The Horrorist – Born This Way

The Horrorist - Born This Way

Today is my birthday but today I have a gift for you. It’s one of my new songs that will appear on my next album. Feel free to copy and share it. In fact, I hope you help me spread it around. The song is called “Born this Way”. Here’s the official stuff:

Born this Way – The Horrorist  Download Mirror Mirror 2

Written & Produced by Oliver Chesler. Published by Things to Come Records/Basart Music Publishing B.V./Strengholt Music Group. Out of Line Music, www.outofline.de, Masterhit Recordings, www.masterhit.com, Things to Come Records, www.thingstocome.com

Photography: Silent-View, www.silent-view.com, Hair: René Hilbert, Graphic Design: Maurice Roy. Location: Tresor, Berlin. www.tresorberlin.de Special thanks to Peter Entjes.

The song was recorded in Berlin, Germany. Sequenced using Ableton Live. Synthesizers: Electrocomp-101, Roland SH3, Yamaha CS5 and many software synthesizers. Vocals: Shure KSM-32, TC Electronic Voice Modeler and many software effects.

ZVEX Effects prototype pedal stolen at NAMM.

distortron_zvex

Zvex makes some really interesting effect pedals. Just take a look at the crazy looking gems on their website: zvex.com/effects.html Apparently someone stole one of their new prototypes at NAMM. Help them out if you know anything ok? There is a reward too…

“A one-of-a-kind Distortron was stolen Friday, January 16th, 2009 from my NAMM booth. It’s very unique, the only one loose now in the US market. Whoever helps me catch and successfully prosecute the gutless perp that stole this from my booth will be rewarded with 6 pedals of any type from my line. Easy to catch this thief… this is the only pedal of its type in America today. Real production units will be shipping in April, and they will have a large white ZVEX mark on the back edge of the pedal (visible from the audience side.) The stolen prototype has no mark on the back edge of the pedal, and no serial number underneath… just a bare maroon plate. Please help me catch the soulless, cowardly, worthless piece of sh*t who stole this from my booth. The actual color of this pedal is a darker maroon, not the bright red represented here.” – zachary vex

A discussion is going on over at Harmony-Central about the robbery: click here

USB Cassette Decks

Unics

Take a look at that cassette above called “Unics”. I made that sometime in the late 80’s and it has some of the first songs I ever recorded on it. I should have probably spelled it “eunuchs” right? Maybe since I was a geek then too possibly “Unix” was the correct spelling. I’d like to say I was being smart and wanted my own unique band name and way of spelling but you all know I’d be lying to you. From what I remember the music was sequenced on a Yamaha QX7 and the sounds were from a DX7, Electrocomp-101 and some Casio home keyboard. I had a Tascam 4-track and Shure SM58. Do you like the cover I printed on a dot-matrix printer?

So where’s the hilarious audio samples of my old songs? Well if I had a working cassette deck you would be listening and laughing right now. I did save two old decks but both are eating tapes so I don’t dare but the above mentioned gem in them. I could order a head cleaning kit or even possibly find a repair shop to look at a deck. However, there’s a new kind of Cassette deck that just recently became available: USB Cassette Decks.

The Ion Tape2PC and Alesis TapeLink USB are both dual cassette decks with built-in audio interfaces. Take a close look at these two units. They must come from the same Chinese manufacturer right? The Tape2PC is silver and comes with “EZ Tape Converter for free with Gracenote® MusicID technology”and has a street price of $149. The black Alesis comes with BIAS SoundSoap (which I have used to good effect in the past) and has a street price of $199.

USB Cassette Decks

So what do you think? Should I clean and repair my old Sony Dual Deck or just grab one of these new USB guys? The advantage of the built-in USB is I can bring it around with me to different rooms without an extra interface and cabling. I do wonder though if these new decks will sound as good as my old Sony.

For more info: www.alesis.com/tapelinkusb and www.ionaudio.com/tape2pc

Create QR Matrix codes for your albums and sites.

