A ReFill to help the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Polar Elements

There’s nothing more pathetic than Polar Bear’s drowning because we melted too much the world’s Arctic ice shelf. Could buying a ReFill for Propellerhead’s Reason help? New Atlantis Audio will be release ReFills of which a percent of the sale will go to charity. Upcoming charities include the Elevate Hope Foundation, Shriners Hospitals for Children and the WWF (World Wildlife Fund).

“Hi Oliver, We are a new sound design company who’ve just released our first product, “Polar Elements”, a ReFill for Propellerhead Reason 4.  Our mission is to provide musicians with unique, high-quality affordable audio products, while raising money for worthy causes which are important to ourselves and our users.  A portion of the proceeds of this sale with be going to help protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Northern Alaska.” New Atlantis Audio, newatlantisaudio.com

Reason Combinator

The first ReFill from New Atlantis Audio is called Polar Elements. It requires Reason 4, contains 50 Combinator patches and has an introductory price of $5.00. Interestingly the ReFill was created to induce visions of the Polar region. You can hear an audio sample here: newatlantisaudio.com/reason-refill-polar-elements

Propellerhead Patch Chart from Oliver Chesler.

A few weeks ago Propellerhead asked me to send them my favorite Patches that come with Reason. I picked my top five and wrote a little about why each sound tickles my brain in a happy way. To view my choices: click here

“Artist Patch Charts. Go-to sounds of the pros. Ever wondered what the bass sound in that track was? How they made the harp glissandos in that movie, the shimmering strings in that commercial, or why the snare in that track sounds so familiar? We did. And that’s why we’re presenting our favorite producer’s and artist’s top sounds.” – Propellerheads.se

You can also see Patch Charts for Orlando Voorn, Adam Fielding, Nat Motte, Steven Drozd, Bentley Jones, Ryland Blackinton, Richard Barbieri, Jesse Stern, Dan Silver and others here: http://www.propellerheads.se/substance/patch-charts/index.cfm

Shortcut: Randomize the Matrix Sequencer

Today I present to you a highly fun Reason beginner tip: Instead of placing notes into Reason’s fun Matrix Sequencer use the Randomize function. But don’t give yourself carpel tunnel syndrome by pushing the mouse pointer to the Edit menu and selected Randomize Pattern. Simply hold down the Command (Apple) key and hit R. Now… do it over and over until you get something you like.

In the studio with Bon Harris from Nitzer Ebb.

The always busy James Bernard from Propellerhead Software went to LA to interview Bon Harris one of the founding members of Nitzer Ebb. It doesn’t surprise me to hear he’s using Reason to create the music for the upcoming all new NE album. Reason seems to be a center piece in a lot of EBM bands today. It was a happy surprise to hear the bassline Mr. Harris let us have a sneak peak of because it had an old school Nitzer Ebb feel to it. If Douglas McCarthy can get angry enough to put proper vocals on this remains to be seen. I for one really hope the magic returns.

Keep up with NE here: www.nitzer-ebb.de and  myspace.com/nitzerebbmusic

Kurt Kurasaki’s great Reason books.

My wife consistently asks me how to do the same few things in Photoshop over and over. I beg her to RTFM (read the ____ing manual) but it’s just too dry for her. Myself on the other hand read operation manuals cover to cover at least two or three times. The way I see it is the more you know the more power you have in your hands. Power!!!

As a reader of Wire to the Ear you know I was graciously given a free copy of Reason 4 not too long ago. As soon as I finished the yummy manual I did my usual forum and blog troll for more info. I knew there were some really crazy things I could do with the back panel routing in Reason. More than a few times Kurt Kurasaki’s series of books aptly titled “Power Tools for Reason” came into the conversation. Kurt is the defacto Propellerhead Reason smart man. I remember coming across his Reason specialty websites and refills since the Netscape Navigator days. You may know him as Peff. That rings a bell no?

“Peff’s (as Kurasaki is more widely known as) book is a great journey through Reason’s deeper mysteries for those who have cut their teeth on the virtual studio software and want to see just how deep the hole goes. Beginners need not apply – read the very good documentation that comes with Reason first – but intermediate level users who have a song or two under their belts and know their way around Reason’s virtual rack will find a wealth of information and techniques that will prove indispensible in their later music projects.” -  Jacques L Capesius

“For one, it certainly DOES illustrate the fact that Reason is a much more powerful piece of software than most people will believe. Secondly, the information itself is very good, and I’m sure will be a great reference tool for those who already have a strong background in audio engineering. The bottom line is, don’t get this book if you’re looking to learn the basics, that’s what the instruction manual is. This book was written with the professional industry veterans in mind.” -  the enlightened one

My copy of Power Tools for Reason managed to get through German customs last week and I have been really enjoying it. As the reviews above state this is meaty material. I already deployed a few new tricks into my own music from the book. If you have Reason it’s highly recommended.

