Shredding With ‘The Push-tar’

At the recent Ableton Spaces event, held July 13th 2019 in Brooklyn, NY, we met Dan Freeman, Director of the Brooklyn Digital Conservatory, who let us know about his unique approach to performing with the Push.

As seen in the video embedded above, Freeman performs with a custom Push rig, Blinky, aka the ‘Push-tar’.

Here’s what he has to say about it:

“A year ago, I had the pleasure of working with the great jazz pianist Rachel Z in my studio in Gowanus, Brooklyn. I showed her my live set-up and complained to that, as a bass player, I really didn’t like to perform electronic music while standing up behind a table. She suggested that I should take the Ableton Push and mount it on my body and play it like a bass. We chatted about it and I realized it could be a really cool idea.

Soon afterwards, I spent several weeks in Costa Rica and Colombia on a tour and in my spare time, I drew pictures of this Push-guitar. By the time, I got back to New York, I knew exactly how I would put it together. First, I pulled a bass into pieces. Then, I went to Home Depot and bought $18 or supplies – some clamps and some velcro and “Blinky” was born.

Blinky consists of an Ableton Push 2, a Korg nanoKONTROL 2, a Numark Orbit controller and a Keith McMillen Instruments 12 Step MIDI Foot Control.

I use the Ableton Push 2 for making the music – playing it like a keyboard. The nanoKONTROL 2 is used for effects – filters and such, mutes, changing sounds and recording loops. The Orbit is used to filter the lead sounds and launch beats and clips and the KMI pedal is used to also launch loops when my hands are busy.”

Here’s an annotated version of the performance featured above, Freeman’s Prelude 4:

Freeman also says that he was inspired by conversations that he had with Roger Linn, when they did events together at NYU and Berklee.

You can find out more about Freeman and his music at his site.

3 thoughts on “Shredding With ‘The Push-tar’

  1. Excellent across the board. I feel a bit frustrated by wild tech that never quite seems to go a BIT more mainstream, but Dan’s got this rig well INTEGRATED. He & his drummer are obviously adept players, but here, there’s organic musical context, not just sequences. That’s what’s so often missing with “new approaches.” I think Dan just inadvertantly moved a few more Push units for Ableton.

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