Harmony Navigator 2 coming soon!

One of my most loved audio software tools is about to reach version 2. Harmony Navigator from Germany’s Cognitone software will get some nice new features. The developer will also release a stripped down version called HN2 LE for those who don’t need the advanced features. Be sure to check out my screencast showing a few of the features of the original Harmony Navigator: click here

“After more than a year, it’s now time to bring Harmony Navigator to the next level. During the past year we more and more noticed that the needs of our users largely fall into two categories. While purists and fans of electronic music could comfortably do without virtual accompaniment bands, others wished they had more possibilities for adding their own patterns and building songs. Therefore we decided to offer two separate products for everyone’s needs and budget: A compact and very affordable product for pure harmonic work, and a more comprehensive product for drafting prototypes of entire songs. We invested a lot of work in order to enhance the features of Harmony Navigator and make it more comfortable to draft of entire songs. The new song window is the most important achievement. It features multiple parts on a timeline, which also supports loop playback. You can now maintain your entire project in a single window.” – cognitone.com

It should be released next month (Feb 2010). Read the full press release: click here

Mr. Alias Pro

Mr. Alias Pro is a broken screwed up synthesizer. Mr. Alias was designed that way and it’s a perfect soft synth for anyone into ciruit bending, noise or headaches. I actually think this synth is very useful when it comes to creating easy interesting intros or breaks. It has an Auto Randomizer so I am happy. Mac/PC, AU/VST plug-in or Standalone. It’s Donationware so any amount gets you the pro version.

Audio samples:

“Mr. Alias Pro is a fully professional software synthesizer which exploits the properties of digital audio to achieve extremely bad sounds.” – thepiz.org

For more info: thepiz.org

Evol Fucifier

I was flipping through the latest issue of Sound on Sound and came across a cool looking hardware box called the Fucifer from Evolaudio. It’s a distortion synthesizer, mic-pre and EQ. I like what it does and how it looks but how it sounds will determine if it’s worth $2600. More and more I have been returning to hardware lately. Has anyone played with one of these?

“The Evol Fucifier is a distortion synthesizer & sound shaper, designed to give you many colors with which to create and shape your palette of sounds. Everything in the signal chain, from the Mic Pre, the Vintage Germanium Preamp, the Filter, and the inductors in the Equalizer to the output transformer, is designed to be overdriven, saturated, overloaded or distorted in a pleasing way. Mix & match the Vintage Germanium Preamp for a little warmth or overdrive, the Tape Saturation overdrive for a little compression and limiting or a bit of saturation, the Filter/Crossover (which in itself sounds great overdriven or even pushed into self oscillation with a sufficient amount of resonance), the Dual Band Distortion which allows you to mix many different kinds of distortion, and the vintage-style inductor based equalizer to shape the overall tone and color of the sound.” – evolaudio.com

For more info: evolaudio.com

Largest subwoofer ever?

Who doesn’t like bass? How about a lot of bass? A ton of bass? Check out some of these photos from an Italian room built with a giant subwoofer into it’s basement.

“Royal Device has on its own developped and built in Italy the biggest subwoofer of the world for an AUDIO/VIDEO room that can be also considered as the greatest AUDIO ROOM for private music listening of the world. The audio reproduction is focused on the speakers output capability more than electric power output of the amplifiers with no need of KWatts power supply lines, releasing more than 110 dB/1W/1 meter sensitivity starting from below 10 Hz focused on the listening position.” – curiousphotos.blogspot.com

To see the full set of photos: click here

Prodigy’s “Smack My Bitch Up” in Ableton


I think it’s pretty interesting to see where the samples came from. This song also has one of the best music videos ever made attached to it.

