Ableton Announces Free Event For Music Makers, Loop Create, Coming June 26–27, 2021

Organizers of Ableton Loop – a series of events for music makers – have announced plans for a new online event, Loop Create, scheduled for June 26–27, 2021.

Past Ableton Loop events have featured educational sessions, interviews, live performances, master classes, art installations and more:

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Here’s what the organizers have to say about Loop Create:

“Loop Create is a one-day online event for music makers, designed to bring people together across different time zones. Attendees can expect to gain new insights and techniques to use in their own music-making process, try out new ideas, and share the results with a community of creators from all over the world in a fast-paced, collaborative environment.

Hosted on Ableton’s own microsite for Loop events, the program will start at 11am (CET – Berlin) and run throughout the day. Each of the sessions will then be repeated, so that attendees can join in from wherever they are and catch the full program in a configuration that suits their local time.

As with past Loop events, the program will include a variety of sessions in different formats, as well as opportunities for attendees to meet fellow music makers in facilitated conversations. Sessions will be hosted by a lineup of artists, musicians, technologists and educators, invited to share their individual insights and methods. Past events have featured the likes of Simon Reynolds, Kelela, Richard Devine and Equiknoxx.”

Loop Create is a free event, and it’s open to anyone who wants to attend. Registration opens May 26. See the Ableton site for details.

VCV Rack 2 Update

Developer Andrew Belt, creator of the popular software modular platform VCV Rack, has announced plans for VCV Rack 2.

“I think v2 will bring the greatest update to VCV Rack yet,” says Belt. “It will solve at least half of the criticisms of VCV Rack v1, so the wait will be worth it in the end.”

VCV Rack 2 will include VST2 and standalone versions for $99 ($149 regular price after release sale). Professional support of both versions will be included with your purchase of Rack.

The free version of Rack will be called Rack Community Edition or Rack CE. Source code and builds of Rack CE will be available upon each release.

Updates to the VCV Rack platform will be released to Rack CE a few weeks before the paid version, but it will essentially be the beta ‘release candidate’ version.

Rack CE will be free software (GPLv3), meaning that you have the freedom to run, study, redistribute, and distribute modified copies of the software.

The VCV Rack 2 release date is to be announced.

First Album In 50 Years From Psychedelic Multimedia Pioneers Intersystems Now Available

Waveshaper Media has announced that Intersystems #IV, the first new album in more than 50 years from Toronto psychedelic multimedia collective Intersystems, is now available.

The group, originally made up of architect Dik Zander, light sculptor Michael Hayden, poet Blake Parker, and musician John Mills-Cockell (of Syrinx, Kensington Market and more), released a trilogy records that have since become collector’s items.

Intersystems was one of the first groups to use the Moog modular in their music. Their custom modular rig— purchased by Mills-Cockell directly from Robert Moog’s Trumansburg Headquarters—was the first of its kind in Canada.

They combined sounds of the Moog with homemade gadgets, spliced-together tapes, and ‘mutant beat poetry’.

They describe the new new album, #IV as “a mature and fully-realized continuation that sees Mills-Cockell and Hayden returning to the project’s core ethos with the myriad experience they’ve both accumulated over the fve intervening decades. The aural concoctions it comprises are no less perplexing than their earlier counterparts; bursting with new psychoactive ingredients, while reminding listeners of just how radical Intersystems was in the first place.”

It’s available now via Bandcamp.

New Documentary, Sisters with Transistors, Tells Story Of Electronic Music’s Female Pioneers

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Sisters With Transistors – a new documentary about electronic music’s female pioneers – is now available to view via on-demand streaming.

The film tells the history of electronic music through the stories of visionary women whose work with machines redefined the boundaries of music, including: Clara Rockmore, Daphne Oram, Bebe Barron, Pauline Oliveros, Delia Derbyshire, Maryanne Amacher, Eliane Radigue, Suzanne Ciani and Laurie Spiegel.

“We women were especially drawn to electronic music when the possibility of a woman composing was in itself controversial,” notes Spiegel. “Electronics let us make music that could be heard by others, without having to be taken seriously by the male-dominated Establishment.”

Narrated by electronic music pioneer Laurie Anderson, the film positions the story of women in electronic music in the context of the wider social, political and cultural context of the 20th century.

The film is written and directed by Lisa Rovner.

See the film site for information on screenings and on-demand viewing.

‘Muff Wiggler’ Now ‘Mod Wiggler’

Synth forum Muff Wiggler has officially changed its name to ‘Mod Wiggler‘, in response to user feedback.

The name has been controversial among site users for more than a decade, with about two-thirds of the visitors in a 2008 survey characterizing the name as: unacceptable; mildly offensive; or stupid, but harmless. Only about one-third of the visitors were strongly in favor of it.

