Friday, March 30, 2012

Free Sample Friday" Mixing Bowl Mayhem 03 - The Final Chapter

Today sees our final part of free samples sourced from mixing bowls, this one provided by guest samplist Adam.  As it turned out, when I posted the first set of mixing bowl samples, Adam happened to be working on the same sort of thing.  So, in the interest of providing a different flavor, Adam made recordings of struck mixing bowls filled with water. Thanks, Adam!


Sequential Circuits Split Eight on eBay

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Music from Outer Space 10-step Analog Sequencer on eBay

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Oberheim OBX-a on eBay

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

22-Year Old TV Performance of Nine Inch Nails

A lip-sync performance of "Down In It" from Dance Party USA.  Pretty funny.

[via Uktrayf on YouTube]

Rob Papen Releases Blade

Rob Papen has released his latest synthesizer called "Blade".  Blade is an additive synth that takes a different approach to sound creation in an effort to make that sometimes complicated process more accessible.  Instead of adjusting individual partials like traditional additive synthesis, Blade is based around the "Harmolator, a series of simple controls that makes the sound creation process more akin to subtractive synthesis.  Sounds can be fattened up with oscillator spread and further sculpted with an extensive array of distortions and filters.  It also includes extensive modulation capabilities, a sequencer/arp, and high-quality built-in effects.

Blade is available for a limited time for the introductory price of $119.  A demo version is also available.

Casio VL-1 on eBay

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Moog Opus 3 on eBay

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Roland JP-8000 on eBay

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review: Sounds of Revolution Abstract & Weird 2

Product: Abstract & Weird 2
Format: WAV / REX Loops
Price: €16.80

Today, we'll have a listen to Abstract & Weird 2, a loops collection of unusual loops and percussive accents from Sound of Revolution.  This mini-pack consists of 200 loops @ 127 BPM, weighing in around 384 MB.

As the name indicates, this isn't your standard set of house loops.  Instead, the loops are thoroughly processed and very "high tech" sounding.  Filtered clicks and donks, manic, chattering percussion lines, pumping noise, and much more.  This is not a collection that is going to provide your full rhythm track, but rather the perfect sort of thing if you want to add a distinctive edge to your existing beats.  These make it very easy to take even the most mundane four on the floor beat and transform it into something ear-catching and unique.  Will definitely appeal to those making IDM, industrial, and other experimental genres, but it could just as easily fit into more mainstream EDM genres looking for some texture.  [9/10]

Paia Stringz n Thingz on eBay

Sequential Circuits Six Trak on eBay

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bring Your Drums Back to the Eighties

Regardless of what you think of the actual music, there is little doubt that the eighties was exciting time when it came to music production.  Electronics were taking center stage in the mainstream, technology was coming down in price, and experimentation with new technology was rampant.  Although many of the records from that time sound almost quaint now, at the time, these albums were cutting edge.  Unsurprisingly, 80's music and production has been back in vogue, with many new artists emulating the techniques and sounds of bands 30 years their senior.  So today I thought I would talk a little bit about how to give your drum tracks a more 80's vibe.

1.) Choose Sounds Wisely
A huge part of getting an 80's drum sounds relies on using sounds that were actually used during that time period.  This isn't as difficult as it sounds, as although there were tons of instruments to choose from back then, there were a relative handful that found their way on to most of the pop records of the time.  Of course the TR-808 is an obvious choice, but remember that the 80's saw the birth of sampling drum machines like the Linndrum, the Oberheim DMX, and the E-mu Drumulator, all of which appeared on countless records back then.  And don't forget to add some doofy Simmons toms to the equation.  Want to emulate the more "big budget" sound of the time?  Try to find some Fairlight CMI drum samples.

2.) Produce Differently 
The fact of the matter is, 80's records sound different from modern records.  This isn't just the sounds used, but the production techniques.  What is probably most noticeable is the way tracks are EQed.  80's records generally have much less low end than modern records, so while your kick drum can have some weight, you might want to avoid the bowel-shaking subs so much modern music centers around.  Keep in mind also that with very few exceptions (Peter Gabriel is a notable one), almost all albums recorded during that time were recorded on tape, and not digitally.  The effect this has can be subtle, but noticeable, especially if you drive the tape a bit.  Sure, buying an old tape deck and recording to it will give you the most authentic sound, but on a more practical level, there are tons of tape saturation plug-ins available out there that can lend this quality when properly applied.

3.)  Reverb Differently
Most modern pop music is extremely dry-sounding when it comes to the use of reverb.  The opposite was true in the 80's where reverb and effects were used much more heavily, often crossing the line into gimmickry.  This might require you to think a bit differently than you do when working on a track with a more modern sound.  For instance, while it's quite unusual to hear more than a bit of ambience on a kick drum track these days (trance intros and breakdowns excepted), it was not uncommon for both the kick and the snare drum to go through a reverb for a more bombastic, exaggerated sound.  Because this can often turn into mud, producers often used the technique pioneered by Peter Gabriel's producer Hugh Padgham (often mis-attributed to Phil Collins who later used the same technique), which entailed applying a noise gate to cut off the reverb tails.  Gated reverbs are not difficult to find in plug-ins (especially among convolution reverbs), but it's an easy technique to do yourself.  Just put a noise gate after your snare reverb and adjust the gate's threshold and attack/decay settings to taste.  Also try putting some compression AFTER your reverb to exaggerate the reverb effects.

What other 80's production techniques do you like to apply to your own drum tracks?

Waveformless Soundware's Omnisphere Encompass Soundset Reviewed in Beats Magazine

Waveformless Soundware's "Encompass" soundset for Spectrasonics' Omnisphere has been reviewed in the German magazine Beats, who gave it a 5/6.  Here's an approximate translation:

"Under the name Waveformless SoundWare, the sound guru Tom Shear, head of the successful synth-pop and EBM project Assemblage 23, offers high-quality sound sets.
Encompass, the latest creation of the talented Sound designer includes 128 sounds for Spectrasonics' Omnisphere. Tight basses, retro synth sounds, atmospheric surfaces, vibrantarpeggios, funky textures, and even some drum sounds is a huge spectrum of soundscovered. Comes at an attractive price with a perfectly usable musical and inspiring sound set, which is characterized by its versatility and depth characterized."

Roland SH-5 on eBay

Oberheim FVS-1 Four Voice on eBay

EMS Synthi AKS on eBay

EDP Spider Sequencer

Pearl Syncussion SY-1 on Ebay

Friday, March 23, 2012

Free Sample Friday: Mixing Bowl Mayhem 02

Last week I posted some recordings I made of striking a metal mixing bowl in several different ways. Today's selection consists of sounds sourced from those original samples, but twisted, time-stretched, filtered, reverbed, and manipulated. The resulting sounds are everything from ambient metalscapes to industrial snares to melodic mallet sounds. 8 Sounds in total as 24-bit WAV samples. [Approx. 13 MB]

Korg Trident on eBay

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Yamaha CS-15 on eBay

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

U-he Flirts with the Hardware World?

Very interesting!

Interesting Article on Creativity

The Wall Street Journal, of all places, had a pretty interesting article by Jonah Lehrer on tapping into creativity. Check it out.

Studio Electronics Introduces Boomstar Series

Yesterday, Studio Electronics announced the latest in their line of analog synths, the Boomstar series. The synths all share the same two oscillator architecture, but each one has a unique filter. The filters are emulations of the filters from the Arp 2600, Oberheim SEM, Minimoog, and Roland TB-303. Each retails for $799.

Roland JX-8P on eBay

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Teisco S-110F on eBay

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