First Steps…

This week I’ve taken my first steps in programming with Max4Live.

Max4Live is a visual programming “language” that you can use to create devices, synthesizers, effects, samplers and so forth, for use within the Ableton Live production environment (which is my weapon of choice for creating and performing music).

This all came about because I wanted a really simple step-sequencer that I could use for live performance alongside my modular synth. I couldn’t find a ready-made device for Ableton that I liked, so I decided to build one. After all, what’s the point of having those fancy programming skills if you can’t use them for something fun?

So… a week and a lot of head-scratching later… I have this:


And it actually works! 

The thing I’m most pleased about is how playable it is; by hooking up a bunch of knobs and faders on my main keyboard to the on-screen controls (via a process known as MIDI-mapping), I get complete, analogue-world control of what the device is doing. The results are very pleasingly musical and quite retro, especially when combined with the breathtaking sound palette available through my new modular rig (more of which in another post).

It’s also staggeringly gratifying to have your name on a device on your screen… oh yes.

Any Ableton users who want to have a go with this device can get it free via


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