I’ve recently been developing a portable daw-less improv performance rig based around the OP-Z, OP-1 and various FX pedals. This is a 30 min-ish single shot take (mistakes and all!) of some music-making.
Things that may be worth noting to those keen on such things…. OP-1 is being used as the ambient noise & melody machine. I have various OP-1 tape loops and instruments set up on it. It’s running through the Chase Bliss Mood and Dark World pedals, then into the Frostwave resonator (for filtering), Boss DM-C, PN-2 and Strymon Timeline.
The OP-Z is being controlled by the FaderFox UC4 Midi controller. They work really nicely together, and it gives fader level control and 8 buttons which I map to various mute groups. The OP-Z is then going through the Elektron Analog Heat for filtering and colour and the Eventide Space pedal for big washy shimmer verbs.
You may also notice the use of the Tuner pedal. This is used to ensure that I know what key the OP-Z is in, so when I’m playing notes in the OP-1 I don’t hit anything too badly out of key!
I’m also experimenting with adding extra drums with the Pocket Operator PO32. This is sync’d via the OPZ’s oplab module.
Last month I ran a Process Lab workshop at Arts Centre Melbourne as part of Melbourne Music Week focusing on Mobile Music Making. I am pretty obsessed with mobile music-making devices and enjoy the unique workflows that these sort of devices provide you.
There were a number of focuses on this workshop including Sampling in iOS using Koala Sampler, the teenage engineering PO30-KO! and OP-Z, and I went through workflows and techniques on how to integrate these portable devices into your Ableton Live studio setup.
I also showed some of my favourite iOS apps for iPad including AUM, Fugue Machine, Spacecraft, Patterning 2, Eos 2, Enso and Samplr, how you can create a digital connection to route audio directly into Live without the need for an audio interface, and how you can sync it all up using Ableton Link.
Big thanks to The Channel at Arts Centre Melbourne and MMW.
I am always keen to share my knowledge and passion for creative workflows and music making, so I was super stoked to be able to put on an event the amazing Bargoonga Nganjin community space to run a workshop focusing on Teenage Engineering x Ableton Live workflows called Electronic Music Processes.
This event was supported by Teenage Engineering’s #EMS program and had some serious giveaway courtesy of Ableton and Innovative Music.
It was great to be able to talk in about the workflows of Teenage Engineering’s Pocket Operators, OP-Z and OP-1, and how you can integrate them into Ableton Live.
Well, to round off a pretty crazy year, I recently became an Ableton Certified Trainer. I’ve been using Live since 2004, and this has been a pretty big milestone for me to achieve as a music and music tech educator. There are just shy of 300 Ableton Certified Trainers in the world, and it’s an exciting international community to be a part of.
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.
In conjunction with the Game Connect Asia-Pacific 2015 conference (GCAP15) the Australian Game Developer Awards were held last Wednesday night.
Breath of Light was shortlisted for three awards, and ended up winning both the Excellence in Art and Excellence in Audio awards.
For someone who is fairly new to this composition for games industry, it was a pretty exciting night to be part of, and pretty amazing that my score and sound design won.
So, congratulations to all the crew at Many Monkeys for making such a great minimalistic, Zen-inspired game, and I feel honoured to be recognised by the Australian Game Developer’s Industry for my part in this project.
I also did an interview about the process of creating the Soundtrack for Ableton.com, which you can read here.
Download Breath of Light via the iTunes store or Google play, and you can get the “award-winning” 😉 soundtrack for free via Bandcamp.
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.
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.
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.