So I started a little project a while ago called the pksampler that was an attempt to build something that would allow me to improvise and play my techno tracks like I always thought the Djs did back when I was 17. Then Ableton Live came along and blew everyone’s socks off with it’s incredible workflow and reliability. I’ve still got a long way to go before I wrap my head around all the possibilities with Live, but one thing’s for sure – there’s still something that I’m missing.
I want to sit there and get involved in my tracks as they play. I don’t want to just play canned loops and transitions, but I want get more involved. I want to stand over my awesome Xone:3D and play the bloody song for a crowd of people. Do I need to just get better at my production? Do I need to learn to play the guitar, bass, and drums better? Do I need to learn more about midi and the possibilities of digital components? Do my tracks just need to sound better? I don’t know. I’ve been chasing this forever. If I could figure this out, I could quit writing software for a living and actually become a ski bum for the rest of my life.
People go to a rave and they see this guy playing all this awesome music and they think he’s totally the bomb because they like what they hear. I want to make that real and build or acquire a music platform so I can spend some time getting good at it so I can write some tracks and perform them live. How How How How How?
I guess the pksampler still has some purpose after all.
I’ve had an idea brewing around the back of my head for a while – I want a live, purely keyboard-based multitrack synth/sequencer.
I want to be able to load samples into specific keys (perhaps define “sample maps” for the keys), and play them by hitting the keys, kinda like how a lot of programs like LMMS or Fruity Loops let you play one synth with a keyboard.
Then I want one button to start a loop on next keystroke, and a keystroke to start looping.
Add the ability to have multiple tracks going on, and load sample maps on the fly, etc, and you’ve got a really powerful live music maker.
I intend to start implementing this “when I have the spare time”, but we all know how that goes with the grandiose side-projects.
I think what you are looking for are the basic functions of Ableton live. It will do all the sequencing and midi mapping for you. A bundled or Lite version would even do the trick.
Here’s a cool quote from an essay on Robert Henke’s site:
“As a result, most live performances became more tape concert-like again, with whole pieces played back triggered by one mouse click and the performer watching the computer doing the work.
This would all be fine, if performance conditions reflected this, but obviously it does not happen in most cases. Instead we experience performers who are more or less pretending to do something essential or carrying out little manipulations of mostly predefined music. The performer becomes the slave of their machine, disconnected from their own work as well as from the audience…”
“There is an interesting difference between the computer music presenter and a live act. While the centered tape operator has perfect conditions for creating the best possible sound, for presenting a finished work in the most brilliant way (which might occasionally even include virtuoso mixing desk science rather than static adjustment to match room acoustics), the live act has to fight with situations which are far from perfect and at the same time is expected to be more lively. Given these conditions, it is no wonder that generally rough and direct live sets are more enjoyable, while the attempt to reproduce complex studio works on a stage seem more likely to fail.”