I love software that helps with music theory and composition. Off the top of my head a few of titles come to mind such has Harmony Navigator, SoundPrism, Polychord, Songsmith and LaDiDa. I’ve yet to try it yet but Melody Music Maker looks like a nice addition. Nothing beats some piano lessons of course.
“What have Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney and Ray Charles in common? They could not read scores but nevertheless their songs captured the world. With Melody Music Maker you are walking in the trails of these super talents. You can fully focus on one thing: the melody that you enjoy, without taking care for the notes and theoretical correctness. Colors guide the user through the composition of the song.” – melodymusicmaker.com
Watch the Rolling Stones record Sympathy for the Devil. There’s a lot of magic happening in bedroom project studios these days but I wish more productions were still created like this.
“Sympathy for the Devil is also the title of a producer’s edit of a 1968 film by Jean-Luc Godard whose own original version is called One Plus One. The film, a depiction of the late 1960s American counterculture, also featured the Rolling Stones in the process of recording the song in the studio.” – DRJVancouver
“Finish what you start.” is a good saying. I agree with it. Last year when I released the album Joyless Pleasure I promised to go song by song and tell you the backstory and technical details. Honestly, I got cold feet realizing I would have to reveal more of myself than I may want to. This blog is useless if I don’t add a personal touch and although it’s 80% music tech it’s music itself that’s important right? In addition I’ve had more than a few readers ask I continue explaining each song. I’m already 6 songs into my next album and want to preview some of it soon. Therefore it’s now or never to get into the details of the remaining 8 songs on Joyless Pleasure. The first two songs are covered here: Modern and We Will Get Wicked.
Darkling Lullaby. If I could have written a song like this when I was 17 years old I would have. I didn’t have the skill or wisdom at that time so I wrote it now. It a lullaby to a beutifull young girl who is on top of the world. She breaks hearts. The song is from the scorned and obsessed. One day the girl will be old and struggle like everyone else. When I listen to the song sometimes I picture a father singing it to a daughter in her bedroom. It’s February so maybe this is fine for a Valentine’s day playlist. Especially if you’re single.
The vocals were written in one take but I changed the last verse a few days later. The main synth is a layer of Fairlight CMI choral samples and a Korg Poly 800 arpeggiated. There’s lots of Altiverb reverb washing over the entire track. The kick is a Jomox Mbase 01. The song took about a week to finish. Be sure to check out the Dom Dumoulin remix on the Joyless Pleasure Remixed album (link). The photos used for the Youtube video still (above) are indeed yours truly. I used to climb the slanted tree to the right of me in the photo almost everyday. Behind me you can see the stream that ran through my front yard.
“I am sorry for what the world will do to you. Darkling I am sad to tell you the truth. Love is a lie like a butterfly. Dear I wish it was different for you. You will cry like everyone cries. I am sorry it’s the truth. Darkling I am sad for for you. My sweet Darkling you will cry. You will cry and cry.” – The Horrorist
I’ve been working on music every night for the past few months. I have about 6 songs finished for my next album. Most of what I write these days is autobiographical. It has me thinking a lot of where I grew up and first loves. The house I grew up on had a stream that went threw it. I spent a large amount of time in that water. Even though it’s just H2O, rocks, mud and fish it’s a sacred place to me. I was reading Spinner magazine’s “The 25 Most Exquisitely Sad Songs in the Whole World” (link) and came to Bruce Springsteen’s The River. We really do all swim on the same road. I’ll post some preview clips of what I’m working on in a few weeks.
“Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true or is it something worse?” – Bruce Springsteen
Every musician knows by now Soundcloud is a great way to share and explore music. I share my own tracks to Groups and often explore them. Here are 14 that are non-genre specific but more “pro-audio” based. What are your favorite Soundcloud groups? Have you started a Group of your own?
