Makrotulpa Live Debut 23 June 2013

Makrotulpa Live Flyer

The SKONLab will leave the study and embark on a journey that will hopefully bring those who attend to journey further into their heads rather than outside for cigarettes.

I’m gonna be the ambient odd one out I fear looking at the line-up.  Still pretty chuffed to be playing with some local legends!

Here is a quick track made during the preparations.  Nerdy infos on the setup after the jump.

So as long as i’m organised I should be able to perform live with few props.

The plan is:

  • Ableton Live 9 sending 4 MIDI channels to each of the 4 slots on the Nord Modular
    • these will not be used all the time but it allows me to preset some tracks and not have to deal with the NM pausing while I change patch
    • each channel will have one of the J74 Max For Live Step Sequencers on it which will work as both a trigger for each Nord preset and also gate MIDI setup in the Live clips
    • use of the step sequencer also means I can have the Logitech keyboard as a standby if the stylus isn’t cutting it
  • Ableton Live 9 receiving and processing 2 audio channels from the PV6 mixer
    • due to the need for changeovers I will have to sample / loop the input when I have something going using the standard Ableton Looper which is reliable for these simple operations
    • I can build up loops and change the sounds on the Nord with less fear of one dropping out and ruining the set (power cuts notwithstanding)
    • As it brings in EVERYTHING output it can create interesting feedback without the risk of fully feeding back (he says optimistically) so I can add all sorts of nuance and colour
  • Occasional pre-processed rhythms and background sounds
    • not sure if this is even necessary but I wanted to Turnado up some beaty nonsense for at least some part of the set and this will probably have to LOOP away in Ableton OR be prepared on my phone as a Nord Modular input.  I’m not sure I wanna use my phone in this performance;)
    • Vocals – yep there is space on the mixer so i’m gonna add some special moans and sibillance to the proceedings!
  • Two send effects
    • can’t do much with the tablet but should be able to deal with 2 if I pick them carefully.
    • I’ve been playing around with Bidule and Vaz Modular as effects units – they both work nicely with low CPU overheads but I may need to work out a way to modulate them as they don’t publish their outs like most generic plugins.
    • Am thinking a solution to this could be to have Max4Live MIDI send objects before them that CAN be modulated.  This way I can “Learn” those outputs as if they were being controlled by an external device… will report back on how this goes.
  • AM9000R Reverb (affectionately known as The Rhubarb – don’t ask me why!)
    • This is going to be passive send/return on the PV6 as usual.  Will need to work out some appropriate presets for it as the original owner left ones that tend to the cavernous!

Hopefully this will be the dream gig with the dream setup – no pressure!


As discussed here Ableton Live is not properly setup for Touch based interaction.  That said I’ve found it quite easy to manage using the above setup in real time – it is however easier to augment control with the Logitech wireless keyboard which in some ways defeats the purpose of a tablet.  I am looking towards using Usine Hollyhock on the tablet as it supports multiple types of touch however the learning curve and need for further optimisation (it is in Beta) have put it out of the running for this gig.  I will need to patch together my own Step Sequencer, learn how to use the routing properly, work out appropriate multi-touch gestures and interfaces … etc… Plenty of options, power and flexibility but Ableton works fine as long as you are realistic and use it for augmentation rather than replacement.  The coming of the tablets does not mean throw away  your laptop 😉


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