Arturia, Logic, Final Cut, Reaper, and more offer these free tools while you stay at home

Apple Logic Pro, Reaper, and other free and inexpensive tools mean there’s no reason to stare at the walls in self=isolation. Even if your budget is hurting, you can make some music. Here’s an overview.

Plus, bonus – because all these are free for the next 90s days, they’re perfect for collaborating with friends, since you can make sure you’re running the same software. And even if you don’t collaborate in real-time (yeah, I get nervous when people watch me stream messing around with knobs), this is a way for us to feel a little less like we’re on our own.

Play with Pigments, learn tools, get an iPad drum machine app free, thanks to Arturia.

Arturia have a complete stay-home guide: The Pigments software synth is free through July 3, iSpark drum machine is free on the iPad, plus just as importantly, you can catch a whole series devoted to learning tools, improving skills, checking out livestreams and Q&A, and even sharing your work. It looks like it makes loads of sense – Arturia’s folks are also stuck at home, so we all get to interact:

https://www.arturia.com/make-music#en

Even if you use another DAW, Logic might be worth playing with for its wonderful toys – and once you get tired of only live streaming, Final Cut lets you, like, also edit video.

Apple have made a full 90-day license for both Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X, so you can get to work editing video and making music. (Hey, you could probably spend 90 days just playing around with the Sculpture and Alchemy synths alone!)

https://www.apple.com/final-cut-pro/trial/

https://www.apple.com/logic-pro/

I recommend you adjust the viewing angle of your monitor. This is seriously not ergonomic. But REAPER is seriously awesome.

REAPER is a great low-cost DAW to begin with and allows free evaluation, but they’ve even created a temporary free license you can use through the 1st of July. Download Reaper if you don’t have it already, then install the license file by copy-pasting text. So they’re even more generous than normally, and their DAW runs on 32-bit and 64-bit macOS and Windows, plus macOS Catalina – just about any machine old or new works. (There’s even an experimental Linux build, or try running in WINE.)

Novation goodies: This actually a normal deal, not pandemic related, but Novation hardware owners can get a free plug-in emulating the rare Sound Master SR-88 analog drum machine, among other goodies. If you missed signing up/registering, and you own some Novation gear, head to – https://novationmusic.com/en/sound-collective

Tracktion Waveform Free is the always-free version of this DAW, which runs on Mac, Windows, Linux (tested on Ubuntu), and even Raspberry Pi . Even the free version has unlimited track count and a simple drum sampler and 4-oscillator subtractive synth. That makes it another ideal choice for collaboration – and you can always bounce down your particular set of plug-ins or output from other software, then use Waveform Free to work on the mix.

Cherry Audio are giving away their starter kit Voltage Nucleus so you can try out modular synthesis for free – with a very capable set of modules already. Get patching and take your mind off the news:

https://cherryaudio.com/free

Also, this is just free. It’s not like, free because of pandemic, it’s just part of the usual free goodies we always get because we’re blessed to be using music software, apparently! But Filterstep looks like a really cool sequenced filter effect for iOS, macOS, and Windows, with a gorgeous interface. Please go use it. I’m afraid to add another filtered effect to my own setup. I rely on you. Thanks to Synthtopia for catching this one.

https://audiomodern.com/shop/plugins/filterstep

Native Instruments came out with their free Analog Dreams instrument, which despite the vaporwave graphic actually covers the full range of analog synth sounds. They’re not new, but while you’re on NI’s site, check out the free Mikro Prism, superb Blocks Base modular synth. and other free stuff.

Analog Dreams

Hainbach has taken his gorgeous aesthetics with tape and analog equipment and made a free sample pack dubbed Isolation Loops. I hear people are already making music with them, so one lovely side effect of this project is people sharing music and not being isolated.

Plus some deals!

Humble Bundle may be best known for gaming and other bundles, but they have a unique Music Producer bundle now. There’s some great Applied Acoustics Software (AAS) starting at just one $USD/EUR. But the really important story here is that they’re supporting Musicians On Call, an organization that sends live and recorded music to people in hospitals. And even if you don’t support this software, I recommend checking out that organization.

