Wow, the Mountain Oasis 2013 festival was simply epic! As I mentioned in a recent post, I was that there at the invitation of the Bob Moog Foundation. I brought my "9 Box" installation / instrument to be part of Dr. Bob's Interactive Sonic Experience. In this post I’ll offer some photos and videos from my time at the fest.
9 Box as Part of Dr. Bob's Interactive Sonic Experience
For those not familiar with the 9 Box, it’s part collaborative instrument, part interactive installation -- the 9 Box allows up to six casual players to instantly make music and shape sound by manipulating blocks called AudioCubes.
AudioCubes, made by California based Percussa (http://www.percussa.us), are smart wireless cubes capable of sensing each other's location and orientation as well as distance to your hands, fingers and other objects. They also emit feedback in the form of light as you interact with them. Ultimately this hands-on approach allows players to manipulate sets of sounds in 3x3 grids -- hence the name 9 Box. The 9 Box supports also supports user creatable "refills" allowing for unique and endless sonic possibilities.
So I devised the method, player’s guides and stickers, Percussa MIDI Bridge template, and Ableton Live templates and refill system.
SicImages was there and took this photo and made the comment
"These blocks were really something crazy. Infrared sensors and wireless proximity based effects manipulation into ableton....whatttt!”
The 9 Box ran for 18 hours over 3 days and was played by 100s of festival goers of all ages and went over really well. This embedded video offers a taste of what it was like to be at the 9 Box section of the booth area. It was so rewarding see people's reactions to the 9 Box and to hear their creations throughout the weekend.
Flickr Photo Set of Overall Festival Experience
Of course besides the booth time which ran from noon to seven each day I also was able to experience performances. Highlights for me were Gary Numan, Nine Inch Nails, Tara Busch, and Alan Howarth (co-composer of the soundtracks to all those great John Carpenter horror movies, and sound designer for films like the Star Trek franchise.
Mountain Oasis exceed my expectations in every way. There probably around 7,000 people there which was a large enough number of attendees to make Asheville feel vibrant but not overrun. I felt the festival was well organized and there was a nice mix of artists. The Arena was perfect for bigger acts like NIN and Gary Numan. The 500 seat Diana Wortham was great for more intimate performances by Tara Busch and Alan Howarth. The Orange Peel housed more beat driven shows like Laurel Halo. Moving between venues was in itself interesting as people were in costumes and there were lots of talented street musicians playing.
3 days was the perfect length as by the end I was worn out – but in a good way. After experiencing Mountain Oasis it’s clear that AC Entertainment has hit their stride with this event and Moog Inc’s lack of participation and the name change didn’t phase them. I’d definitely go back.
Mountain Oasis Festival was just an incredible experience all the way around. One of the coolest music-related trips ever!!! HUGE thanks to:
Here is a description of the effects from the Ableton site.
Spectrum Effects by Amazing Noises Spectrum Effects includes two radical spectral (Grip, Spectrum Runner) processing devices capable of a range of effects. Warp and mangle your audio into mayhem, or add subtle harmonic touches - you decide which. In the studio and at the gig, Spectrum Effects adds an instant dynamic catalyst to your Live set. Learn more about Spectrum Effects – $39
RokVid by Adam Rokhsar RokVid is a powerful video solution for live music performers. Designed with simplicity in mind, RokVid makes easy work of generating captivating video that dynamically reacts to your sound. Learn more about RokVid – $24
AutoBeat by K-Devices Set the rules in AutoBeat and discover endless rhythmic rearrangement possibilities. AutoBeat integrates seamlessly with Drum Racks, and can also function as a flexible phrase creator for melodic instruments. Learn more about AutoBeat – $39
Push can new dew melodic step sequencing as see in the embedded Video below. This includes step sequencing with notes, chord, and per-step step automation.
Enter notes manually, or play them in, then edit each note in the sequence precisely – all via the hands-on interface of Push. Plus, you can now edit automation with step-by-step accuracy – maybe open up a filter for single notes, or add a splash of reverb to the last notes of a sequence.
