Using Google Trends to compare sequencers.

YouTube video:

Here’s an interesting “vlog” from a guy who calls himself Hydlide. He’s from The Netherlands (as you can tell by his accent) and is a Reason freak. What I find interesting is how he uses Google Trends to compare the popularity of sequencing apps. The good stuff starts around 2:19. I think he makes an error because if he compares Reason 4 to Ableton Live. Shouldn’t he compare Reason 4 to Ableton Live 7? I put that data into Google Trends and it reads quite differently than his assumptions.

I also think it’s a bit silly of him to knock Fruity Loops as just for noobs and therefore worthless. I’ll make music by clapping my hands and humming if I have to. Hydlide also says he hates all VSTs. Huh?

I know I am picking on Hydlide a bit so I have to say he has a great YouTube channel of Reason tutorials. If you use Reason definitely head on over. I am sure you can pickup some new techniques:

You can use use Google Trends to compare search popularity of other things too. Take a look at this comparison of Depeche Mode vs MGMT: click here

Interesting no?

Use Eno’s Oblique Strategies to unblock yourself.

In 1975 Brian Eno published a set of cards to help him unblock his creativity. There are now five editions and an a website where you can go read the cryptic messages. If your sitting in the dark without a single idea for your next song why not give it a try? Here’s are some examples:

State the problem in words as clearly as possible.
Only one element of each kind.
What would your closest friend do?
What to increase? What to reduce?
Are there sections? Consider transitions.
Try faking it!
Honour the error as a hidden intention. –

To read more online:

You can buy your own set of cards from the offical Enoshop: click here

photo credit: Liz Henry

The Archive. A short film about a lot of records.

The Archive from Sean Dunne on Vimeo.

Paul Mawhinney’s has a 50 million dollar record collection. I always imagined there must be people with insanely huge vinyl collections. I personally have 5000 records in storage all mostly from the 80s. My favorite 12″? A German edition of Depeche Mode’s “Leave in Silence” on clear vinyl.

Paul Mawhinney was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. Over the years he has amassed what has become the world’s largest record collection. Due to health issues and a struggling record industry Paul is being forced to sell his collection.

This is the story of a man and his records. I hope you enjoy it. –

So are you still hording a giant record collection? Do you have any records that are crazy expensive collectors items?

Comments have been fixed.

I was wondering why it was so quiet around here the past two days. Then it hit me. Something maybe wrong with the comments since I upgraded to WordPress 2.6.1. Sure enough several things went strange. First, all the comments were turned off. When I set them to back “on” only new posts comments were on. So after reading how to run a certain command in phpMyAdmin I was able to turn all the comments past and present back on. Yet I still only heard crickets. After some examination I found that WordPress 2.6.1 also set “Users must be registered and logged in to comment” on. There’s no need to have register here. Sorry for the inconvience and confusion.

Scribbles is a handmade synth with a chalkboard.

My friend was showing me some neat synthesizer ties on Etsy. For those who don’t know Etsy is a great site where people sell their hand made goods. I decided to search further on the site and see if there were any handmade electronics for sale and I found Scribbles. This hand made synthesizer has a most unique feature: a built in chalkboard!

The synth is based on Ray Wilson’s Sound Lab Mini-Synth design which you can find at

The oscillators are tuned to 1V/octave, so it will track with other 1V/octave keyboards. There are inverting level shifteres on the ramp oscillators, and a sawtooth wave output on each. There is an additional square wave output on VCO 2. One of its special features is the pre-amp on the main output- you can listen to Scribbles on your headphones.

With the Sample & Hold, you can play melodies that sound like a sequence and is especially fun to play with the LFO’s triangle wave as its input source. With a square wave, the result is more calculated and more random sounding, depending on the pulse width and sample rate. The Attack-Release envelope generator has an internal loop option, which makes it repeat and play like an LFO too. If you switch the loop switch down, the envelope generator repeats on the Sample & Hold. The blue arcade button on the corner is a manual trigger button for the envelope generator. Adding to the main output’s pre-amp, there is another pre-amp on the audio input, which turns up the volume but can also make distortion. And to add to this mix of making a variety in tones, there is another pre-amp circuit after the filter, but before the VCA. –

The Scribbles was listed on Etsy for $380 USD. I believe it sold since I saw it last night because I can’t find the listing again. Luckily I remembered the website mentioned in the listing so you listen to some MP3 samples: If your in the spending mood you can see if they are making more for sale. Oh by the way while you are there check out their Swing Step Sequencer: niiice.