Humble Software Bundle: Music Producer

Air Music Tech Ignite is US$9.99 (normally 70 bucks) with a whole bunch of instruments and simple recording facility. There are tons of options here that make this ideal for keyboardists and songwriters, or beginners looking to get some ideas going. And you can use it as a sketchpad for other software – so even if this seems basic for you, it might be a place to start songs before you get lost in more advanced environments like Pro Tools.

Got Ableton Live and ready to finally learn how to use it? Well even with Ableton Loop canceled in Berlin next month, you can get a full 4-week course for free from Berklee on Live Fundamentals. It comes from Erin Barra and Loudon Stearns as instructors, so we’re talking some excellent fundamentals.

Take Your Free Ableton Live Fundamentals Course

Visualists, I’ve got more for you coming shortly.

I’m sure there’s more I’ve missed here; if you’ve got something to share, let us know. I expect we’ll have some great music at the end of all this.

I know you don’t need reminders to stay home and stay safe at this point. So let me remind you instead that your music matters, there’s never too much music, and whether it’s good enough or not is never the question to ask. We all need that reminder now and then. But it’s good to know that even if we’re having some solitary time with music, other people are out there working, too. Look forward to chatting and hearing what you’re making.

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There’s a new home for custom visuals and graphics FX – and a $99 on the VDMX VJ app

Find generators and FX for VJing, Motion, Final Cut Pro X, and more – or make your own, in GPU-accelerated ISF format. And need a VJ tool? VDMX is on sale for $99.

That’s the news from our friends at Vidvox, makers of VDMX, and developers of the open GLSL format for generators and effects.

Okay, first – that shader graphics effect… thing. Interactive Shader Format, or ISF, is all about having plug-ins for visuals to make graphics and add effects, accelerated on your computer’s graphics card. There was already a website, but now it’s far cooler.

For visual producers, you can check out sample shaders and browse and search. So this is an easy one-stop shopping guide to some new eye candy:

Browse ISF shaders

Want more resources? Check those here, including with applications you can work with:

https://isf.video/

If you’re handy with code and ready to make your own shaders, the site revision is also ready for you. So – on this week’s theme of “I’m going to learn sword swallowing and Jiu jitsu” yeah, there’s also a primer to learn GLSL, plus an ISF quick start. And actually, if you’re a CDM reader making visuals, getting into a little code for GPUs is not a bad idea.

Once you’re up to speed with your skills, there’s a new code editor – with better error checking, which you’ll want while you debug as you learn.

All of this looks Mac heavy at first glance (VDMX is Mac-only), but TouchDesigner and openFrameworks and Max are all supported, too, so think Apple visual tools, but also VJ apps, but also dataflow environments and live coding tools. There is support for Linux and iOS as well as Mac and Windows in the C++ framework, and there’s even a browser, JavaScript version. See integrations.

But wait – what if you do have a Mac, and you want VDMX as a cool live visual environment? (And it’s one that can easily host all these cool new shaders you just coded yourself / found on the site.) For the next month, the “student / struggling artist” cost is down to US$99. (Full licenses are on sale $249, for any of you mercifully not struggling right now.)

Info on the sale:

https://vdmx.vidvox.net/blog/vdmx-sale-celebrating-launch-of-new-isf-website

Dig through, as they have a bunch of freebies on their site, too.

And I’m having lots of fun here:

https://isf.video/

Pictured at top: Dédoublement, Cie Cobalt, mapping by Silvia Fabiani, built in ISF.

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Add these Max for Live devices for inspiration in Ableton Live – or learn to make your own

A surprising number of Ableton Live users haven’t discovered the power of Max for Live inside. Here’s how to get started – but, oh, you’ve seen it all before? Okay, smarty-pants, learn how to make your own devices, too.

Beginners and those needing some fresh ideas…

Anxious times can be a big barrier to inspiration. And that’s why this guide is useful now. Max for Live add-ons can be particularly useful not just for solving problems, but pushing you in a different direction or getting you back in a state of play. That’s been useful even for me – I was feeling stuck, and wound up finding some new tools that got me going again, just while writing this.

As long as you’ve got a copy of Ableton Live Suite, Max for Live is waiting for you. If not, it’s also a pretty major reason to upgrade.

