One of the things that I love about Ableton’s Push controller, it doesn’t matter how long it’s been around people continue to find creative ways of using it to make music. Now keep in mind that Push 2 was released back in 2017 for Ableton Live 9, which really speaks to the resilience of its design. The ability of Push to evolve perfectly with the latest version of Ableton Live 11 is a little like a fine wine, it gets better with age. Ableton’s attention to updating Push with new firmware coincides with their ongoing evolution of Live over the years.
In this article, I wanted to highlight some of my favourite Push videos that unveil different types of creativity, ingenuity as well as some straight-up sick tunes. There have been countless videos made with Push and I won’t lie, it was a challenge to dig through YouTube to find the best and there’s probably heaps more that I’ve managed to miss. So anyway, in no particular order here goes.
1. Building a Synth Drum Rack using CV Tools with the Moog DFAM
This video comes straight from the Moog factory in Asheville, North Carolina where they show how to use Push to create a Drum Rack from their popular semi-modular drum synthesizer, the Moog DFAM (Drummer From Another Mother). This is a super cool video as this technique could be used with any drum machine or percussive synth and it demonstrates a creative way of getting more out of your drum machines with Live.
2. Beats From Scratch – Techno Jam by Ihor
Push is a surprisingly complex controller that can at times be overwhelming. This is a dope video showing how Push can be used much like a traditional groove box that borders on that DAWless music-making experience.
3. Analogue Synths Set up and Creative Ideas with Ed Rollo
This one comes from our good mate Ed Rollo who is an Ableton certified trainer and all-round Push Lord! This is a long-format tutorial video on how to integrate your hardware gear with Ableton Live by using Push to play and control them. There’s a bunch of sweet stuff in here that I continue to discover and there’s a dope little jam at the end too – enjoy!
4. Looping Performance – Groove in 7/8 by Doug Hanson
Live looping is a feature that draws many people to Push as it’s a cool way of capturing small clips of audio or MIDI and then playing them back in different ways to create a live arrangement. I saw this video from artist Doug Hanson live looping a track from scratch and immediately felt the I-wish-I-could-do-that envy as he not only nails a seamless performance but demonstrates how amazing live looping on the Push really is.
5. Push 2 Performance with DJ Step 1
In case you missed it, I couldn’t link this clip from a couple of years back, it’s just too good! This one comes directly from Ableton, who had DJ Step 1 show everyone how it’s done with this sick Push2 DJ routine. DJ Step 1 makes her performance seem so effortless and really showcases how Push can be used in a DJ context as well as incorporating live sampling and beat making. Make sure to check the follow-up video in which she explains how she set up the project in Live for the performance.
Bonus Round – Live Looping Synths with Rachel K Collier
Rachel K Collier is without question the undisputed champion of Ableton Live Push performances and a fantastic artist. In this video, Rachel is singing over beats she’s made, triggering everything on the fly all whilst playing different synth riffs and basslines. It’s a seriously pro-level music production and her music is awesome. Check it out.
And of course, don’t forget to check out all the Push videos by yours truly right here:
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