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Heads up, Ableton just released a free set of Max for Live devices called CV Tools. In this post I’ll offer some info on overview videos, a summary mind map I made to give you a one-page perspective on all this, links to a collection of videos just released on Moog’s Demo Library YouTube Channel, and lastly a link for more info and how to get CV Tools.

Overview
Ableton Live 10.1: CV Tools - YouTube
Intro video from Ableton

Now you can control your modular and CV-based gear with Ableton Live 10 Suite. And because you own Ableton Live 10 and Max for Live, CV Tools is free for you.

CV Tools is a Pack of 10 devices that allows you to send and modulate control voltage between your modular setup and Ableton Live using a compatible dc-coupled audio interface.

Plus, the included Rotating Rhythm Generator and CV Utility devices give you modular-style workflows inside Live or with a hardware setup that doesn’t use CV-based equipment.

Mind Map Summary of CV Tools

I used mindmeister to create a summary mind map. It’s a rather large map so you may want to click here to view the interactive mind map version. You can see more of my public mind maps here BTW https://www.mindmeister.com/users/channel/103187.

Click here to view the interactive mind map version Moog Demo Videos

To see CV tools in action and learn more about how to use them swing by the Moog Demo Library Channel on YouTube.

Mother-32 | Modulate your Synth with CV Tools - YouTube
DFAM | Build a Synth Drum Rack using CV Tools - YouTube
DFAM | Calibrate Ableton’s CV Tools to your Synth - YouTube
DFAM | Play your Synth from Ableton Push using CV Tools - YouTube
DFAM | How to Tempo Sync your Synth with Ableton using CV Tools - YouTube
More Info and Download Link for CV Tools

You will need to be running the free Live 10.1 update or above to use it. Download CV Tools from the Packs page or find it in your Live Browser under Available Packs.

Download CV Tools and get more info here
https://www.ableton.com/en/packs/cv-tools/.

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We had a crazy fun time at Tilt arcade on Tuesday night at our 7th anniversary celebration! Event description here. Of course the meetup is http://RockyMountainSynth.com.

A Huge Thanks To… Photos of Event

Here is a small gallery of some of the photos of the event. There are many more (60+) photos here https://www.meetup.com/Rocky-Mountain-Synth/photos/30099553/482997226.

Performance Videos for Event

Mike Metlay, Dino J.A. Deane, and J.L. Kane I performed arcade inspired sets. I created a Vimeo showcase gallery for the videos here. Individual videos below.

My piece was inspired by the movie “War Games”. I also use max for live and Isotonik Studios Tetriq sequencer to create arpeggios with Tetris and to map a wireless Xbox Controller for crowd interaction. Wait for the big finish at the end from another fav movie – haha.
“Mark asked us to embrace “arcade sounds” in our mini-sets.
I captured a 4 minute “video game sounds trivia recording” that
covered 20 classic game sounds into “Audio Stretch” on my iPad.
I scrubbed around that file for 12 minutes recording into “Audio Share”.
I cut that recording into 6 two minute files and opened them in “Samplr”.
My set was about improvising with those files.” http://www.jadeane.com
Mike Metlay’s set featured some great video classic game sounds.
J.L. Kane played a fun set set featuring some classic game songs and beats. He also donned my DEVO Energy dome for part of his set. Note we used the dome as a bowl for ticket drawings. Thanks Again & Stay Tuned for Event #72

Thanks again to all. I’m planning the next meetup for September or October. Join the meetup at http://RockyMountainSynth.com for updates.

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It’s hard to believe it’s been 7 years since I founded the Rocky Mountain Synthesizer Meetup. Since then we’ve grown to over 800 members all along the Front Range surrounding the Boulder and Denver area, won “Best Music Meetup in 2017 by Westword Magazine, and have hosted 70 events!

The Rocky Mountain Synthesizer Meetup is where synth enthusiasts of all levels meet to share there passion for synths, network, get inspired, get hands-on with gear, tell people about projects, and find collaborators. It is synth technology agnostic and features broad variety of rotating presentation topics and experiences each meetup – most presentations given by members themselves. Many meetups feature a performance by a meetup member.

In this post I’m going to offer some info on our upcoming 7th Anniversary event.

I’m working on a follow-up post on the origins of the meetup. So if you want to know how first Denver Ableton User Group, a Synthtopia Post, a Laurie Anderson commencement speech, and a Tom Hodgkinson book lead to the creation of the meetup stay tuned or subscribe to my blog to get email notification for future posts :^)

7th Anniversary Party Tuesday July 9th at Tilt Pinball Arcade in Louisville

In celebration of the 7th anniversary of the meetup I’m very excited to announce we’ll be meeting at the amazing Tilt Pinball on July 9th from 7-10PM. Yes that’s right it’s the return to the city of Louisville where it all began 7 years ago!