I’m thrilled to again partner with Riemann Kollection to make a complete guide:

Read up, get started.

Max for Live: the techno producers’ guide

It starts at the beginning; no previous knowledge – what Max for Live is, how to use it, and how to get started with a lot of useful devices in a host of different categories.

Max for Live has an impassioned following, but I suspect a lot of users of Live are afraid to go there. Here’s the thing: you really don’t need to know how to use Max. The fact that Ableton baked in one the most mature and most powerful toolkits for making music production and live visual inventions means you can use the tools everybody else is making.

As it happens, ELPHNT also produced a two-part list of their favorite devices on maxforlive.com. I purposely ignored this list, and still imagined we would overlap. Speaking to the depth of the M4L world, not one device is on both lists. (I even plugged ELPHNT on my list, but it’s not in the Ableton.com story!) Read: [ Part 1 | Part 2 ]

… and those ready to make your own stuff

Okay, maybe you are curious to dig into Max and Max for Live and try customizing devices or creating your own from scratch? And, uh, maybe for some reason you find you have a bit of time on your hands? Well, you’re in luck.

Ableton has an official page with resources. Pay particular note to this line – “Access the Max for Live built-in lessons by clicking on the Help menu–>Help View.” That’s really where you most likely want to begin.

Max for Live tutorials and learning resources [Ableton]

But for a single video intro, try this:

or this –

or this –

More recently, Cycling ’74 also shared best practices in making devices, which would be useful if, uh, you want to share with others. (I mean, for yourself, be as horrible as you like!)

Multichannel audio is what is really useful in the most recent major upgrade:

Finally, because of the current crisis, you can shadow a college course in Max here. I once taught this course for CUNY. I would not be able to do it now – Max has changed radically since I did it, and I have forgotten a bunch – so I’ll be checking it out! There are some sharp tips in there. (and if you know Max a bit, crank up the speed and pretend you’re Data from Star Trek as you go rapid-fire through the parts you know.)

Overwhelmed?

Well, this is about play. So as I said, it’s totally valid to just grab a fun device or two and … try something.

So I still recommend my guide – as a break from dev work, or if you realize your brain is more tired than you thought and you got over-ambitious (never happens to me – I’m lying):

https://riemannkollektion.com/blogs/techno-producer-knowledge-hub/max-for-live-the-techno-producers-guide

See the complete Riemann techno producer knowledge hub for lots of advice.

Images courtesy Ableton.

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Blistering driving acid and searing glitches in Vee – Litha music video (CDM premieres)

It’s a feverish, pounding acid nightmare – in a kathartic way. Get knocked back in your chair for Vee’s “Litha” on Failed Units, as we meet the artists.

“Litha” is the latest release from the aggressive, underground up-and-comer label Failed Units, a collaboration between musician Vee and visual artist ZOR.

This is perhaps even unintentionally on-zeitgeist; the music video combines moshed-to-death, AI-mangled hyperactive disintegrating visuals with relentless acid madness. It’s a digitally dying flow of imagery with echoes of a 2020 update to Emergency Broadcast Network. (see below to see what I’m talking about)

Watch. Crank up the volume. Obviously.

ZOR, short for Zion of Rudeness, sends along a statement and some idea of how this video came together. ZOR shares with us:

STATEMENT. Destroyed by overstimulation. The over-stimulation of the media propaganda machine. The system of enslavement in which we all play our part. The mainstream masses are kept going by torrents of fear and see-through fake happiness, like lab rats in an experiment.

PROCESS. In order to represent the everyday sensory overload, a rough cut was created for the first level, matching the music of Vee. This first level was then gradually cut or additional cut-outs and animated 3D objects were added so that the story played out on many different image levels at the same time.

The various levels were partially processed using data-moshing. I also worked with pixel sorting and other digital glitch processes. In one setting, the Google DeepDream AI [background] was used, for example, and alienated in the further process. After the files were destroyed, they were digitally cut out again and inserted into the overall picture. Finally, I digitally destroyed the work in several rounds in order to regain a certain consistency.

