There has never been a better time to get started with Max for Live. In April, Ableton is offering Max for Live for free with purchases of Ableton Suite 8 and upgrades to Suite 8 from Live Lite and Live Intro. There is also a 50% discount on Max for Live available on upgrades to Suite 8 from Live 1-8 and Suite 7.
Granular synthesis is a technique that involves dividing a sample into very short pieces, and then playing the pieces back superimposed and crossfaded with one another. These pieces, or "grains," are usually under 50 milliseconds long and sound like short clicks when heard individually. But when layered together, grains can produce lush textures with rich modulation possibilities.
Using the Granulator
To use the Granulator, drag a sample onto its waveform display. You can then adjust the length of the grains and the density of their overlap with the Grain control. The playback position within the soundfile is set with the FilePos knob and can be modulated randomly or via the built-in LFO.
In addition to controls that influence the playback of the grains, there are also a number of "classical" synthesis parameters such as an ADSR envelope, two multimode filters and an FM oscillator that can dramatically alter the overall timbre.
One of my favorite things about this device was the waveform visualization which is missing from many commercial product of this sort.
ARE YOU IN?
If you were waiting on Suite this is sort of a no brainer. For those like me who already have Suite download edition, the upgrade path would be to buy the boxed edition at $149. That would give us Max for Live (normally $299), EIC ($129 if your purchase seperately), and a paper manual for $149 bucks.
Revision: I misread the upgrade price which Gary pointed out in the first comment. He said “As a registered user of Live 8 suite, you do NOT get Max for Live if you buy the box set. You get a 50% off coupon for Max. So you are looking at 149 + 150 = 300. So, in essence, you get a manual and a box for 50$ and pay full price for Max for Live.” I'll reach out to Ableton and see they'd be open to adding a download only 50% upgrade for existing Suite "Download Edition" users.
So, are the new updates in Ableton 8.2.2 (that are sure to yield some cool new devices), a fantastic looking new device by Robert Henke, and the upgrade deal enough for you to jump on to Max for Live?
Devices inside Racks can now be accessed via the Max for Live API
Return tracks can now be observed via the Max for Live API
Live devices and parameters can now be much more easily mapped to controls in Max devices. Devices can safely be moved within a Live Set without breaking any existing mappings. Also, devices and Sets can be saved and loaded without breaking existing mappings. The following changes make this possible:
There is now a simple way to observe the selected parameter via the Max for Live API, using "live.path live_set view selected_parameter." This can be used, for example, to build a custom "map mode" to quickly map parameters in your Live Set to controls in a Max device.
Live objects like tracks, clips or parameters retain their identity (id nn) during operations like move, save/restore, cut/paste, delete/undo, the identity is global and can be communicated via Max's Send and Receive objects.
live.object, live.observer and live.remote~ are now able to remember their target objects when Live sets or presets are saved and restored or when objects are moved within the Live set.
Ableton protected samples can now be used in Max for Live device, via the Live.drop object
fixed a bug where clip slots would lose their id on moving a clip
fixed navigating and observing control surfaces via the LiveAPI
Repeatedly calling "goto control_surfaces" on a live.path object was producing a different id each time
Fixed a crash that occurred when deleting a Rack containing a Max for Live device, where a Remote~ was controlling one of the Macro knobs, and then Undoing the delete action
Navigating the Live Object Model is about two times faster
Fixed a crash that occurred when moving tracks that contained automated Max for Live devices
Fixed a crash that occurred when replacing one Max for Live device with another if certain modulations existed
If a native Ableton device has parameters that are mapped to a Max for Live device, the mappings will be preserved after hot-swapping the Ableton device
The Track/Chain Activator and Song Tempo are now accessible via the "selected_parameter" property and their path can be queried
"live_app" and "live_app view" can now be persistent in the Max for Live API
Mapping some mixer component on the APC40 (for example) through the Max for Live API wouldn't work without pressing the Pan or Send button on the APC40, which reset the component. This has been fixed.
"goto live_set tracks 2 devices" in a set with one track produced id -1, which is wrong. Now it produces id 0.
If the LOM id of the observer is persistent, the property of an observed LOM object is persistent, even if it is dynamically changed using a message.
Max for Live devices that control the Application objects (e.g. live_app (live_app view)) or which get information about the Live version and document name (e.g. get_major_version (focus_view)) will work when loading the Set, without requiring user interaction.
Fixed a problem with nested Macro mappings when the range of a mapped ON/OFF switch, or of a selector switch (such as a filter type switch), is not at default values. In such a case, the right value would be displayed, but the wrong value would be used internally.
Note: with this fix, you will now hear what you see, although this may mean that previously saved Sets that contained the bug may sound different.
Deleting time in the Arrangment View could delete crossfades in certain cases.
When using an APC40 and Scratch Live, Scratch Live would sync to the APC but would not initially show the return tracks .
If the VST plug-ins folder contained shorcuts/aliases to files in another location on disk, the folder would be rescanned each time Live starts. This has been fixed.
When launching a scene with via Key/MIDI mapping or a control surface such as the APC40 while "Select on Launch" is enabled, the Master track became selected. This would result in the selected device switching to the device on the Master track. Now, launching a scene via remote control behaves the same as when launching with the mouse; the device selection doesn't change.
