40 minute Machinedrum-only live set

Here’s my entire Machinedrum-only live set, that I performed last weekend outside Possible Worlds

Special thanks to @PeterHanes for coming, it was great to meet you!

It’s a UW mk2, and while I’m using the live resampling features frequently to live resample a bar while bringing in the next track, the only other samples I have on there are a TR808 chain and a TR909 chain that I made and intend on releasing for a charitable sale sometime soon. Everything else is synthesis.

Also thanks to @JustinValer and the x.04 team, I couldn’t make music like this without the new features… I was trying to and it was a much greater pain :slight_smile:

The whole set is a 200-line “song-mode” song, with various loop points sprinkled throughout. I really really enjoy making music just on one box - it’s so fast to go from pattern mode, jam out an idea, turn it into a few minutes of track by sequencing some mutes, then loop it and transition into the next track.

Sorry for the dumb camera angle - the day before, I was planning on taking my DSLR on a stand and my wife and I realized we accidentally donated our new DSLR to goodwill :open_mouth: - I guess that’s my charitable giving for awhile lol

Around 20 minutes in I hit the bug where the reverb can start feedback back on itself and does not stop until you double-stop the sequencer. Worst possible time to, during a transition to the biggest part of the set. Thankfully I lucked out and guessed the song position correctly when restarting so it continued from the right spot after a brief interruption.


I’m giving this a listen right now. Beautiful performance!

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Sounds excellent, looking forward to giving this a proper listen tonight!

Got one question already, if you don’t mind? What machine are you using for bass around 2:20, for example? Seems to sit so well in the mix! I like GND-SIN for bass but it can feel a bit overpowering sometimes if it’s not carefully designed and ”eq’d”.

Will really have to consider using song mode for my upcoming set as well.

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gonna stick this on while I work today. looking forward to it :upside_down_face::pager:

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Nice set, well done! Also fits perfectly for the weather today.

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Good to see I am not the only one likes song mode.


I’ll have to look it up to give you a full list! The “out of control” sound is definitely the delay feeding back on itself, it’s one of my favourite way to do “builds” as it breaks apart so wonderfully. I think the part at 2:20 that is doing sort of 2-bar root notes is likely a filtered saw wave. Around 3:30 the big fuzzy bass that comes in is a GND-PW machine with the second squarewave at 0 and the third at +1, making it this big unison monster.

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Wow, This bops! Great work.

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Enjoying this now. Thanks for sharing it! Really like it. Impressive movement, from stark to big sounds, and super neat transitions. I have questions (you don’t have to answer :smiley: )

  1. How much is improvised vs prepared?
  2. How long did it take you to prepare this much material?
  3. What is that box (with a VU meter?) to the right of your MD?

Thanks again!


Wicked set, thanks for sharing!

Had to listen out for the reverb bug - you handled it so well, I wouldn’t have noticed.

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Thank you!!

  1. This is very prepared. The whole set is a ~150 line “song” in song mode, so the order of patterns, and what mutes are applied, is always the same. In some places I have the sequence set up to endlessly loop a section, so I can jam out on it for as long or as short as I feel like, doing live muting to build a structure before continuing the song mode to the next transition.

So while the sequence plays I’m constantly tweaking or adjusting either one track or all the tracks with FUNC+knob, so that’s always different too, although as I practice I usually come up with preferred tweaks in most spots as I figure out what works best.

If you look at my Youtube history you can see some other machinedrum sets that were less prepared - in those I was just jumping from pattern to pattern and then doing the live mute + live adjustments. Those sort of proved to me that I could play this long on the machinedrum and keep it interesting, so I went to the next step and turned the whole set into a song.

  1. So, it’s tough to say exactly how long it took to prepare, because when I booked this gig earlier in the summer I already had maybe 10 of these patterns written and a song or two as well. To make it a continuous set with transitions took me a few hours a day, most days, for the past month and a bit.

It’s really powerful to be able to jam an idea, then sequence it as a song, all on one box. For example, the last 2 songs in the set, I wrote both of them 2 nights before the performance. Sat down, made the two patterns, then added the sequences to the song and came up with an arrangement on the mutes.

I think a key thing for me is that I know how to get the sound I want out of this box at this point, so I can go very fast. I’ve been using the Machinedrum now for years.

  1. As Peter linked, it’s a BugBrand Stereo Compressor! I’ve got it set up to work as a limiter. It sort of does 2 functions in a live set like this: firstly, it helps my output be pretty stable throughout the 40 minutes, squashing down patterns that are louder than others, without me having to go through and adjust the levels of the louder kits to match the quieter ones. Secondly, it protects the listener from any sudden pops and squeals, which the Machinedrum will sometimes emit when using CTRL-AL or when switching patterns in extreme circumstances. In the recording, you can’t actually hear the BugBrand, because I captured the audio coming out the Machinedrum headphone out into a Zoom H4n recorder, and then applied similar compression in Ableton before making the video. That way I did not have to add a mixer to the live case :slight_smile:

that bass at 13:42 sounds amazing is that a GND?

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Thank you for taking the time for the detailed answer. Inspiring stuff. I’ll make sure to look at some of those earlier YT vids too. Thanks!

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Yes it is! GND-PW, PTC2 at 0, PTC3 at -64, WIDT 54, UNIS 43, free running LFO adjusting WIDT a bit, filter to taste


Seriously stunning work sir - bravo. So impressive how you massaged such great sounding (and sequenced!) synth sounds and just enough percussion to be interesting and not overwhelming (which is always so tempting with so many channels)!

Definitely inspiring. Keep up the great work!

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This is what I call a great set.

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Fantastic, should NOT have sold my Machinedrum a few years back, right before crazy prices started…

How many patterns are in this set? And did you use NFX?

I’d love to learn more about this set. I rarely get such great sounds out of my MD (no UW)

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Thank you! The recent feedback on this is inspiring me to get back into it.

No NFX, this was made before NFX was released.

The whole set is one long “song”, with many looping sections. I use UW resampling often to sample and loop a bar and then mix in the next track part by part.

This set came out of a few months where I would write a pattern or two into the Machinedrum daily. Then I moved the ones I liked most into the first four banks and arranged the whole set. So the set spans the first four banks, but I would start each new song on patterns 1, 5,9, 13 to leave space to write additional progressions or transitionary patterns.

Songs where the progression is mostly live CTRL-AL and adding/removing parts are mostly 1 or 2 patterns long, and the more progressive thought out songs are maybe 4 or 5 patterns at most.

I found this process really natural and easy to make progress day over day. Write individual patterns and kits, then jam on twitch to find what worked and didn’t, then stitch it together into one large set.