Recently I’ve been thinking about getting into Max for Live. I know enough about it to know that I’ll never explore it depths to any reasonable extent, and I know that if I do I’ll likely not get much else done. In the past year I’ve dived into modular synths as well as teaching myself about electronics, both of which are pretty endless journeys. But it’s the very fact that I’ve learned so much about electronics and audio via the modular that M4L has become even more interesting to me.
So the other night I opened up Ableton in demo mode so that I could mess with M4L. I couldn’t edit anything, as I did the 30-day demo of Max last year and therefore Max won’t open on my laptop. Kind of silly, but maybe for the best. Since I was limited in what I could do with this demo, I decided to just play with some of the M4L content. I’ve always liked Pluggo, so I found an instrument called Vocalese in the Pluggo collection.
Vocalese is a weird little thing where various vowels, consonants and plosives are selected with various notes. So in theory one should be able to hit certain notes in certain orders and make the thing talk. That seems like it would be either tedious or fun. Instead of going that direction, I hooked that into the MIDI from the M4L step-sequencer, and pressed go. Immediately my headphones were full of aliens chattering away. I recorded two sequences. One is sixteenth-notes and no real thought over what was going on. The second one I slowed down the sequencer, skipped some steps, and changed the durations. This gives the output a much more, I don’t know, realistic (?) result. I then added Ableton’s frequency shifter for effect.

Looking around the internets a bit, I found this post from Audio Cookbook, a blog I read now and then, who uses the same device with the vocoder. That sounds great as well.

I have a pretty strong feeling that Max for Live is in my near future. Damn.

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