While the site’s late founder Mike McGrath said he named it after a pair of popular Electro-Harmonix effects pedals, the ‘Big Muff’ and the ‘Wiggler’, the name was seen by many as a single entendre – a phrase with a bawdy meaning, that’s not really cleaver enough to have the dual meanings of a double entendre.

In recent years, interest in renaming the site has only grown, because users had the same issues as ‘Gearslutz’ users: the name was seen as unprofessional; it was broadly considered sexist; and the name led to the site being blocked or avoided in schools and workplaces.

Site organizers released this statement:

“Today marks the 2 year anniversary of Mike’s passing, so I thought it would be a good time to detail the often hinted upcoming changes to the site that will be going live over the next week:

Effective today, we are now Mod Wiggler.

ModWiggler.com is now active, although your old bookmarks will continue to work until the old DNS registration expires, on November 21, 2022.

Images and site configuration will be updated over the next couple days to match the new name. If by Monday I’ve missed anything, please shoot me a message.

We will not be rewriting history. We will not be changing old post contents. We are not banning or scrubbing words.

I’m not going to go into details about why the name was changed. That and settling on a new name was hard enough. It’s done and not open for debate.”

Mutable Instruments Beads Firmware Update

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Cinematic Laboratory shared this sneak preview of an upcoming update to the firmware for the Mutable Instruments Beads.

The update features a variety of new features, bug fixes and improvements to the audio output. It’s available as a ‘release candidate’ via the MI forum.

Here’s what’s new in the update:

Audio quality:

  • A CPU overload issue causing crackles on the left channel in 48kHz/stereo mode with some specific combinations of SIZE and DENSITY has been fixed, through several code optimizations having no negative impact on the module’s functionality.
  • When recording restarts after FREEZE is disabled, the duration of the crossfade between the tail of the buffer and the incoming audio has been increased, thus reducing vastly the risk of clicks.
  • When the module operates as a delay, a smooth transition zone has been added between each of the multiplication factors selected by the TIME setting. This prevents the glitches that occurred when TIME was modulated and the play-head abruptly jumped from one position to another.
  • When the module operates as an externally clocked delay, and when the clock rate changes (abruptly, or because of swing or jitter), a crossfade is applied between the old and new delay time, eliminating clicks.
  • When the module plays slices (delay mode + FREEZE enabled), it waits for the completion of the currently playing slice before sampling the TIME parameter and deciding which slice to play next. Again, this prevents clicks when TIME is modulated.
  • The modulation of the secondary delay tap (DENSITY past 12 o’clock, free-running) has been tamed to avoid noticeable warbling or pitch-shifting effects.
  • A fade-out and fade-in is applied during the transition between granular and delay mode.
  • The algorithm responsible for preventively fading out grains to make room for new ones behaves more cautiously. This reduces, by a negligible amount, the overall thickness of the grain cloud (since at a given time, several grains will enter their release stage earlier than scheduled), but reduces the risk of grains being abruptly cut when “grain-stealing” occurs.
  • The power consumption of the module exhibits less bursty patterns, eliminating the whine observed with some PSUs.
  • Linear interpolation is applied to the frequency parameter when generating the dry (continuous) signal in granular wavetable mode.
  • The filters used for band-limited wavetable synthesis have been improved, eliminating the amplitude drop observed for the highest notes.

Controls:

  • The response curve of the attenurandomizers has been slightly adjusted, with a smaller virtual notch at 12 o’clock, and a more progressive transition between small and extreme values.
  • The response curve of the SIZE control has been adjusted. The deadband in the backward/forward transition zone at 10:30 is smaller, the reclaimed space giving access to even shorter grains.
  • The interaction between the PITCH knob and its attenurandomizer has been adjusted. In particular, when the attenurandomizer is fully CW or CCW without any CV in, the main knob still provides an additional transposition control.
  • When turned CCW, the reverb amount knob no longer eliminates the wet signal, but instead, stops sending any signal to the reverb. This allows the tail of the reverb to fade out more gracefully when the knob is turned towards its minimum position.
  • The root note of the wavetable oscillator has been transposed down by one octave.
  • The software low-pass filter on the PITCH CV input has been disabled, to shorten its response time. On the hardware side, the 8x averaging performed by the MCU provides enough denoising anyway.
  • When the grains are externally triggered and the DENSITY knob is repurposed as a probability control (from 12 o’clock to fully CW), a quadratic response is used for the probability value. It makes it easier to get sparse grains, even with a fast clock.
  • Less hysteresis is applied on CVs controlling quantized parameters (such as the selected wavetable, or the selected slice). Sequencing these parameters yields more predictable results, since the risk of sending a voltage in the transition zone is reduced.
  • The range of the feedback control has been increased by 30%.