Wire to the Ear - QR Code

QR Codes are going to be everywhere soon. They are similar to bar codes and already very popular in Japan. Japanese teenagers print T-shirts with QR codes on them. When the shirts are shot with a phone camera it launches their homepage. Tell me that’s not pretty cool. I created the above QR code which will take you to Wire to the Ear. I used a free service found at: qrcode.kaywa.com

There are a few QR Code readers for the iPhone. There is a free QR Code reader named Barcodes. Barcodes does the magic trick well: You take a photo of a QR Code, it scans it and asks you if you want to launch the URL.

QR Coded T-Shirt

iCandy is a service that matches QR Code creation with sharing and printing. Without a doubt I’m going to put a QR code to my latest album on the back of my business cards.

More info: How to create QRcode

photo credit: 5Volt

via readwriteweb

Wire to the Ear’s Winter NAMM 2009 picks.

Ableton Live 8

Ableton Live 8. My passion Ableton Live has reached number 8. Once again the Berlin coding masters give us new features that fit nicely into the Live interface and workflow. So what’s new? Add grooves to clips using the new Groove Engine. Adjust grooves in the new Groove pool. Extract grooves from existing clips with simple drag & drop. Enhanced warp modes and a new warp engine that auto-assignes handles to transients. A new plug-in called Looper: Create endless layers of loops in a live performance jam with auto tempo recognition. Five new effects: Vocoder, Multiband Dynamics, Overdrive, Frequency Shifter, Limiter. Workflow enhancements: Crossfades, Enhanced Midi Editor, Collapsable and easy to create Group Tracks, Multi Parameter Manipulation (adjust several volume faders at once, etc.. (yay!)), Screen Magnifier, Audio & Midi Browser Previews now have a waveform display and scrubbing. Share: Built into Live 8 is a new way to share and collaborate over the internet. A new option in Live’s file menu called Share Live Set will send your song to Ableton’s servers. The song gets it’s own webpage and link. You can set the privacy settings. Songs files can be shared anywhere such as MySpace or Facebook. Suite 8 also got an upgrade: All new Library, new version of Ableton’s FM Synth Operator, Collision a creative percusion synth that uses physical modeling. link

Max for Live

Max for Live. Full integration with Cycling 74’s Max. Create your own audio and midi effects inside the LIve interface. Building and editing of new effects and instruments takes place in real time. Check out the video on the Ableton website of the step sequencer created with Max for Live. I can’t wait to see what people come up with! Luckily there are built in tutorials. link

Akai APC40

Akai APC40 Ableton Live Controller. An official hardware controller for Ableton Live from Akai. Clip launch section with buttons that change color to show if a clip is playing or not. Dedicated clip stop and stop all buttons. Dedicated scene launch buttons. Multiple banks and bank selection methods help you quickly and intuitively jump around a large session view. Mixer section with faders, mute, solo buttons, cue and arm track buttons. A track control section of 8 knobs for pans and sends. Tap tempo and sync buttons to match external turntables or devices. Assignable Crossfader. Transport and record controls for studio work. Make this an extension of your arm and your live show will be a lot better.  link

Waldorf Largo

Waldorf Largo. I’m going to quote the Waldorf press release on this one because it says it all, “Many producers and synthesizer enthusiasts asked for a full-blown Waldorf Synthesizer for their virtual rack. We listened, and now we proudly present Largo. Largo mirrors the technology used in Blofeld and Q hardware synthesizers.” If it has the sound of the Q it’s a great win. link

Native Instruments Maschine

Native Instruments Maschine. A controller built by Berlin’s NI with a companion software instrument perfectly matched to it. It can run stand alone or in your DAW. Maschine can also be a standard midi controller. link

Motu BPM

Motu BPM. Don’t let the Groovebox look fool you because the new BPM from MOTU is purely software. 15 gigs of sounds, multi-effects including convolution reverb, Step and Note Sequencers an internal mixer and more. I bet some producers will make their full songs all in this software. Could it gain a cult following? Just like Propellerheads Reason I can see this on my laptop for an alternative view every now and then. AU, MAS, TRAS, VST, MAC/PC, in your DAW or Stand Alone.   link