#71 – Rocky Mountain Synthesizer Meetup 7th Birthday Party at Tilt

Tuesday, Jul 9, 2019, 7:00 PM

Tilt Pinball
640 Main St Ste B Louisville, CO

39 Synth Geeks Attending

In celebration of the 7th anniversary of the meetup I’m very excited to announce we’ll be meeting at the amazing Tilt Pinball. Yes that’s right it’s the return to the city of Louisville where it all began 7 years ago! This event format is a party focusing on mingling in the main arcade and bar with some giveaways and a short synth performance so no…

Check out this Meetup →

This event format is a party focusing on mingling in the main arcade and bar with some giveaways and some short synth performances featuring arcade and video game sounds by Dino J.A. Deane, Mike Metlay, J.L. Kane, and yours truly.

We’ll be doing some drawings for giveaways at next Tuesday’s meetup. A Huge thanks to Isotonik Studios for providing 3 copies of Arcade Series Ultimate Max for Live sequencer Packs for drawings.

For more info or to RSVP visit
https://www.meetup.com/Rocky-Mountain-Synth/events/260790283

http://RockyMountainSynth.com

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What follows is a rather detailed journal of my 2010-2015 Dark Sci-Fi Techno Show.

What Motivated Me to Write this Post…

While I was working on a playlist for the upcoming Rocky Mountain Synthesizer Meetup 7th Birthday Party at Tilt Arcade I thought about Tron which made me think about a cover I’d done back in 2013 of the song “Derezzed” by Daft Punk.

“Derezzed (Mile High Edit)” was really an illustration of the show concept I designed and performed from 2010-2015. While that show was performed with all original music I also thought it would be fun to do a cover with the same show design – because – well I love Daft Punk. So let’s start with that…

“Derezzed (Mile High Edit)”

I re-sequenced the song from scratch (no samples for the original were used). I performed the music and visual live in a single take with no edits.

Derezzed (Mile High Edit) - YouTube

My rig at the time was Ableton Live, Percussa AudioCubes, Moog Etherwave Theremin Plus, and Tenori-On sending MIDI notes to an Ableton Rack with VSTs. I used the Machine to control the arrangement in Ableton on-the-fly and to live sequencing the parts I wasn’t playing live as well trigger clips in Live to automate changes in Resolume. The AudioCubes were used to trigger and control effects through gestures, as well as add 4 more dimensions of gestural control for effects for the Theremin. I used the Tenori-on to improvise a lead :^) More on all this below…

Background & Show Design

I created the show concept in support of my original alien invasion sci-fi theme concept albums Reboot, I Hear Your Signals, and – at the time – the forthcoming Fear Cannot Save Us.

Note: These albums are available on Spotify, Apple Music and most other outlets. The albums are free “name your price” on Bandcamp.

My design goal was to have the audience more easily relate to what I was doing with a complex and abstract rig by incorporating controllers that offered real-time visual feedback. This would allow them to correlate what I was doing with what they were hearing from the speakers. As the show evolved I amplified this further with projected visuals with real-time FX using only live camera input.

Visually the show design was a inspired in part by Tron, and John Carpenter’s “They Live”. I also used additional lighting to create shadows inspired by German expressionism films like “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari“.

Here is an example of a live performance. More videos from shows at the bottom of the post.

Mark Mosher Performing "New Heart Beating" Live at Electro-Music Asheville 2014 Festival - YouTube
Mark Mosher Performing “New Heart Beating” Live at Electro-Music Asheville 2014 Festival Rig

Here is a rundown of how it all worked.

Rig Components
  • Windows Laptop
  • Ableton Live Suite
  • Resolume
  • Logitech C920 Web Cam
  • Native Instruments Maschine (I’ve since switched to Push)
  • Percussa AudioCubes
  • Moog Etherwave Theremin Plus
  • Tenori-On
  • Novation Remote SL 25 MKII (not used in this shoot but used in most shows)
Ableton Live

At the center of this entire rig was Ableton Live. Here is a short video on what I was using Live for at the time.

Ableton was used to host virtual instruments, do MIDI mapping for all the various controller, for live arrangement of for MIDI sequencing playback for parts I wasn’t playing live, and dummy clips were used to automate lights on the AudioCubes and controlling and automating Resolume for visuals.