1. The Singer/Songwriter Group link
2. Analog or Modular Synthesizers link
3. Samples link
4. Sound Concepts and Experimental Feeds link
5. Hardware Samplers link
6. iOS Music link
7. Creative Commons link
8. iOS Musicians link
9. Hardware Synthesizers link
10. Circuit Bent link
11. Synth Samples link
12. The Sound of Airports, Planes, Trains & Train Stations link
13. Vocoder Love link
“SoundCloud was originally started in Stockholm, Sweden, but was established in Berlin, Germany in August, 2007 by sound designer Alex Ljung and artist Eric Wahlforss. It had the intention of allowing musicians to share recordings with each other, but later transformed into a full publishing tool which also allowed musicians to distribute their music tracks.” – Wikipedia
This Keaton Music Typewriter is available for sale on ETSY for $6,000 USD. What a pretty machine. Apparently there are less than 12 of these in the world.
“The Keaton Music Typewriter was first patented in 1936 (14 keys) by Robert H. Keaton from San Francisco, California. Another patent was taken out in 1953 (33 keys) which included improvements to the machine. The machine types on a sheet of paper lying flat under the typing mechanism. There are several Keaton music typewriters thought to be in existence in museums and private collections. It was marketed in the 1950s and sold for around $225. The typewriter made it easier for publishers, educators, and other musicians to produce music copies in quantity. Composers, however, preferred to write the music out by hand.” – musicprintinghistory.org
Celemony has posted a bunch of well produced Melodyne tutorials. I do use Melodyne on a track here and there. I didn’t know I should split off consanants to help avoid artifacts. That alone was worth the view.
“In this video you will learn how to get the most out of your vocal tracks with a few editing tips and tricks in Melodyne.”
My TC Electronic Powercore PCI recently died. I became quite in love with the TC-Helicon VoiceModler plug-in. After some research and contacting the company I discovered their Voiceworks Plus hardware unit contained the same algorithms. I was able to get a “B-Stock” unit from NovaMusik for $350. It’s an amazing piece of kit. It does do exactly what the Voicemodler plug-in did and a lot more. More importantly it does it clearer, brighter, sharper, bassier and with zero CPU load or latency. I know this little review isn’t the new VoiceLive Rack but my point is Helicon makes really good products for vocals. I don’t believe the VoiceLive Rack has the modeling stuff but nevertheless if it’s anything like their other products it should be great on your voice. Maybe this unit has some tricks the Voiceworks doesn’t? I’m also starting to think I need to bring one of these units on the road with me.
“VoiceLive Rack combines a transparent, digitally controlled mic preamp, a full suite of adaptive pre-effects, and TC-Helicon’s industry leading, complete vocal effects path to produce any vocal sound you’ve heard or dreamed of. Now, whether you’re constructing a giant vocal track for your latest tune or mixing front-of-house at today’s tour stop, VoiceLive Rack delivers the vocal magic.” – tc-helicon.com
I was watching a comedian on TV the other night. He was saying it’s going to be funny when old people listen to hip hop. Since there is a generation into now it it’s only natural eventually they will grow old, reminisce, play and “sing” the songs. That fact alone is worth a blog post. I mean it’s going to be rediculous no? My TC Powercore has been on it’s last legs lately. There are a few key effects in it I really don’t want to live without. I contacted TC Helicon and what I am looking for is also available in their Voiceworks Plus unit. Off to Youtube to see a few videos and I came across the video above in which the performer uses a Voiceworks. He’s also covering one of my all time favorite songs Only You by Yaz. Time is a strange thing don’t you think? Where’s my bucket list again…
“Only You” is a ballad written by musician Vince Clarke. He wrote it while with Depeche Mode, and offered it to them when he was leaving. They declined, and Clarke recorded it after forming the duo Yazoo with Alison Moyet. It was an instant success, hitting number two in the UK, and charting in the U.S. (number sixty-seven, Billboard Hot 100), a feat only attained by one other Yazoo single (coincidentally, that single was “Situation,” the original UK B-side of “Only You”). “Only You” also made the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart at number thirty-eight.” – Wikipedia