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Dear users, I have decided to phase out the posting on the forums on this website and move any discussions over to this private facebook group or join the Discord for realtime chat. I will not make the forums offline as there is a wealth of content, but posting has now been disabled. Thanks to all those who have contributed over the years, and I'll see you over on the Facebook group or Discord! -Tom

Tom Cosm

Tom Cosm

Last year I teamed up with some good friends of mine and produced a short film for the New Zealand 48 Hour Film Competition.

On Friday, we get given a character, style and catch phrase... then we have 48 hours to come up with a complete short film. It's a massive experience full of laughing and crying (and hardly any sleep) and I am looking forward to getting involved again this year.

Below is our entry, The Cleaner's Revenge. I made the music and sound.

*has some pretty harsh language and blood/guts*

The Cleaners Revenge - Team SHUTTLE 48 Hours 2008 NZ from Ezra Holder on Vimeo.

I have the jitters today, because last night I managed to achieve something I have been trying to do for a long time; go from my waking state straight into a dream while remaining lucid, allowing me to be "awake" inside my dream, and do whatever I want.

Lucid Dreaming has always been a passion of mine, ever since I discovered how wonderful it is as a teenager. Like a lot of people, watching the movie Waking Life opened my eyes as to what Lucid Dreaming is, so I started practicing techniques to check if I was awake in my waking life, in hope that one day I would perform one of these checks when I was dreaming.

The test I started performing is a simple task of flicking a light switch on and off whenever I remembered. Light switches don't work in dreams - in fact most technology doesn't function correctly in a dream.... so the idea is to repeat this test over and over when you are awake, until you finally flick that switch one day and nothing happens.

The point where you realise you are dreaming is not something that is easily accepted. The realism of being awake in your dreams is enough to scare the living shit out of you and not want to do it for a long time. I have to stress how real it is... you can small, see, touch... everything in as much detail as you can in waking life... Imagine if you just realised you were dreaming while you are reading this sentence... at first you would laugh about it and reassure yourself that you are not because this is too real, but it is so similar to waking state it can be very frightening, and it's tough to let yourself accept that you are dreaming.

After my first lucid dream I was hooked, I worked hard to bring in additional tests so I would lucid dream more often... and each time I hit this strange concious state I would experiment within my own mind! You can do all the fun stuff of course... fly around, travel to outerspace, fornicate... you name it.. but it starts getting interesting when you realise you can interact with characters in your dreams, knowing that they are actually created by your own mind. Have you ever sat down over a coffee and had a conversation with a splitting image of youself (without people thinking you are crazy)? I highly reccomend this.

One lucid dream I had tipped me over the edge once... I asked a dream character what it was like to be a figment of my imagination, and they turned into some sort of hideous demon, jumping on me with the intent to kill me. I woke up frightened, but that wasn't the end.. I had a False Awakening, an illusion that you have woken up, yet you wake up into another dream state.... I soon realised I was still lucid, and the demon came back, pounced on me, and I false awoke again. This process happened for what seemed an eternity... I kept waking up to the fear of this monster over and over.. I thought I was dead, until I finally woke up for real, sweating and shaking.

I stopped my practices for a while after that, it was just too shocking to repeat... but recently I have slipped back into it with a much more solid mind set on who I am and what is happening, and feel very safe when I achieve lucidity now.

As well as the dream-initiated lucid dream (DILD), where you become aware while you are dreaming.. there is a more advanced technique called a wake-initiated lucid dream (WILD) where you master the process of going straight from a waking state into a concious dreaming state. I have tried for a long time to achieve this with very small amount of sucess, until last night that is.

Before I went to sleep, I started thinking about all the tasks I was supposed to achieve that day.. and it got the better of me and I stressed out just a little. You know that feeling you get when you have a bunch of little tasks that all amount up, and you can't comprehend them all as a whole anymore, so you go "argh" and have a little mental blank? I thought this was a very interesting state to get in, so I put myself into that again.... I did this for a few minutes and realised I could induce this kind of mindset without actually having anything to stress about.. sort of a meditation.... but where your mind is so overwhelmed with information that you draw an (uncomfortable) blank.... 

