The power and creativity available to our mouse driven music making world is astounding, but just because you can do everything inside the box doesn’t mean that you should. The Max for Live extension for Ableton Live has long been a playground for those whose creativity doesn’t accept the restraints of computerised music making and now it’s reaching out of the box to let you connect up to all sorts of technology, sensors and real-world objects.
The Connection Kit allows you to connect, control and monitor a range of technologies and communication protocols including Lego Mindstorms EV3 control centre, Arduino open source sensor board or LittleBits electronic building blocks through Ableton Live. So you can connect up light or movement sensors, motors, robots, web based APIs, you can transform OSC data and convert movement to MIDI data – whatever you can plug in you can use in your projects.
The pack contains 11 Max for Lives devices and you can of course open it up and develop it yourself if Max programming is your thing. Each device gives you access to the physical aspects of the connected hardware, so you can control the sensors and motors of the Lego EV3, or the data generated by the Arduino and map these to musical parameters within Live and then send it back out to control a LittleBits motor or circuit. You can also use cameras, Leapmotion controllers and OSC generators from iPad apps. And you can do things far too clever for me to understand like “fetch JSON data from the internet, parse it through dictionaries and query specific data content from it.” – which sounds awesome!
The video below nicely opens up the potential of what this could mean and it starts making me think that perhaps I could become a music making hacker of my environment. I’m not sure how I plug any of these things into my computer, although I’ve probably got a webcam in my laptop already so that’s a great place to start.
Max for Live Connection Kit is free and available now but you’ll need some of the aforementioned gizmos to make it work.
More information: https://www.ableton.com/en/packs/connection-kit/