Vocoder4push

Setting up the Vocoder to work ‘out of the box’ with Ableton’s Push controller was a challenge that I set myself.

For anyone who has used the Vocoder in Live 9 before, you should know that you by default, need two channels, one Midi and one Audio, and they need to have channel routings set up in a particular fashion to make them work.

This doesn’t work so well when you want to load a ready to go Vocoder directly from Push. So, I worked out a way to use Live’s External FX device within an Instrument rack to allow audio to be sent into a Midi channel.

You can download the live set for free here, and watch the youtube video below for more information on how to ensure it works correctly for your needs.

If you like this Instrument rack, please consider donating a dollar!

The QUADwrangle interactive sound sculpture project at Arts Centre Melbourne is all done and dusted (for now!)

Arts Centre Melbourne’s youth programmer Dan West arranged for this video to be made, which sum up the project’s aims and intentions pretty well.

During the second weekend session we battled a bit to get our awesome sculptural object to wired up to the two MaKeyMaKey Arduino boards. But once it was finally working, and in the Fairfax Theatre foyer space , it sprung to life and happily interacted with the general public  for five days straight!

There were four stations where people could play the sculpture, each with a sound set that corresponded to the object’s design. The fence section played bass notes, the brick section played harmony, the tiles played melody, and the diamond wall section played rhythms.

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Sound came out of four speakers than were set up in various places within the sculpture. Two up high, two down low. The bass sounds and big kick sounds all come out of the low positioned speakers, and more melodic and ‘toppy’ rhythmic sounds came out of the high positioned speakers.

Central to the sculpture making sound were two MaKeyMaKey boards that sent QWERTY key messages to Ableton Live 9. These MaKeyMaKey boards are triggered by making a connection between the boards earth, which were wired to copper plates on the sculpture, and to various other points that were wired up to black conductive paint.IMG_4282

Have a look at Flick, Ayten and Kelsey demoing it during the construction phase.

Each QWERTY key command was assigned to various ‘gestures’ within Ableton Live 9. I say gestures, because each key command triggered a number of different actions simultaneously such as triggering an audio or midi clip at the same time as triggering FX chains and movement between the four speakers.

One example of how this triggering of gestures worked is the letter “R” (see screen grab below). When the point on the sculpture triggered Capital R, this then triggered the key command gestures that were assigned in Live 9.

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“R” was set up to trigger a simple melodic riff, but if held down for long enough also triggered a ‘resonation FX chain’ that would gradually fade in to make the whole object become awash with a harmonically rich reverb sound. This was accomplished by the triggering of “dummy clips” on the Output channels, which have no audio information, but instead hold automation data. These clips were set up Gate mode, so they would only play when held down.

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These channels received audio from each of the four sound sources through their respective sends. In this way, at any time we could route any of the different sounds within the sculpture to any or all of the four speakers in any combination.

Below is the Fence Bass being routed to sends B & D, which in turn were being sent to outs 2 and 4, the speakers located near the ground.

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We also had a series of field records that acted as an underscore for the sculpture, so that the object wasn’t silently sitting there when people were not interacting with it.

This underscore slowly moved around each of the four speakers through send level automation, once again created within a dummy clip.

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This project was really super fun, and great to work with the wonderful staff at Arts Centre Melbourne, and the talented and creative young people who recorded the sounds, designed the sculpture and wired it all up to work!

Check out their various soundcloud and web links:

https://soundcloud.com/felicity-yang

https://soundcloud.com/ayten

https://soundcloud.com/jordanoba

https://soundcloud.com/donald-uren

https://soundcloud.com/niconiquo

https://soundcloud.com/connor-black-harry

http://www.khendersondesign.com/

I recently talked at one of the Ableton Live User Group meet-ups in Melbourne about how i’ve started the process of creating a new album. I plan to create a series of blog posts about this process as the album evolves, so this first part is all about the initial stage of how and why I choose certain tracks.

Being a long time devotee of the Beatles, I often have grandiose visions of creating a seamless album like the B side of Abbey Road, where each track flows into the next in an effortless and joyous montage. This is something that I first started to seriously try to do with my third album, which I released in 2011.

I’ve been thinking about putting together another release for some time, I originally wanted to do a short EP as a bit of a stopgap, partly because I didn’t think I had enough completed songs, and partly because I’m not sure I really want to go through the challenging and time consuming process of putting together a full album, promo campaign, and touring live show to support the album.

But I figured I should do some folder house-keeping and try and categorize all the half-finished, or even just loop ideas that I’ve been playing with and then saving and forgetting.

So, I opened every live set that I had created over the last two and a half years, and attempted to categorize them into newly created folders named:

Not much here, Cinema, Darkwave, Offhop, TV Sync, Weird doof, Remix, Atmospheric twinkles, The ultimate 80’s soundtrack & WP work more

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Once I did this, I realized I had over 50 tracks that I could consider potential Winterpark tracks.

