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It’s going to be a busy Xmax period for MaxforLive users. Lots of new (and free) stuff in these days: Matthew Davidson, the polycreative gentleman known as Stretta, has released his monome suite of apps (be sure to check his blog often, he’s also adding new apps almost on a daily basis!).
I agree with him in seeing MaxforLive as a big improvement, compared to using the single apps under Max runtime and/or having to create complicated routing to/from our DAW: “..now with maxforlive, monome apps can be simpler and you can pipe together the functions you need. So, instead of on application being a clip launcher, floor wax and a desert topping, it can do _one_ thing, like a plug in, and the user can select which functions are needed for the task. It is a level of functionality granularity I think the hardware is well suited for. If the apps are simpler, then the need for function rows and pages is reduced (now shifted to Live) and the applications themselves become easier to adapt for all sizes of monomes”.
Novation has just released a beta version of Step SEQ, guess what, yes, a step sequencer to be used with their Launchpad controller.
In their words: it’s “a free Max For Live Patch that turns Launchpad into a fully fledged melodic step sequencer. Conceived as a cool but powerful sequencer to enable Launchpad users to programme melodies, leads and basslines quickly in Live, the buttons are configured diatonically (as opposed to chromatically, as with a traditional step sequencer). The degree of the scale and its tonal centre can be set by the user, meaning that, once set up, any note you trigger in your sequence will fit in harmonically with your track, making it really easy to keep within the context of the song. StepSeq is a MIDI effect that generates a sequence of notes, which can be used to play any instrument compatible with Ableton Live (including those from third-party developers). Once inserted, StepSeq communicates directly with Launchpad, transforming its ‘User 2′ mode into the interface for a step sequencer, so you can programme patterns quickly and simply on the fly, while retaining control over Live from the same control surface”. The application can be downloaded from Novation’s Support area.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. More stuff is already available, or it’s going to be released soon. Check also these two community-based sites: max4live.info and maxforlive.com.