Category Archive: Music
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Reactable is an object based musical platform that uses the shapes of objects on a multi-touch like surface to create musical patterns and effects. They have now made a mobile version for iPod, iPhone and iPad. How cool is that?
20 finalists will be selected to have their tracks reviewed by D-Nox & Beckers. The top prize is an iPad. I won’t lie… as some of you know, I wish to move into development of musical apps, so having an iPad would be a big step in that direction. The tricky part about the selection of finalists is that 10 will be selected by Beatport staff. The other 10 will be selected by votes. I could really use some help here. You do have to have a Beatport login to vote, but registration is realtively quick and painless. I would really appreciate any help readers of my blog can muster!
If you just want to listen to the track:
A Guy Called Tom (yes, that’s his name on Vimeo) is using the TouchOSC app on his iPhone to control a modular synthesizer. Pure Data is doing the heavy lifting, converting the data to MIDI. Here is what he says about it:
TouchOsc iPhone app sending osc data into PureData Extended, where it is converted to midi and sent to the Doepfer MCV24 which converts it to voltage and controls the modular synth.
TouchOsc XY Pad controls the pitch of two Thomas Henry VCO-1 which also crossmodulate each other.
TouchOsc Sliders control Elby Steiner filter cutoff, Plan B Model 10 env cycle speed, Doepfer BBD feedback and delay. Thomas White LPG used in both mode for amplification. Delay is a Stereo Memory Man with Hazarai. Sorry for the video quality, its done using a photo cam.
Using TouchOsc is fun, there is a lot of control right at your fingertips. Actually it can control way more than i have to control :) Really cool app. Disadvantage is the steping in the control voltages that you can hear quite well, especially when controlling the pitch of oscillators. Not sure if its the midi resolution, the mcv24 or the application itself.
This is very cool. I was experimenting with TouchOSC during my Special Projects in Music Technology class last quarter. I was just using my iPod to control some sounds in Pure Data, this is taking it to the next level. Maybe even the level after that.
Yes, I just recently wrapped up work on the Sunchase remix contest, and I already have the bug again to work on another one. Not drum & bass this time… this one will be some funky tech house. Details of the contest, sponsored by Beatport and Baroque Records, can be found here. I have most of my remix finished, just adding details at this point. And of course, still need to mix down and master it. I will post a link as soon as it is closer to completion.
On another note, some may have noticed the Soundcloud icon above my sidebar, and the fact it is not working quite the way it should. I wanted to add a Follow Me on Soundcloud link, but the CSS in my WordPress theme is pretty complicated, so I don’t have it working quite the way I intended. Will hopefully have that fixed when I get a chance to work on it.
I reworked the remix a bit, wanted to make it a bit less “abstract.”
I haven’t done a Drum & Bass mix in quite a long time, but overall I am pleased with how this turned out. Mostly new stuff with a few old classic favs thrown in for good measure. Mostly liquid but a little bit of everything and I throw some harder stuff in at the peaks.
Here is the remix I am submitting for the Sunchase “Moulded” remix competition. I spent a lot of time on this and feel good about how it turned out. The two main things I wanted to do was expand on the excellent moody vibe of the original, and also focus on the “futuristic” elements. It’s funny, but to me anything that sounds futuristic reminds of the “old” analog synth sounds – stuff you hear in 80s sci-fi classics like Blade Runner. Or stuff you would hear from artists like Jean MIchael-Jarre or Vangelis. The irony is that these synths have been around for like 40 years, and yet to me they still and probably always will sound futuristic.
I did this in Sonar, and I am still learning my way around the features and quirks of Sonar. All in all, I think it’s a great piece of software, which is why I bought it. However, there are still intricacies I am trying to wrap my head around. The good news is that I learned a lot during this. So regardless of the outcome, I am better for having done it.
I had my doubts about the little guitar and classical segment that I close with. I wasn’t sure that it “fit.” However, as I was working on building up elements for the song, this theme would not leave my head… and I’m a big believer in following inspiration whenever it rears it’s head. So, I spent a lot of time transcribing it from my head, the way I heard it and I decided to go with it, for better or for worse.
Anyways, enough chatter. Here’s the song:
And here’s a clip of the original, for context:
Thanks for listening!
I am busily working on another remix competition. This is for another Drum ‘n Bass tune called “Moulded” by Sunchase. The original track, a nice minimal moody number, is released on the Camino Blue Recordings label. Details of the of contest can be found here.
With the release of DJ Hero and other DJ oriented apps and games, I know there are plenty of DJs and hobbyists out there that view these types of apps with skepticism. I have to tell you, though, DJ Player, by iMecht Ltd. is a fully functional mixing app for the Ipod* that offers a number of impressive features. Having played around with it for the past couple of weeks, I can tell you, this thing is a serious mixing app. One of the things I like most about DJ Player is that the developers made a very intuitive interface that shows they are familiar with what a DJ expects, from a DJ’s point of view. In fact, if I were to develop a mixing app, this comes pretty close to what I would try to offer.