I didn't think much of it and continued to go to sleep.

I awoke in the middle of one of my REM periods (The part of your sleep cycle where you actually dream, and where lucid dreaming is most likely to happen) and for some reason decided to experiment with this feeling again.... I flooded my tired brain with trivial tasks until I couldn't think, doing this while I was trying to sleep, and to my absolute joy, zoomed warp speed straight into a perfect lucid dream where I was completely conscious and aware.

It was like I went from my bed fast forward to a upright standing position in a new location, again I have to stress that this state is exactly like waking life... every detail you can see and touch... it was amazing! I had a good 5 minutes in this dream state before I woke up... at which stage I repeated the process and went straight back into another, then another! I did this 4 times and each time I had the most vivid lucid dreams I have yet to have.

So, now I am trying to put two and two together... why did this process of forcing myself to get into a stressed state inject me headfirst into something that is usually so difficult to acheive?

One quick little answer I thought off is the studies that show that brain activity in the REM state is similar to that of when people try to think in a metaphorical sense. There are a group of people called the Human Givens who claim that the REM state is the brains way of sorting out issues from the previous day in a metaphorical sense... sounds valid right? So perhaps flooding my brain in this way injects me into this relm while the part of my brain keeping things real, not metaphorical, stays alert....

I have to do some more experiments with myself before I can get a good answer, but I am pretty confident that I have figured out something pretty neat!

I am interested to know if anyone out there has any experience with Lucid Dreaminig, and what their thoughts might be on this.

I can't wait to go to sleep tonight :)


Somebody posted a thread up over on the Ableton forums with some screen shots of version 1.0! It's amazing to see how far it has come since then.

I remember getting a copy of three and then legitimately purchasing a copy when 4 came out, so I am not as old school as some people.. but I remember when it lacked midi tracks! That was a massive step up.

When did you start using Ableton?

While I test out my new mac with Ableton, I thought I would hit record and capture the screen for half an hour or so while I work on a tune. Not sure if anyone would find this interesting, but I'm gonna put it out there none the less.

I was also testing writing a tune just with Linplug Alpha Free, to see if I can write something just using free stuff, and it works really well.

Pro Members can download the entire project from the Download Archive.

You will need to have Analog and Linplug Alpha Free


Hey! My name is Tom Cosm and I am a live electronic performer and teacher from New Zealand. This website is all about producing tunes and is full of tutorial videos, Ableton Live packs and free music.

The biggest and most important tutorial series I have created is what you are about to check out. It's a 10 hour long collection of videos that explain how to write a tune using Ableton Live from absolute scratch (you also get the Ableton Live file with the series, so you can open it up and see exactly how it was made).

The set has only Ableton Live native instruments and effects (no VSTs) so anyone with a copy of Ableton can follow this easily. All samples are also included in the live pack.

Topics covered in the video include

  • Creating your own sounds from scratch using Synthesizers
  • Making drum loops using the piano roll and samples
  • Using EQing, Sidechain Compression and other effects to fatten up your sound
  • Making your tune flow and progress steadily
  • + many more of my own production hints and tips explained in massive depth

When I create my tutorial videos, I like to talk as if you were right next to me. I speak all my thought processes and explain what I am doing clearly. It's all very friendly, unlike some tutorials that give you a feeling like your being talked down to.

I also do my teaching as a secondary job, with my primary job being an actual producer and performer. I am not some geek who has decided to try and make some cash by talking technical jargon about software, I actually move around the globe doing this for a living.

Here is part 1 of this series, so you can get an idea of how I have decided to approach making these videos. This is the ENTIRE part 1, so it is an hour long. If you want to have a quick look at some of my shorter videos, head over to the free video section of this site. (you can also find the second hour, part 2, in the video section for free).