In terms of how I define what a Winterpark track is, and how that is different from one of those other categories… that’s a somewhat difficult thing for me to explain! I probably know more-so what is NOT a Winterpark track. They’re not overly dance, not overly dark in nature.

But to try and find the elements that they all seem to share; I guess the common thread for WP tracks are that they’ll generally have some processed guitar on them, they are melodic, hopefully uplifting and sonically cinematic.

So, with over 50 unfinished projects, I had to make some further decisions and categorizations, so I created folders called: Start, Middle, End, Interlude & Cannibalize these.

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These were based purely on where I felt like each track could potentially go in an album sequence. Whether it had enough substance in it to ultimately be a finished track, whether it felt like something that could open an album, or whether it could close an album. If it felt like it was never going to be finished, I’d decide whether it had something in it that was worth cannibalizing, or perhaps create a short sonic interlude of the various elements that worked in it.

Due to my current hectic life, (work & young bub) only some of these tracks had some arrangement that had been half worked on, but most were simply session view clips… for these songs I’d create a down and dirty ‘vibe’ arrangement by arming an audio track to resample from, and just trigger clips or scenes as the case may be, do some on the fly volume mixing until I got something that sort of worked. I would do only one or two re-samplings like this per track, and chucked them in a new folder called “order mixes”.

I also bounced out any arrangements that I’d created, I didn’t really want to concentrate on ‘mixing’ or anything just yet, just getting the sound of the track, and hopefully a basic arrangement that showed off the different elements in the track, so I could see if they worked together and flowed as an album.

It’s sort of like sequencing the album before it’s finished. It informs me as to what tracks I need to work on and which ones I don’t, and also helps me decide what sort of intro or outro is needed for each track to transition seamlessly (hopefully!) to the next.

album 4 track order

In the video below is the first part of my presentation at the Ableton Live User Group session, which is basically just me talking through what i’ve written about here.

So I’m doing a presentation at Face the Music conference tomorrow… if you can’t make it.. this video is about 3 minutes of an hour and a half session that I’m doing with the very talented Tim Shiel, about incorporating Ableton Live and Music Tech into your Live Show.

I’m talking about using Ableton as an FX processor and looper, and Tim is talking about how he used Ableton Live in Gotye’s live show.

Conference details here

On this coming Sunday I am presenting and performing at the Ableton Live 9/Push Launch event in Melbourne. I’m presenting about the Toy Harmonium instrument I made that was featured on www.ableton.com.

I’ve been busy putting something together to perform at it that uses the Generative piece that I created for the Toy Harmonium Instrument, and I’ve kind of done a bit of a live mashup with a track off my last album Sunday Morning called “Gotta Sleep Now’.

This live version features Live 9, a Livid Block, Teenage Engineering’s OP-1 synth, Live Guitar looping and processing, as well as vocal samples by the wonderful Susannah Legge.

Track 12… The Night Beetle is the first single from Sunday Morning.

OK, I confess… i’m obsessed with the Beatles… and with Sunday Morning I really wanted to create an album that flowed like the B-Side of Abbey Road, where each track seamlessly flows into the next, despite the diversity. This track, is a homage of sorts to the Beatles, with my attempt to channel George Harrison’s guitar solos.

Reviewed in the Age EG, Craig Mathieson writes: “WINTERPARK have spent several years on the periphery of the local indie-electro scene but with the lovingly crafted vintage pop of The Night Beetle (***), Matt Ridgway’s project sounds ready to take the spotlight with the forthcoming Sunday Morning album.

Accomplished film maker and video artist Gavin Youngs, shows off his rather somewhat twisted sense of humour to create an awesome video work entitled “Night Light” that has to be watched in its entirety!

Gavin writes of his work: “The 1:56 mark of The night beetle sparked the real inspiration for the piece. Referencing a television ad from the 80’s the work looks at what lights your sleep.”

FYI… Gavin has previously worked with Winterpark to create the amazing video clip for Cold Feet, off the first Winterpark album One Night Alone.

Watch Gavin’s work “Night Light” here:

Why not check out the Montag Remix of The Night Beetle here:

Track 6 off Sunday Morning is a swirling indie-rock shoe-gazer called Teenage kicks.
Jessica Rizzi, superstar DJ, photographer and all round nice girl, took a step sideways from her usual arts practice of photography to create a stop motion video work for the exhibition.
Jess says of the process: “The title of this track coupled with it’s upbeat feel created within me a nostalgic sense of days gone by, days filled with spontaneous encounters and reckless moments. There was always movement in this vision, so I decided to step away from my usual medium of still photography and explore the idea of stop motion animation. This avenue allowed me to create the movement I envisioned as well as incorporating an element of photography by photo collages as my backdrop.”