Push Part 2

photo

It’s great to see that so many people are curious about Push still, I’ve been getting a lot of questions since I posted my first thoughts after playing one.  So I think I’ll keep a running log here on the blog about how I’m getting on with it over time, since it’s likely going to be something I use a lot more than I first thought.

As you can no doubt guess, I’m pretty excited about it still, which really surprises me as it’s been awhile since I felt that way about a piece of music equipment.  I’m not ashamed to admit my expectations about what using it would be like were way off, it really is a cool bit of kit.

In the last 3 days I’ve gotten the foundations for 8 new songs laid out, and 2 more sketches in the works today.  Not just simple melodies or a basic drum beat in most cases, but 8-10 tracks of polished sounding recordings, and even basic arrangements.

Best of all, it was fun!  Like seriously fun, I haven’t had this much fun using a piece of gear in a long time.  I’m laying awake at night thinking about new ways to use it, and excited to get in the studio and mess around with it some more.  And this after more or less learning it inside and out, so now my time now is just spent using it the way it was intended.

It has such a streamlined but flexible workflow, that it’s really easy to just start laying down ideas and building up song.  A lot of people complain about the lack of some editing functions, but I think this is a good thing myself.  Rather than trying to do it all from the hardware, like say Maschine does, they opted to focus on the main things you need for creating your song parts.  Detailed editing can be done later on the computer where it’s easier anyway.

The result is that using Push feels more like using a dedicated piece of hardware to me than Maschine did.  The need to control so many functions with so few controls on Maschine meant that it always felt like a generic MIDI controller to me.  Push feels like an instrument with a more streamlined purpose, it has set controls for specific things you’ll use a lot.  Way more dedicated buttons in fact, and this goes a long way to speeding up how you use it, as well as how easy it is to use.

Also, I wanted to make a correction to my earlier first look at Push, there are a TON of drum kits you can access, way more than the instrument racks in fact.  So now I’m wishing for more Instrument Rack sounds, not Drum Racks, doh!   I had an issue with a beta version of Live I was using not showing me all my Drum Kits, once that was solved I could see there were hundreds of kits.  Sweet!

There are a few things still that I wish were a little better of course.  Push lets you easily try out some very exotic scales, and it’s great fun.  But when you load up a song next time, there’s no way to see what scale you were using,  so time is spent figuring it out manually.  Also, I wish there was a way to rename things with Push, as that’s one of the very few things I find myself using the laptop for still.

Finally, please give us a way to Save our work in progress from the Push controller itself!

I’m sure that there’s a couple small things I’m forgetting at the moment, but those are really the only issues I’d like to see resolved for now.  As you can see, it’s been a really positive experience so far.  In fact, I think I’m going to end this post here, so I can get back to making music!  More details coming soon!

11 Replies to “Push Part 2”

  1. How do you organise your samples/drum kits and drum tracks?

    I’ve been playing with having a different channel and rack for each type of sound, so a snare rack and channel, kick, hats etc.

    Then I’ve made drum racks with all the kicks/hats/snares etc from all my sample librarys.

    1. River – At the moment I’m not using my own samples, and with Push I’m not sure I will. I like the all in one aspect of having everything in the same app and done by the same people. Far less issues to worry about, and it’s nice to push myself to use something different now and then too.

  2. Although I tend to chop up and manipulate audio rather than play a lot with MIDI, I agree that the word “fun” really describes the feeling of playing with Push. It’s truly an idea generator with a simple, yet powerful built-in workflow. I hope that Ableton will take this concept and perhaps create custom midi scripts using the “user” mode to widen the possibilities. But just as it is now, there’s plenty to play with.

  3. I agree 100% with your impressions, Tarekith — they’re almost identical to my own. I spent a good deal of time with Push this weekend, and I did something I’ve never done before, thanks to Push: while working on a song, I came up with a series of chords that didn’t fit the mood of the track that I was working on, but that I liked, so I saved the clip in my library. I knew how easy it would be to come back to that idea using Push.

    One of the most exciting things, I think, is that Push is “just” getting started. I really hope that Push compatible Monome devices in M4L are not too far off, as that would be excellent. There are some things that are missing, but there is enough there right now to make Push more than worth it, and, at least for me, a game changer in the studio. I find myself actually using the software I own because the flow between Push and the computer (I do go back and forth) is just that good.

    For the first time in a while, I’m having lots of fun again in the studio. Push isn’t perfect, but it’s brilliant.

  4. …and the following is dead on, too: “The result is that using Push feels more like using a dedicated piece of hardware to me than Maschine did. The need to control so many functions with so few controls on Maschine meant that it always felt like a generic MIDI controller to me. Push feels like an instrument with a more streamlined purpose, it has set controls for specific things you’ll use a lot. Way more dedicated buttons in fact, and this goes a long way to speeding up how you use it, as well as how easy it is to use.”

Leave a Reply