Ableton Loop 2018: A Summit for Music Makers

This week, we’re going to feature Srishti Biyani, who is a Boston based music producer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. Last November, Srishti visited the  Ableton Loop 2018 Summit in Los Angeles. She wrote her observations and experiences during the conference for Adva. We hope you enjoy this awesome read it as much as we did!

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This past month, I volunteered at Ableton Loop 2018 which was held for the first time in Hollywood, CA. The fourth annual summit brought together 98 artists, technologists, educators and other creative thinkers from across the globe. It was in the true sense – “an exploration of what it is to make music today and what it could be tomorrow”. The three-day summit took place at multiple venues in the heart of Hollywood including the the historic East West studios on Sunset Boulevard.

The summit commenced with the keynote speech given by Dennis DeSantis – the Head of Documentation at Ableton in Berlin; followed by multiple events including studio and listening sessions, installations, discussion panels, performances and more.

Here are my highlights from the event:

Studio Session with Sudan Archives

This studio session was an opportunity to gain insight into the processes and creative thinking of performer and producer Sudan Archives. In this session, Sudan took us on her creative journey

from an introvert bedroom producer to a touring stage performer. She shared the specific ways in which live looping technologies has informed her process of composition, with her violin and an array of amplified West African instruments. She demonstrated looping techniques through her songs – ‘Beautiful Mistake’ and ‘Come Meh Way’ along with improvisations that involved audience participation. At the end of the session, she gave away her very first looper to a young electronic production enthusiast.

Concordia: Building musical instruments for exploring solar systems

This event was a part of ‘The Maker Zone’, which was an informal space where all attendees were invited to work together with instrument builders, researchers, musicians and visual artists to create something new over the course of the day.

Concordia was an immersive audiovisual experience. Built on data sonification and designed for improvisation and collaboration, Concordia is the brainchild of Dr. Kelly Snook (University of Brighton, UK), Dr. Margaret Schedel (Stony Brook University, New York), and an international team of programmers, scientists, musicians and engineers.

Using the latest hardware development boards, gestural controllers, multi-channel audio and VR technology, Snook and Schedel constructed and tested prototype controllers for the first Concordia module. Regardless of expertise, participants had the opportunity to try their hand at creating and manipulating sounds and generating visuals; experiencing the project’s vision first hand of the future of music.

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Controllerist Meetup

Every day in the comfortable lounges of EastWest Studios, Ableton enthusiasts would to get together and discuss ideas. At the Controllerists Meetup, music controller users and designers gathered to share and discuss various self designed and existing MIDI controllers, quirky innovations, hardware inventions and DIY controller ideas. One of the innovations as shown in the picture below is of transporting the Ableton interface from the computer to the Push 2 screen using MAX patch. This was designed by one of the controllerists at the meetup.

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Binkbeats: performative presentation

The Dutch multi-instrumentalist took us inside his unique live setup, in which he pushes the boundaries of live looping into new realms. He gave us a mind blowing live looping performance with a phenomenal looping setup; incorporating a fantastic array of instruments including percussion, bass, guitar, keys, synths, and a battery of ‘non-musical’ objects including typewriters and hand-cranked sirens; looped and layered, one by one. But when many loopists simply cut elements in and out of the mix, Binkbeat’s performance consisted of well thought out arrangements of songs. He achieves this with a truly mind-boggling workflow; involving hundreds of tracks and automated processes.

Screen Shot 2019-01-10 at 8.44.50 PM.pngOverall, Loop 2018 was an inspiring and rewarding experience for music makers, innovators, educators and enthusiasts. Looking forward to attending the next one!

Post written by Srishti Biyani – Berklee College of Music Alumni, Boston based music producer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist

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