Ableton talk at NC State

If anyone is in the area, I’ll be doing an improvisation and talking about electronic live performance in Raleigh at NC State’s James B. Hunt Library tonight (march 22) as part of Ableton’s college tour. There will also be a presentation by blursome (who is fantastic) and a couple more ableton-centric talks about “beatmaking” and such earlier in the day.

All the events are free and open to the public. More information on my talk here:

…and links to the other talks can be found here:


My wife and I signed up last week - we will be there! Oddly enough, the only way I found out about it was from following Ableton on Twitter.

Awesome! Lara (Blursome) is a good friend from college and it’s been awesome to see her progress since her first show at Kings a few years ago. Hope to make it out there this evening!

Just wanted to say I really enjoyed your workshop! Still unpacking some of my thoughts, but it kind of felt like an extension of your Sound + Process episode, with the addition of some like concrete references that you pointed to that made it really click. I feel like I need a Sound + Process conference where I can just sit and listen to everyone in this forum talk for a few hours and prod around in their projects and show things that inspire them (because it’s really inspiring to me).

I also thought it was pretty great that there were a lot of people there for the scholar’s program credit, because I imagine seeing you and blursome talk about y’alls processes in pretty granular detail may be a few people’s first experience with like, thinking about that kind of creative process at that level of detail?

Some specific technical points I’m taking with me (in addition to lots of thoughts):

  • I’m gonna play around with using bus tracks like you had set up in one of the projects you showed as opposed to grouping them. I feel like it’d make it so you could further cascade (where as you can only set up tracks in a single group in Ableton currently, and I’ve ran into some annoyance with that limitation before).
  • The crossfading between prerecorded audio and an external midi-sync device idea is super cool, and while I’m not sure that fits exactly with what I’m trying to do with my live set, it’s got me thinking about similar ideas.
  • KT Granulator seems awesome, and I will be looking for it soon.

And some questions:

  • At the end, you started talking about the really nit-picky mixing mindset you get into. Totally understand that. What do you do to keep the music-making phase of your process not get bogged down in that sort-of stuff?
  • What was that fuzz plugin you mentioned?

Sorry for the wall of text! But yeah, thanks for doing that!

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Excellent !

NCSU is my alma mater, and I really wish there had been events like this when I was studying EE there. I won’t be able to make tonight’s show, however.


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I wrote it down - FuzzPlus3. It’s a free download!

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Just wanted to echo that this was a great event! I really appreciated the focus on Ableton as a tool and I loved how elegantly simple your process is - no right or wrong way, just the end result in mind.

I often get bogged down in trying to make a working system or refining/streamlining a workflow that I actually subvert any creative spark in the process of trying to design the process to the end result and not the end result itself. This was a great reminder on how gear is cool but what really matters is getting something out of it. I have so much gear that I don’t fully understand or appreciate. I felt empowered on the drive home.


this is a really, really good idea. i would LOVE to go to something like this. cc: @dan_derks

re: bussing, it just seems more straightforward than grouping to me for some reason. you lose the ability to conveniently “fold” the bus tracks into the group, but something about the mystery of exactly how ableton routes the audio in a group feels too loose to me or something. mostly habit. also helps me to think about grouping/bussing things by mix placement and group/bus effects, rather than a specific instrument or rack grouping.

re: granulators, KT appears to have vanished from the internet and i’m reluctant to put up a link to the original file without Koen Tanghe’s permission. he did make a somewhat similar plugin as a paid download but i haven’t tried it out. and I didn’t get to talk about borderlands, my favorite granulator for the ipad.

re: mixing, the mixing is slowly happening the whole time we’re working on something, but i don’t let it really bog me down until it feels like all the tracks are there and the song essentially is what it wants to be. that’s when all those nit picky things become more obvious, because you’re able to start measuring the gap between what the song IS doing and what it WANTS to be doing.

re: fuzz, FuzzPlus 3


this is a very happy-making idea. schemes abound. also, glad to hear the talk was so successful! let folks know with more leadtime in the future (esp. any chicagoland events)!

Ahhh, wish I’d been able to make it!

I did have a question that I neglected to ask - didn’t want to jump down this rabbit hole in that particular setting.

I love the tools Monome and the Lines community develop and release freely here. I use them everyday and am always learning something new. One thing I struggle with is working these into my (albeit, still burgeoning) Ableton workflow environment from a songwriting/recording standpoint. I can jam on this stuff all day long. Its the recording part I get stumped at. Things like: do I record a click track, should I set up Ableton to drive the clock, is the clock important at all? It seems like I would want the flexibility to make this stuff integrate but by the time I work out the technical stuff I’ve lost my creative drive. I also don’t want it permanently attached - just trying to figure out what other people do here. Thanks again!

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i think a lot about each of my instruments ability to “play well with others” - for the modular stuff i just run a midi sync to my mother32, and then use that click to drive ww and ansible. even if it’s the starting point for a track, having the modular running at a consistent bpm makes building on it later way easier for me.


Was this recorded and if so, any chance of a video? Sounds like a great talk (and workshop generally)!

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I don’t think it was, unfortunately :/. I saw this pretty good recap pop up on my facebook feed. Some possibly inspiring quotes in there.

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