A Live Mashup Video Goes Viral, with Ableton + Launchpad; What Have We Learned?

It’s easy to forget that some of the simple joys of electronic music are foreign to many lay people. Odds are, if you read this site, you’re an intelligent and well-informed digital musician. (I don’t mean to stroke my own ego, either; because so many of you are intelligent and well-informed digital musicians, you send a whole lot of the information my way that makes this site even possible.) But for all the extensive discussion, a lot of what digital musicians seek to do in their performance is simple: they want to make their work expressive and performative, and convey some part of that gesture to audiences to include them in the action.

And so it is that a video of a live mashup is impressing general audiences as much as it is enthusiasts. It’s not a complex work, but it’s brilliantly performed, and in incorporating some 39 songs into one epic mash-up of Ableton-synced clips, it presents plenty of touchstones for audience members. The ingredients: FL Studio, Ableton Live, a Novation Launchpad, and a Novation ReMOTE Zero SL MKII.

It also helps being really good, as this person is: the “mash-up” is never awkward or overwhelming, and rather than boring bar-long sync, is played live with 16th-note clips. It isn’t so out of the ordinary compared to other virtuosic MPC videos, but that’s the joy of the Web: the best players do actually get their stuff in front of lots of eyeballs.

What’s also interesting is that, because it incorporates pop songs and you can see visually what he’s doing (in a design first seen on the software for the open-source monome platform), general audiences are picking it up. A few examples:
“Pop Culture” mega-mash-up: 39 songs in three minutes [Bailey Johnson for CBS News]

The video viral “video chart” at The Guardian, UK’s daily paper

College Humor’s Biggest Thing

No less than Kylie Minogue tweeted about it. Thanks to Novation’s Chris Mayes-Wright for keeping track of this video’s meteoric rise in the past four days. Artist Relations once meant mainly keeping celebs happy; now, it includes catering to YouTube stars, which I think is a nice development!

Launchpad, indeed. A video goes viral simply because someone plays really well, and shares what they’re doing in a way people can understand. And that’s a really good thing. Picture: the Novation Launchpad controller, which draws inspiration from the monome community and platform’s grid-based goodness. Photo (CC-BY-SA) aleXwire.

That popularity may encourage some trolling and jealousy, but I have to say, I’ve seen just as many hard-core Ableton and monome users and whatnot also drool over this video. (Thanks to everyone who sent this in – a lot of you sure did and I’m only now getting around to it! Blame constrained time and poor Internets here on the road in England.)

If you aren’t necessarily into pop samples, though, I think this shows that even some simple performance elements can appeal. Sure, we love far-out interfaces and big visual impact around these parts, but you can also simply turn off that bar-long quantization or whip out your instrument of choice – keys, strings, voice, pads, or whatever it is – and actually play. Most people really get and appreciate that, and it’s fun for the player, to boot.

And on that profound bombshell, I wish you a very happy weekend indeed.

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