Madeleine Bloom is an Ableton Certified Trainer who runs Sonic Bloom, one of the best online resources for music makers who want to expand the way they work with Ableton Live, Max for Live, and Push. Or, as the internet’s Peter Kirn has colorfully described it: “It’s like a spa-slash-university for your Live-using self; you’ll come out refreshed, smarter, and even better-looking.”
One of the things that Bloom does really well is uncover the usefulness of hiding-in-plain-sight devices that are already included in Ableton Live. In response to questions about how to make this or that specific thing / sound / workflow possible in Live, she frequently finds herself explaining that everything needed is already installed.
With this in mind, Madeleine has launched a new series of video tutorials on Sonic Bloom called With A Little Help From Max for Live. The focus is on surfacing new ideas and tools for live performances and jams using only devices that are available for free from the Ableton Packs section.
In this first episode Bloom uses Dr Chaos from the free Probability Pack by Sonic Faction, a Max for Live MIDI effect that generates melodies based on probability, settings and a dose of chaos. Using Dr Chaos she creates a MIDI effect rack that makes jamming melodies easy, musical and fun.
One Knob Control
Next, Madeleine uses MultiMap and Map8, two devices from the free Max for Live Essentials Pack, to create a command center that can control up to 64 parameters anywhere in your Live Set with just one knob.
In this video, Bloom fires up the good ol’ Buffer Shuffler device (included in the free Max for Live Essentials Pack) to build an audio effect rack for rhythmic glitch effects. If you’ve ever played around with Buffer Shuffler and wondered how it could be tamed for use in performance, this is the video for you.
The upcoming free CV Tools Pack (currently in beta) is not just for those using modular, Eurorack or control voltage gear – some of the devices are also versatile tools for working entirely within Live. In this episode Madeleine uses CV Tools’ Rotating Rhythm Generator device as the basis for a generative MIDI effect rack that makes great basslines for jamming in live performances or in the studio.
Always in Key
In the ‘Melody Generation’ and ‘Generative Bass’ videos above, we learned how to set up MIDI Racks to create endless permutations of melodies and basslines. In this episode we learn how to make sure that those Racks stay in key when we make changes to them while playing live.
Keep up with the latest from Sonic Bloom