Ableton Push is a “highly intuitive and fresh new musical instrument”

Certified Ableton instructor Antonio Sage writes about his experiences with Ableton Push and Live 9:

I cannot recall the last time a device had been so highly anticipated as Ableton Push.

With good reason. Push is not only a sleek, beautiful control surface for Ableton’s newly released version 9 but it is also a highly intuitive and fresh new musical instrument. It’s touch sensitive multi-color grid is specifically designed to eliminate the barriers that get in the way of the flow of the initial creative process. Push not only facilitates the search for the right sounds (and with Live 9’s suite including 3000 + sounds there is plenty to choose from) it also features an amazing system for almost foolproof note entry and improvisation.

I have heard and at times agreed with folks that feel musicality in the past decade has somewhat suffered. They feel that the values of study and practice have been replaced by gimmicks. “Pro Tooling” and “Autotuning” have become synonymous with a manufactured sound recording that sometimes translates poorly onstage. With Push you can choose to play in a certain scale or mode eliminating the possibility of playing the wrong note. At first glance this too might seem like cheating but there is a difference. With Push the musician can also learn about scales and modes by being able to recognize and executing note combinations familiar to the ear but previously only reserved for expert musicians. With dedication and practice there is no limit to what can be played. This newfound freedom could encourage the kind of experimentation needed to create new musical territories.

Will there be haters that will regard Push as a crutch and criticize its ease of use as further disregard of the classic values? Yes, I think so. One thing that sparks my imagination about the future of music now are the compositions that will eventually materialize as a result of putting these tools at the fingertips of highly creative individuals. Now boring overused chord progressions will be substituted by interesting, exotic and perhaps never heard progressions. Let’s now imagine that kind of power in the hands of the next Mozart, Debussy, Beethoven, etc. Perhaps a bit like the first time they were given a piano.

As a certified Ableton instructor, I am proud to be at the starting line of this revolution. If music is indeed the universal language, perhaps we will all be able to communicate more effectively and maybe Ableton’s Push might just make this world a better place.

Meet Antonio at the next SF-EMM monthly meetup on Wednesday, April 10 at SAE Institute (450 Bryant St. #100, San Francisco, CA).

Intro to Renoise

At last nights meetup there was a lot of people using Renoise to produce music and an equal amount of people that had never heard of it or used it. Below is an introduction video to Renoise and you can also click here to see the main overview on the Renoise website.

Added bonus: Check out this article from Create Digital Music about artist Dkon and an album he did using only a Korg Poly 800 and Renoise.

Circuit benders in SF!

Robotspeak is having the first of a 3-part class on circuit bending starting this Saturday! More information at:


ROBOTSPEAK and Dmitri go forward with Dmitri’s second round of Circuit Bending classes on 3 Saturdays

3 sessions (eleven hours total) includes DIY voice changer:

TIME: Feb 11th, 18th, 25th from 1:00 till 4PM

Cost: $285

Circuit Bending is the art of rewiring and short-circuiting a device to create entirely new sounds. Taking an obsolete piece of gear or toy and breathing new life into it turning it into a useable piece of Lo Fi kit for studio or stage.

Things that will be covered: how to house / place added controls / switches / knobs / how to circuit bendYou will leave with your piece of gear circuit bent / modified ready for the studio or the stage. You will also leave with an advanced understanding of circuit bending.

This class will teach the basic’s of circuit bending and follows through by providing examples of how to integrate these new sounds into your studio. It’s an inexpensive9 hour class that is spread over 3 Saturdays.

First class: Basics of circuit bending. How to do a Pitch mod, A Battery starve, and add Audio outs ( guitar jack ).

Second class: How to build an audio to 5+v trigger cable and how to use it to trigger toys/bent things from any DAW or drum machine.

Third class: Bring something in and Dmitri will help you bend it.

Requirements: A 30 watt (or more) soldering iron, your bendable unit of choice supplied by you (optional)

call 415-554-1977or email to enroll