Roland AX-Synth

Roland AX-Synth. Finally, the return of the “Keytar” from Roland. You get keys, you get a Ribbon, D-Beam and modulation bar. The new AX-Synth also touts 6 hour battery life and MIDI over USB. I like it but why isn’t this wireless? link

All the above I want in my possession. Some other interesting things that peaked my interest at this year’s NAMM included the Celemony’s Melodyne Editor with DNA, Arturia’s Minimoog V 2.0 and the Moog Etherwave Plus Controller Theremin.  Some of you maybe happy about Cubase 5, Novation Automap 3 and the newest Virus TI synth? The weekend is just getting started so I will update this post when I find more goodies that peak my interest. What’s getting your goat going?

NPR chats about “Appetite For Self-Destruction”.

NPR

Appetite For Self-Destruction is a great new book by Steve Knopper about the crash of the music industry. NPR (National Public Radio) has a 38 minute interview with Mr. Knopper and it’s a must listen for any musician. The interview, which aired on NPR’s superb show Fresh Air was posted yesterday so it’s a fresh look back at all the simultaneous ways the record Appetite for Self-Destructionindustry blew it. Greed, laughable negotiations with Apple and CD-R manufacturers, and top level execs not listening to their younger underlings yelling “Napster is the future!” are just some of the things that contributed to this spectacular crash. As a musician it maybe painful to listen to because this was once a valid livelihood but it’s time to re-tool the workshop and produce a different product.

“In the sub-sub-genre of books about rock music and the industry, I rank this right up there with classics like “Hit Men” and “The Death of Rhythm and Blues.” We think in terms of “industry,” but through his deftly drawn portraits of industry leaders, Knopper helps us see clearly how we got to here from there: simple bad decision making and a blatant refusal to consider, first, that the world had changed and then a stunning lack of curiosity about how it had changed. Highly recommended. Enjoy!” – Patricia Romanowski, Amazon.com (book review)

The interview is online so head over and listen now: click here

Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age (Hardcover) is available at Amazon for $17.16: click here

photo credit: alwright1

Would you pay $999 for a pair of headphones?

Denon AHD7000

At this year’s CES Denon introduced the AH-D7000 headphones. They cost $999. The main features that would make someone drop this cash on some cans include the 50mm diaphragm (huge!) and the Mahogany housing. Apparently wood casings in high end headphones is the subject of much praise in the hi-fi world.

“Experience musical fidelity as you’ve never heard before with Denon’s AH-D7000 Ultra Reference over-ear headphones. Combining old world craftsmanship with state-of-the-art technologies, the AH-D7000 re-defines the ultimate in headphone listening. The large diameter (50mm, 1.97”) free edge Microfiber diaphragms provide extended frequency response, from the lowest bass notes all the way up to 45 kHz, to provide the ultimate listening experience with advanced high resolution audio formats such as SACD. High strength Neodymium magnets provide high efficiency and freedom from motor structure non-linearity. The elegant housings are crafted from real Mahogany wood, with intricate internal carving to enhance the natural tonal balance, and are finished in an elegant soft satin piano gloss.” – usa.denon.com

I’d like to see a high profile fashion victim DJ rocking these. I’m sticking with my Sony MDR-7506’s for now.

For more info on the new D7000’s: click here Buy last years model the AH-D5000 now for just $463: Amazon

Waves gives away GTR Solo for one year.

Waves GTR Solo

Without a doubt Waves makes some of the best sounding plug-ins. For winter NAMM 2009 Waves has announced they are offering their amp, cab and mic simulator GTR Solo for free, for one year. Besides being a top plug-in developer Waves also grabbed proper licenses to create these emulations so if you’re in the know about all things guitar you will appreciate the labeling and presets in GTR from Fender, Marshall, Gibson, Hartke, Vox and more.

