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NO GHOSTS. JUST FEAR. - 5 Original Dark Ambient Synthetic Soundscapes

No Ghosts Just Fear cover

New Dark Ambient Album

I’m happy to announce the release of my new album No Ghosts. Just Fear. It’s an EP with five original horror soundscapes. The album is only available as an album download from as they supports the high-resolution formats required for proper listening :^)

Here is a link

Go for the High-Rez Download :^)
The dark ambient sounds and music within these arrangements was created and performed on various virtual instruments (see notes below). In some cases original audio recordings were used as sources then re-shaped with granular synthesis to turn these recordings into playable expressive instruments with huge sonic range and motion.

The album was mastered by the wonderful Gannon Kashiwa who is the Director of Digital Media at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science  - so you'll hear the incredible sonic range and detail of these pieces if you go for the downloads. The streaming versions just don’t do the tracks justice.

With this in mind I’m making the entire album (14 minutes of horror in 5 soundscapes) available for only $3. I hope this is a no brainer price that makes you want to go for the lossless CD Quality FLAC or at least MP3 320 (click here if you have questions about format). A lot of work went into the sonic detail so it’s worth it to take the time to listen on good system with a sub – or with great headphones. No earbuds please – lol.

Liner Notes +

The Liner notes pasted in below with the addition of “Synths Used” for you Modulate This! readers. Note tracks 2-4 each use a single synth and single deep performance preset programmed from INIT.

I hope hearing these tracks inspires you to dig deeper into programming from INIT with a smaller number of synths in your rig. Going deep allows you to create expressive patches and presets with performance in mind and transcend these synths making them true instruments.

I’ll also add that the entire album was produced and mixed with Ableton Live. Gannon Mastered in Pro Tools.

Thanks for your support and If you enjoy the album please pass it on. Happy Halloween!

Mark Mosher
Synthesist & Composer, Boulder, CO


This album contains five original instrumental horror soundscapes by Boulder-based synthesist and composer Mark Mosher. Listen in the dark on a great sound system with a sub-woofer or with good headphones (not ear buds) and let your imagination run wild! Then remember, it’s all in your head :^) 



© 2011-2012 (CC-BY-NC) Mark J. Mosher
Composed, Arranged, Programmed, Performed, and Produced by Mark Mosher
Mastered by Gannon Kashiwa
Cover Design by Dave Weed
Cover Photo by Mark Mosher


1 Primeval
Amygdala kicks in as you enter the fear zone. Remember, it's all in your head!

I use hand crafted synthetic sounds (subtractive and additive synthesis) to create strange tones, textures. and rhythms to build tension. Fast note-runs, and radical tempo changes will creep you out. This piece was performed using Percussa AudioCubes. Note I released this as a single in 2011. Even if you've heard it before I recommend you buy the album to get this new high-resolution remix. For this remix I reprogrammed some of the effects, remixed the track a bit, and then re-rendered with highest quality synth settings. Plus this track and all others were mastered by Gannon Kashiwa and it sounds simply incredible!

Synths Used: Waldorf Largo, 4 Instances of Image-Line Harmless. I also used Percussa Improvisor with original sequences controlled from AudioCubes which got fed into Live to drive the virtual synths. Further editing and production was done in Live.

2 Alone in the Dark
When you are alone in the dark your mind will play tricks.

Over the last year I've been spending time listening to the tone. harmonics, overtones, and distortion created by expressive electric guitar greats like David Gilmour. "Alone in the Dark" is my exploration of expressive manipulation of harmonics and distortion with a single synthesizer patch custom programmed. As a result you'll hear me go beyond the sonic range of guitars into the sub-harmonic realm.

Synths Used: Waldorf Largo

3 Fight or Flight
Your brain is on overload as you run for your life through a dark building searching for the exit.

I broke a long complex original audio recording into small chunks called "grains" with a custom patch in a virtual instrument called Absynth. My patch allows me to traverse, manipulate and perform with this massive sample as if it's an expressive instrument with a very unique harmonic palette.

4 Under the Spider’s Web
There is a dim golden light ahead in the dark. Between you and the light, there is a spider and of course a large web blocking your path. Was that something crawling down the back of your neck?

Like the last track, this is custom granular synth performance.

