During the last weeks I've been rediscovering some old and forgotten equipment lying around in my studio, and... I'm starting to have doubts. Doubts of the so-called excellence of modern sound. Maybe I'm entering the age when all new becomes bad and all old gets the shimmer of coolness and all, but I don't really think so.
I won't go so far to say that all those people who have been raving about the enormous benefits of analog summing and the ultimate power of analog equipment are the true prophets - but I am starting to understand that they might have a point.
Win free unique sounds.
During the summer we will have a prize draw - with the chance to win a unique, personal soundset for a synthesizer of (almost) your choice.
All you have to do is go to our Facebook page and 'Like' it. It's worth liking anyway. If you do this before the 1st of august 2011 - you'll be in for the draw. The first of august the winner will be selected and notified.
The prize is a soundset designed for you and you alone. This bank of sounds will not be on sale or distributed in any way. A personal sound bank in one copy only.
Also note that all participants will be awarded with a free sample pack with unique contents not available in any other way.
Last week was an interesting one to say the least. Music software giant Native Instruments succeeded with first pissing off a whole community, and then releasing something so damn weird you started to wonder if the people running Native Instruments are making their marketing decisions while being drunk.
What happened last week was this. Flagship product, super synthesizer and central sound organizing hub Kore is being discontinued.
As we all know, software instruments come and go, applications for making music come and go. There is no strange things about that. But the way Native Instruments pulled this off made me wonder how connected they are with its user base.
For about ten years ago I had a discussion with a friend about finding the perfect workflow. Already then he was totally fed up with the clutter of traditional daws - Cubase specifically - and all he wanted was a way to combine the ease of use of old tape recorders with the possibility to do edits, overdubs and the occasional use of plugins.
Lately I've been thinking a lot about workflow and I've come to the conclusion that a perfect working environment has to give you both ease of use and as well as a certain amount of resistance/problems/limitations.
Let me just give you a few examples.
-Hello, my name is Carl and I'm addicted to music gear.
-I haven't bought anything new for 14 days now, but I am starting to feel weak. I think I need a fix real soon.
Everybody I know of who are into making music are more or less gear-o-holics. There are always convincing reasons why to get that new audio interface, master keyboard, hardware synth, vintage compressor or that new microphone. Whenever I start speaking to my wife about something I JUST HAVE TO BUY, she smiles broadly and prepares for the ride. She have heard it all before.
I won't be wasting your time by telling you that you don't need anything more. Of course you don't. Damn it - you don't even need new strings for your guitar. Does it sound out of tune? All the better.
But that files under creativity and is not the purpose of this post.
No, the point of this post is to plant the seed of question about controlling digital equipment. I will tell you things that you most likely won't agree with, but I have seen the light and now the gospel has to be spread.
The truth is: midi controllers are a nearly pointless piece of equipment, that will not help you create better music in any way.
Soundmaking on the Solaris.
The last three days with the Solaris have been most interesting.
People who regularly read this blog knows I am a serious fetishist when it comes to bass sounds. It would be expected that I would churn out bass sound after bass sound - but this have not been the case. Melodic sequences and soft timbres slowly evolve from my little studio - which is kind of weird, since I normally rarely make those kinds of sounds.
It's not difficult to create bass sounds with the Solaris - you can, and when you do the results are impressive. But it requires a closer attention to details than with other sounds. I wouldn't go so far to say the Solaris is a pad and lead machine, but it most definitely pulls you toward those kind of sounds.
Solaris starting up.
Spring is typical. I mean, really really typical. Months go by and you work in a comfortable tempo, all is well and then suddenly - bam! Everything is happening at the same time. The magazines I work for want more material, I'm asked to make a gig so cool that I possibly cannot refuse and on top of that I get an email from John Bowen asking me if I could help him create some sounds from his hardware synthesizer, the Solaris, for the upcoming Frankfurt Messe.
You simply cannot say no to any of these things. And on top of that I decided to write a small diary of my thoughts on the Solaris.
First and last generation.
Writing about and reviewing products is a subject that is brought up in forums and reader correspondence, and it generally follows the same story. Someone has read a magazine, got annoyed because 98% of the products got at least 8/10 ratings and/or a fancy award. Conclusion - the reviewers are in the pockets or the advertisers or simply bribed.
After working in the publishing business as a daily job for many years, I have to say that - sadly - I still haven't met a music technology journalist who drives a BMW or bloating around in a Hummer.
Writers in this genre are not bought, nor incompetent.
I am not entirely happy in this overly digital time. Don't get me wrong. While I do love plugins and how much easier they make production for me. I love being able to stroll around the net and find Just The Right Plug, download the demo, buy it and having it installed and running within minutes. The more I think about it, the more ecstatic I become. It's just so damn awesome. Just to celebrate this fact, I'll go buy a new plugin right now.
But for the rest - well, yeah. Sure. I do like being able to download my favorite artists knowing they get more of my money now than before - and sure, there is a wealth of new music that I've never heard before and an even larger amount of brilliant music will never reach my ears. And sure - I'm not lying sleepless in the night agonized by the financial troubles that certain record companies are now facing seriously bad times. They should have been gone a long time ago and while I'm not Paul the Octopus, there is a real possibility the world is going to be better without them.
Never apologize. It's a sign of weakness.
First of all. Sorry. I'm damn sorry. I've really been missing posting at regular intervals, but sometimes big stuff is coming your way and sometimes it's bigger than that. Two times bigger, to be exact. Move house & getting married. In other words, it's been totally insane.
At times like this, you don't prioritize. You simply shut off entire parts of your life just to be able to get along. The Band? Forget it. Concerts? No way. Even the latest news about the music tech world becomes totally irrelevant. But sooner or later pace is slowing down and you'll find yourself trying to get back in the saddle again.