Music In The Age of Democratization, With Ableton’s Gerhard Behles & Coldcut’s Matt Black

As part of Berlin’s recent Social Media Week, Peter Kirn, editor of hosted this conversation with Matt Black (Ninjatune founder and member of A/V group Coldcut), and Gerhard Behles, (CEO of Ableton and former member of Monolake).

Behles and Black are both technologists and musicans, and the hour+ discussion delves into the intended and unintended consequences of today’s music technologies. 


From the Social Media Week program summary:

“It’s impossible to talk about music today without talking about production. If recording robbed music of its democratic aspect, digital production has made it democratic and performative again. But how do you cope with that new-found global overabundance? To answer that question, we’re joined by two of the people who have been deeply involved with the evolution of modern audiovisual performance on machines.

Gerhard Behles and Matt Black have each had a hand both as artists and technologists in the way in which music today is made. Behles was co-founder of the musical act Monolake, ground-breaking artists who would even release a Max patches alongside a record, before becoming co-founder and CEO of Ableton. With millions of users, Ableton Live (and now Push) have helped transform the use of computers in music making and performance.

Matt Black’s own career has parallels – half of the music duo Coldcut, his VJamm software pioneered live computer visuals. He is co-founder of NinjaTune, and on both the artist and label side has had enormous influence on music and technology alike. One of the first to make use of games and interactive media, he’s again challenging the notion of what makes a record with iOS remix app Ninja Jamm.”

4 thoughts on “Music In The Age of Democratization, With Ableton’s Gerhard Behles & Coldcut’s Matt Black

  1. this was interesting. nice to hear about Gerhard Behles chance exposure to granular synthesis being a huge inspiration for him.

    really good questions from Peter Kirn too..

    good panel



  2. I hate that term: the “democratization” of music. Bullshit. Really? People have always been making music at home, the current shiny thing is just affordable now.

    And unfortunately, the new shiny thing doesn’t require much thought to use.

    1. but people mostly have access to the same tools and can get somewhat professional results with them. that’s what is making media production more democratic.

      there wasn’t really a “prosummer” multitrack studio market in the ’80s… OR THE 1880’s (unless you were priviledged enough to get educated about orchestration on manuscript paper).

      my dad grew up on a place that had one piano in the whole town..THE WHOLE EFFIN TOWN. now he can record layers of things on his phone and engage in music in all sorts of ways. so ya that’ could be marker of accessibility and “progress”.



Leave a Reply