ZOR’s artist page: https://www.facebook.com/ZionOfRudeness/

And the release, from September – the label is centered between Manchester and Berlin, with the secretive Vee coming out of Manchester.

☨: This one’s come out wrong too
Ϟ: FUCK! This is not looking good…
☨: Who knows about all of this?
Ϟ: The directors will be expecting our report.


Ϟ: But what is going on?
☨: I don’t know. We’ve been following the protocol. I’ve run through the data again, there’s been no deviation…
Ϟ: … My head hurts.


☨: So what do we do now?
Ϟ: Put it with the other one.

Ϟ: We can’t let any of this filter out. I hope you understand?
☨: All clear. What do we tell them?

https://failedunits.bandcamp.com/album/dawn-of-the-failed-units-pt-2-vee

Failed Units makes these releases in a sort of sequential narrative, if you want to follow along.

We too often watch new media without any sense of history. Just as appropriate for the pandemic information meltdown is Emergency Broadcast Network’s “Channel Zero.” This early 90s group out of Providence, Rhode Island looks pioneering in its deconstruction of propaganda through audiovisual mayhem. And yeah, it seems the time is right for just this kind of resonance across the decades – EBN to Vee.

Of course, now we have AI and streaming alongside satellite dishes and television. Well, and no more channels.

STAY HOME.

WATCH TV.

Oh yeah, we actually have to do that now. Hey, as they say, there’s nothing wrong with that.

On that note, here’s the video ZOR produced last year for the ear-catching Duane Reade outing that debuted the label:

Failed Units lives exclusively on Bandcamp – and yes, should continue purchasing downloads there if you have the money; it still makes a big difference for artists and labels even minus Bandcamp’s own (minor) take:

https://failedunits.bandcamp.com/

Addedum, if it’s more glitch-y eye candy you’re after, the USA-based label Detroit Underground has a full channel crammed with nonstop music and visuals, running right in-browser, much of it also in a similar aesthetic musical and optical vein:

http://detroitunderground.net/du-vhs/

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Patterning is as unique and as circular as drum machines get – now on your iPhone

Stuck for ideas and inspiration? Maybe you just need something on your iPhone that brings its own groove and is more, um, circular.

It’s a match that was waiting to happen – the handheld interface of an iPhone meets the drum machine and pattern maker that runs in a circle. That’s a beautiful way to visualize time, waiting only for the modern smartphone screen. (And Star Wars fans, am I the only one who finds this reminiscent of the episode IV radar displays? In a good way.)

It does meters. It does polyrhythms. It has a sophisticated sound engine. It sequences parameters as well as the beats themselves.

Patterning 2 had already matured into a rich, circular interface for exploring rhythm and beats and grooves. And if you want to kick back with a big interface and explore, the iPad is still the way to go. Patterning then becomes an instrument on its own, or a sequencer for other iPad apps, or – thanks to full-blow export and Ableton Link – a sketchpad for your DAW. Ashley Elsdon wrote about this back in the day:

Patterning 2 arrives with a host of new features to play with

But if you’ve got an iPhone handy, and you like having this palm-top based, Patterning 2’s arrival for iPhone will be just as welcome. Okay, “mobile” is not really a thing on planet Earth for most jobs at the moment, but that could mean doing this while cooking, or leaning back in your chair and away from home office and conference calls for a quick groove exploration.

One other bonus on the iPhone version – haptic feedback. That circular interface looks like it belonged there all along.

It’s been amazing to see how iOS has matured. When we started, it was all about simple toys and experiments. Now, the iOS tools sometimes can seem more sophisticated than many desktop counterparts – and they’re all about spawning ideas, jamming with others, and connecting ideas to other apps (whether on mobile or desktop).