Synths Used: Native Instruments Absynth 5, Rob Papen Predator FX

5 Orbiting Miranda
Inspired by the film Serenity.

I used a variety of custom programmed virtual synths and effects to create this lush but dark ambient piece. Note I released this as a single in 2011. Even if you've heard it before I recommend you buy the album to get this new high-resolution remix re-mastered by Gannon Kashiwa.

Synths Used: Native Instruments Absynth 5, 3 Instances of Tone2 Saurus, Rob Pappen Predator FX & RP-Verb.

Ableton Live 9 and Push (Velocity and Pressure Sensitive Controller) Announced

Live 9 has been announced along with a brand new controller called Push. I’m going to include a few videos below then send you over to Create Digital Music where Peter Kirn who has fantastic hands-on experience and coverage with the betas. Oh, and you should check out the re-launch of Ableton's web site.

What’s New in Live 9

Watch embedded video | See Create Digital Music’s Coverage


Watch embedded video | See Create Digital Music Coverage

I’m personally very excited about this controller and can’t wait to try one.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Official Web Site:
Listen/Download Albums:

Free Your Music from the Confines of Your Speaker Space with the Affordable AmbiophonicDSP Plug-in

Howard Moscovitz, is one of the founders of the Electro-Music community (EM 2012 Fextival NY is next weekend btw). That's Howard and Zuzu at the recent Midwest Electro-Music Experience in Indianapolis (photo by Beth Ann Broadhurst). Howard and Robin Miller developed a plug-in called AmbiphonicDSP. I just learned about it last year while at Electro-Music 2011 festival in NY when I attended Howard’s session on Ambiophonics. It was a fascinating session so I’ll do my best to explain Ambiophonics and offer some details on AmbiophonicDSP.

An Ambiophonic DSP Processor for $10!

Right up front I want to mention that this Windows only VST is only $10.00 right now on the Electro-Music store!!! At this prices you should give this this a go. You can use the plugin to process real-time audio or create Ambiophonic mixes – and the effect is pretty mindblowing. No special equipment is needed, you’ll just need to move your speakers (more on this later in the post).

What’s the Goal?

“To extract every nuance of perception, enjoyment, and realism from ordinary stereo recordings - and for extraordinary electronic music!”

The Problem With Listening With Typical “Triangle” Speaker Placement

Listening to audio via stereo speakers with typical placement introduces an crosstalk that negatively effect the listening experience. The problem is summarized nicely in this Wikipedia Ambiophonics article.

In stereophonics, the reproduced sound is distorted by crosstalk, where signals from either speaker reach not only the intended ear, but the opposite ear, causing comb filtering that distorts timbre of central voices, and creating false “early reflections” due to the delay of sound reaching the opposite ear. In addition, auditory images are bounded between left (L) and right (R) speakers, usually positioned at ±30° with respect to the listener, thereby including 60°, only 1/6 of the horizontal circle, with the listener at the center. Human hearing can locate sound from directions not only in a 360° circle, but a full sphere.

What this means for the  listening experience.

  1. There is a perceivable hole in the stereo center
  2. The sound is bound by the width of the speaker placemen and you can identify where the speakers are as you listen.
  3. If you are off axis from center the speaker you are closest too dominates

Ambiophonics Processing to the Rescue

Using a Digital Signal Processor you can eliminate theses issues in real-time or create Ambiophonic mixes (see “Roots and Research” section of WIKI for history). So by listening to song processed in real-time by an Ambiophonic processor, or simply using a regular stereo to listen to an .wav, .flac, or .mp3 mastered with an Ambiophonic processor you will hear the following differences:

  1. No hole in the center of the mix
  2. The entire mix sounds wider
  3. Elements like vocals that are mixed toward the center of the mix really stand out
  4. Better off axis results
  5. An most importantly, the speakers vanish and sound extends beyond the edges of the speakers. It’s so cool. Just close your eyes when listening and you can’t determine speaker placement, and when you open your eyes you’ll hear sounds beyond the edge of the speaker.

Listening and Speaker Placement

No special equipment is required other than the an ambiphonic mixed wav, flac, or mp3, or a song played real-time through the DSP. Your regular stereo will do fine. However you need to move your speakers closer together – somewhere between 17 and 20 degrees. Howard’s rule of thumb on this is “holding my fists out at arms' length with the thumbs touching give me 17 degrees over the knuckle of the middle finger.” You can see this placement I the photo above that I took at the session at Electro-Music 2011.

