The beauty of electronic music is that anybody with a laptop can be a one-person band, but far too often we are stuck in the grid and our music loses its human element. The beat is not quite locking in a rhythm so you quantize but now it's too stiff and robotic so you readjust, then requantize, then throw your computer on the ground and call it a day. If you've ever found yourself following a similar routine then we have a few tips on what to do in order to add the humanity back into your music.Read More
Touch of Vintage – Melt Factor Free Ableton Effect Rack AfroDJMac has released a free effect rack for Ableton that can add warmth and vintage vibes to any track you add it to. It is part of a larger Pack that includes 40 instrument racks filled with nostalgic charm. Check out the video below for an in-depth look at the Pack with the creator himself. I added the rack to a Wurli track I have in one of my songs and it instantly brought the instrument to life. You can download the Melt Factor rack here for free.Read More
iZotope released a free plugin this week called 'Ozone Imager' normally only available in its mixing/mastering software Ozone. The plugin functions as a stereo monitoring tool and widener and is a powerful plugin in its own right. We threw it on a track to test it out and tell you a bit about its settings.
The first thing we noticed was the three options for visual feedback: Polar Sample, Polar Level, and Lissajous. Polar sample displays dots to represent each sample being heard, dots that fall outside of the 45-degree lines on either side are out of phase. Polar level displays samples as 'rays' and we think makes it is easier to see where your sounds are sitting in the stereo field. Lissajous switches the display into a diamond, your dots will be narrow if your sound is narrow and will expand the wider you make it; also, the dots will lean to either side of the diamond depending on the panning of your sound. On the far right of the plugin you will see a phase meter which represents the average phase, anything equal to or greater than zero is in phase and anything below zero...
LA seems to be breathing with electric excitement nowadays, forming it's own unique culture, without a second thought or single regret. How could it not? LA houses close to 10 million people, hosting an incredibly broad range of cultures and backgrounds which makes the prospect of artistic crossover and experimentation inevitable.
A couple summers ago I met a pair of Irish people who were drunkenly ranting, in bitter tone, about the bubble that LA is, how it is cutoff from real life, the real world, real people... and I had trouble disagreeing, (nothing to do with the number of beers and tequila I had drank,) but because they were right! LA has always had some sort of mythical presence; the land of fame and entertainment, the final destination of aspiring artists, the pinnacle of creative devotion, how could it be connected to the "real world", and more importantly, why would it want to be?
The mellotron is now a classic, vintage instrument that made its mark on legendary tracks like The Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever" and David Bowie's "Space Oddity". The instrument had a spacey and haunting vibe that hadn't been heard before in the 1960s. It behaved like a pre-cursor to our modern samplers as well. Sound was created by a section of magnetic tape connected to the keys that would playback when a key or keys were depressed, and playback would then stop when the keys were released. This allowed for a variety of sounds depending what instrument or sound was recorded onto the magnetic tape. The mellotron was designed to replicate the sound of the original instrument, but replaying a tape created minor fluctuations in pitch and amplitude.
So a note sounded slightly different each time it was played. How hard a player hit a key affected the sound as well. Another distinction in the sound of the mellotron was that each "sampled" note was recorded in isolation and so the sound had hints of being natural and unnatural at the same time.
This week we'll be doing a review of the blog/label submission service - SubmitHub. The service was created by Jason Grishkoff of Indie Shuffle for the purpose of simplifying the song submission process, he knew that blogs/labels want music and that artists want exposure, reviews, and signing. In Josh's own words, "The goal of the website is to centralize the disorganized process of submitting to music blogs. We're here to help curators and artists connect. It's up to them to take it from there :) ".
We had a chance to see the blog review process from the beginning and wanted to share the experience with you.
This week we took a look at a FREE plugin by Socalabs called 'PAPU' which emulates the Game Boy Sound System (or GBS) found in the OG Nintendo Gameboy.
The synth has 2 square-wave oscillators that each can be modulated by Attack and Release, Tune and Finetune, and Pulse Width knobs. The first oscillator offers a pitchshift knob which you modulate by negative or positive milliseconds. A Noise Oscillator is available with A/R knobs, and includes a Shift, Steps button (7 or 15 steps) and Ratio knob to adjust the timbre of the oscillator. All three oscillators have stereo outputs that can be individually switched on and off which allows for some interesting sound design, you could use any combination of. The sounds are absolutely reminiscent of old Nintendo so we thought it would be fun to show you how to achieve a chiptune sound to really spark those memories.
MIDI technology has remained one of the most influential advancements made to music production ever. MIDI keyboards are a staple in the producer's toolkit, letting us communicate between our machines since the 1980's. The one-man-band was hardly realized before the ability to control multiple devices at one time from one place happened, thanks to MIDI. While it's been nearly 40 years since the invention of the Musical Instrument Digital Interface protocol, and while other facets of music tech have moved forward we have seen few significant improvements made to MIDI in this century... until MPE.
MPE is an abbreviation for Multidimensional Polyphonic Expression, which transforms the way to express your playing on MIDI instruments. Normal MIDI messages are limited in that they are applied on a channel-wide basis, messages apply to every note at the same time; if you throw your pitch bend up on that sweet Diminished chord then each note you are pressing is going to bend. MPE utilizes MIDI in a way that allows control over multiple parameters of every note, on each note individually. New controllers have emerged in conjunction with MPE communication to best utilize the expanded capabilities of the technology, i.e. the ROLI Seaboard: