Ableton Live 9 + Push Out Now!

Ableton, Live, Push

For more than a decade, Ableton Live has been the DAW de rigeur for loopers, DJ’s, live electronic performance artists, and anyone wanting to take a more improvisational approach to building sequences of sound. Live stands apart from other popular software, with its loop launching layout and eccentric family of controllers.

Today, Ableton released version 9 of Live, along with its very own hardware, Push.

Ableton, Live, Push

This 64-square control surface is slim, portable, stylish, and oh so lustworthy.

Push was created in conjunction with Akai, and bears some resemblance to the APC40‘s button matrix, mixed with the elegant minimalism of the Monome or Tenori-On. Like Native Instruments’ Maschine, Push promises the ability to make music without having to look at your screen, as all sequencing controls are onboard. Unlike Maschine, Push contains no sounds of its own.

Live 9, however, includes over 1,100 sounds (11GB) in its Standard edition, while the full Suite offers 3,000+ (54GB!).

See what’s new:

New in Ableton Live 9

Ableton Push

Order yours now:

If you’re interested in attending an Ableton meet-up with your fellow music geek (I might be at the LA event March 10th):

Arturia SparkLE Shines

Arturia, SparkLE, drum machine

I’m a sucker for sparkly things, and the Arturia SparkLE is certainly no exception.

SparkLE is a sleek hardware/software hybrid drum-machine that is bound to light up your life (nyuk nyuk) in a few different ways. Spaceship-LIGHTshow aside, this little beatbox is LIGHT, weighing in at only 1 kg (2.2 lbs.). And of course, it will simply deLIGHT you. (End of horrible pun.)

You can build beats using the step sequencer buttons or pound them out in realtime on the pressure sensitive pads. Throw down a groove with the Looper and then introduce variation with the touch sensitive XY pad, which can control 8 filter modes (including the classic Oberheim SEM filter) and 7 different Slicer modes. Engage the TUNE mode and play a synth melody on SparkLE’s 16 keys, or simply add pitch to a percussion sound.

SparkLE, Arturia, hardware software hybrid drum machine

The SparkLE sound engine boasts a wide range of ever expanding sounds, with layering, Virtual Analog, and Physical Modeling for further tweaking. The software component offers a Mix view, effects, automation & editing capabilities, and can be used as a standalone program or AU/VST/VST3/RTAS plug-in (without the hardware connected). Alternately you can map the hardware to control your DAW via MIDI, or use the included templates for Ableton LIve and Reason.

All this functionality is built into a seriously compact (284mm x 171mm x 17 mm) and portable (comes with a travel case) package. SparkLE is a truly versatile tool for a musician on the go!

Arturia’s SparkLE is an obvious competitor to Native Instruments’ Maschine Mikro. In the race to get smaller and smaller, it wins; the Spark drum controller is thinner, takes up less desk space, and the price tag is lower ($299 vs. $399 for Maschine). Although Maschine might fair better with MPC drum pad enthusiasts, I must say I prefer Spark’s keyboard/’TR’ style layout. I’d love to get the two of them in a room for a real sonic shootout sometime.

Looper Film & Soundtrack – A Futuristic Feast For The Senses

Looper, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, time travel, sci-fi, noir
If you haven’t seen Looper yet, I STRONGLY urge you to do so before it’s gone from theaters and you’re left wishing time travel would get invented already. Joseph Gordon-Levitt kills it as a young version of Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt plays a perfect bad-ass beauty with a shotgun. And if time travel wasn’t already enough to whet your future-lust, director Rian Johnson threw in a little telekinesis and a mysterious villain known only as “Rainmaker” for good measure. Maybe you’ve seen it already? Go see it. Again. NAO.

This noir sci-fi thriller was my favorite flic of the year, and the soundtrack was a real treat as well. For anyone interested in field recording or sound-design, check out these videos from composer Nathan Johnson.

LOOPER Nathan Johnson Score Preview 1 – Field Recordings from Nathan Johnson on Vimeo.

LOOPER Nathan Johnson Score Preview 2 – Percussion from Nathan Johnson on Vimeo.

LOOPER Nathan Johnson Score Preview 3 – Melodic Instruments from Nathan Johnson on Vimeo.

Buy the Looper Soundtrack

Looper has been out for a while now…I’ve been meaning to post this for a LOOONG time, after seeing the videos on, but wanted to wait til I saw the movie and listened to the soundtrack, cuz I’m kooky like that… Only thought of it again recently, after seeing Brick, another film from the Rian & Nathan Johnson + Joseph Gordon-Levitt team, but that is another story. Enjoy!