Evolution Through Iteration

The evolved quite a bit throughout the years. As time went on the show became more complex and rich for the audience while I simultaneously worked to reduce complexity on the rig side.

For example when I shot the Derezzed video, I was using two laptops, one for music, one for visuals. As processors got faster I got both Ableton and Resoume running on one system with virtual MIDI ports. It was cable hell!

Cable hell period of the show. Photo taken during “Derezzed” shoot.

By the end of the show run I upgraded to wireless AudioCubes thanks to the ongoing development of the cubes by Percussa. I also replaced the Maschine with Push when it released and then with Push 2 when it released. As time went on I was able to get the show running on one laptop instead of 2.

Select List of Performances

It was a really cool show and it was really fun to perform it out and was well received. Here are some of events where I performed the show.

  • The University of Denver’s EMAD Program, Inaugural Black Box performance and talk back
  • University of Colorado School of Music, Artist for Ableton University Tour
  • Dairy Center for the Performing Arts
  • The Art Institute of California/Sunnyvale
  • The Microsoft Store, Denver
  • Electro-Music Festival in NY; Ashville, NC, Indianapolis, IN
  • The Pacific North West Synth Fest, Seattle, WA
  • Boulder Digital Arts – Artist Salon Series
Some More Live Performance Videos
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Max for Live is an incredibly helpful solution that allows you to further customize and extend Ableton Live. While you can use it as a development tool, many people I’ve bumped into don’t realize it’s also extremely useful to artists who don’t develop.

For example, I’ve been using it for years now to use Ableton Live itself more like a modular and to extend Live through both free and commercial Max for Live devices from Ableton and third parties.

As Max for Live is a bit misunderstood so I wanted to spread the word about a video I discovered via Darwin’s Grosse’s “All Things Modular” Blog, It’s ELPHNT‘s YouTube channel and the videos covers about all sorts of use cases for non-developers.

It’s called called “What Is MaxForLive… And Why Aren’t You Using It Yet!?” and offers a great overview in just under 8 minutes. In the video he touches on:

  • What is Max for Live
  • How should use it
  • How to set it up
What Is MaxForLive... And Why Aren't You Using It Yet!? - YouTube
A Few Ways I’ve Used Max for Live with Free Devices
Concréte Mixer 6 Teaser - Granular Synthesis with Joystick on Copper Heart Samples - YouTube
Tow Max for Live Devices – Granulator II device and a device that lets me map my wireless Xbox 360 Controller
Late Night Sound Design: Granulated Resynthesized Bell - YouTube
Max for Live Granulator II and Convolution Reverb devices along with native devices.
MM BEAP 002 - Using Cycling '74 Beap with Max for Live - YouTube
This one requires a more knowledge but I wanted to include it as it illustrates how you can bring Max patches into Max for Live devices. This is my first try at it. More by ELPHNT

Check out https://elphnt.io/ for tutorials and Live Packs.

In a somewhat related not both ELPHNT and I collaborated with Brian Funk on his The Round Wavetable Ableton Live Pack – 32 Free Wavetable Presets From 7 Producers.

Max for Live Links
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A new live video series by Matthew Hodson (MATTHS) on the Percussa SSP Eurorack Module began on June 16th, 2019. the live stream/video is broadcasted on YouTube Live on Sunday’s at 6pm UK time (11am MST).

Visit http://www.youtube.com/matthsmatthsmatths to join and watch the stream.

Jump in the chat room as Matthew will be joined by Bert Schiettecatte, Percussa’s founder and lead engineer/designer, who will be there to answer questions about the SSP as the live stream unfolds.

The series is a live stream hosted by Matthew himself, where he will share his perspective on integrating the SSP into a professional music production context. The series will consist of multiple in-depth videos highlighting everything the SSP is capable of: sampling, granular and wavetable synthesis, external and internal CV modulation, MIDI control and CV generation, sequencing, effects processing, multichannel recording, FM and traditional subtractive synthesis. The videos will also cover polyphonic and multitimbral patch design. Each video will focus on a different aspect of the SSP.

The first two episodes are on YouTube. I’ve watched the first and was in the live stream chat room for the second one and thought it the series was a great way to both learn how the Percussa SSP works, what it sounds like, and how to create with it.

Percussa SSP Eurorack Module Part 1 Livestream (COME PATCH WITH ME 11) - YouTube
Percussa SSP Eurorack Module Part 2 Livestream (COME PATCH WITH ME 12) - YouTube
About Percussa and the SSP

Percussa makes hardware and software for forward-thinking professional musicians, sound designers and artists, since 2004. Percussa is known for its award winning AudioCubes product, a wireless patching and performance interface, Synthor System 8, a wireless digital modular synthesis system, and the Super Signal Processor (SSP) eurorack module, a high-end DSP module, modular-in-a-module and multichannel recorder/sampler, featuring 16 inputs and 8 outputs, at 32 bit resolution, supporting sample rates up to 192kHz.

