We can sometimes talk about DAWs as if they’re incredibly mundane things, as if they’re simply bread and butter tools, or just a blank canvas onto which more interesting creative applications are applied.
In modern music making though, DAWs are everything. They’re the space in which the vast bulk of music is created, and even if you’re just using yours like a digital tape machine, its look, feel and capabilities still set the tone for how you’re working.
It’s easy to overlook the impact, for example, that the development of Pro Tools has had on the way rock music is recorded, or how the growth of GarageBand has democratised home music making.
This issue of FM is dedicated to a DAW that has arguably shaped modern electronic music like no other: Ableton Live. From a niche piece of software birthed from Berlin’s techno scene, to one of the most widely used tools in electronic music, Live’s loop-focused workflow and hands- on ethos has set the tone not only for the shape of modern music making gear, but also the music created with it. In this issue’s cover feature we speak to its creators, developers and users to trace the story of Ableton Live.
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Boys Noize – Alex Ridha discusses his fifth album and the uncompromising techno style that has won him fans in high places
Eris Drew – The US producer invites us into her cabin-in-the-woods studio to talk about the making of her debut album
Proc Fiskal – The Hyperdub artist talks digital synths and next-level audio editing
The Track: Cypherpunx & Luke Brancaccio – We head to Brighton Music Conference for a special live edition of The Track
Classic Album – Ambient rock icons Seefeel break down their Warp-released second album
20 Years of Ableton Live – We pay tribute to the DAW that cut a new path for those in its wake with interviews, tips and more
Producer’s Guide – Get more out of Korg’s ‘altered FM’ synth Opsix
Retrospective – Unpicking the complex roots of electronica
Korg Collection 3
Expert Sleepers FH-2
Focal Alpha 65 EVO
Roundup: Top Synths for 2021
M-Audio Oxygen Pro Mini
KRK 10.4s sub
’00s Synths – Part 1 – Our ongoing round-up of must- have synths sounds crosses over into the new millennium for this pack of bass and lead lines.
Lo-fi Acoustic – Take acoustic instruments and make them crunchy! From bitcrushed pianos to gritty stringed tones, and beyond.
Access the FM sample archive: Download the ‘Archive’ packs and get over 18GB of loops, hits and instruments from our back catalogue of high-quality and royalty-free samples. From vintage synths and drum machines to esoteric instruments and FX – think of it as our best of. All the samples you need to create great music!