One of the key features that DJ Player offers is the ability to monitor a channel in your headphones. I did have to buy some additional cables and adapters to make this work, which I will detail below, but once the cable setup has been sorted, the ability to do pre-fader listening works like a charm. Also of note, is the ability to tap and store BPMs. Now, many of the tracks that I have purchased from places like Juno and Beatport already have the BPMs calculated, but for tracks that don’t have this, the tap ability is helpful… especially for DJs just starting out trying to learn the craft. Sure, there was a time when I would have considered this cheating, and I still believe nothing is better for learning the art of DJing than beatmatching by ear. But let’s face it, most DJ apps and many mixers already have BPM detection or matching already; the cat’s been out of the bag for some time now. The DJ Player developers would be foolish not to incorporate such a feature in today’s market.
Now, I’m not saying that this is going to replace a complete DJ rig, yet it is definitely robust enough in terms of the features to perform a complete set. For casual gigs such as house parties or just going to the beach with some friends, not having to lug around a bunch of gear and crates, this is where an app loke this can really shine. I also think this is a great set-programming tool for established DJs. Certainly mobile DJs can make use of this type of app and I think it’s a great learning tool for people who want to learn about mixing, but can’t afford a full rig.
Other notable features:
1. Ability to upload songs to your Ipod over Wifi with the included winsync program. I haven’t seen any other app that is capable of this. Just create a playlist in ITunes called “DJ PLAYER” and if your Ipod and computer are on the same wifi network, run the winsync program and input the IP address of your Ipod and hit sync. This will then upload the playlist and all associated songs to the Ipod. Pretty cool!
2. Multi-touch crossfader, pitch sliders, and pitch bend to make realtime adjustments. All of these are customizable in terms of scale and resolution and the curve of the crossfader can be adjusted as well.
3. Several effects including delay, reverb, high-pass and low-pass filters and EQ. These can be triggered via multitouch, or even controller via the Ipod’s accelerometer!
4. Low, mid and treble EQ sliders.
5. Tap function to calculate and store a song’s BPM.
6. Ability to set and save cue points on tracks. This is beneficial if you have a track that has silence, spoken word or ambience prior to the first beat.
7. Sortable playlist. You can sort by title, artist or tempo.
* When I refer to Ipod I am including Iphone and Ipad. I imagine this app would be even stronger on the Ipad with the additional real estate available.
Required cables for PFL monitoring (Headphone cueing):
1. Mini-plug to RCA Y adapter. This will plug into your Ipod’s headphone jack.
2. 2 RCA Y adapters. One for the red and one for the white ends of the mini to RCA adapter listed above.
3. Plug a normal RCA cable into the RCA Y-Adapter attached to the white side of the mini adapter. You may need RCA barrel couplers. This cable will go to your input on your amp, stereo, mixer, etc.
4. Your headphones will plug into one of the RCA connectors on the red side of the mini plug to RCA adapter. You may need one more mini to RCA adapter (not a Y adapter) or 1/4 inch to RCA adapter, depending on what type of connector is on your headphones.
The following video demonstrates real time mixing with this app. Yes, I used BPM syncing to speed things up for the sake of the video, but I still needed to monitor the speed and you will see me make bend adjustments to keep the beat-mixing proper.
There are many online remix contests that allow aspiring DJs and producers an opportunity to remix songs by well-known labels and artists. Aside from the potential attention this can bring someone, there are often very cool prizes associated with these contests.
The only problem is that it is kind of hard to keep track of where all these competitions are. Diego Iglesias has the perfect solution at his blog Find Remix. This site lists all current competitions in a central location – what a great idea! In addition, Diego posts tutorial videos on production techniques in such audio platforms as Ableton, Reason and Logic Studio. Very cool blog, go check it out!
A few months back during my discussions of cover bands, I mentioned Easy Star All-Stars dub/reggae cover version of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. Well, game programmer Brad Smith has turned out his own version of this great album, done 8-bit style as you would hear on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Nice work!Download the album here.
Here’s a sample:
Here’s my entry for the Knowledge Magazine remix competition. The tune is called One Hundred Teeth by Sabre and it is a dark and atmospheric drum n’ bass track. This competition was done in part to promote Sabre’s latest album, A Wandering Journal. Knowledge also interviewed Sabre about his inspirations for the album.
This is a very nice a capella cover of Toto’s Africa performed by Perpetuum Jazzile. The sound effects are very well done, with rain and thunder replicated by finger snaps and foot stomps. Also, cool beat box work in the background.
Here is some video a friend of mine turned me on to featuring C2C competing in the team DJ showcase at the DMC championship in 2005. An amazing performance!
Nice homage to Reservoir Dogs done in the same manner as Kutiman,(which I highly recommend you check out)… meaning the video on the screen is actually the source of the sounds in the music. This one was done by a fella named knoertz. He also does a Pulp Fiction version.