Cleanse your listeners ear before beginning a song.

Sushi Ginger

Did you know that most American’s eat sushi the wrong way? Many of my friends put the ginger slices on the sushi or sashimi itself. Your actually supposed to eat a piece of ginger in between different sushi bites to cleanse your palette. Sometimes this concept is good for audio too!Ableton Live - Random

In between songs the placement of a random melody, FM radio chatter or even an orchestra tuning up can make the song that follows have more impact, more color. Many great albums use this technique of course. As an example Depeche Mode inserts snippets of chants or synth drones often between songs.

Random adds an element of the unknown to the otherwise commonplace pitch parameter. The Chance control denes the likelihood that an incoming note’s pitch will be changed by a random value. You can think of it as being something like a dry/wet control for randomness. – Ableton Live User Manual

Because my own music styles range from electro all the way to hardcore on my first album Manic Panic I put actual answering machine messages I received in between songs. Today I use Ambrosia’s Wiretap Studio to record snippets of audio from weird things I find on Youtube. You will hear some of my findings on my next album for sure.

Maestro Rhythm King

Here’s a quick example of something you could create as a pallete cleanser. Grab a vintage drum machine loop. I used a loop I got free from Next I put on Fabfilter’s Twin, turned up the Noise generator and put Ableton’s Random Midi Effect before it:

Photo credit: rouan and jm3

Grab free loops and sounds from

I received an email today from a guy named Waldek. He asked me to check out his site and post some news about it here. I’m open to requests and as long as the site is cool and music tech orientated I don’t mind sharing it with everyone here. Well since you see this post that means has some worth to us!

MNML Soundpack

They have four packs of AIFF/Wav downloads available. You can use the sounds in non-commercial work using a Creative Commons licence. For more about Creative Commons read my post titled “Put a Creative Commons License to your music.“. If you do decide you want to use the samples in something commercial you can contact them and work out a deal. is a new project aiming to provide fresh and original electro loops and dj tools for producers looking for fresh and cool sounds. soundlibraries and loop packs are great tools for modern music producers who want to explore new grounds or simply add a new flavor to their unique music style. just released 2 new loop packs – “Mnml data” and “GTL. –

One cool idea they have going is a podcast featuring work created using the sample packs. You can send them your finished songs and “if they like it” they will play it.

Head over and check them out for yourself:

Good luck Waldek and crew and keep the site fresh with new downloads often!

Tenori-on launch tour tomorrow night in Berlin!

Tenori-on launch tour poster.

I was walking down Schönhauser Allee last week and saw the posters you see above. Tomorrow night I will get to see and hopefully touch Toshio Iwai’s wicked music toy the Tenori-on. Bergain which is probably Berlin’s most notorious after hours, drug, gay pick up club is playing host to the event. The festivities start at 8PM. Who will be performing you ask? Toshio Iwai, To Rococo Rot, Pole, Sutekh, I am Robot and Proud and Nathan Michel.

    If you don’t know what a Tenori-On is watch this video:

    I will be there and if you see me and feel like saying hello by all means please do so!

    For more info about the Tenori-on:

    AudioRealism updates it’s 303 clone and adds swing!

    AudioRealism ABL2

    I really like all of AudioRealism’s plug-ins. They sound really good and have features like randomize which I covet. I gave an artist endorsement to the original ABL and I am happy to see they have updated this excellent Roland TB-303 clone. If your doing any kind of modern music the swing parameter is really import (ex. minimal techno). I recently did a post about swing you can check out here: Global Groove and Swing parameters in Ableton Live. So what else did that add? Take a look:

    Since 2003 ABL has established its sound as the industry standard. In 2007 ABL2 achieves important improvements in several key areas. Amongst new features the most important thing is the sound: The bass is improved for less muddiness. The filter has been improved to incorporate subtile nonlinear effects for additional squelch. The distortion unit has been improved with less aliasing. The controls have been calibrated to better match the response of the original. Moreover several new features are present: The new pattern analyzer which can be used to edit patterns and will even detect patterns from audio files. –

    It’s 95 Euro, Upgrade your old one for 25 Euro. VST 2.4 for PC, Audio Units and VST for Mac OS X.

    Before the darkness there was rap and breakdance.

    If you listen to my music every now and then you come across a song that could almost be hip hop. Songs like It’s Goes Like This and of course One Night in NYC are good examples. The reason? Well before I became a New Wave, EBM freak was into classic Hip Hop.

