Here’s a track I’ve been performin live recently and I enjoyed the slightly wayward nature of the Live sound – so I recorded it as I performed it and added an intense video.
If you’d like to buy the track you can get it here
If you have photo-sensitive epilepsy or related neurological condition pleast don’t watch (just listen), as there are some parts which may overstimulate your visual cortex!
A glimpse of Steve Angstrom performing live at OHM club Berlin.
These tracks were all originally created way back in the 90s and were resurrected for the upcoming Sleepers Records vinyl-only release and this live performance.
Bringing these tracks back was tricky because the old equipment and the people involved are so temperamental!. So I spent a lot of time working out how to make the tracks similar but also give myself scope to play them and have fun with them. It’s not that easy to re-create something which happened spontaneously 25 years ago.
I used the original tracks as an inspiration and tried to stay as close to the ancient weird spirit as possible, and it worked and now I’m glad to say this live set is going on the road.
I’ll be live in performance in Berlin on the 8th of September, come along!
This set is all comprised of reclaimed music from the 90s which I recorded onto old DAT tapes and 8 tracks, then put into deep storage for 20 years.
They are due to be released on Sleepers Records as “Steve Angstrom -Sleepers Recovered Artefacts ’93 – ’97”.
To celebrate the release I’m performing those songs and also a bunch more live on stage.
To perform them live I’ve spent months trying to figure out what I played and then re-creating those basslines and drum parts and entering them into my newfangled hardware sequencers. All live and mostly analog make sure you check out Steve Angstrom Live in Berlin at the Ohm club
Many users liked the old calcium skin for Ableton Live, and find the new skins for Live 10 a bit gloomy and lacking contrast. So I remade Calcium skin for Live 10. There are some differences becuase Live 10 has different transport buttons that the earlier versions, but it’s as close as I could get.
Live 10 skins are much easier to edit than Live 9 skins (which required a hex editor). Live 10 skins are in an XML format and each element is named. If you want to change anything about this skin simply open up in a text editor and start tweaking. It’ll probably break but that’s how we learn eh?
Unwind yourself with this very very ambient noise.
Sometimes, after I’ve spent all day making complicated music I need to decompress my brain. That normally means I put on something by Brian Eno like Discrete Music, or perhaps No Pussyfooting. But very often it’s as easy for me to make an ambient noise for myself – so I turn the dials to very very ambient. And this is what usually comes out – It resets my brain.
So, I thought you also might like it too.
Don’t expect a tune, this is real “drifting through space” stuff. DOWNLOAD IT IF YOU LIKE (try a right click and save-as)
Ableton Operator is a small FM synth which comes with Ableton Live Suite. Operator may seem limited to familiar traditional FM sounds but it is capable of much more. Here I show thirteen advanced tips and a few ways to use Operator’s lesser known features to create bigger sounds. and a few you might not expect, ranging from deep rumbly analog-style basses, evolving leads and pads.
1: Make oscillators morph from sine to “sawtooth”
The oscillators can be set in various FM modulator / carrier routings, but if an oscillator has no modulator input then the oscillator feedback parameter becomes available. Setting an oscillator waveform to sinewave and turning up the feedback parameter will feed the sine wave pitch back on itself and you will hear the sine morph into a waveform which sounds and looks quite similar to a sawtooth.
This waveshaping effect is is dependent on the oscillator amplitude (as amplitude induces feedback), so turning the oscillator up will take the waveshape closer to a “Saw”, turning it even higher will make it distort toward noise, and turning the amplitude right down will take the waveshape closer to the original sine.
The oscillator amplitude is obviously affected by its (amplitude) envelope and by all the other modulation sources mapped to oscillator amplitude – LFO, Aux envelope, modwheel, after touch, etc. meaning you now have deep control over the waveshape of these oscillators.
Of course – morphing a sawtooth wave into a sine wave is very similar to what a lowpass filter does it removes high harmonics – but the benefit here is that each of the four oscillators can independently vary from saw to sine, as if you had 4 independent filters (or 5 if you count the filter itself !). Additionally the smooth interaction between volume and waveshape gives a good almost natural physical modelling feel to the waveform. It’s a unique sound.
2: Invert harmonics for hard to reach waveshapes (a Triangle wave)
Operator has a very handy method of drawing your own waveshape with partials and you will be able to get clues for how common waveforms look as harmonics by studying the built in waves. Not all waveshapes are possible with the basic approach. The reason for this is that harmonics also have a phase relationship, a fundamental might be oscillating up while the third partial is oscillating downwards (180 degrees out of phase). This is the case with the humble Triangle wave.
The basic additive waveform drawing system of Operator does not allow for drawing harmonic phase relationships but we can emulate out of phase partials by using a second oscillator with a waveform phase offset. 50% of offset is 180 degrees of phase difference.
A triangle wave contains the same odd numbered partials as a square wave – yet is plainly very different in sound. In a triangle wave the phase of the upper partials is 180 degrees out of phase with the fundamental. You can see in this image that Oscillator A is handling one group of harmonics (1,5,9,…) and the second oscillator (B) is taking care of the harmonics which are inverted. Combining these two oscillators together allows us to create a waveform with harmonics with relationships which are out of phase with each other. In this case we make a Triangle wave, but the same principle allows other (otherwise unavailable) waves.
Notice that PHASE INVERSION on the B oscillator which is what makes our complex triangle output.
Triangle / Square wave morph
In the above GIF we can see what happens if we make oscillator D a copy of oscillator B but turn in Oscillator D make sure to reset the phase parameter of that oscillator down to 0, and then by using the LFO to crossfade between these two variations (B and D) the wave changes between a triangle and a “square”. the same principle can be used to create more complex harmonic shifting effects. See tip 5 for more on this.
Free Ableton Live pack. To celebrate the festive season here’s a bunch of FREE & amazing instrument racks featuring Ableton’s Operator instrument
Ten free Instrument Racks for Ableton Live
These racks come from an upcoming pack called Vintage Operators, which uses Ableton’s Operator synth to make vintage inspired synth sounds reminiscent of the 1970s and 80s. Yes, it’s a weird idea. The full pack contains over 120 live racks featuring Operator with 21 leads, 28 basses, 34 “keyboard” patches, FX synth patches and more.
Anyway, that’s another story, here’s your Xmas Presets (Free!)
I have been using Ableton’s built in effects for guitar recently and despite owning a few other VST based sims I’ve found the Ableton effects in racks to be much more useful, because of the ability to shape them to my requirements.
So, I’ve provided four of my (many) guitar amp experiment racks for you to download here.
Guitar Amp Ableton Audio Examples
In these I use the same short loop of me playing guitar badly and then for each “amp” I tweak the provided macro dials to show the variations each amp can reach.
Dual Crunch Amp
Clean / Dirty hilo Amp
Pro Vib Amp
Twang and Fuzz Amp
Investigating the sounds of Ableton Guitar Amps & Sims
Initially I found the “amp” and “cabinet” which Ableton include to be a little underwhelming yet I know they are licensed in from well regarded company Softube. So I decided a few months ago to investigate more fully. What I discovered is that if I “Bi-Amp” then it’s possible to get a rack which responds better to different playing techniques, has a more intriguing variance over the dynamic range and also has a more interesting sound across the stereo field.
So here are the four effect racks all wrapped up inside a live set, just for handiness. Please note that if you say “why isn’t this making any noise” you may have to check your input routings 😉