Listen to the Effect Now

I rendered a new version of my song “I Can See Them” from my album I HEAR YOUR SIGNALS using the plug-in. In the embedded soundcloud player below you can hear a small snipped of the song, first with the plug-in off, then .07 mark I turn the plug-in on. Play this a few times over and you’ll hear the effect clearly. The next is the full song with the plug-in turned on the entire time followed by the original mix. So position your speakers and check it the soudncloud set.

Note: This will NOT work with headphones. You MUST listen with speakers placed 17-20 degrees apart.

Download AmbiophonicDSP VST to Make Your Own Mixes and Listen to Your Library


As I mentioned, you can download the VST for 10 bcks – here is the link

Continue reading "Free Your Music from the Confines of Your Speaker Space with the Affordable AmbiophonicDSP Plug-in" »

My 2012 Go To Virtual Synthesizers


I own a lot of virtual synths :^)  As part of a voluntary simplification exercise I started in January,  I’ve been limiting myself to a smaller number of instruments over the last year so I could go deeper and create more expressive and unique signature sounds for compositions and live performance. The image above (click to go to interactive map and then click branches learn more about these synths) shows a mindmap of synths I’ve been most drawn to over the last year. In other words, these are the instruments that consistantly make into my tracks like “And What do the Trees Hear When the Wind Blows”, “Orbiting Miranda”, and “Now is Now Remix”.

When narrowing down to this list, I worked to find a very complimentary set of instruments with great workflow. The instruments range in character from pure synthesis instruments (Zebra and Predator), to sample-based instruments (Sampler, Iris), to hybrids (Alchemy, ElextraX) to virtual drum machines (utonic). The instruments with green dots in front are ones I’ve been spending 100s of hours with working to create signature "patches” from scratch that I’ll use in future compositions, productions, and live performances. I should also note that I’m also using many of these synths as effects processors allowing me to capitalize on the investment I made learning the synth workflows (here is a post on this notion) .


For those not familiar with some of these synths checkout some audio samples from past sound design experiments. First is a clip with Alchemy (download MP3) where I use granular synthesis to repurpose the field recording of a fluorescent light bulb.

Here is a little behind-the-scenes video on the creation of this patch.

Here is another example where I use Alchemy (download mp3) to repurpose crowd noise from a CU bastkeball game, a morse code key, and add in something called factalized waveforms.

Next is a Zebrify patch where I slowly pitch up and then process this incoming signal of a Theremin with two comb filters with the pitch of filters being modualted by a step LFO (download mp3)?

Next Steps – Deeper with the Top 3

As I go into the fall I’m going to be spending a lot more time with Zebra and Alchemy. They are both extremely deep and very complimentary. They nicely cover the entire spectrum from pure synthesis to sample mangling. Absynth, which I bought in 2002, is the first virtual synth I ever owned so holds a special place in my rig. I’ll be doing some synth work with it as well but will focus heavily on using it as an effects processor.

Which Should You Pick?

If you have limited funds or time and just want to go deep with one synth, you can't go wrong if you pick one of the three mentioned in the previous paragraph. Again, Zebra is pure synthesis (no samples) and semi-modular. Alchemy is great at resynthesis and sample mangling so if you are into field recordings this is your best bet. Absynth is somewhere between the two and is a great pick if you want to work with extreme multi-segment envelopes and very interesting and unusually effects. I give them all 10/10 and the deeper you go, the more you’ll be rewarded.

If you are looking for a fantastic subtractive that can also be used as an effects processor Predator is fantastic choice. If you want a hybrid with subtractive workflow with visual feedbak, ElectraX is a good bet.

Controllerism with the Top 4

Now that I’ve further narrowed my list, I’m working on templates for various controllers to get even more expressive results with Zebra, Alchemy, Absynth and Predator. I’m using the Alchemy Mobile to control Alchemy on my computer, I’m working on a custom Lemur template for Zebra and Absynth. I’ll also be working on mappings for my Novation Remote SL and refining my AudioCube patches for these synths.