What would you write on the Scribbles chalkboard? Patch ideas? Lyrics? Inspiring quotes? The grocery list?

Got a gig coming up? Run parallel promotion.

Brian “Botkiller” from Albuquerque, New Mexico shares his thoughts on playing live. I agree with what he says concerning doing your own share of promotion. Even if your playing an event with 10 other hot acts and you you know it will be packed you want 50 of your own superfans front and center. Remember crowds follow the lead of the people near the stage!

I talk about working with promoters and clubs and promoting your shows. – brianbotkiller

He’s also correct to mention that the person who books you is probably not the only individual who you need to deal with. Getting to know a few people who work at the venue early on could save your if anything goes wrong at 2AM.

I noticed he kicks off the video by mentioning he just bought a house. Congrats to Brian but later in the video he mentions sometimes he only gets $10 for a gig! He must be in one hard working band! Maybe he has a day job? Something about his “vlog” videos crack me up but I respect him for going for it.

Use multiple automation lanes in Ableton Live.

When using Ableton Live do you use multiple automation lanes per track? No? Well you should because it gives you a clear overall image of every automated parameter. It also allows for super fast envelope curve copy/pasting.

In the screenshot above (click it to view full size) I have some vocals recorded on Track One. Next, I added Ableton’s Reverb and Beat Repeat plug-ins. I am automating three parameters: Reverb Dry/Wet, Reverb Freeze On/Off and the Beat Repeat’s Grid Value. Before Live 7 when multiple automation lane’s were not available there would be no way to see all the automation at the same time. You would have to click the Device Chooser (top red arrow) to pick an inserted plug-in then click the Control Chooser (other red arrow)  it to pick the automated parameter’s envelope to view or edit it. This was a tedious process if you were editing multiple automation envelopes. Today all you need to do it click the small “+” next to any automation envelope (blue arrow) to open it in it’s own lane.

Each automated parameter can be shown in its own automation lane. Automation lanes can be reordered via drag and drop. –

The best reason to expand your automation into seperate lanes beyond the main track is you can copy and paste without accidental grabbing the track audio too. The faded blue circle shows how I simply copy/pasted a dive in Beat Repeat’s Grid Value a using Command-C and Command-V. Now you can go beserk with automation!

TapeDeck sends audio direct to YouTube.

Here an interesting new application for Mac OS-X called TapeDeck. It’s an audio recorder that looks like an old Radio Shack cassette deck. You can label your recordings cassettes with notes that look handwritten.

Your archived recordings are displayed in virtual cassette cases. All of this is pretty ridiculous except one feature could be very useful: Upload to YouTube.

Upload to YouTube sends your audio to YouTube and the video diplays your Cassette, the labeling your put on it and a little animation so you know it’s playing:

For more info

Related post: Cassette tape nostalgia. Rewind.

via TUAW application for the iPhone.

Here’s a nice and short video review of for the iPhone from I truly hate AM/FM radio so these new net radio apps that go with you via iPhone are just plain incredible. No more getting stuck in traffic and having to hear the same commercial repeated 50 times! Sorry radio you guys have been torturing us long enough now go to your grave please.

Here’s another tidbit concerning cars and the net: Chrysler in-car internet coming Aug. 25th, pricing revealed.

D16 Fazortan ready and armed.

D16’s newest plug-in Fazortan has come out of beta. It’s part of their Silver Collection. I use Phaser effects to make pads and string sounds shimmer. Want to see over 80 photos of vintage Phaser pedals? Head over to PedalHeaven the online guitar effects museum: click here

Have you ever wondered where does that unique magical breeze so audible in most of Jean Michael Jarre’s tunes come from. Suprisingly the backbone here isn’t the synth itself but the effect unit coupled with the synthesizer, saying more precisely – analog phaser of which our Fazortan seems to be a fine equivalent.

Therefore You can think about Fazortan as of the exact copy of a retro phaser taken out from 70’s and redone to become a virtual unit. –

I installed Fazortan and can happily report it sounds nice and doesn’t crash or anything weird. I recorded some audio samples of Fazortan inserted over a simple Sawtooth wave from Fabfilter Twin and a TR-808 loop. My examples have the LFOs going a bit more crazy, tremoling than you probably would use them. In fact, I recommend going to D16’s Fazortan page to hear a more conventional use of a Phaser (it’s hard for me to be subtle!). The player will load each sample in succession. The first sample is the loop 100% dry, no effect:

Download the 24bit WAVs here:

There is a fully working demo and more audio samples over at:

photo credit: ted.sali