Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Expand Your Bag of Production Tricks

It can be easy to get into a rut when producing in your home studio, so it's always a good idea to try and seek inspiration from listening to the music of others. I suggest keeping a notebook (or a notebook app on your phone, if you prefer) on hand to write down the bits and pieces you find catching your ear when you're checking out other artists. Starting a new track? Pull out your iPod, throw it into shuffle and listen to the first three songs that come up. See if there is something in each one that you can apply to the new track. Maybe it's a drum fill you want to emulate, or the way the track uses reverb, or an unusual type of vocal, etc., etc. Whatever it is, see if it's something you can work into your new track. Sometimes we get too focused in working on our own music, we forget to take the time to listen to the work of others. Start every time you go into the studio doing this, and you may find yourself being a lot more productive and inspired.

Arp Pro Soloist on eBay

Info at the listing...

Roland Juno-106 on eBay

Info at the listing...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Waveformless Forum Added to

Just a quick note to let everyone know that we've added a Waveformless forum over at, which is a fan-run forum revolving around my band, Assemblage 23. Feel free to join up and post about all manner of synth geekery, ask questions, make suggestions for articles, and so on!

Free Samples from Goldbaby

New Zealand sample merchants Goldbaby have released a new free instrument called Hapi vs. Xylophone which was created by layering a xylophone with a Hapi Tank Drum. It's a 54 MB download and comes in EXS24 and Kontakt flavors.

Waldorf Q on eBay

Info at the listing...

Oberheim OB-8 with MIDI on eBay

Info at the listing...

Monday, June 27, 2011

"Wubbify" Your Tracks

Dubstep has sort of become the unlikely musical "it girl" of the moment. It's nearly impossible to visit any electronic musicians forum these days without running across inquiries about how to create the infamous dubstep wobbles. So surely, you must need a dubstep remix for your next release. Have no fear! Wubmachine is here! Simply drag your track onto the website's interface and Wubmachine will generate a (nearly) instant dubstep remix. Admittedly, the results vary in their success depending on the source material, but the concept of the site gave me a laugh.

Yamaha CS-20M on eBay

Info at the listing...

Yamaha CS-5 on eBay

Info at the listing...

Oberheim OB-Xa on eBay

Info at the listing...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Customized Sequential Circuits Split-8 on eBay

With all the keys painted black like that, how do you know which ones play the "sad" notes?

Info at the listing...

Assemblage 23 Last-minute Festival Gig

I am happy to announce that Assemblage 23 has been added to the Sunday line-up at the Blackfield Festival to replace Rotersand, who had to cancel due to illness.

Blackfield Festival Info

[Picture by Mark Edwards]

Free Sample Friday: Dot Com Modular Heavy Process

Another guest entry from Mr. Poppet while I am on tour in Europe:

"These samples are a bit different than my prior two submissions. I
shoved the Alesis Ion into the Dotcom modular, crammed the modular
into the Korg Radias and slapped the Radias on to tape. Then I did it
all over again. Swapping cables back, forth and sideways till I found
a few pieces I liked. "

Pearl SY-1 Syncussion on eBay

Info at the listing...

Roland JP-8000 on eBay

Info at the listing...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Infected Mushroom's "Pink Nightmares" Studio Blog

Infected Mushroom shares some insights and breaks down their track "Pink Nightmares".

[via InfectedMushroomVids on YouTube]

Sounds "Invented" for Specific Purposes

Sound can have powerful psychological effects on we humans. So much so, that many of the sounds you hear every day are actually "engineered" for a specific purpose. Check out this interesting article on 5 of these sounds you may have never known were created in the lab...

Rheem Key Bass on eBay

Info at the listing...

Roland SH-1 on eBay

Info at the listing...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

XILS-Lab Announces Synthix

XILS-Lab, creators of the critically-acclaimed XILS 3 and Poly-KB softsynths have announced their latest creation: Synthix, inspired by the amazing Italian synth the Elka Synthex.

Here's what they have to say about it:

"The Synthix is a virtual 16 voices analog synthesizer and as it, brings what we can call now standard analog features :
  • Two oscillators with 4 selectable waveforms, Triangle, Saw, Square, Pulse and its dedicated PWM and Ring modulator mode. Additionally, the Triangle and Sawtooth waveforms do have PWM modes. Several waveforms can be selected simultaneously for each of the oscillators.
  • One multimode filter based on the CEM 3320 chip emulation, providing Self oscillating 12 dB and 24 dB low pass, 6 and 12 dB band pass, and 12 dB high pass modes.
  • Four D-ADSR : an enhanced standard ADSR envelope with a MIDI syncable delay.
  • Four LFOs, including two neverseen LFOS types.
  • Four embedded effects : Delay, Chorus, Phaser, Dual EQs
  • One Multi-track sequencer
  • Several playing modes including A la Moog mono modes and several Polyphonic modes

The Synthix, has every XILS-lab products, brings also some never seen features :

  • The Chaox : an LFO based on fully calculated chaotics functions. real life enters in synthesizers
  • The Rythm : an LFO with uses the Rythm for its main purpose.
  • Guitar modes, Circular and random polyphonic modes

And last but not least, The Synthix is multi-layer and has a polytimbral mode:

  • 8 totaly independant layers (each layer can have its own set of oscillators, filters, envelopes, glide and lfos, with independent settings).
  • 2 keyboards, each with its own independent arpeggiator and MIDI settings management."