That is, basically, what you see in this list:

  • 8 Independent Loops Per Pattern
  • Unlimited Patterns
  • Automation Layers like Coarse Tune, Ratcheting, and more.
  • MIDI Output
  • Export to Ableton Live Set – Comes with Ableton Live 10 Lite
  • Export Perfect Audio Loops in WAV or AIFF format, Stereo or Multitrack Output
  • Export Songs to Patterning 2
  • Import Songs and Drumkits from Patterning 2 (some limitations apply)
  • Ableton Link
  • MIDI Clock Send and Receive
  • Inter-App Audio Clock
  • Multi-track Inter-App Audio Output
  • Hundreds of free factory and user created drum kits
  • Quantize Pattern Launch
  • Haptic Feedback!

http://patterning-for-iphone.app

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Gorgeous ambient and adventurous sounds fill 9128 with A Strangely Isolated Place

Tune in, bliss out, and keep the stream running – and play it with the only live video stream you need, live jellyfish.

https://9128.live/

“A Strangely Isolated Place” may seem a reference to our present moment, but lovers of electronic music will know this exceptionally tasteful label out of Los Angeles. It’s a perfect example of rich and wonderful Bandcamp pages to get lost in, full of releases from James Bernard to Christian Kleine to 36 and so many more:

https://astrangelyisolatedplace.bandcamp.com/

It’s running now, through 9pm Sunday (that’s 4am Monday GMT).

Tons of gems are on the schedule, including exclusives (like Benoît Pioulard), live sets (including our friend Proem, whose practice session I heard last night and already sounded terrific), and album premieres from Quiet Places and William Selman (of The Mysteries Of The Deep fame).

You can give money to charity (SNAP who provide Food Stamps and Meals on Wheels, who work with the elderly, both in the USA). You can buy the music, you can (ideally, if you have the cash) do both:

https://www.buymusic.club/list/a-strangely-isolated-place-9128-9128-featured-artists-and-labels-evolving

Oh yeah, and about those jellyfish – they really do make a perfect visual complement to the music. I wish I had a big beamer, but I can get real close to the screen (mute the sound, obviously).

Thanks to Noncompliant for the tip…

And lots of love to https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/

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In Montreal, a drone concert on balconies in quarantine

Social distancing has brought impromptu balcony concerts from opera to DJ sets to ritual applause. But Montreal has one you might get behind: drones.

Here in Berlin, some people are blasting Beethoven, but the most popular experience seems to be 6pm applause for health care workers and other support volunteers and staff (following the lead of Spain and Italy). To the DJ sets I might say – uh, please don’t, honestly. Some of the ones I’ve seen online look like they make house arrest worse, not better.

John Triangles Stuart has proposed the drones as an alternative. And it’s bring-your-own drones – maybe a less intrusive way to make people feel less alone, without waking people who may have actually contracted the virus. From the event description:

Le drone: la seule chose qui concentre tout les traditions musicaux a travers le monde. Rassemblons-nous tous (dans nos abris) et produisont-nous un drone (en C) de nos balcons and nos fenêtres, pour qu’on puisse être entendu au travers la ville – nous unir dans l’isolement et réverbérer l’amour et la passion.Ce Vendredi soir de 21h-21h15. Prenez n’importe quel instrument (ils y a des options en ligne) et dronez ))))

The Drone is one thing that links much of the traditional musics we share. Let’s all gather (in our shelters) and produce a drone (in C) from our balconies and windows that can be heard across the city – unifying us all in isolation and reverberating love and compassion . This Friday night from 9 -915. Grab any music maker you may have on hand (there are online synths if you don’t) and drone ))))

Très québécois, quelle avant-garde!

Event info:

https://www.facebook.com/events/211837546694592

I’m very curious how this goes, what it sounds like, and how neighbors respond (positive and negative). Let us know.

And thanks, Montreal, for hosting me as — the last place, really — out of my flat I spent at the beginning of this crisis. I’m about to run out of the bagels I brought back, but I’ll be thinking of all of you, and the rich community in electronic sound I got to visit this year and in years past, the MUTEK network, the academic community in Quebec, all your geeks and artists and circus geniuses and everyone else. So I’m droning with you in spirit.

In other news:

Meet the Italians Making Music Together Under Coronavirus Quarantine [The New Yorker]

During quarantine, balconies worldwide set the stage for DJ sets, squats and singing [The Washington Post]

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Live coders from all over the world are playing music and visuals live online, right now

It’s just business as usual for the live coding scene and algorave movement. From every corner of the globe, freely-coded performance is happening for four days straight – now.