“How to make Prodigy’s legendary track “Smack My Bitch Up” in Ableton. Video describes, which samples were used by Liam in this wonderful track.” – jimpavloff

Download the original song: click here (iTunes)

Beethoven Sonata No. 21 in C


Because so much of my day job is talk about money sometimes I need to wash my mind of it when I drive home. Tech podcasts don’t seem to do the job so I click on the NY classical music station WQXR. Yesterday as I drove I had a serious classical music moment. There was no traffic, the sun was setting and Beethoven’s Sonata No. 21 in C came on. I’m not an expert in classical music. The only reason I knew what piece was playing is because the host said it was about to play. Something clicked while I drove because the Sonata hit me like a ton of bricks. I mean mind changing great. There clearly is a central theme say a little melody that is continually returned to albeit in hundreds of different and all pretty ways. Later I was speaking to my friend Gabri who is a pianist. He told me. “Everything Beethoven did after Sonata 11 he created deaf.”. I wish I knew which version I heard on QXR that day. So my question… does anyone else know No. 21 in C and feel the same way?

“The Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op.53, also known as the Waldstein, is considered to be one of Beethoven’s greatest piano sonatas, as well as one of the three particularly notable sonatas of his middle period (the other two being the Appassionata sonata, Opus 57, and Les Adieux, Opus 81a). The sonata was completed in the summer of 1804. The work has a scope that surpasses Beethoven’s previous piano sonatas, and notably is one of his most technically challenging compositions. It is a key work early in his ‘Heroic’ decade (1803-1812) and set the stage for piano compositions in the grand manner both in Beethoven’s later work and all future composers.” – Wikipedia.org

For more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_Sonata_No._21_(Beethoven)

photo credit: fotograf1v2

Richard Devine on the Ekdahl Moisturizer

I own one of these Ekdahl Moisturizers. Richard Devine decides to take a Slinky to his and see what happens. If your a fan of Einstürzende Neubauten I recommend picking one of these up. Actually if you’re not aware of Neubauten’s music listen to this:

“The Ekdahl Moisturizer is a spring reverb where the springs are exposed so they can be played/hit/fiddled with. I was just playing around this afternoon with various objects, magnets, marbles, tuning forks, mechanical bugs, and slinky coils. Running the audio through a Tiptop Z-DSP. Quite fun.” – Richard Devine

For more info: The Ekdahl Moisterizer

Schwarzonator for Max for Live


I’ve been watching Max for Live waiting for the patch that will make me buy and Schwarzonator made me do just that. Grid pattern making patches and hardware hacks don’t get me going as much as software that helps me create melodies. Schwarzonator was created by Berliner Henrik Schwarz and I am finding it very useful. I really love the random function! Check out the video above for what it can do.

“The Schwarzonator is a note twister. It’s all about helping musicians (or non-musicians) find the right notes and chords in real time. It turns one finger playing into chords that fit together well. Choose from a list of Chord Sets in a drop down menu. Then all notes you play on your keyboard will fit into the selected Chord Set.” – Henrik Schwarz (from Ableton’s website)

Get the Schwarzonator here: www.ableton.com/schwarzonator

Live in Linz, Austria

Independance Flyer

I am performing live this weekend in Linz, Austria. The event is called Independance and the other main headliner is Pet Duo from Brazil. It will be a mostly hard techno night but I will play a few slow weird songs to freak people out some. Since they put me in an Ibis Hotel I am sure I won’t have internet access. My contract states 4 stars and above only but rarely does an Ibis fit that bill. The rooms are usually one large piece of molded plastic. You shower and the entire bathroom gets wet. It’s slightly futuristic but in a really cheap way. Another feature of the Ibis chain is a bunch of heavy smoking/beer drinking groups of 30-50 year old men hanging in the lobby which yes doubles as the bar. You can check in/out and order a beer from the same person. The groups of dudes all wear the same shirts although I don’t think it has anything to do with sports. It’s more like some weekend group escape thing they do. Any Europeans can chime in and let me know why I always see this weird phenomenon. This show should be a little different because my friend Gabri (who records under the name Richter) will be on stage with me. He’s an incredible keyboard player and I’ve loaded him up with samples. The event is in the Cembrankeller which is a giant wooden wine cellar. I’ve played there before (photos: here) and it sounds quiet good.

For more info: thingstocome.com/events