Kurt (or Peff if you like) makes the rounds at many of the Propellerheads Producers Conference meetups the company produces. You can also check out his site at: www.peff.com

The book is about $25 at Amazon: click here

photo credit: klaxon

James Bernard starts a blog at Propellerheads.

If you remember not too long ago I mentioned I was recently endorsed by Propellerhead Software. An old friend of mine James Bernard who is a Product Specialist at the company helped set me up. Last week he started his own blog on the Propellerhead website. I think this is a great idea as the blog format is my favorite way to get info these days and James has a huge amount of pro-audio knowledge to share.

“Welcome to my first entry to my new blog page on the Propellerhead Website! I plan on using this page to share any tips or tricks I have picked up, insight on some of my travels around the world doing Producers Conference events and also share some useful files or links I might come across. Please let me know what you think of it and feel free to request any specific tips/tricks you would like to see.” – James Bernard, www.propellerheads.se

His first posts are great. He kicks it off by showing us his own project studio which includes a FM3 Buddha Machine, modified Roland TR-606, Auralex Treatment and of course Reason. Next, he creates a few songs using one sound. Yes. One single sound. In fact he uses just one single TR-909 kick drum. We all joke and think about doing things like this but James tackles the task and lives to tell about it.

There is more than just show and tell on his new blog which I believe is titled “.plan”.  You get free goodies such as Refills and Regroove Templates.

Check out James’s new blog: click here

Anatomy of an endorsement deal.

So it’s official: The Horrorist is endorsed by Propellerhead Software. I, as you know record under the name “The Horrorist” and today the box of goodies you see in the above photo arrived at my studio. I also managed to get one of the bands on my label Ionic Vision the same deal.

So how does one get such a good proposal? To be honest it’s kinda like getting laid by a female… You stay nice, friendly and available and when they are in the mood it happens! When I was in college at Suny Purchase I spent my free time in the music department hanging out with John Selway, Scott Richmond (Satellite Records) and Jack Elliot. During that time, the early nineties, the rave scene was beginning to take over the NY area. John invited me to techno parties in Long Island where I met Frankie Bones, Adam X, Heather Heart, Dave Trance and many more. I’m not sure how it exactly happened but I ended up at the recording studio of a guy named James Bernard who had a techno act called Influx. Ah… bingo you say! James Bernard I know that name. Yep hold that thought…

Flash forward fifteen plus years, 75 singles, 3 albums, 3 studios, a move to Berlin, a pro-audio blog and some grey hair. A band on my label Things to Come Records called Ionic Vision was coming to perform in Germany. I met them at Club Maria and did a quick video interview with them to help promote their new single. During the interview they got all gushy about how great Propellerheads Reason is. I wholeheartedly agree Reason is the bees knees and the video went up on the internets. I mentioned to Andy de Decker (one of the band members) that I should send it over to Propellerheads and did just that.

I knew James Bernard worked at Propellerheads and from time to time I cracked a smile when I saw him demoing things on YouTube. I would say to myself, “There’s that Influx guy. Dam he landed a cool job!”. So I was pleased when I found out he was the one in charge of artist relations and more pleased when he was the one who emailed me back. Without me asking he offered the endorsement deals.

So what can we learn from this tale?

1. James Bernard kicks ass.

2. Propellerheads kicks ass.

3. Being nice to people and putting your work out there gets free stuff. (And laid by females)

This arrangement will be good for you too because I will be posting more Reason tutorials, videos and Refill reviews.

So far I can tell you the 15″ laptop bag is very nice. The area where you hold your laptop is well padded and smooth so you don’t need to use one of those crappy inner sleeve things. It’s made of “polyester ripstop” which like it’s name: feels like it won’t ever rip. It also has a rubber handle, zippered pockets, a mobile cell holder and key ring.

Check out more photos of the bag and goodies: click here

Listen to James Bernard’s music: myspace.com/jamesbernardmusic
Visit Propellerhead Software: propellerheads.se

Using Google Trends to compare sequencers.


YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Uh6rGYiDDk

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:
www.youtube.com/user/hydlide24

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?