So this is a more techy account of how I made and managed the music for the production of Kidnapped in November 2015 at the Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow, Scotland.
For more tactile control I custom designed an interface on my iPad using Liine’s Lemur software. This allowed me to control the volume in either a specific way or just with a fader, plus I could control the resolution of when I launched the clips and scenes in Ableton.
This particular template is a customised version of the Lemur file by King Roc from the Jazz Mutant Website. Here’s another one of the pages. The ability to change FX in real time came in handy as one part of the show had to be done manually for timing purposes.
To ensure reliability when triggering from the Lemur app, I used another great app that allowed me to utilise a USB cable to connect the Lemur on the Ipad to the Mac running Ableton. This was software called Studiomux. A little tip – If you have an older ipad you can still use this but you would install Midimux instead for Midi control.
In the course of organising the Ableton file, I found I had need to have sections following rapidly on from one to the other but with tempo changes. To do this I used a little Max For Live extension/utility called Follow by Isotonik Studios. This Allowed me to trigger scenes at the end of clips thereby meaning I could program in the tempo changes and it would all be taken care of Automatically. An invaluable addition to running the show smoothly.
Here’s a pic of my Ableton file to whet you’re appetite.
In this picture you can see that the Ableton file has 12 channels of 24bit audio. There’s also a sneaky ‘steam’ channel with basically just white noise on it which goes through an auto filter. Great for build ups. This is controlled from the Lemur interface.
The master/scenes section has all the relevant tempos for the tracks we used and I’ve colour coded the scenes to help me navigate through the set. Below is a screenshot of the file with the channel containing the Follow plugin. Each channel in the set has an Eq and an auto filter, again controlled from the lemur.
Another couple of screenshots showing some the devices that are on the master channel. All of these are again controlled from the Lemur.
At the very end of the master chain I’ve put a limiter to make sure all those FX don’t overload whatever system I’m working with!
Kidnapped was a very interesting project to work on. It was really enjoyable tracking down the things that would make the show go smoothly and implementing them quickly and effectively. Ableton Live has really become the go to program for live performance (hence the name!). I’m reasonably sure that some of the techniques that we came up with will now be incorporated into the band’s live performance in the future.