Native Instruments SKANNER

Well Merry Christmas from Native Instruments! Stephan Schmitt the “father” of Reaktor put together SKANNER which combines a sampler and synth. Two oscillators ‘scan’ a sample to sort of scratch it. It’s free and will work with Reaktor or the free Reaktor Player. It comes with samples but you can also load in your own. Thanks NI! Go download.

“SKANNER ingeniously mixes sampler and synthesizer. The two oscillators ‘scan’ a sample; at low frequencies you get the ‘scratch’ sound of the sample being read back and forth, while at higher frequencies the dominant force is the oscillators being shaped by the sample waveform. The resulting sounds are raw, dirty and highly unpredictable – from simple sine waves to walls of noise. Two views offer different levels of interaction: The ‘A’ view features four macro controls that are mapped to multiple parameters – even subtle tweaks can create dramatic changes.” – Native Instruments

For more info: native-instruments.com/powered-by-reaktor/skanner…

Ableton MIDI Routing

I am constantly using Midi effects and tricks in my own workflow. I look for plug-ins that output midi data (Audio Damage Axon for example). The video above from The Ableton Cookbook shows you how to record the Arpeggiator’s notes while manipulating the device.

“The traditional signal chain in Ableton goes from the MIDI clip to a MIDI effect and then into an Instrument or Instrument Rack, where the MIDI information is interpreted and output as audio. This means that, if you press record on a MIDI Clip that has an effect on it, you’ll get a recording not of the effected MIDI signal, but of the unaffected MIDI signal. If you want to capture these affected MIDI events, you are going to have to do some MIDI routing. In this video, I show you how this is done!” – theabletoncookbook.com

For more info: theabletoncookbook.com

Fluid Piano

I took Piano lessons for about 5 years. Next to the human voice it’s the most expressive instrument I ever played. I wish I had one in my house. I would spend hours in the basement tossing around ideas which are now all long gone and lost. The Fluid Piano has been out for a few years. I think it’s interesting its creator thinks of his creation as a force against Western sound. I think it just sounds nice. I’d like to hear it along with some slide guitar.

“Mark Brown talks to Geoff Smith, whose reinvention of the piano allows players to alter the tuning of notes either before or during a performance.” – The Guardian

For more info: news.bbc.co.uk/world_news_today/859…

Creator

What I really like about this video is that Chris Randall is using his own iPad app Phaedra. Creating with his own creation. This is great music heading into a gentle holiday week.

“Since there will be an inevitable question, I’ll go ahead and say now that the CP-80B is running through the TimeFactor and Space, and the Space is set to its Shimmer algorithm. These are the only effects on the piano. … Anyhow, sequenced by Phaedra, as is proper for music like this.” – Chris Randall

For more info: analogindustries.com

Sweetwater’s Top 10 for 2011

Sweetwater sells gear so their top list for 2011 maybe be slanted because they want to sell more of something to you. However, I do agree with some of their choices and it got me thinking I should ask you the question: What do you think were the best few pro-audio products that came out this past year?

“Ten is a composite number, its proper divisors being 1, 2 and 5. Ten is the smallest noncototient, a number that cannot be expressed as the difference between any integer and the total number of coprimes below it.” – Wikipedia

For more info: sweetwater.com

photo credit: Andrew Stawarz

Physynth

When I was living in Berlin I made some suggestions to Ableton. I said they should add a physics engine to Live. Things like bouncing balls that triggered samples, flowing virtual rivers that you could drop sounds into. It’s good to see those concepts in the Lemur and this new Physynth app. I haven’t tried this one out yet. If you do let me know if it’s worth a download! Maybe in Ableton Live 9?

“Powered by next-generation 3D graphics technologies, it is a stunning, beautiful device that will enable you to weave beautiful, fluid ‘Soundscapes’. PHYSYNTH uses a state-of-the-art physics engine to trigger sounds using four real simulators, you charge physical objects with sound and collide them with other objects to trigger them. It is an entirely new way of creating music, a natural and fluid way to express yourself with a wide range of beautiful, realistic instruments.” – physynth.com

For more info: physynth.com

Astronauta Pinguim

I have no idea how I stumbled upon Astronauta Pinguim this morning. All I know is I found one of his videos and that led to me listening to whatever else I could find. What’s not to like here? Interesting vocals and synths with emotion and fun. Now in heavy rotation in my music world.

“I discovered the MOOG synth sounds in “A Clockwork Orange” (Stanley Kubrick’s movie) soundtrack, and other vintage keyboard sound hearing artists as Keith Emerson, Brian Eno, Jean-Jacques Perrey and, mainly, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, my second true love (the first love affair was with the MOOG synth, of course).” – Astronauta Pinguim

For more info: myspace/astronautapinguim, youtube/astronautapinguim

One Million Views

The video for my song One Night in NYC has now over 1,000,000 views on Youtube. It’s a true story. I recorded it in my mother’s basement. I did the song live in just a couple of takes. I used a Roland TR-909 drum machine, Akai S950 sampler, Yamaha TX81z synthesizer, Mackie 1604 mixer, Shure SM58 microphone and Cubase on an Atari 1040ST. I simply muted/unmuted channels on the Mackie with one hand and the microphone in the other telling the story. I never thought much of the song and was embarrassed to play it for people I knew because it was so freaky. In 1996 I offered it to a bunch of labels at the time who all turned the song down (sorry Lenny). I started my own label (Things to Come Records) and released it. In 2001 Chris Liebing flew to New York and convinced me to let him do a remix. He gathered many other remixers and the track went to #1 on the German charts for many weeks. Warner Brothers picked it up and shot the video above at The Limelight. Live life, be inspirired… it’s the only way to make songs that will connect with a lot of people.

“Hello, my name is Oliver and I’m going to tell you a story. It’s about a young girl… She’s only fifteen years old and has blonde hair and blue eyes.” – The Horrorist

For more info: thehorrorist.com

Fingerlab Rockmate

Fingerlab who makes some of my favorite iOS app (DM1 and Multipong) have released Rockmate. This looks like a really fun app. I can’t wait until the next time my brother is in the room with me.

“You can compose, record and play songs with up to 4 Rock players on one single iPad. Rockmate is easy to play with smart chords progressions, sounds great with separated guitar effects and in-house produced audio samples and is also fully customizable with multiple drums and keyboard styles.” – fingerlab.net

For more info: fingerlab.net/website/Fingerlab/Rockmate