Fixed a crash that could occur when clicking the status bar, while it displays "Media files are missing", and just after having adjusted a Macro knob.
Fixed a crash that occurred when adding an audio clip, scrubbing in the clip detail view, and pressing Undo while the mouse was still down for scrubbing.
Fixed a crash that could occur when switching between certain audio interfaces on a Mac
updated Complex Pro libraries to prevent a potential crash
fixed Transport button behavior for the Akai MPK61 and 88
fixed a crash that could occur when opening very large Live Sets
fixed a crash that could occur when a clip referencing a sample was in the clipboard and when pressing the Edit button (in the File Manager or Clip View) to set the sample offline and then on again
Holding a note while recording a MIDI clip and stopping the transport while the note is held would result in a silent note during play back
If a clip was in Gate Mode, releasing the trigger key within the launch quantization period would still launch the clip
Fixed a bug that caused a clip in Gate launch mode to continue playing after clicking another clip for a very short time
Fixed a bug in how MIDI effect Racks handle latency. Now chains compensate properly against each other
Mark Mosher Electronic Music Artist & Synthesist, Boulder, CO
Native Instruments posted a teaser video on their new additive synth called Razor. The factory patches are by Richard Devine.
It reminds me of Image-Line’s Harmless as it shares a simplified approach to additive synthesis with subtractive filters on the back end. They have upped the ante with waveform visualizer which seems quite nice.
According to May Roosevelt - “IT IS TIME FOR THE DEAD TO HAVE A WORD WITH THE LIVING” and she delivers through her album Haunted. Her web site describes the album:
"Haunted": The Strange Musical Case of May Roosevelt
May Roosevelt's new album "Haunted" opens doors to phantoms of the past. The work's eight musical compositions are supernatural entities of modern technology that hover in the air, bursting open the chest of rustic tradition only to be transformed into rhythms of Greek dances.
Following "Panda, a story about love and fear", composer and thereminist May Roosevelt uncovers a dark and reclusive universe defined by motion and dance. "Haunted" starts with the zeibekiko dance rhythm in 'The Unicorn Died', which was composed and presented for the first time in London at the Red Bull Music Academy in February 2010. The original idea evolved through an intense speculation about the place held by traditional Greek rhythms in the canon of Greek electronic music. This exploration subsequently led to the creative transformation of eight different Greek dances presented in "Haunted".
The Theremin, a very complex instrument yet absolutely submissive to the hands of May Roosevelt, was used to create a plethora of curious sounds ranging from wind and stringed instruments to an imitation of human voice. The Theremin's unique sound also shifted from a bagpipe (in 'Oomph') to a Pontic Lyre (in 'Mass Extermination'), and from a clarinet (in 'Vow') into a violin (in 'Dark the Night'). Through the use of electronic beats to form each rhythm alongside synthesizers and vocals, May Roosevelt attempts to embed anew Greek musical idioms within contemporary music while retaining all their respectable characteristics.
The title "Haunted" - inspired by the idea of hauntology, introduced by French philosopher Jacques Derrida - defines the concept and underscores the character of the compositions: The phantoms of the past and the spirit of future, mingled, haunt the music of May Roosevelt.
Here is two videos from her Vimeo channel featuring songs from the album to give taste.
If you like instrumental electronic music and you love theremin you are sure to enjoy this excellent album! I’m on my third listen already! Haunted indeed.
I met Robert earlier this year at the 2010 Electro-Music Festival where I learned of his fascinating “Simultaneous Opposites Engine” work. Rather than try and explain it, I thought I’d share some excerpts from Robert’s blog as well as embed a sample video.
Simultaneous Opposites Engine
I create and employ software engines to examine mediated artifacts forged at my zone of proximal development. My Simultaneous Opposites engine (2008-present) is a performance/navigation system for real-time traversal of existing video files, sorting through the audio and video a single frame at a time, in a arrhythmic spiraling motion. The center frame between the two ends of the spiral becomes a temporal focal plane, with the length of the jump a temporal depth of field. The navigational path is the result of a preprogrammed algorithm interrupted during traversal by triggering and modulation by computer keyboard, mouse, and MIDI guitar…
Videos Robert has over 50 examples output of the developing Simultaneous Opposites engine on his Vimeo Channel http://www.vimeo.com/robertedgar/videos- “Each sequential video file exemplifies a stage in the ongoing experiment I've undertaken.” Here is an video #52 "Tone Rose":
Added a 12-step process to the Simultaneous Opposites engine. It lets me divide the area between two non-adjacent video frames into 12 sections. I can then scramble them, playing them forward, in reverse, as a still, or as a simultaneous opposite traversal. I've added a simple octave 12-tone row, which is useful in sensing the structure. MIDI guitar played over some of these. Primarily a laid-back feel to these, as if Satie was a serialist cinematician...
I thought it would be fitting to do a limited Texas edition controller set. The wood choice for maximum Texas flavor? Mesquite of course. Although Ryan Anderson (the head of our circuit board department), insisted that the state tree of Texas is a Pecan, nothing says Texas like Mesquite…
These controllers will be with us at all of our SXSW events to check out if you are in Austin, TX.
We will be making a limited run of this for a great deal only available this month. We will have one of them up at the Austin retailer, Switched On as long as we offer this model.