Under the hood changes:
Finally, there are a couple of under the hood changes that we'd like to draw your attention to. Sample rate conversion during rendering is done using an extremely high-quality algorithm. If you're working at a high sample rate (such as 96 kHz), you can now downsample to lower sample rates (such as 44.1 kHz) with no loss in quality. Also, rendering now uses multiple cores, which can result in much faster exports. Ultra high-quality rendering and faster renders – now in Live 9.1.
competition in this market is good and it's nice to see Ableton continue to add value to their controller with incramental updates.
The video was shot at my sound check by fellow performer and Electric Trombone player Darren Kramer using GoPro. The audio is from GoPro camera.
At this show I’m using Abeton Live to do for live sequenced playback. For live play, For this song called “Dark Signals” (from my second album I HEAR YOUR SIGNALS) I’m using a my Remote SL MKII Keyboard along with Maschine (custom template in made with Control Editor) to play instruments in Live racks. As you'll see in the video I'm using pressure from the pads to modulate this synths.
AudioCubes are receiving light commands via MIDI CCs from Ableton Live. I
never use on-board sounds in Tenori-On and instead use it as a
controller and pump MIDI into synths hosted in Ableton Live.
The visuals are based on live camera input processed in Resolume. The Resolume system receives controller and automation from the Ableton rig via MIDI. I’m using the house projector to display my visuals on a screen that’s the width the of the stage!
It’s a little hard to tell from this video because audio is from GoPro, but the sound at this show was amazing thanks to Gannon Kashiwa who owns and operates GK:SOUND at the TARDIS in Denver. I’m working on a 3 camera edit from footage from the actually show performance which will have audio from the board – so stay tuned.
Mark Mosher Electronic Musician | Composer | Sound Designer | Performer Boulder, CO
VST / AU plug-in devices could be inactive after loading a Live set containing a large number of plug-ins (regression in Live 9.0.3).
The "grab_control" function which allows to gain control over a control surface's button matrix via Max for Live would not work anymore (regression in Live 9.0.3).
Fixed a bug which could cause the File Manager window to reopen after launching Live.
9.0.3 Release Notes
Improvements and feature changes:
Added a new skin: "Disco".
Added a new option to the "Record/Warp/Launch" preferences pane: "Start Transport with Record". If activated, the transport will start immediately when clicking on the Session- or Arrangement-Record buttons. If deactivated, it prepares for recording as in Live 8, so you have to launch a clip in Session View or click the 'Play' button. You can hold down the Shift modifier key when clicking on the record buttons to invert the behavior temporarily.
When recording automation on top of an existing automation envelope, and quickly clicking on different positions in parameters like sliders, X/Y pads, etc., Live now records a latching automation envelope instead of jumping back to the previous value.
The Compressor device does not clip input signals at +20 dB anymore.
Added control surface support for Novation Launchkey series.
Added control surface support for M-Audio Axiom Air Mini 32.
Added a user satisfaction survey. After several hours of usage, Live will ask you to rate the software on the next startup. You can submit a star rating or simply dismiss the survey.
Updated manual, lessons and translations.
The Trial version of Live 9.0.2 could hang on startup.
Live would not work as a ReWire slave on Windows.
The performance of the Ableton Index process has been improved, especially on OS X.
The Ableton Index process would sometimes not scan all folders after adding them to the sidebar.
The Ableton Index process could block the GUI during saving and exporting of Live sets, presets or clips.
Scanning folders containing a huge amount of files could take longer than necessary.
The Browser would not update its content pane after a change in the file system if the selection was somewhere outside of the Browser.
Expanding the Audio Unit folder in the browser's "Plug-ins" label could be slow for users which have a lot of library content installed.
Live would not save a clip self-contained after dragging it to the Browser and confirming the name of the new clip by clicking anywhere outside of the Browser.
The Session Record button would not turn off if the recording was aborted, e.g. by stopping or deleting the currently recording clip, disarming a track, etc.
Under certain conditions, MIDI notes would not get recorded into a clip slot after deleting a previous clip.
Overdubbing into MIDI clips could unnecessarily bloat the undo history file.
Fixed a graphical glitch which could occur in the representation of the filter curve in EQ Eight's Frequency Display.