About Matthew Hodson (MATTHS)

Acclaimed electronic producer Matthew Hodson, brings dynamic and intense productions, characterised for the controlled fusion of both ambient and aggressive electronica under the name of MATTHS. Recent MATTHS performances include opening for Wire; supporting Alex Banks (Monkeytown Records), Ulrich Schnauss and Rival Consoles (Erased Tapes). MATTHS has worked with the original BBC Radiophonic Workshop on their new material at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios. In May, MATTHS also played 2 shows at the Superbooth Festival in Berlin.

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My good friend and frequent Chris Frain has a new release called Multimodal now available on Bandcamp https://chrisfrainmusic.bandcamp.com/album/multimodal. BTW – Chris was a frequent presenter and performer at the Rocky Mountain Synthesizer Meetup before he moved down to Albuquerque.

So far for, my favorite track is Swanky Adjacent which starts off with some great electronic tonalites then builds up from there with some classic synth sounds.

The album is loaded with awesome synth candy anchored by some fun beats and would make a good playlist addition for a summer road trip or just zipping around around town :^)

You can here more music by Chris at https://chrisfrainmusic.bandcamp.com/. He has an older release under the name Pattern Language. He is also one one of the hosts of the by the minute podcast Open the Podcast Door, Hal dedicated to the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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I’m excited to announce that I was a guest on the by the minute podcast Open the Podcast Door, Hal.

Chris and Rudi discuss Stanley Kubrick’s science fiction masterpiece, “2001: A Space Odyssey,” one minute at a time. They are occasionally joined by guests from other movie-by-minutes podcasts, as well as film enthusiasts, musicians, and other deep thinkers.

I’m on Episode 126: Plausibility Stellar where we discuss the transitional moments in the Star Gate sequence from the 2h4m7s to 2h5m7s mark of the film.

When Chris told me which minute we were going to discuss I was super excited as it’s one of my favorite parts of the film. Use the links below to tune in and listen to hear us geek out hard on science fiction, film, sound design, and visual effects! I also talk about how to use modern visual software to approximate some of the star gate effects. Show notes below that.

Thanks again to Chris and Rudi for inviting me, taking the time to put this podcast together on such a compelling film. Also a big thanks for them including one of my 2001: A Space Odyssey inspired soundscape this episode at the 45m12s mark of the podcast – Sonic Encounters Podcast SO1-E09: I’m Completely Operational, and All My Circuits Are Functioning Perfectly.

Tune In to Episode 26: Plausibly Stellar
Show Notes

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Earlier today my go to synth news site Synthtopia published a post about the new Ableton Learning Synths site… ” Today, Ableton quietly launched Learning Synths, a new website that teaches the fundamentals of synthesis in an interactive way.”

It’s an interactive media site called Learning Synths. You can use the site right from within their browser on your computer or mobile device.

I spent some time poking around in the site and feel it’s a great site for students or up -and-coming musicians and producers who want to learn more about synthesis so I wanted to also do a post to spread the word.

I also wanted to do this post to share a mind map I made from the course menu (hamburger top right) which illustrates the comprehensive the site content.

Overview

Synthesizers are at the foundation of many different kinds of music. They’re musical instruments that can make a huge range of sounds. But they can be hard to understand.

Learning Synths is a new, interactive website that puts a powerful but easy-to-learn synthesizer right in your web browser. It’s free, sounds great, and works on any internet-connected device. Best of all, it comes with its own step-by-step lessons so you can explore and learn the fundamentals of synthesis at your own pace.

The lessons in Learning Synths start with the very basics, so they’re perfect even if you’ve never used a synthesizer before. Or dive right into sound design with a rich-sounding instrument that’s built for exploration and play.

Outline in Mind Map Form

The course is quite interactive and comprehensive as you can see from the mindmeister mind map of the site outline I created below.

Click image to enlarge Highlights

Some fun highlights are a playable theremin in the Play with Amplitude and Pitch section – https://learningsynths.ableton.com/making-changes/play-with-amplitude-and-pitch.

The Synthesis Playground has a full-on interactive browser-based synth https://learningsynths.ableton.com/playground. It even has some synths to get you started.

Even if your know these concepts already it’s worth checking out the site to how Ableton put together the course and immersive multimedia. Again the site URl is https://learningsynths.ableton.com/.

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