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Ableton - Push 2 "GROOVEBOX MODE" a la Elektron

Posted: Thu Apr 29, 2021 11:13 am
by dreamer55
Hey synth psychologists and psychiatrists, need your consultation and advice on my hopeless case.

Usually I use Ableton as a recorder / DAW for my external gear and just finalize my tracks there, so I don't compose electronic music inside Live, and don't perform live with it, at least the way I'd like it. Yeah, maybe when it's something more traditional and has to deal with orchestration, heavy sample based instruments, some complicated arrangements like movie / theater stuff I use Ableton as a midi sequencer. But again - it's more about finalizing tracks and not performing live with it.

Yeah I did tons of performances with computer on stage, but they weren't completely "live" - they were mostly just prepared scenes played one after another in a "dj manner", so for me such a method lacks the "emotional connection", limits improvisation aspects, basically I can call such a workflow uninspiring.

And I know Ableton quite well, use it since 2005... So it's not the problem of app knowledge, maybe just lack of inspiration when I look at the screen, but first of all lack of control and interface. So I managed to get Push 2, but the problem is still there - the combo still feels super slow, uninspiring and useless for my workflow.

At the same time, for example with a very basic Digitakt sampler I can do amazing things very fast, inspire myself with the workflow and program and perform complete live sets with it (plus analog mixer / efx / analog bassline ), despite it has a very limited memory, only 8 tracks, just 2 master effects...

So I decided to analyze what's missing with Live / Push combo comparing it to Elektron workflow, and try to emulate those things and build a Groovebox in Ableton, something which I really can play Live.

So, I would appreciate if you help me to set it up and find my way as Ableton performer : )

1) I want to have one Live project for the whole set, and I want all channels to be the same "style". For real time improvisation and performance it's really important to have that "closed eyes" mode, where every sound has exactly same control, so you know all the buttons positions and just do it as soon as you got the intention, without thinking "how I do that".

So, it should be Simpler on each channel or maybe a Drum Rack? And what's the way to switch between "songs"? Is where a way to assign completely new settings for any particular scene? Inside Simpler it's possible to add a lot of sound into zones and use just one instance.

Another idea is to make a group on each channel with many layers, one for each song with dedicated instrument, but it's really easy to get lost, especially if you have like 16 songs or more.

Yeah, maybe the way is to make each "song" on separate tracks like 1-8 , 9 -16 etc...
But it's a little bit distracting...

Maybe there's another better aproach?

2) Ability to control "all the stuff" at once with one knob, like control decays or filter cutoff of all sounds at once (like you do it on DT - track + parameter ). And after I messed up everything, I want to get back to the initial / saved state.

3) Ability to mute things fast and easy. With push 2 it's nearly impossible to mute more than 2 - 3 channels at once, buttons are too tight and "special".

So is there a way to assign mutes to the pads? Something like "HOLD MUTE button + PAD on the corresponding track" would be awesome.

At the same time, maybe the key here is to use just one track, put a drum rack on it and put a simpler into each slot. Not sure if it will work as well as I imagine it now.

4) Ability to have "sound per step" option as in DT, and write automations + trig conditions / probability. Seems like this is not difficult with Push / Live 11, however maybe there are some trix to make it even more hands on?

I can continue further but let's see what you can suggest...

Maybe there's a good tutorial on this?
Maybe there are complete GROVEBOXES build with M4L for such a task?
Maybe I should try Bitwig? : )

As always any advice is welcome....

Re: Ableton - Push 2 "GROOVEBOX MODE" a la Elektron

Posted: Sat May 15, 2021 12:08 pm
by [jur]
Well, all your ideas are doable, actually.
Each one needs a few tricks, and has its pros and cons. And yes, M4L is your friend :wink:
It's hard to tell without more details on your setup (number of tracks, what in each track...) but the Drum Racks and Instrument Racks are probably the way to go. You can program them to trigger the chains you need for each song (you can use clips to do that for example).
You can use M4L to set up a "mute system" that fits you better etc...