Whether it’s better to work in- or out-of-the-box – i.e. with software plugins or physical hardware – has long been one of the great debates among electronic music makers. Predictably, despite what advocates of one approach or the other might say, the real answer is that whatever way of working suits you best is the one to go for.
In 2023, however, the line between the two is increasingly blurring. Gear like this issue’s cover star – Ableton’s newly standalone-capable Push – as well as Apple’s brand new iOS version of Logic Pro, are taking the traditional DAW workflow away from the studio, offering new ways to be creative that don’t mean being bound to your laptop screen.
It’s these approaches we’re exploring this month. Whether you want to be free of your DAW, work on-the-go or simply mix up your workflow, we’re here to help you discover a new and fresh approach.
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Matthew Herbert – From equine bones to prehistoric cave paintings, we discover the utterly unique process behind new LP The Horse
Bright & Findlay – Groove Armada’s Tom Findlay teams up with James Alexander Bright to create a love letter to ’70s rock
Braids – Montreal art-rockers Braids discuss their back-to-basics approach to creating fifth album, Euphoric Recall
JFDR – How Icelandic musician Jófríður Ákadóttir extended her creative vision further than ever before on her third album
Classic Album – Fila Brazillia on creating their groove-heavy album Maim That Tune
Produce Like: Nabihah Iqbal – The Ninja Tune artist explains how a series of setbacks and extended trip to Pakistan helped shake up her workflow for new LP Dreamer
Ditch the laptop – Whether you’re looking to minimise screentime or go completely out-of-the-box, we’ve tips and ideas to help
Masterclass: Phase, chorus and flange – Take an in-depth look at modulation effects and how to apply them in your productions
Producer’s Guide – Get more from Roland’s multifaceted SH-4d groovebox
Knowledge – Everything you need to know about monitor placement
Akai MPC X SE
ALM Busy Circuits Pam’s Pro Workout
Adam Audio A8H
Caelum Audio Choric
Rode NT1 5th Generation
Arturia Rev LX-24
Balearic – Celebrate summer and capture the classic sound of the White Isle with this pack of vibe-heavy loops, lines and one-shot samples.
Classic Boom-Bap –Time to fire up the MPC. Get that classic hip-hop sound with this pack of dusty chopped beats, hooks, basslines and more.
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!