From the recent gig with Chris Meloche…
Live Looping is almost impossible with out using your feet, so to control Ableton’s Looper device, I needed foot-powered midi. I own a Uno-chipped FCB1010 midi controller, which can be taught to do almost anything, but it’s hellish large in terms of carrying & finding room for, so I’ve looked at simpler midi pedals, those that send basic program change messages. Needless to say, it wasn’t straight-forward, since Ableton fails to respond to PC messages. Enter Midi-Ox – a fantastic free utility. It allows you to translate almost anything to anything!
So, you go to Options, Data mapping and set up on these lines;
This sends note on followed by note off when it receives a PC message. You need to clone so that both messages are send in rapid succession.
For Ableton to receive midi in this way, you need to set up a “loopback” system; Midi-ox output will show up as “midi yoke 1” (this works under XP, I use Loopmidi on Win 8 etc) you select “remote” and “track”, Ableton can then hear your midi pedal and you can assign whatever functions you want to control. I use it for the Looper device, controlling;
record / playback / clear / undo / half speed or double speed (both multiple octaves) / reverse
leaving 1 free pedal for ad-hoc use. On the next bank, I have less used features such as half or double loop length.
Of course, this is massively extended using the VST and native audio effects within Ableton, which are virtually unlimited. It’s a very flexible solution and has persuaded me to forsake my EDP rack for a laptop running XP. Touch wood, it’s worked fine so far!
The pedal I use is a Rolls Midibuddy, which is plugged into a BCR2000 with midi set as thru, so I’m only using 1 USB socket other than the audio interface. I bought this as a back-up for my Rolls MP80 and was delighted to discover when it arrived that it has two more pedals than the 128 – result!
However, the beauty of this setup is that you can use almost any old midi pedal from ebay, so you can shop for those with a really small footprint. In practice, it offers a budget solution to control almost anything, such as playing musical notes, chords, or perhaps controlling a lighting system.
Is the name of one of Martin Archer’s many projects – essentially a duo alongside James Huggett. I was delighted recently when Martin asked if I could contribute guitar to a 19 minute(!) track of theirs, for a forthcoming release.
I was even more impressed when Martin gave me complete freedom to play and mix whatever I wished – it’s so rare to be given complete trust in this fashion. I’ve just completed my track – quite dark, even by my standards – I hope it works for them….
Check out the Combat Astronomy site…
Martin and I will be on the same bill at a Bishops’ House gig later this year 😉
A video of the first piece we played shot by Mark Mettam from our debut gig at Bishop’s House on 30/05/14
The Meloche gig turned out to be a superb night of improvisation, featuring Chris Meloche – electronics, Hervé Perez – sax, Martin Archer – electronics/bass harmonica, Mick Beck – bassoon, Charlie Collins – percussion plus myself on guitar/loops. Various permutations accompanied Chris and some truly unearthly sounds were conjured up. A small but knowledgeable audience enjoyed every minute, as the sun slowly set in the gardens outside. Video coming soon…
Lovely image taken by my brother Simon at the recent gig. He’s done a write-up here.
A nice photo of Andy taken by Dean Thom (a wonderful musician himself)
Thursday Jun 19th 2014
Time 8.00pm: £5/£3
Over The Top, 78 Kingfield Road, Sheffield S11 9AU
A one of group featuring Sheffield based colleagues of Canadian electroacoustic musician Meloche making one of his occasional visits to town. Expect three sets, comprising combinations from the list below.
Chris Meloche – electronics
Hervé Perez – electronics
Martin Archer – electronics
Mick Beck – bassoon
Nick Robinson – guitars and loops
Andy Peake – keyboards
Charlie Collins – percussion
Expect low key towards minimal improvised dronescapes.
A video shot by Jan Todd from our debut gig at Bishop’s House on 30/05/14