Novation Launchpad Lightshow Mini-Documentary

Novation shared this mini-documentary, looking at the emergence of Launchpad lightshow-style performances, and profiling some of the leading artists that have pioneered the approach.

PadCulture looks at six prominent Lightshow creators who have built, and continue to grow, the scene. Beginning with what is regarded as the scene’s catalyst — Madeon’s Pop Culture video — it follows the chronology of the Lightshow movement.

Featured artists include: Exige (AUS), Kaskobi (UK), Madeon (FR), M4SONIC (AUS), Nev (US) and R!ot (US). They discuss the early days of the Lightshow, the limitations of the original Launchpad, and how the evolution of the Launchpad has allowed them to make ever more complex performances.

They also discuss some of the drama of the Lighshow scene – including accusations of people ‘faking it’ by miming to or pre-programming their LED shows.

Users can create interactive Launchpad lightshows using Ableton Live – or with custom programs and scripting.

When the Launchpad was introduced in 2009 by Novation and Ableton, it was envisioned first and foremost as a tactile controller for Live. But, like the monome – introduced the previous year – the Launchpad also attracted musicians interested in more open-ended uses.

The Launchpad offers a blank canvas in the form of User modes, which allowed creators to make interfaces for practically any software using simple MIDI programming. The fact that this was possible, without the need to learn a new programming platform such as Open Sound Control (OSC) or Max/MSP, opened the door to a wider range of users and performance styles.

Novation has a set of resources on its site for musicians interested in learning how to create interactive Launchpad visuals.

4 thoughts on “Novation Launchpad Lightshow Mini-Documentary

  1. It’s interesting to know the lineage of this stuff, and the performances are impressive, but the music is pretty uninteresting from what I’ve seen. Anyone have any good examples that aren’t mashups, bro-step, or prog house?

  2. Grid controllers! They’re great for triggering stuff, just can’t fully get on board with the visuals. I’m not gonna fuss about the style, and it does look cool, but jeez, another thing to really obsess about. My only gripe is i returned my Launchpad RGB because it was just sooo bright, with no adjustment. I figured they just made it that way to appease vizualists. I get it, it’s kind of YouTube thing, not really in my lane.

    1. They don’t really say it, but the Launchpad fixed all the major problems of the monome – the high pricing, the limited availability, the complexity, the lack of affordances.

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