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Generative composition with Live

For our next Meetup we're going to explore Generative Processes using Ableton Live's native tools. Whilst Max4Live offers a range of generative devices such as Finite State Machines, Automata, implementations of The Game of Life and so on, the main discussion will be centred around Ableton.

The main areas of focus will be clip and dummy clip envelopes; follow actions and the random/chance properties of Ableton's own devices such as Beat Repeat, Random and the Arpeggiator.

The goal will be to use these types of process as a means of generating material for further editing, exploration or to accomplish generative FX processing. Further uses include being able to create underbeds or accompaniments, such as drums, that are non-repeating or, at least, give the illusion of non-repetition.

The Meetup will be held at the University of Westminster on Thursday 27th February, starting at 6:30PM and finishing at about 9PM. You are invited to bring your laptop and we are also looking for anyone who would like to present on any of the following topics. Presentations need not be long and can be pitched at any level i.e. beginner, intermediate or advanced.


Using Beat Repeat

Using Random (Midi Device)

Using Arpeggiator (mainly the three random settings)


Clip and Dummy Clips/Envelopes

Follow Actions – Overview, Explanation and Using

Anyone who will be presenting should submit a project file up to a week, if not more, in advance to allow other attendees an opportunity to 'play' with some of the ideas. It would be a good idea to make projects in Live 8 and 9 but it is up to presenters rather than a requirement.

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  • Hussein B.

    This was good. Well done to everyone who showed up and presented. Good to see such a productive session with lots of ideas

    1 · February 28, 2014

  • Matthew B.

    Wish i could have attended this but the location is too far from central!

    February 28, 2014

  • Ben

    Yep, was great fun and very informative. As a relative newbie to Live it certainly gave me a lot to think about. Massive thank you to Hussein and Val for hosting as well as all who presented. I guess I check here for updates as to next months "assignment"?

    February 28, 2014

  • Richard

    Nice one today, some good inspiration there! Johnti get in touch mate and we can go through anything again

    February 27, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    What about external midi controllers? Some of them are very affordable (nanoKontrol or FCB1010) but open immense possibilities to control and change randomness. I find this specially powerful when playing live...
    On the other hand, remember that we all already have tons of info about dummy clips, follow actions and the likes. We do not need entry level lectures, we need advanced and creative ideas. don't you think?

    February 3, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Great! Thanks for your feedback.

      February 3, 2014

    • Hussein B.

      Hi Frank, just to echo what Val has said, You are free to present from any perspective. The degree of complexity is entirely of your own choosing. So, I'm looking forward to seeing/hearing your implementation and demonstration of using controllers and Ableton to control and change randomness and the underlying composition. Can't wait to hear it.

      February 3, 2014

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