Easter Albums are Icky.

Easter Bunny Hits

What’s worse than fake plastic grass that sits in a landfill for eternity? Worse than corn syrup capsules disguised as beans? Worse than room temperature hard boiled eggs? Easter albums! You know how Christmas music is just plain awesome? You know how it makes you feel warm and fuzzy and happy? Well Easter music is the exact opposite. I’m going to guess that almost 99% of Easter music was created because some large label exec thought it could bring in some dollars. Want an example of what I mean? Check out an album on iTunes called Easter Bunny Hits by Big Eye Music. Look at what track 17 is! Is this a sick joke? An Easterized version of Who Let the Dogs Out! Are you afraid yet? Oh and check the released date: 2009! Wow.


PETA asks the Pet Shop Boys to change their name.


My wife won’t allow me to buy products by certain companies beacuse they test on animals. I love my pets and all creatures so I abide by her rules. Sometimes I wonder if the info she gets from Peta newsletters is correct though. If a company tested on animals in the 70’s are they still on the no list? I guess I could find out with some Google trolling. I know opinions on this kind of thing rank right below 9/11 conspiracys. Either way I think PETA’s official request to the Pet Shop Boys to change their name is completely retarded. In case you’re wondering my all time favorite Pet Shop Boys song is: I Want a Dog

The organization, the People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals (PETA), sent a letter to Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe acknowledging that its request, at first blush, might appear “bizarre.” But, by changing its name, the band could raise awareness at every tour stop of the “cramped, filthy conditions” that breeders keep animals in before selling them to pet stores, PETA said in its letter. – CNN

Here’s a photo of my boys: Zoe & Scout

photo credit: Maltesen

A simple songwriting website that could be useful.


What comes up #1 when you type “songwriting” into Google? A website called Easy Song Writing. My initial thought when looking at the site was that it was beginners drivel. However, it’s always the simplest reminders of the writing experience that gets me to shut the browser and open the sequencer. I really crave making music. I can’t go more than a week without writing something. A loop usually won’t feed my addiction. I’m happiest when I can shoot out a beginning, middle and end. Anyway, I thought I’d mention Easy Song Writing because some of the articles got me in the mood. Here’s an example of a few of the articles they have online:

Learn the very basics of writing a song. click here
21 tips to avoid the pitfalls that could stop your song from reaching the top 10. click here
This is how one songwriter writes his songs. click here
Do you know how to write a catchy melody? click here

Somewhat interesting (or not?) is the fact this site is from South Africa and they sell something although I can’t quite figure out what it is. Time to hit some keys…

photo credit: quinn.anya

Related post: 10 ways to get back on track in the recording studio.

Apple Computer Midi Training from 1987


I just finished two weeks of training at my new job. I came across this video while reading my loved RSS feed from the super synth blog Matrixsynth. I can only imagine if this were my training video. At 4:17 you get a look at an early version of Motu’s Performer software. In 1987 I was seventeen years old and just starting out with an Atari 520ST and Dr. T’s KCS.

Anyone know how much this Mac set up cost back then?

Related post: Dr. T’s KCS Keyboard Controlled Sequencer

Comments back open.

I’m not sure what plug-in or update causes my settings to change locking out anyone who’s not registered from commenting. I fixed it again (!!!) so everyone is welcome back to the discussion no registration needed. Just to reiterate what I say often: The reason I do this blog is to chat it up with anyone about all things music and pro-audio so I welcome your words!

Loud Objects Noise Toy

Loud Objects “Noise Toy” x2 from Pete Shambler on Vimeo.

Loud Objects is a group born of Columbia students, composers, programmers and an architect. You can get their noise making kits from Make Magazine and they played live in the US, Europe and Japan.

My boss recently gave me a Loud Objects “Noise Toy” kit as a gift. When paired with the one we’ve already got at our place, they make a glorious sound. – theshamblers.blogspot.com

For more info: www.loudobjects.com myspace.com/loudobjects

Virsyn enters the iPhone arena with iSyn.


Germany pro-audio software company Virsyn is known for such applications as Tera and Cantor. They have a new iPhone app on the way called iSyn. I like to see established players take on the iPhone. It’s a simple drum machine and note style sequencer with a few iPhonesque tricks. For example, tilting the iPhone give the drums random pitches and filter settings.

“A full-featured virtual music studio for Apple iPhone and iPod Touch with two synths and a drum machine from audioMIDI.com and Virsyn.” – audiomidicom

iSyn will be $4.99 For more info: www.virsyn.de

via Synthtopia

Sunday Sounds: The best intro ever.


There is one song that in mind mind holds the “best intro ever” title. Furthermore, the song is perfect all the way through to it’s end. Lyrically it touches on the old man meets young girl relationship theme (my own take). It also has killer synth and guitar solos. You must know by now that song is: Just What I Needed by The Cars. I never owned this song until I bought it today but every single time I ever came across it on the radio or in a bar I just absolutely loved it. The intro is some sort of time trick matched with some of the best recorded guitar ever. As one guitar line changes to another it pans, pitches down, and the killer vocals start. It would have been enough to make this one great song like this but alas The Cars have many more. This song makes me dream about girls, love and showing off my machismo. What more do you want?