“Waves Audio announces that its GTR Solo software is now available as a free downloadable one-year license. Featuring 10 precision-modeled amps, 13 stomp effects and 10 cabinets, GTR Solo delivers the GTR family’s studio-quality sounds in an intuitive, attractive software package. Consisting of both standalone application and DAW plug-in components, GTR Solo requires no additional hardware. Guitarists and bassists can simply plug their instruments into their computer, dial up one of GTR Solo’s hundreds of included presets and experience the unmistakable sound and excitement of real amps and effects.

GTR Solo features amp models from Fender®, Marshall®, VOX® and more, created using revolutionary sampling techniques that go way beyond standard modeling. These virtual amps do not merely approximate the sounds of the original gear; they recreate every last nuance. Ten amps are included in total: Clean, Sweet, Edgy, Drive, Overdrive, Crunch, Shredder and SolidState Bass Amp, as well as PRS Scorch and PRS Crush, which were created in association with world famous guitar manufacturer Paul Reed Smith. GTR Solo’s 13 stomp effects let users created a massive variety of sonic textures: OverDrive, Distortion, Phaser, Flanger, Chorus, Delay, Wah Wah, Spring, Pitcher, Vibrolo, GateComp, EQ and Volume. Finally, the package includes 10 cabinet models that render the aural sensation of real speakers moving air: 12″ Open Back, 2×12″ Closed Back, 2×12″ Open Back, 4×10″ Open Back, 4×12″ Standard, 4×12″ Vintage, Acme12″ Custom, Bass 8×10″ Pro, Acme 4×12” Vintage Gibson® Skylark and Acme 8” Open Back Hiwatt.” – wavesgtr.com

Keep in mind that even though this is a guitar sim plug-in it will do a great job on vocals, drums and anything else you throw at it. To grab GTR Solo: click here

Tickle your ears with flanging Hi-hats.

Flanging Hihats

Are you bored with your hi-hats? Here’s a quick tip to make them a bit more “fancy”. I remember noticing this technique listening to Kraftwerk’s epic song Trans-Europe Express. Simply send your hi-hats to their own Channel, add a flanger and set it’s wet/dry knob to at least 70% wet. Play with your flanger’s settings to control how much movement takes place.

I wouldn’t use this method on every song but it adds some nice spice once and a while. Remember you don’t have to have your hats flanging through out the entire song. Often I will only put my “flange hats” during a drums break or to add tension to only the last verse. Here’s some examples on how it can sound:

Are there any songs you know of off hand that use this technique? Do you have a favorite flange plug-in or hardware box?

Bronx Rhymes Hip Hop Map

Kool Herc

Last September I blogged about the sale of an ordinary building on Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx. The address is special because it’s the place DJ Kool Herc invented Hip Hop. Whether or not you like the genre it’s an American invention that deserves it’s history preserved. The building has since been sold and as far as I can tell the new owners won’t be placing a statue on plaq to commemorate it’s past and importance.

Bronx Rhymes

Luckily we have some online preservation. The New Radio and Performing Arts with funding from the Jerome Foundation have launched Bronx Rhymes, an interactive map of Hip Hop’s Bronx birth. Take a look: http://transition.turbu…

“Up in the Bronx where the people are fresh there was one Dj who had to pass the test. And now he’s down by law and he’s ready to play that’s right y’all his name is AJ.” – AJ Scratch, Kurtis Blow

“Hip Hop was born in the South Bronx. Bronx Rhymes uncovers the history of Hip Hop in the borough by tagging historically important locations with rhymes. These rhymes illuminate the significance of the locations, and issue a rhyming challenge. Posters appear at each location and invite viewers to respond with their own rhymes via text message. This website is an evolving archive of the collected rhymes, a reflection of the community, and a way to reinsert the hip hop past into present-day South Bronx.” – transition.turbulence.org/Works/bronx_rhymes/

Take a look at the flickr set of posters: click here

Related post: Do you know the man who created Hip Hop?