Hi guys, I’ve got such great stuff to share with you this week. Explorations with Ableton Push, 3 new tracks-in-progress and an introduction to my friend Vero’s cooking. I’ve also got LOTS of links to some new music for you below.
As some of you may know, I recently invested in an Ableton Push (aff link). This is an incredibly beautiful instrument I am learning to play. From it’s soft, but firm creamy latex buttons to it’s silky smooth matte black endless rotary knobs, my musical ideas have a faster, clearer path from wherever my music originates, into my brain and down into my fingers.
This machine can seamlessly send and receive instructions from a software I use called Ableton Live. I won’t get in to the details here, but basically, it allows you to get straight to composing and improvising -tapping in drums, playing pianos, twisting knobs, AND recording every single sound AND knob movement – all without looking at the computer*.
My favorite feature is it’s ‘Scale’ feature, which basically allows you to scroll through different musical scales and modes on it’s 64 pad, pressure sensitive grid.
You can play different notes with the same pad by simply turning a knob. This is known as an isomorphic chord layout and allows music to be understood and played as shapes. What’s great, is that I’m now needing to brush up on a lot of my music theory.
Christopher Willits (who’s totally worth following), has a really tranquil introduction to some basic music theory with Ableton Push:
Anyway, I read this interview I wanted to share with you with Jesse Terry – who is the product owner of the Ableton Push. He actually developed it for 2 years using LEGOs and Sugru.
Read the interview here.
NEW MUSIC + ALBUM IN THE WORKS
Inspired by my Push, I’ve also got a new album in the works:) A good friend of mine who runs a recording studio in Berlin has even offered to master my tracks! I am very excited about this and will keep you apprised of this new development.
In the meantime, here a few sketches of some tracks in progress that you can check out – let me know if you would like copies when they’re finished.
This is inspired by old skool drum n’ bass (here’s a good mix). I have some other stuff that’s a bit like this, referencing even some UK garage, which predates a lot of dubstep and even some of the ‘post-dubstep’ stuff like James Blake’s ‘CMYK‘ or Mount Kimbie’s melancholy ‘Maybes‘. One of my fave tracks that’s a cousin to this entire genre of music is Eats Everything’s remix of Huxley’s ‘Let it Go’. You’ll probably hear the reference(s) I want to explore:)
Yes, this is inspired by edIT, who is a West Coast electronic musician who is part of the Glitch Mob (I actually went to school with Justin at UC Santa Cruz – awesome to see him rocking it:) Anyway, I had gotten turned on to edIT’s superb Crying for Pros Over No Reason (full album here). The programming and edits on that album are awesome and I can hear all the guitar and bass that were hand recorded in – than chopped up and played over some kind of APC-type sampler and than hyper edited on the computer. The beats are exquisite and I am inspired to explore the beats of hip-hop to improve my drum programming.
I’ve always loved bells, harpsichords, harps and dulcimers. These are really lovely instruments that harken to such a wide range of really magical places and moods for me and I am very happy to start exploring these. Dulcy, is a new piece I’m exploring making ample use of a dulcimer. The sample above, is just the theme of the new song and I’m exploring some different places to take it. If you like, you can download the sample here and hack it up however you like – send me what you come up with!
Also, welcome a new subscriber and dear friend – Vero! I was very lucky to work with Vero when I was living and working in Berlin at Agora Collective. She’s now branched off to run a very delicious raw and vegan catering service (hope I got that right Vero!).
Obligatory food porn follows:
Please go patronize her here OR fly her to your estate, villa or summer festival to prepare the food. She’s got a lot of great experience cooking around Europe and a good understanding of the techno festival circuit in Romania and Germany – aside from speaking a few languages. I miss her soul-satisfying food after a long dance session (usually alongside her and not nearly enough!- hi Vero!
Anyway, that’s enough for this post. Feel free to send me interesting stuff you come across and feel free to share your stories with me. I’m very open to interesting, lovely music-related stories.
Next week, stay tuned for an interview with some of the creators of a new recording studio in Berlin from my dear friends Rolf and Denis.
For those of you non-versed in computer/electronic music, a trouble many musicians have with integrating computers into their setup, is that computers are oft relegated to simply ‘recording’ or ‘processing’ stuff for you, especially during a live performance. You get into a more ‘left brain’ approach in ‘thinking’ and ‘analysing’ (your inner critic so to speak) when looking at a screen, rather than the more Dionysian ‘flow’ and musicality of the right brain.
Also, your hand contains 17 muscles and your forearm contains 18. There are actually no muscles in your fingers – go ahead, look at your fingers right now and flex them. All this work is actually the result of tendons and muscles further up in your hand and forearm. With all this coordination of brain, muscles + 10 fingers, that results in 3,060 (10*17*18) possible combinations to produce a SINGLE NOTE. Let alone, choosing which note and how hard to hit it. How to move your fingers. Where to place them on the instrument. And your brain coordinates all in real-time. Mind blown.
Anyway, I digress. The last thing a musician wants to devote their attention to is whether button X is properly controlling parameter Y in their software. Push handles a lot of this guess work by providing a seamless integration with the software – almost zero configuration to get up and composing. Two button pushes and I have a drum machine ready to play. One button push and I’m recording. Another push and I have a new track, instrument loaded and ready to play. The feedback is immediate and I can capture my inspiration more easily.
Did I mention how excited I am about learning it? :):)