They come from Brasilia. They come from Detroit. They come from Indonesia and Antwerp, Ukraine and Mumbai, Rome and Miami and Japan. They’re running free software and browsers and DIY electronic and visuals. You can dance to what they’re doing. You can’t dance to what they’re doing. This is an experiment.

They’ve all come to Algorave.

youtube.com/eulerroom
twitch.tv/eulerroom
facebook.com/eulerroom

Something rather nice is on as I type this.

Check the full schedule:

http://equinox.eulerroom.com/schedule.html

This is not a new idea, either – TOPLAP live coding community is using this event to celebrate their sixteenth anniversary. So while everyone else is suddenly discovering the fragile nature of our world and the distances between us, these are tools with a significant head start. And the tools are not a gimmick, either – because they’re free and open source and run on low-end hardware, they’re uniquely global and agile.

They’re part of the fabric that makes electronic music now dynamic – and durable.

So algorave on! And hi to some friends playing, see you online soon!

Happy March equinox everyone – spring to the northern hemisphere, fall to the southern. Sonic festivities on the Eulerroom Equinox stretch through 1:30 Greenwich Mean Time 23 March.

(Wait, make that Stardate 97813.31 – 97824.25.)

Want some tools to try live coding now? Many are approachable even if you’re a non-coder – don’t be afraid to try stuff out and break things! Check out:

Gibber – great place to start in-browser

TidalCycles for music

Hydra for visuals in the browser (see our interview with Olivia, the creator)

Side note: I know a lot of these artists and developers will need support soon, in this health and economic crisis. I know a lot of them needed it long before things have gotten tougher. Let’s keep that conversation going here on CDM, too, and find out what solutions we can create together. Don’t hesitate to be in touch and let me or other members of this community know how you’re doing and what you need.

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MeeBlip jam festival: watch all the wild and wonderful creations of these synth lovers

The joy of synths – as long as you’ve got a box with knobs on it, you’re never alone. And it’s incredible what people can do with tiny, ultra-affordable gear – including ours.

So, we invited our community of MeeBlippers to share what they’ve been making.

And wow, those MeeBlippers are making some fantastic stuff. The whole reason engineer James and I have stuck with making synth hardware, and trying to make it as accessible as possible, comes down to this – you keep surprising us. It’s a different model of music, inventing something that people can use.

We’re in stock and shipping MeeBlip geode synths, plus cubit go interface and cubit splitter. geode remains the best culmination of all we’ve done, with analog filter, tons of hands-on control, and internal USB MIDI so you don’t need an interface. Delivery times may fluctuate as we deal with COVID-19, but we’re doing our best to keep operating, and we really appreciate your support – it’s what keeps our independent effort going and allows us to make new things even in uncertain times.

Here are a few of our favorites who sent stuff in. I declared MeeB-leap Day a special holiday, but keep them coming! We’ll send some MeeBlip thru5 MIDI kits to a few of you, too! Thanks for all the submissions – and do follow these fine musicians. Here we go:

TriWave: I’m in love with this project, new grimy, groovy techno of Jean-Claude Langensand from Zürich, Switzerland. He tells us he makes them all live with just three pre-programmed MIDI clips, combining MeeBlip with Roland’s TR-8 and SH-01A.

Um this (for two examples):

Joseph Rhodes: “Had a lot of fun tonight using the #meeblip for leads. I played a line in Ableton and had it arpeggiated, then freaked out the knobs. Such a cool box.”

Joseph also made a free sample pack for the OP-1. I actually look forward to loading this on the OP-1 and running the geode alongside for a sort of meta geode*geode jam. Doube double your refreshment! (The sample pack is on Google Drive.)

Mårten Nettelbladt: From Stockholm comes this track with MeeBlip geode drenched in reverb, sounding almost like some long-forgotten classic 70s electroacoustic studio recording. Need to learn more about “Peggy” the MIDI arpeggiator on the right! Check out the Peggy project on Instagram, also from Mårten.

