Now that I’ve gotten most of my gear in place I’ve slowly started to work on material for the next Cumulus compilation. The track below is a sketch, not yet complete but I thought I’d share the working versions along the way. Have a listen if your interested.
The track was made in one take entirely on my modular system. Live 9.1 was used as a recording device only.
I mentioned briefly in a previous post that the reason I was upgrading to Mavericks was to explore Apple’s Logic Pro X. Having lived in Ableton Live for the past 2-3 years I knew it was not going to be an easy switch, but the inherent workflow of Live with Sessions / Arrangements and so on just never felt right to me. Live is super powerful, especially for electronica and for improvising live over an arrangement, but for straightforward, linear composing it always felt like forcing a round peg in a square hole…
It’s now been 4 days since I purchased and downloaded Logic from the Apple App Store, and I have to hand it to Apple. Even with no prior experience using the software it was incredibly easy and intuitive to get up and running. Even with a complex setup as mine with lots of outboard gear, hardware synths, control surfaces, mixers, effects and interfaces I had a complete template set up within just a couple of hours.
I’ve already started work on a new track which is a lot more traditional electronic pop in flavor, and I can feel how Logic just lends it self to easily getting the structure of a song down in a linear fashion. Of course its not going to work for everyone, and part of my new found inspiration might just be the lure of an exciting new acquaintance pulling me in, but regardless there is nothing as energizing as feeling inspired.
Also want to point out that despite the title of this post, buying Logic is not really a ‘switch’ away from Live, it is just an addition to the toolbox for a different way of working. Sometimes when you feel stuck or blocked creatively, changing the tool or environment can really help in my experience.
Let me know if you have any questions about the transition, or if you are considering the same move!
I have not used the Launchkey Mini yet, the below is based on specs and photos.
So Novation has announced the Launchkey Mini (sp ~$99). With 25 mini keys, 16 pads, 8 rotary knobs and 2 performance buttons, all assignable of course, it makes for a sweet little MIDI keyboard, not at all unlike the Arturia MiniLab that also launched recently.
I got a chance to play around with the Arturia board for a couple of days and it certainly has the upper hand when it comes to design in my opinion. Of course the two are not entirely comparable given that you get a bloody awesome collection of 5000 analog synth emulation presets with the Arturia board..
My biggest gripe with the Arturia MiniLab was the touch strips. Very poor quality and performance which in the end rendered it almost unusable for me. The keys and the pads though were very nice and responsive. The Launchkey Mini has gone a step further and done away with the traditional modulation / pitch controls entirely. My suspicion is that you can use the two ‘performance buttons’ for this by assigning them your self?
In terms of connectivity the only difference is that you get a foot switch input on the MiniLab. This could be important to you depending on your playing style. Both are USB powered and class compliant. I for one really wish they had a MIDI out port for connecting straight to some of my older analog gear, but that dear old round connection seems to be an endangered species these days…
Looking at the bundles software (Launchkey Mini: Bassstation, V-Station, Live Lite, Samples, Launchkey app for iPad vs. MiniLab: AnalogLab with 5000 classic synth presets) it really depends on your style of music and workflow. I love the Arturia emulations since they fit very well with the kind of music I make, but the flexibility of the Novation soft synths where you are not limited to presets is also very attractive. In the end it’s up to you.
Check out the rivals at their respective websites below:
The first Cumulus EP is complete and uploaded to Bandcamp!
The tracks on this album represent different fantastic visions of abandoned environments that could or perhaps do exist somewhere only the clouds travel. The tracks are meant to be heard in order as a continuous journey.
All tracks were recorded using my modular synth (The Cumulus Machine) with Ableton Live as a recording deck. With the exception of a few overdubs the tracks were recorded ‘live’ as continuous takes.
Download it now!
It’s free, or you can pay any amount you want
if you feel generous and like what you hear :).
Special thanks to Adam Watson for mastering and feedback!