Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nice Profile on Peter Christopherson

As a follow-up to the sad news last week of the untimely death of Throbbing Gristle/Coil's Peter Christopherson, Mark Dery has written a very cool profile over on Thoughtcatalog.

New Single from... David Lynch?!

Apparently not satisfied with only creeping us out via film, David Lynch has released a double a-side single entitled "Good Day Today / I Know" which is heavily electronic. "I Know" sounds the most like one of his films to me. I suppose this is not entirely surprising given the emphasis on music and sound design in Lynch's films, but I certainly wasn't expecting it. The single is digital-only is available on iTunes.

Good Day Today / I Know - Single - David Lynch

New Human League Single

Love the fat analog bass on this one, but the cloying refrain is a bit irritating. What do you think?

Night People - Single - The Human League

Using Google Translate as a Human Beatbox

Create Digital Music posted this yesterday and it was something totally up my alley as far as repurposing technology to do something it wasn't intended for.

Essentially, they discovered that if you set Google Translate to translate German to German and enter certain combinations of consonants, it sounded an awful lot like human beatboxing. Here are the full instructions according to CDM:

1) Go to Google Translate
2) Set the translator to translate German to German
3) Copy + paste the following into the translate box: pv zk pv pv zk pv zk kz zk pv pv pv zk pv zk zk pzk pzk pvzkpkzvpvzk kkkkkk bsch
4) Click “listen”
5) Be amazed

How long do you suppose it will be until this turns up in a dance single?

[via Create Digital Music]

Korg VC-10 on eBay

Info at the listing...

Novation A-Station on eBay

Info at the listing...

Redsound DarkStar XP2 on eBay

Info at the listing...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Your Monday Morning Cup of WTF

What do you get the audiophile who has everything for Christmas? Well, if you have more money than sense, why not some $6,800 speaker cables? (A bargain from the list price of $8,450!) The Amazon listing
is worth a read just for the "customer reviews" which share, among other things, that the cables are excellent for asphyxiating an Esquilax.

Repurpose Your Old CD/DVD Spindles for Cable Storage

If you're anything like me, you probably go through quite a few CD-Rs and DVD-Rs. Before too long, you've probably accumulated a decent number of the clear, covered plastic spindles they come in. Rather than just throwing them away, why not follow the advice of Treehugger.com and repurpose them to store your audio, MIDI, and data cables?

Hope for the Future

Considering that hearing Gary Numan's "Cars" on the radio in the late 70's is what first made me notice electronic music, it warms my heart to see 2 kids about the same age I was finding similar inspiration in Mr. Numan's music.

Technics WSA-1r on eBay

Info at the listing...

Korg Wavestation EX on eBay

Info at the listing...

Oberheim Xpander on eBay

Info at the listing...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Black Friday

No free sample Friday today, sorry. But if you're like millions of Americans, you're not home anyway and are fighting crowds of people for a slight discount on already over-priced merchandise. But if you want to miss the crowds and possible death by trampling, there are TONS of great deals out there for electronic musicians and the people who love them. For many years, I tried to compile the best holiday deals out there for musicians, but at the end of the day, there was no doubt that Synthtopia was kicking ass and taking names in this department, so I'll just point you in that direction. Happy shopping!

EML SynKey 2001 on eBay

Info at the listing...

Yamaha CS-10 on eBay

Info at the listing...

Oberheim Matrix 6 on eBay

Info at the listing...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Peter Christopherson of Throbbing Gristle and Coil Dies

Some sad news on this Thanksgiving. Peter Christopherson, of industrial music pioneers Throbbing Gristle and the experimental band Coil has passed away at age 55. No cause of death is known at this time, but bandmates Chris Carter and Cosey Fani Tutti indicated he died peacefully in his sleep.

This feels strange, as my wife and I were just listening to Coil's "Love's Secret Domain" on the drive down to my brother-in-law's for Thanksgiving.

Korg MS-10 on eBay

Info at the link...

Crumar Composer on eBay

Info at the link...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Add Some Beef to Your Beats

If you're doing club music, you know that getting the low end just right is extremely important. Of course, you're much better off spending some time auditioning sounds at the beginning to find a sound that is close to what you want already than trying to whip it into shape with plug-ins, but sometimes you still need to do some tweaking. It's no surprise that there are a number of bass enhancement plug-ins out there, each of which work in slightly different ways and vary in quality. But if all you need to do is add some sub to your kicks, you probably already have the tools to do so.

I'll be working in Logic, but you should be able to replicate this fairly easily on any DAW that allows side-chaining and includes a noise gate.

1. Select the track containing the kick drum you want to beef up. Side-chaining in Logic needs to be done via buses, so we need to send our kick drum to a bus. Under the SENDS section of your track's channel, select Bus 1 from the drop down menu and dial the send knob all the way up.

2. We don't need to actually hear the signal coming through the bus, though, so on the channel strip for Bus 1, change the OUTPUT from STEREO OUT to NO OUTPUT. You'll find this menu right below the name of the bus. Now we have the kick drum being sent audibly through our audio channel, and being sent silently to Bus 1.

The reason we don't want to hear the output of the bus is because we're just going to be using it as a control signal, not an audio signal. SIDE-CHAINING is the process of using the audio from one channel to control some aspect of a plug-in on another channel. This is most commonly used in dance music where a kick drum is side-chained with a compressor on a pad or strings to create a pumping effect. We're going to do something similar here.

3. First we need something to side-chain, though. So create a new instrument track and insert an instance of any synth that has a good sine-wave on it. If you can't think of any and are using Logic, just called up an instance of EXS-24. It defaults to a sine wave sample. Record a long, sustained note. Be careful to choose a note that fits the key of your song. This is where the beef if going to come from, so having an 'off' note will really make a mess of your low end.

4. On the channel strip of your sine wave instrument, insert a side-chainable noise gate. I'm using Logic's included NOISE GATE. Firstly, we need to select a source for our side-chaining. So hit the drop down menu in the upper right hand corner of Noise Gate and select BUS 1, where we sent our kick drum. You'll need to experiment with different settings, but initially start out with your ATTACK at o, your HOLD at 60ms, and your release at 12ms. It's especially important to have a bit of a release at the end, as this prevents annoying clicks. Now, press play and adjust the THRESHOLD value until you can hear your sine wave coming through right beneath the kick drum, hopefully adding the sub energy you're looking for.

Don't stop here, though. Try effecting your sine wave channel in different ways - overdrive it or saturate it to add harmonics, sculpt it to perfection with EQ, etc.

Octave Cat SRM on eBay

Info at the link...

Syndrum Drum Synth on eBay

Info at the link...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Re-master of NIN's "Pretty Hate Machine" Released Today

Wow, how'd I miss this? Trent Reznor and co. have released a special remastered edition of their influential Pretty Hate Machine album. It was a hell of a debut, and although Reznor had yet to hone his own productional style, with help like Flood, Adrian Sherwood, and John Fryer, it happens to sound great too. Anyone checked this one out yet?

The Human League to Release New Album Next Year

Digital Spy is reporting that pioneering synth-poppers the Human League will release a new album entitled "Credo". A single, called "Night People" will be released beforehand.

This will be the band's first new material in 10 years. Given that their last album, 2001's "Secrets" was very analog-heavy and surprisingly good, I'm looking forward to hearing what this one is like.

Siel DK-600 on Ebay

Info at the listing...

Univox SR-55 Drum Machine on eBay

Info at the listing...

Oberheim SEM (1975 version) on eBay

This is one of the original models, not the recent re-release...