Changes Festival has been a fantastic addition to Melbourne’s musical landscape over the last two years. The focus is on getting a snapshot at what the music industry currently looks like, and is all about having a conversation about where to next… In terms of technology, inclusivity, the environment and basically a big ‘where to?’ for the music industry.

I was lucky enough to be able to check out a bunch of talks, as well as run two Ableton Live workshops with Memphis LK and The Push.

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I recently came across a Roland D-20 Synth that was in pretty bad shape. It worked for a few hours, but then was giving constant “Main Board Errors”

But this was the beautiful part! Every time the synth was turned off and on, it started to play the most amazing glitches out industrial type synth tones.

These instruments are made from half an hour of recordings of me turning the synth off and on again to get weird and wonderful tones.

Download 9 Instrument racks here. All will work with Live 9.5 standard and above.

If you use them, or find the racks inspiring to make your own instruments, consider donating a dollar.

 

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I spent some time recently sampling the amazing PPG Wave 2.3 at the wonderful MESS Foundation. It is a fantastic organisation with an extensive Vintage Synth collection, and very reasonable subscription rates which allows you to access some amazing pieces of Electronic Music’s history.

The PPG Wave 2.3, is a visually striking and aurally exciting early digital/wavetable synthesiser from the early 1980s. It’s not a particularly intuitive instrument, but has a certain kind of beauty in its glitches and a very musical randomness in its timbre.

After 4 hours recording time, I felt that I only started to scratch the surface of it, but from some of these recordings I have created these 3 multi-sample sampler instruments for Ableton Live 9.2, available as a Live Pack that you can download for free.

If you like these Ableton racks, please consider donating a dollar!

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If you’ve downloaded my “Vocoder for Push” racks, then you should understand the concept behind these racks… basically they’re performance orientated racked instruments that hack the external instrument and external effect devices to be able to pre-map the audio routings. By default audio input 1 is used as the mic source, but you can change this if you want.

In this Live set there are two instrument racks, one for Errorsmith’s “Razor”, and the other for Tim Exile’s “The Mouth”. Both devices require a license and the Reaktor 5 Player available via nativeinstruments.com.

This is my (nearly) 3 year old daughter singing through The Mouth – “Autoharmonious” Rack.

Download the LivePack file that has these Instrument/FX racks HERE.

If you like these Ableton racks, please consider donating a dollar!

Over the last few months, I’ve been composing and creating sound for a really beautiful meditative puzzle game for iOS called Breath of Light.

Made by Melbourne game development company Many Monkeys, Breath of Light is the sort of puzzle game that takes time to master, there is no rushing the process, It’s a slow paced game that required immersive, meditative music.

The interface is a bit like a Zen Garden, where the player must arrange and move objects within the space to allow the flow of energy from one lotus flower to another. The game is set over 4 seasons, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring, each progressively more challenging as the levels evolve.

Each season has it’s own musical underscore created from a bank of loops that are designed to both work in any combination, but also evolve and develop over time with the gameplay.

It was decided very early on that User Interface (U.I.) sounds should add to the musical score. The way we made this work was to have a series of randomised tones associated with every object and movement within the game. All these sounds were composed in a way that to match the tonality of each season’s underscore, which allows every gesture within the game-play to contribute to an interactive soundtrack.

During the development of the soundtrack, I used Ableton Live to create a performable set to play these sounds to both demo these musical ideas to the guys at Many Monkeys and to test how the U.I. sounds blended with each other. I did this by creating drum racks that housed the U.I sounds and used scenes to work out the different combinations of underscore loops for each level in the game.

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Once the nuts and bolts of the game sound was finalised, I set about developing a performable live set to recorded each ‘season’ as a musical composition in it’s own right. This was done with a little extra help from the wonderful Max for Live Dub Machines audio FX ‘Magnetic‘ and ‘Diffuse‘ which added extra flow and movement.

Below are the recorded seasons of the Breath of Light soundtrack, available for free download via Bandcamp.

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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!