Here is the finished product


I've put a lot of energy into making this series the quickest and easiest ways to get prodcuers putting those ideas that they have into practice.

Pro Membership gives you access to not just this video series, but the entire archives on this site. It costs $10usd per month, and you can cancell at any time

Great, I think that sums it mostly up! If you are serious about getting into audio production, and want jump in the deep end straight away and swim your own way out, I think I can help.

This is a tutorial video for the Megaset 1.0

For the last 5 years, I have been shaping and toning my Ableton Live performance set canvas into what it is today. Over the last few months I have been working hard to clean this up and turn it into something publicly available.

This Ableton Live Set covers many areas including

  • Compressing the layers of a tune down into a manageable format
  • Cutting the tune into loops and samples, ready to jam out live
  • Mixing easily between two, three, or any number of tunes in one single Ableton Live file
  • Routing audio through sends and sub channels so real time audio effects can be used
  • Chaining up channels with effects that suit each other
  • Utilizing blank dummy clips to uniquely automate parameters of effect chains

An overview of the Megaset

People might think I am mad putting this kind of information online, as it reveals my entire live performance technique which I have spent a large portion of my life mastering. If you are one of these people, please leave now, this isn't for you and you are wasting your time. However, if you are serious about learning what happens behind the scenes in a true live laptop performance and believe that keeping information like this as open as possible can only be a positive thing for the electronic music scene as a whole, this set is here for you to jump headfirst into the deep end and pick up your own techniques as you swim your way out.

It has been tried and tested on dance floors all over the world and is now ready for you to get involved.

This set is an ongoing project, that will constantly be updated with new versions, similar to how software gets released. I will listen and discuss with those who are using it, and add new functionality as time goes on.


Dummy Clips in the Megaset


Due to the amount of work I have put into producing this, and to keep the quality of the community that uses it high and tight, I have decided to restrict the downloading of the files and the involvement in the project to Pro Members.

Pro Members can find the Megaset 1.0 in the Pro Member Download Archive.




Welcome to the Tom Cosm Ableton Live community and resource website. Below are some frequently asked questions.

What is this website about?

This place was created by Tom Cosm, an Ableton Live Certified Trainer from New Zealand. The whole concept is to create a fun, interactive community of producers ranging all skill levels. 

We have an active community forum where you can ask questions, answer questions, find collaborations, share tips... or just generally talk shit with other like minded people.

As well as regular free membership, people wanting to take the leap into hardcore learning can become a Pro Member.

What is a Pro Membership?

Pro Membership is a special type of subscription that gives you access to the entire archive of HD tutorial videos, templates and Ableton Live project files. You can find out more about Pro Membership here 

I am having some problems with my membership or subscription, what can I do?

Please either use the Live Chat (if available) - or open a support ticket here. Someone will be happy to help you asap.

How can I get in touch to book Tom for a private event?

Please visit the contact page here



This is a great video covering basic oscillator waveforms with a visual representation to help.


Visual Synthesis 1 from GM on Vimeo.


Quantization is the process of taking the things you input into the program and snapping them to certain time so that they fit with the rest of the music. The most common use for a form of Quantization is when you trigger a loop or sample, Ableton waits until the next bar (or whatever your quantize setting is on) until actually starting the loop. This means you can trigger a number of loops one after the other, and know that they will always start all together in the right place.

You can change the Global Quantization settings by using the dropdown menu situated to the right of the main navigation controls. By default, this is set on 1 Bar, so if you were to trigger a loop it would wait until the start (first beat) of the next bar before moving on. However if this was set to 1/4, it would wait just one beat of a bar (or just one quarter of a bar) before triggering your loop.

This is good if you have a lot of short samples that you want to trigger fast, but still in time to the beat of the tune. For this example I am going to use the free live pack of Heaps Good Strong Board, which can be downloaded from

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