Monday, April 29, 2024


video uploads by Isotonik Studios


"This is a collection of 12 devices for making rhythmic music in Ableton Live 12. They are some of the first Max for Live MIDI Tools, which is a new class of Live device that generates and transforms MIDI clips.

I’ve always liked to make complex rhythmic music, but in the past I found the piano roll in Live to be clunky and tedious to use. MIDI Tools resolve this problem by allowing us to create simple devices that automate processes that would be tedious or impossible to execute manually. Every device in this collection is designed to help you make exciting, novel rhythmic music quickly and playfully.

The 'quickly and playfully' is really important to me. For me, making electronic music has always been about getting a pattern running, listening to it, then tweaking it with whatever knobs and sliders are available to me. Working this way puts you in a sort of dialog with the machine, where you’re acting, then listening, then acting, then listening, and so forth. This process works best when the cycles are fast, which means that the tools have to be fun and easy to use. They have to deliver results quickly.

I could summarize the practical value of these tools with three statements:

They generate ideas to get my creativity flowing

They all you to create rhythms (such as nested rhythms, rallentandos, and polyrhythms) that are very difficult to create using the piano roll interface

They help you create variations on rhythmic and melodic ideas, to make your music varied and interesting. I’ve also found that the power of these devices really emerges when you use them in serial workflows. By this I mean that you start with some initial MIDI (maybe from a Generator, or maybe not), then process the MIDI with several different transformers.

You can see an example of a serial process in THIS VIDEO, in which I create some rhythmic containers using the Blocks generator, then used the Divs transformer to subdivide those containers to create a new rhythm, then used Feel to dial in the groove. There’s tons of ways to mix and match the devices, which means lots of space to develop your own favorite approaches.

These devices all work with Ableton 12’s new Scales feature. When a scale is enabled on the MIDI clip, the device will only produce notes that are in key. If you disable the scale, then you can work chromatically. The devices are also aware of Live’s themes, so your devices will always match the look and feel of your Live set."

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