I’ll leave you with a video I did some time ago showing the use of one Percussa AudioCube face in sensor mode to play a note plus send MIDI CC info to control the XY of Alchemy.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder CO

How to Trigger Absynth 5 FX Envelopes with MIDI Notes in Ableton Live


In a previous post I mentioned the use of stand-alone FX versions of synths like Zebrify,  Absynth FX, and Predator  FX as effects processors. Here is a tip for you Absynth FX fans who are using Ableton Live and want to process the output of a another virtual MIDI instrument and then trigger envelopes in Absynth FX.

MIDI Won’t Pass Through By Default

If you drop Absynth FX into a MIDI track  that already has a synth in it – say ZebraHZ - the audio will be processed as you’d expect via the patch settings. MIDI notes however are not passed through to Absynth FX which means the envelopes won’t be triggered.

Ableton Routing to the Rescue

  1. Drop Absynth FX into '”A Return”
  2. Route the ZebraHZ audio to with the “Send A” knob.  I set the track to “Sends Only” so I only hear audio routed through Absynth FX.
  3. Create a MIDI Track in Live and route the MIDI to “A Absynth 5 FX” return. (Click the image above to see the screen shot full screen).
  4. At this point you can arm both the MIDI Track and the ZebraHZ track and play in real-time and notes will go to Absynth FX as well. Instead, I created a MIDI clip with a note pattern that repeats and…
  5. triggers the Absynth FX Envelope while I’m playing different notes in ZebraHZ.

Ok, give it a go and expect crazy and interesting results from the most epic Absynth FX and monster envelopes implementation.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder CO

Ableton Live 8.4 Beta Brings 64-Bit Support


Well kids – 64-bit is finally on horizon for Ableton Live!

We are pleased to announce the beta version of Live 8.4, featuring native 64-bit support. With 64-bit support, Sets in Live 8 can now accommodate much larger memory usage, and third-party plugins that support 64-bit. Registered Live 8, Suite 8, Live Intro or Live Lite 8 users can download the beta now.

Download the beta

The 64-bit version of Live works with PCs running Windows Vista/7/8 (64-bit) and with Intel-Macs running OS X 10.5 and up. The 64-bit version of Live 8 does not support Max for Live, video, or The Bridge. We are currently working with our partners to add support for these features.

Learn more about the benefits and limitations of 64-bit Live 8

The release version of Live 8.4 will be available later, as a free update for registered Live 8, Suite 8, Live Intro or Live Lite 8 users.

A few key notes about this that I’ve pulled from the web site:

  • 64-bit version of Live can use a theoretical maximum of 16 exabytes of RAM - much more RAM than computers actually have.
  • You can use the 64-bit version of Live if you are running a 64-bit version of Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8, or Mac OS 10.5 or higher on an Intel-based Mac.
  • The 64-bit version of Live 8 will not support Max for Live, video, or The Bridge. We are currently working with our partners to add support for these features.
  • All 64-bit plug-ins can be used in the 64-bit version. 32-bit plug-ins cannot be used directly in the 64-bit version, but there are third-party tools (such as jBridge) that will allow 32-bit VST plug-ins to be used within the 64-bit version.
  • You can have 32-bit and 64-bit Version installed at the same time.
  • Live documents made in 32-bit versions of Live will work properly in the 64-bit version of Live, and vice versa. If the Live Sets use features which are not available in the 64-bit version, those features will be limited or disabled as described below:
    • Max for Live - the Live document will load and play, but the Max devices will behave as if they were bypassed. 
    • Video - the Live document will load and play but clips containing video will behave as if the referenced video file is missing.
    • Plug-ins - Live documents that were created using 32-bit versions of plug-ins will work normally, but only if 64-bit versions of the same plug-ins are installed.

Let me know how you get along with it.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder CO

Free Streaming Ableton Tutorials Thursday June 21-June 24


Free Ableton Video Tutorial Weekend on the wonderful

That’s right folks. I am making every video collection I’ve made available for streaming for a full weekend.

Smooth streaming

No ads

All I ask is for an email

I think that’s a fair trade for 30+ hours of videos, don’t you think? Beside, you can always cancel afterwards if you like. No hard feelings.

So here’s the deal

The doors open for guilt free looting of the store at midnight tonight Central time

Thursday June 21st – June 24th


Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder CO