I don’t mind you coming here, wasting all my time
Cause when you’re standing oh so near
I kinda lose my mind
It’s not the perfume that you wear
It’s not the way you wear your hair
I don’t mind you coming here, wasting all my time

I guess you’re just what I needed
I needed someone to feed
I guess you’re what I needed
I needed someone to bleed

I don’t mind you hanging out, talking in your sleep
It doesn’t matter where you’ve been
As long as it was deep
You always knew to wear it well
You look so fancy I can tell
I don’t mind you hanging out, talking in your sleep

I guess you’re just what I needed
I needed someone to feed
I guess you’re what I needed
I needed someone to bleed

Yeah, yeah, yeah, so bleed me

I don’t mind you coming here, wasting all my time
Cause when you’re standing oh so near
I kinda lose my mind
It’s not the perfume that you wear
It’s not the way you wear your hair
I don’t mind you coming here, wasting all my time

I guess you’re just what I needed
I needed someone to feed
I guess you’re what I needed
I needed someone to bleed

Yeah, you’re just what I needed
Oh you’re just what I needed, yeah, yeah
You’re just what I needed

Buy this song: iTunes Amazon

photo credit: vladdythephotogeek

Musikmesse 2009 Videos

See more of the Steinberg Messe09 episodes: click here

Our friend Jürgen shows Sonic State the new Mbase 11: click here

Nick from Sonic State visits Sherman: click here

A look at the Focal booth (these are great speakers): click here

A bit of German chat at with Dieter Doepfer: click here

If you can speak German check out Musotalk’s look at the new Waldorf Largo software synth: click here. These are just a few of the videos I found that peaked my gearlust antennae. There’s no need for me to repost too many here as you can troll tons of show videos with a few simple searches in the usual places. Hit me with any links to videos if you find something you thought was extra interesting!

Germany’s Musikmesse 2009.


Since I lean toward the synthesizer slash software side of things the best music gear “fair” in the world is Germany’s Musikmesse. Each spring or “Frülings” as the German’s say, gear geeks, music software wizards and pro-audio companies from the States to Japan all meet in Frankfurt. This year’s shibang is from April 1-4 which if you’re reading this post today means it’s on now. Will any new product convince you it will improve your songs? Nothing I’ve seen so far is making my head explode but there are some nice new toys on the show floor.

Doepfer and Akai

One of my favorite instruments, the Persephone, has been upgraded to “Mark II” status. It’s big new feature is the addition of a second oscillator. To love a Persephone is to play one. It’s a nice feeling high end instrument. The best way I can describe it is something in between a Theramin and slide guitar. Doepfer steps away from the Lego – build your own mindset and released the Dark Energy. The Dark Energy is a mini 100% analog synth with a built-in USB/Midi interface. At 400 EUR what’s not to like? Tascam seems to have noticed Mackie’s troubles (their Chinese factory went out of business) and released a new line of inexpensive analog mixers including the M-164, M-164FX with built-in digital effects and the M-164UF with built-in USB.


SSL released a new version of it’s Duende which has an improved audio engine and includes a new reverb called X-Verb. Novation hit us with there new versions of their popular controllers, the Zero and SL now at MKIII status. I have some friends who were disappointed by earlier versions of these. Most of the complaints were in the “faders are too cheap” category. Nevertheless, Novation added more pink lights on the new babies so I can’t help staring. Akai seems to be on a mission the past few trade shows and Messe09 is no different. They have a new basic Pad box, the MPD18 and a new 88key weighted controller the MPK88. What really has my mouth ready to scream “Reactivate!” is the new Miniak synth with built-in vocoder. I always thought Akai made the best software vocoder (D.C. Vocoder) but alas it never went OS-X. If the Miniak sounds as good I’ll grab one for sure. Presonus released a DAW called Studio One. Are they crazy? Why isn’t everyone using Ableton at this point? Oh yeah, in case you didn’t hear Live 8 is out of beta and ready to buy.


Update. So a few more niceties have crossed my radar. Jomox has updated it’s popular analog kick drum module the MBase now called MBase II. I believe the compressor is the new add on in this highly recommended box. I love mine: video. Rob Papen has a new software bass synth called SubBoomBass. I doubt SubBoomBass will break much ground sound wise but I constantly go to other Papen synths when Im doing certain styles of music and want to troll a zillion presets. MFB must be reading my mind because the only thing I love more than drum machines are semi-modular drum synthesizers and that’s exactly what they just announced. They call it Schlagzwerg and I’ll be buying that (680 EURO) before you can say Berlin!

More Musikmesse 2009 round-ups here: SonicState Create Digital Music Synthtopia

photo credit: joaquinenriquezbeltran