Heat Impact posts some raw, rapid techno combining the geode with Elektron’s Digitone. Love this; it’s a jam, but already sounds like a track. “I am sequencing the Geode from the Digitone, which is a great combo as I can use the scale lock on the sequencer and use the full 64 steps. The Phaser and the Zoom really add something extra to the meatiness and fullness of the Geode, a perfect mono bass synth.” And apparently it was a Christmas gift. Take note! (Birthdays, too, naturally…)

Radio Coriolis: James Taylor writes, “Radio Coriolis volumes 25/26/27 feature heavily MeeBlip. The first synth I found that can equal the Moog Rogue of my accomplice.”

zhorli: More with less – just a Novation Circuit and MeeBlip triode are enough for zhorli to make a full jam session in a tiny amount of space (check his polyrhythm tutorial on the Circuit, too):

Dharma Club: Daniel Hengeveld writes, “I have used the triode and geode in a lot of stuff … but I wanted to share this – the ‘blips are in the rotation for my “liminal techno” project with a friend, Dharma Club, which is live techno-adjacent improvising incorporating samples recorded in the middle of the night when waking up from weird dreams.” Top sampling tip, yes!

Eine Kleine China: Jazzy, avant-garde, spaced-out MeeBlippery on this track combines MeeBlip geode (melody) with a vintage MeeBlip triode (on bass):

daionsavage: Studio jam, spread thick, with MeeBlips geode and anode, plus KORG volca kick and volca drum, and KORG minilogue and monologue, and even Waldorf Streichfett (which literally references covering something in buttery goodness). Heavy stuff, and proof the MeeBlips can cut through anything.

Crypto-oriental techno, indeed!

Ac- Tone: Blast from the past: a vintage orange-and-black MeeBlip SE paired with Eurorack rig, MeeBlip grit against luxurious Euro percussion and chimes:

valleyroadex: MeeBlip anode and triode power everything but drums on this hard-hitting clip:

Bonus round here from our friend Alexey in St. Petersburg, who’s back with a quartet of his own DIY hand-built MeeBlip copies (three of them made the original, open-source generation that started it all):

See you at MeeBlip.com. Keep blipping and for all you’ve given to us.

https://meeblip.com

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Ableton are ready to get you off the grid with the new FlexGroove device

You’ve got tons of devices that let you tweak sounds of synths and effects with knobs. So why not warp time, too?

That’s the idea of FlexGroove, the latest add-on for Ableton Live and Max for Live. Just as you use envelopes and breakpoints to control volume or effects parameters elsewhere in Live, this tool lets you go in and speed up time, slow down time, and transform groove and meter just as easily.

Even as a big believer in words (words rock!), that is something that screams out for a demo. And once you hear this, you’ll get right away why you might want something that does this:

Speeding up (accelerando), slowing down (deccelerando), expressive give and take (rubato), and meter changes are essential building blocks of music in a wide variety of genres and cultures. So on some level, it’s weird that they tend to be hidden in machine music interfaces, in hardware and software – or at least relegated to working on just a master tempo track.

That said, putting them into a dedicated device like this means you can treat these elements in a focused, compositional mindset. And device creator Martin von Frantzius, a composer and musician himself teaching in Germany, has pulled out all the stops.

So you get six timing modes, each with its own presets:

  • Free time (drawn in with breakpoints)
  • Acceleration
  • Deceleration
  • Sine/half sine curves
  • Ratio – (which lets you do metric modulations)
  • Swing

And there’s a built-in pair of step sequencers, plus controls for humanization and velocity, plus probability.

Basically, you fire this up, then spit out clips. Some of the ideas here are really performative, so it’s a shame in a way that it doesn’t focus on playing these things like an instrument. On the other hand, I think for composers, someone adding excitement to a score bed, creating a dynamic break/drop in dance music, and otherwise spawning a ton of more interesting clips – it looks seriously addictive.

And it should also cure you of the dreary feeling of a bunch of on-the-grid monotonous and unmusical clips in your Session View. I just now got the NFR, but this looks worth 39EUR to me.

https://www.ableton.com/en/packs/flexgroove/

Got patches of your own, or favorites from maxforlive.com? Let us know! The more time-warping devices, the merrier, really!

And it’s great to see Ableton continue to use ableton.com as a kind of label for creative Max patchers.

Check out Martin’s page for tons of interesting teaching and engineering and violin and composition projects, like an online church-organ you can play, and — this, for more experimental time-bending with violin:

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