    I used to break at my local bowling alley. I had pinstriped Lees and Puma’s with fat laces. I even had a white cap that said “Fresh” (unfortunately thats not a lie!). I have a giant Conion boombox which is the size of a car door (thats a photo of it today in my father’s office). I bought it at the Spring Valley flea market. Every Friday and Saturday night I recorded DJ Red Alert on Kiss FM and Marley Marl’s Rap Attack on WBLS. I still have a huge box of those cassettes waiting to become digital! The video above shows how popular breaking became and its infiltration into every suburb in America.

    Conion Boombox

    Even though I moved on quickly past the genre I’m glad I cut some of my teeth there. Learning hip hop vocal styles and drum machine programming at such an early age has really helped throughout my music career. You would be surprised how much skill goes into simple worded verses. How you can really change the feeling of the message by swinging your voice around. And drum machine programming…

    So what got you started in music?

    Also read…
    Cassette tape nostalgia. Rewind: click here
    Beatsource for Hip Hop has launched: click here

    Hobnox Audiotool. 2 303s, 1 909, 7 Boss Pedals.

    Hobnox - Audiotool

    Just a few years ago if you wanted to play with two Roland TB-303’s a TR-909 and seven Boss Pedals you would have needed about $4000, a bunch of batteries, electric outlets and a mixer. Today all you need to do is click here:

    It wont be long before our professional music software applications are all completely online. Maybe we will rent each use out or pay yearly. You will always have the latest version. You can save and access your songs anywhere there is internet access (which will be everywhere!). You can have your friends log-in and work on music with you. You can pay Trent Reznor $10,000 to fix the mix in your song ($20,000 to add a vocal verse). Export options include: MP3, WAV and Direct to MySpace. Bring it on!

    Webcam music and effect controllers. Do you see?

    Most new laptops have webcams (or as Apple calls them iSights) built in. So it’s great to see music applications starting to use these cameras. The above tech demo from the Deep Listening Institute is designed for people with disabilities but there’s no reason anyone can’t benefit from this technology. I can imagine some guitar samples hooked into the interface and a long haired metal guy moshing away!

    Metal Fan - cartoon

    A commercial ready music webcam application is Cycling 74’s VTheremin:Vtheremin

    Another example of our unique approach to instruments is the VTheremin plugin. Using your webcam, you can control a pair of oscillators by moving colored balls in the air. –

    Vtheremin is part of Cycling 74’s Hipno plug-in package. Audio Unit, RTAS, and VST. $199. Available as download or CD-Rom package.

    There is also an open source webcam controller called Peripheral MIDI Controller from Ben Tan (Windows only so far):

    Peripheral MIDI Controller (pmidic) is a software program that intends to act as a MIDI controller by using various peripheral devices. The initial release(s) will be focused on using a webcam as a MIDI controller with 3 dimensions (XYZ). –


    When I perform live I have a video that plays in sync with my music dual screening from Ableton Live (remember this post?) to a video wall behind me. I just realized that I can open iChat, click the video preview window and drag that over to the video window too. This way the audience can see my face as I control Ableton. More reasons to go to the gym everyday!


    Want to see a futuristic use of webcams? Check out On this site people have public video conversations using recorded video messages. Anyone can read the conversations then post a video and jump in. There are already several music threads with people playing live music to each other. It’s sort of a video version of Twitter. You have to sign up for a beta invite but they send it to you within a day. If you sign up send me a video message, my screen name is: thingstocome

    Lastly, on the webcam video note I have been considering doing some video posts to Wire to the Ear. I’m not sure if it’s something I want to do yet. What do you think?

    p.s. “Metal Fan” T-shirt: available here

    Photos from Out of Line Music – Berlin Store.

    Out of Line Music - Berlin Store

    For superfans of music there is still no better medium than a good old fashion CD. You get the highest quality recording in a format that will last long beyond any hard drive. You also get artwork you can hold in your hand. And if your a real fan of an artist your going to need a poster for your wall, some rock pins to wear on your clothes, some stickers for your car and a high def video to play at your house parties. And if you want the maximum buying “rush” put on your going out clothes and head to a real record store. Humans were once hunter gatherer’s and hunting for new, unique, rare records is second nature to us. It feels good, much better than clicking buy now at

    If you follow my music career you know I am on a label called Out of Line. They are one of the big EBM and Alternative/goth labels today. They run a good business, make money and promote their artists nicely. Some of the other artists on Out of Line include Blut Engel, And One, Hocio, and Combichrist. But did you know they also have a record store in Berlin? If your in Germany’s Hauptstadt head over and check it out:

    Lychener Str. 18, 10437 Berlin – Prenzlauer Berg

    Please click here to enjoy the full photo set from Out of Line Music’s record shop. Please note I put a Creative Commons license on these images so feel free to use them as long as you link back to this article.