3 Ways NOT to Use Social Media to Promote Yourself

There is no doubt that the explosion of social media has opened up a whole new range of promotional opportunities for artists. One could make the argument, however, that it makes this sort of thing TOO easy. Just because these services offer you access to a way to reach out to your audience, doesn’t mean you necessarily know how best to do that. In fact, it is startlingly easy to do yourself damage rather than good if you’re not careful. So today I’d like to talk a little bit about some of the missteps I have seen artists make when it comes to self-promotion.

1.) The “Let’s See What Sticks” Approach

One of the most annoying phenomena that’s come up recently is bands using Facebook’s ability to sign everyone in your friends list up for a group you create without their prior consent. I recently started getting spammed by some indie band I’ve never heard of, to the extent that one day I got over 25 separate messages from them in my in-box in a single day. They kept at it despite the fact that the responses on their pages showed that 95% of the people they’d signed up to receive these messages were not only not interested, but were getting increasingly angry about having their in-boxes glutted with junk. Think there’s no such thing as bad publicity? Think again.

A much better approach is to create your group, mailing list, or band page and simply make a post on your page announcing it’s there, thus allowing people who are interested in your band to sign up voluntarily. Sure, your group will have less members, but those members will be there because they WANT to be there, and presumably are interested in what you have to say. Thus, the effectiveness of your posts are MUCH higher. Be sure to use your other social media outlets to promote one another, too. Announce your Facebook bandpage on your mailing list… use your mailing list to promote your Twitter page, and so forth. (You can join my band's official page here, by the way...)

2.) The “Autopilot” approach

There’s a band on my Facebook friends list that makes an effort to greet each and every new member that joins their page. That’s good. What’s not so good is that they post the exact same message to every single member: “Thanks for your friendship. Be sure to check out our new album “xxxx” out now on xxxxx records!” I see two problems with this. First of all, having your first interaction with a fan/potential fan be a sales pitch might come across as a bit crass. Secondly, if you’re just cutting and pasting the exact same message each and every time, it makes it look like you don’t really give a rat’s ass about your fans.

There’s no doubt that personally interacting with your fans on an individual basis can be an extremely time-consuming affair, but it can reap giant rewards. That kind of interaction can be really meaningful to fans and will make them WANT to support you and your work. The importance of loyalty among your fans shouldn’t be underestimated, especially give the present state of the music industry. I’ve taken this approach for my entire career, and not only has it helped me build a nice fanbase, but I’ve met some fascinating, very talented people as a result, which is a reward of its own.

3.) The "Totally Unfliltered" Approach

The advantage of social media is that it allows you to reach a large number of people quickly and easily. That’s great if your message is positive, but say the wrong thing and you’ve just broadcast to the world what an asshole you are. Recently, a European band returned from their US tour and the singer posted a list of “rules” for fans to approach him. These rules covered many of the standard annoyances any band faces when going on the road, but they’re annoyances every band has dealt with like adults since live music existed. The reaction his post got was overwhelmingly negative and widespread, probably undoing a lot of the good will he had worked to build on his recent tour.

The same thing goes for when you have a bad show. Every band has them. Every band runs into shitty sound guys, shifty promoters, or crowds completely devoid of energy. It’s part of being a touring musician. Complaining about these things publicly may make you feel better in the short run, but mostly,it just makes you look like a whiney diva.

Does this mean you have to bottle up all these frustrations entirely? Of course not! Just keep it out of the public eye. Joke about it with your bandmates on the van ride to the next city. Call your significant other or a friend back home and vent a bit. Audiences are way more impressed by bands that handle less-than-optimal situations with grace and maturity than those who act like petulant children. Usually when you look back at the situations that frustrate you or make you angry, they’re not really that big a deal. So if you really feel compelled to post something about a fan who annoyed you, a sound guy who did a lousy job, or a promoter who bought the wrong kind of beer for your rider, wait until the next day before you post about it if you feel you really need to. Chances are, your anger will have evaporated, and you’ll be glad you didn’t do it. Think of it like drunk dialing an ex. Sure, it seems like a good idea at the time, but how many people are ever glad they did it in the long run?

Tonight: Assemblage 23 Live in Bonn

If you're in the Bonn, Germany area this evening, why not come out and check out my band performing at Goldener Engel?

[photo via Jacqueline A. Smith]

Yamaha SK-20 on eBay

Info at the listing...

Peavey Analog Filter on eBay

Never knew about this one before...

EMS VCS3 on eBay

Info at the listing...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

An Interview with Yours Truly

Assemblage 23 Interview by DJ Jonthegoth

Here's an interview I did when I was in London a couple days ago for those of you who are familiar with my band.

One You Might Have Missed: Aarto Vaarala Kirnu Arpeggiator

This one has been around for a few months, but it hasn't seemed to have received much press, so I thought I'd mention it here. Kirnu is a full-featured MIDI arpeggiator in plug-in form. Haven't tried it yet myself, but look forward to it. Available in 32 and 64-bit Windows VST and OSX AU format. Oh, and did I mention it was free?

Tonight: Assemblage 23 Live in Frankfurt

Tonight my band will be performing at Nachtleben in Frankfurt, Germany with our friend Architect and Slave Republic. Come on out!

[photo via David Barnett]

Monday, June 20, 2011

Red Korg 707 on eBay

No idea about this one. Does anyone know if red 707's existed, or is this a custom job?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Tonight: Assemblage 23 Live in Glasgow

Tonight I return to the land of my ancestors as my band performs at the Classic Grand in Glasgow, Scotland. Come and have a pint (or six) with us!

[picture via Kelso Photography]