Several MIDI control surfaces would not correctly shut down after quitting Live, e.g. motorfaders on the Mackie Control would not return to zero, Axiom Pro devices would not exit Hypercontrol mode, etc.
The "Project Mix IO" control surface would not work.
The channel strip buttons on the Mackie Control XT would not work.
Fixed a bug where the key navigation in track headers would not work properly when certain control surfaces are selected.
When using control surface scripts, the blue hand would sometimes not map to any device, e.g. after creating a device and then deleting it by using undo.
Live could sometimes crash on quit in case a faulty MIDI remote script throws an exception in the Python console.
Fixed a crash which could occur in Live Intro when right-clicking on a drum rack chain.
Changes for Push:
Using the touch strip to change banks in drum racks now requires to pick up the current value, to avoid changing banks accidentally while playing.
Fixed incorrect intervals in the Locrian scale.
The velocity curve setting would reset to the default value when opening a new Live set.
Changing the pad sensitivity settings could be slow if a drum rack was in focus.
Updating the LCD display could be slow when switching between Drum and Note mode.
The Push LCD could remain blank and no mode would be selected after holding the 'Browse' mode button.
Fixed a bug where 'Browse' mode would be exited after swapping a Max for Live instrument.
Tracks created by dragging an instrument would sometimes not be automatically armed if Push is connected.
The "Arm Exclusive" preference would not be respected when Push was connected.
Fixed a bug where recording wouldn't work properly if the default clip launch mode was set to 'Toggle' mode.
Fixed a crash which could occur when using the 'Quantize' function.
Fixed a crash which could occur when using Push to delete a device whilst recording automation for this device with the mouse.
Mark Mosher Electronic Musician | Composer | Performer Boulder, CO
Every month I host the Boulder Synthesizer Meetup which is the 2nd Tuesday of every month. This month I delivered a “What’s New in Live 9” talk along with Darwin Grosse from Cycling ‘74. To prep for the meetup, I dug through the Ableton web site and Live 9 manual and then documented the new features into a Mindmap. The map also includes a list of all the Max for Live "essentials" devices.
Use “Convert Melody to New MIDI Track” to convert her Melody to MIDI. This creates a new MIDI track with an Ableton instrument.
Swap the Ableton instrument on the MIDI track with Absynth 5. You could of course stick with Ableton instruments here. I used a dissonant bell preset with major reverb decay.
Create an audio clip from the Absynth patch. You could resample it or freeze the track, insert a new audio track and drag the frozen clip to the new audio track to create an audioclip.
Insert the Max for Live Convolution Reverb Pro on the original vocal track.
Apply the Absynth sample as the Impulse Response file for the Convolution Reverb by dragging the audio clip from step #4 and dropping it I on the waveform display of the Max for Live device.
Play the original sample through the Convolution Reverb
What’s great about this process is since the Impulse Response was derived from pitch-to-MIDI of the original sample, the resultant reverb follows the phrasing of the original vocal track – but of course is also slewed and torqued in an organic way by using the Absynth patch with more sustain and bigger reverb and space. I also love how this creates new harmonics.
I also want to point out that while each of these discrete processes are available in separate tools already, having this all integrated in Live 9 with Max for Live makes for a rapid and creative sound design workflow. It’s taken me way longer to explain it her than id did to think this up and execute the idea (which only took about 5 minutes).
It’s also worth mentioning you don’t need to be a programmer to use Max for Live as an artist. Just drag in the devices that come with Max for Live essentials and use them like any native live device.
I’ve really been enjoying the new and refreshed Max for Live devices in Live 9. Buffer Shuffler 2.0 is really great. Here is a fun tip.
1) Create a variety of patterns
2) To cycle through the patterns, drop in the LFO M4L device. Click the map button and then click on one of the pattern numbers. Now the LFO will modulate the pattern being applied.
You can use the LFO “Offset” parameter to pick the lowest pattern that will be selected. The “Depth” parameter will determine the range allowing you to restrict the highest pattern selected. Experiment with LFO shapes and speeds.
Mark Mosher Boulder, CO If you want to learn how to support my art and music tech research visit - www.MarkMosherMusic.com