The Only Thing to Fear is Fear Itself
Max for Live is Ableton's monster under the bed and boogie man in the closet. So many people shy away from it because they fear it involves too much programming and a masters degree in computer engineering. But what so many don't realize is that you can use Max for Live devices just like any other device in Live, and you don't need to know anything about how it works, just as you don't need to know how a motorcycle converts gasoline into energy in order to drive one. On top of that, there is a huge community of people building their own devices you can download or purchase for your own use.
A Whole World of Max For Live Goodies
Isotonik Studios has been releasing some of the most inventive and unique Max for Live devices for quite some time now. If you haven't checked out their work, it's time you do so! There's so many cool things that will enhance your workflow and unlock new capabilities inside of Live. Today, I want to focus on a tool that fits my personality and tastes perfectly: The Arcade Series by Mark Towers, fellow Ableton Certified Trainer.
Arcade Machine Inspired Sequencing
Asteroids is a Max for Live generative MIDI sequencer. You set up a bunch of parameters that control small asteroids that float across the user interface. As the asteroid collide, MIDI notes are created. You can set the specific range of notes and scales, and control how each asteroid moves about the device. It's a great way to create controlled random chaos.
Play Asteroids on Your Grid Controller
What really sweetens the deal is the integration with grid controllers like Push and the Novation Launchpad. On its grid, the controller will display the visual information from the device. You can simple activate and deactivate asteroids by pressing the pads on your controller. For me, this is the best way to use the device. It's very easy to see and control what is happening, plus it is a lot of fun! You can have multiple instances of Asteroids and there is even a drum mode that makes creating randomized beats a breeze. Check it out here.
Push Pong- Old School Game Becomes a Sequencer
Push Pong is another really cool device in the Arcade Series, and it is free. It's similar in concept, but produces different results. I am hesitant to call it an "Asteroids Lite" type device, because it has its own merits as well. I love it and use it quite often to generate new ideas. There's no excuse not to check it out! Push Pong is also available on the Arcade Series page.
So as the weekend approaches, treat yourself to a bit of the past meets the future sequencing! Head over to Isotonik Studios and check out their Arcade Series. Thanks Isotonik for building such fun and addictive devices!