New features:

  • Four FM wavetables have been added, with modulator:carrier ratios of 1:2, 1/2:1, 3:1, and 8:1.
  • Assign + FREEZE now enables or disables the auto-saving of the buffer. The current setting is indicated for a short amount of time by the brightness of the FREEZE button (bright = on, dark = off).
  • The visual indication that the frozen buffer is being backed up (fast blinking of the FREEZE button) has been made more subtle: instead, the FREEZE button is only dimmed while this process takes place.
  • When the module operates in the delay zone (SIZE turned fully CW), the SIZE attenurandomizer is repurposed as a delay bandwidth control, from dark to full to thin. This parameter can also be further modulated by the SIZE CV input.
  • The audio quality LED fades out every time the recording head crosses over the last point at which FREEZE has been disabled. This gives a visual representation of how much material fits in the buffer.
  • The audio quality LED temporarily changes color when the input gain is being manually adjusted.
  • When the input gain is manually set, the flavor of the clipping applied to the input signal, when it saturates, varies according to the quality setting. The two digital modes incur no distortion when the signal is within limits, but past that threshold, hard-clipping is applied. The two tape modes apply soft-clipping, which may gently add harmonics to the signal even when it is within limits.

Integration Between Radikal Technologies Eurorack Modules Makes The Sum Greater Than The Parts

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In this video, Radikal Technologies designer Jörg Schaaf demonstrates the integration between two of his module designs, the RT-311 Swarm Oscillator and the DELTA CEP A.

The DELTA CEP A is a Eurorack format module in the same vein as Moog’s Mother-32 – an all-in-one semi-modular synth, made up of 9 synthesis modules that can be used as a standalone synth or as part of a larger modular system.

The RT-311 Swarm Oscillator is a VCO module that lets you create ‘swarms’ of up to 16 oscillators.

Here, Schaaf demonstrates how the two modules can be connected behind the panel and then patched together. This integration allow the Swarm Oscillator to act as a sort of expander for the DELTA CEP A, so you can create sounds with the complex Swarm Oscillators paired with powerful multimode filters, morphing effects and more.

For more info, see the Radikal site.

SSL Intros Tube VCA / Timbral Gate For MU Systems

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Synthetic Sound LabsDoug Slocum let us know that they’ve introduced the SSL 2530 Tube VCA / Timbral Gate, a new MU module based on 1950’s era Soviet vacuum tube technology.

The module can be used for a variety of purposes, ranging from VCA tasks to adding analog warmth to extreme distortion effects and more.

Slocum describes the module as “a wild blend of vacuum tube warmth and distortion, along with an incredibly useful VCA that is so much more than the sum of its parts”.

The module uses miniature pencil-sized vacuum tubes that were developed and refined by the Russians 60+ years ago. They are low-current and low-voltage devices, so they don’t require the high-voltage power supplies that are required for most other vacuum tubes.

The module is designed in conjunction with Ken Stone (CGS), creator of a wide range of DIY projects for synthesists. SSL has expanded on Ken’s design, adding LEDs behind the tube, to visually emulate the glow of the filament, and pulsating blue LEDs that simulate tubes as they are being driven by control voltages.

Pricing and Availability

The SSL 2530 Tube VCA / Timbral Gate is available now for $295 USD.

MXL Pack For Ableton Live Features 40+ Max For Live Devices

midi2themax has introduced MXL PACK, a collection of 40+ MIDI Max For Live devices for Ableton Live 10 and 11.

Features:

  • quantize melodies and chords to 400 scales – change the scale dynamically by sending notes from Live clips/tracks
  • chromatic, diatonic and rotating harmonizers, with different velocity, delay and target track for each transposed note
  • create the ‘ideal’ MIDI controller with dynamic split areas, multiple note layers, smart sustain, one-finger chords, harmonizers, velocity curves and fading, note repetitions and delays, chord strumming, glissandos
  • randomize melodies and chords – you decide how “impredictable” they sound
  • use note pitch, velocity, ADSR envelopes to control Live parameters – control 8 params with a single command, combine params using math operations
  • use 16 midi buses to combine MXL devices and control them from other tracks
  • 100-page manual, with thorough descriptions and tons of tips (download)

Pricing and Availability

MXL Pack is available now with an intro price of €29.

Free Book Offers A Deep Introduction To Synthesis

AudioKit developer Matthew Fecher let us know that they have released an e-book that offers a complete introduction to synthesis with the free, open-source AudioKit Synth One software synth.

The book is written by Francis Preve, a sound design rockstar known for his work for everybody from Ableton to Roland to Sequential.

Synth One: The Ultimate Guide is a comprehensive introduction to the basics of synthesizers and analog synthesis. The book covers everything from how filters and oscillators work to the details of the harmonic series and microtonal music. And, if you don’t already have AudioKit Synth One, it’s a free and open-source software synth for iOS.

AudioKit Synth One has been updated, too, to include a set of patches (“Synth Tutorial” bank) specifically designed for the lessons in this book.

Whether you’re getting started in electronic production or just want to learn more about how synthesizers work, this book is a great resource and you can’t beat the price!

Download Links: