectly the same every time then just make it all one scene and focus on effects, singing, playing an instrument, or what ever it is that your performance is. Keep it simple and focused on performance. Do not worry about what people think. Blow them away with an epic performance of your design. Most people have no idea what your doing anyway so blow their minds!
8 Always except complements well
After your performance when people come and tell you how awesome you are, thank them graciously and smile confidently. I don’t care if you think you sucked and everything went wrong, they don’t have a clue about any of that and they think you are good. Never ever ever say “o man i sucked and screwed it all up”. If you say that that is almost a direct insult to the person that just gave you a compliment.
9 Practice, Practice Practice
This the secret to talent. Practice! Talent is not a gift or some magical thing. Talent comes from hard work, dedication, and practice. You can be as amazing as anyone if you focus and practice. I don’t care if your old, if your young, all you need to do is practice. People get so amazed and young kids that are amazing at what they do. Guess what the get to do all day.. practice, no job, just practice. if you practice we will become great.
10 Have Fun
This is the most important tip to putting on a good performance. Have fun, have lots and lots of fun. Performing music is fun. Even if your expressive emotional music that is all dark and emo, have some fun and enjoy yourself. Dance, move and express your self with every part of your being. That is your job and your job is fun.
11 Back up everything
Cloud storage is cheap these days. Copy.com and dropbox.com are awesome. They have free plans and paid plans. At the very least back up your live performance set. If you have your performance set backed up on the cloud and all your gear is stolen. You can download your live set onto another computer and perform. Your Ableton Live set will run even on a trial copy of Ableton Live. Remember the old show business saying “The Show Must Go On!” this is true even now.
These are just some of the many tips that can help you to put on an amazing Ableton Live Performance. Never forget your job is to entertain, how ever that may be down, what ever you are doing, your primary goal is to entertain people and take them into your world.Read more
Using and Recording Automation in Ableton Live 9
This Ableton Instruction video by Ableton Live Certified Trainer Jimmy Allison is about using and recording automation in Ableton Live 9. Automation is a very handy tool that can be utilized for both production and performance. New to Ableton Live 9 is the ability to record Automation directly into Live’s session view clips. You can also move clips between session view and arrangement view while maintaining the automation . This video also contains a tips for over dubbing Automation with the Ableton Push and a workflow tip involving using automation on the Ableton utility effect.
Over Dubbing Automation in Arrangement view with Ableton Push
This is video is just a quick video to show you how to overdub Automation in Ableton Live using Ableton Push. It can be a bit tricky but basically you need to set the input to non on the track so that the Ableton Push does not arm the track when you select. If the track is armed and you try to record Automation int0 Live’s arrangement view you will also overdub the midi clip. This is a just a quick video demonstrating how to set up Ableton Live’s Arrangement View for overdubbing automation with the Ableton Push.
Jimmy Allison is an Ableton Live Certified training offering private and group lesson online and in the Austin, TX area. Taking private lessons is one of the most cost effective ways of attaining your goals. The lessons will be focused on you and your needs which will greatly reduce your learning curve. Learn at your pace and on your own time. Highly specialized training from an instructor with over 7 years of experience teaching and countless years producing and performing music. Feel free to send a message and receive more info about Ableton TrainingRead more
I was having a conversation the other day with my producer friend Levi Witt aka DRRTYWULVZ. He was talking about how annoying it was when dropping samples onto a drum rack and then having to adjust the release value of every simpler. Levi likes to have the release value short so he can control the length of the sample with the note length in Ableton Live’s midi clip view. I then mentioned A really awesome feature in Ableton Live 9 often over looked, User defined defaults. In previous version of Live you could right click/CMD click on the title bar of any Ableton Live device and save the current device as default. You can of course still do that in Live 9 and more.
First grab a default Simpler from the Ableton Live Instruments under Categories in you Live 9 browser. You can get a default simpler by dragging the folder called Simpler into a midi track. All built in Ableton Live Devices provide a default patch in this manor.
Drum Programming With Ableton Live
This tutorial is a introduction to midi drum programing using Ableton Live and Drum Racks. To start off we will be making a basic 1 bar drum loop, and then quickly expand the basic drum loop to dynamic 32 bar drum pattern.
The first thing we need to do is open Ableton Live and load a drumrack into a midi track.
To load a drum rack Open the live browser, select the live devices, open the instrument folder, open the drum racks folder, open the kit folder, and select a drum kit.