Sunday, 29 January 2012

This is what I call good parenting

I was lucky enough to be encouraged to play music when I was a kid, I always had access to instruments if I wanted them. I always think it's good to encourage kids to play music, and I love to see them enjoying it. Everyone has to start somewhere after all.

I found this video via Synthtopia, and I was very impressed. Apart from the fact that the father is playing xylophone, keyboard, a coke bottle and a tambourine all at the same time, the kids are obviously having a great time, and they remember their cues better than some of the older musicians I've worked with. I couldn't not share it, it made my afternoon.

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Sunday, 22 January 2012

Together in Electric Dreams

Two more Reason patches for you, this time from Philip Oakey's hit song "Together in Electric Dreams". Yes, that song that everyone (including me until about 5 minutes ago) thinks is by the Human League. The two patches I've recreated are the pad from the beginning of the song and the big fat polysynth.

The pad is quite simple, just a filtered square with a short attack and a long decay. I fed this through Thor's chorus to give it the movement that it has in the original track, and also programmed the mod wheel to scale the LFO's effect on the amplifier, effectively creating a tremolo. This isn't a feature of the original patch, but I wanted to add it in to perhaps make the patch a little more versatile for other projects.


The polysynth is a pretty standard 80s sound, and is actually based on an earlier patch I posted called "So Juno". I set Thor up so that oscillator 1 uses a sawtooth wave and oscillator 2 uses a square wave, with pulse-width modulation being controlled by LFO 1, scaled by Rotary 1. Oscillator 3 is also set up as a square wave, but one octave below the other two as a sub oscillator. This configuration was used on Roland's Juno line in the 1980s, as well as the Korg Polysix. This patch only required the sawtooth and sub oscillators, so I turned off oscillator 2.

I assigned the mod wheel to control the filter cutoff, so as it is increased the filter closes, changing the timbre of the sound so that it sounds more like a pad. Once again, this is not a feature of the original patch, nor is this a feature of the original Junos, but I find that it's useful to be able to control the filter cutoff frequency easily.

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Saturday, 21 January 2012

Breaking Radio Silence

Hello! Happy New Year!

I've not posted anything for a while as I've had a fair bit to organise, but I've got some great stuff planned for 2012.

Reason 6

I finally have Reason 6 up and running, so all future project files will no longer be compatible with Reason 5 or below (Sorry folks, that's Propellerhead for you). Fear not however, as the vast majority of the patches I post will still be 100% compatible with Reason 4 and 5, and any patches exclusive to 6 will be marked as such. In the mean time, have a look at some screenshots of a recent session, paying close attention to the n

Drum Recording

Over Christmas I did some work with a good friend of mine Matt Dowson, an absolutely stellar drummer and an all round nice guy. We used my mac and interface and his microphone set to do some drum recordings in a church hall, and I'm quite happy with the results. Some video was taken of the day, so once the audio and video are all nicely synced up I'll pop that up.

In addition to this, in the next couple of weeks I'll be carrying out some recordings for my LinnDrum-style sampled drums. As part of my investigative study I'll be recording some one-shots of different drums and then processing them to sound like early sample-based drum machines, like the Linn LM-2 (LinnDrum) and the E-MU Drumulator.

Refill Review

Aside from my plans to carry on using this blog for my Investigative Study, I'll be talking a lot about my collection of Reason Refills. I want to do a (long overdue) review of Reason Pianos, as well as Abbey Road Keyboards, ElectroMechanical 2.0 and Fairlight Platinum by Bitley.

More Synth Patches

I want to explore different synthesizers, so I'll be doing a couple of tutorials on how to program the same patch across a range of different synths. This will be pretty easy for me, since I have Logic, Pro Tools and Reason to hand, as well as my Microkorg XL. I'll continue to upload patches for the Investigative Study as I create them (I have about 8 new patches for that to go up) and there are a few miscellaneous ones to go up to.

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