Category Archives: gear

Logic and Other thoughts

I am sick of blog posts starting with “It’s been a while and I’m sorry”. There are like, 4 of you that read this. I’m not fucking sorry at all.

Anyway, it’s been busy around camp NoiseTheorem. A lot of mundane house activities with a little studio time. Trying to get back into it, but my muse has been eluding me lately.

Speaking of my muse, it’ve been thinking about her a lot lately. Seen her in my dreams. There are many ways to interpret this, but I see it as her taunting me. She’s so close, I can almost smell her, but really…your muse doesn’t give a fuck about you and your productivity. It will come when it pleases and you just have to live with it.

Well, that got dark and angry really fast. Typical me, typical me…

I’ve started evaluating my studio again for some reorganizing. I’ve meant to write up the DeepMind12 for so long now that I think everyone’s forgotten about it and moved on. I’ll short that conversation by saying that I love it, but it’s literally nothing I can’t do with my Virus…or my Kronos…or my V-Synth. Yeah, it’s true analog, and I love that you can absolutely *nail* a Roland Juno 106 impression out of it, but that’s also a synth that I played out in 1994. That said, I do love recreating my old 106 patches and then taking them further by adding dynamic expression and FX. Kinda reminds me a little bit of the Alesis Andromeda, actually. Now if they could just go back and put a second filter and a few more LFO’s on there, I’d be happy as a pig in shit. As it is, this one’s probably going on the stack of ‘occasional use’ instruments, and not going to be my synthesis workhorse.

I got a modded minibrute in a trade. Anyone want to buy/trade for my minibrute? I don’t know why..I love the sound, but I can’t see myself really using it that much. I’d like it modded into a full eurorack module or parted out into a series of them. That would be cool if someone wants to try..

The new novation stuff looks really awesome. I want the Peak, but it would probably just end up being like the DM12. I don’t really need it, so why go through the hassle of having it?

I also got back on the Logic Audio bandwagon. That one deserves a full post, and I’ll write that later. In 7 or 8 months. when no one cares.

Studio Diary – 2016-11-27

Not much to report from this weekend. I had very little time in the studio. Friday was Pigface 25th anniversary, and I got home…the next day. Spent that day largely recovering.

Sunday, a friend bought a Yamaha REFACE CS…whatever…over. I don’t know the model number. It’s a fun little synth. I hate, hate, hate minikeys and nothing will ever change that. For what it is, it was pretty cool. If it were $100, I’d consider one.

I wish Yamaha would bundle all their REFACE boxes into a single, awesome synthesis workstation with a great interface and digital connectivity beyond USB. I think that’s about as likely to happen as an asteroid landing on Donald Trump. Oh well.

Tonight, I’ve got some dedicated studio time. I’ve got a nice drone patch on the Virus TI that I’d like to record some source material with. I’ll post it up if I think it stands on it’s own.

Or maybe not..

So I thought about it…maybe I should keep the blog around, if only for jotting down a few thoughts and keeping my mind on music.

I’ve been considering my goals for the next album. Aside from the usual ‘pushing myself artistically’ and so forth, there are some things I’d like to do that are more about process than art. There are some tools in my studio I’d like to find a way to shoehorn in to this process.

First and foremost, I’d like to make a lot of use of the hours and hours of audio I’ve been capturing on my field recorder the last few years. I’ve got gigs of back yard recordings, walks in Chicago, construction sights, coffee makers, garage noises and every noisemaking toy my son has received since he was 3 that I can draw from. All of it is poorly cataloged and completely unorganized. That actually might be a good thing, since not knowing the source of a sound makes it easier to divorce your mind from that source and to think of the sound as something else. I’ll be making heavy use of Adobe Audition for this, which I didn’t have the last time I did an album.

Another thing that needs to make it into the workflow is the iPad. Ideally, I’d like to start a track on it, or develop assets for a track using the various apps on it. I’m sure if I put my mind to it, I could do an entire track in Korg Gadget and Akai iMPC Pro. Samplr and probably the Thor app by Propellerheads would probably be a good fit.

I’d like to find someone who plays hand drums to work with. A drummer would be really cool. Vocalists, obviously. I wish I could find an actual writer to help with the lyrics/thematic material.

That’s just a few of the points I’d like to hit. Obviously, there are modular workflows i’d like to explore as well. I’ve never really done percussion on the modular, and maybe that’s something to be explored as well.

I’m not going to guilt myself with deadlines or promises that I may not be able to keep, I’ll just say that I’m going to make progress, steady progress, and it will be done when it’s done.

Do you want to contribute to my next album or broadcast? Contact me, and let me know what you have in mind.

Deep Diving on Select Gear

It has occurred to me that I don’t really know my instruments. It has also occurred to me that some of my most popular posts from my previous blog sight were synth reviews. In the spirit of killing two birds with one stone, I’ve decided that I’m going to start doing a series of deep-dive reviews of each instrument I currently have. It seems like a fun idea and one I think will be well received.

The hard part is choosing where to start. In the spirit of being somewhat interactive, I’ll let the readers/friends decide.

Pick One:

Korg Kronos X
Roland V-Synth GT
Novation UltraNova
Roland JP8080
Studio Electronics SE1
Emu Command Station XL7 (with ROMS)
Korg Prophecy
Dave Smith Instruments Pro 2
Access Virus TI2 DarkStar
Dave Smith Instruments PolyEvolver
Ensoniq EPS16+
Emu E6400
Kurzweil K2500
Elektron Analog Rytm
Elektron Octatrack
Aka MPC1000

Vote in the comments.

Choosing my DAW

For a while now, I have been using Reason 8 as my primary DAW. My previous album, Dust, was recorded using Ableton Live 8. The question I am wrestling with as I begin my new album is if I want to continue using Reason 8 or go back to Live 8 (and upgrade to V9) to work on the new recording?

Both environments have their plusses and minuses. For the way I work, my DAW is basically a big multitrack tape deck with some cool editing capabilities. I tend to work with long linear performance tracks that I perform minimal edits on. I don’t do the micro-editing every-little-sample-in-the-right-place style of overworking tracks into dullness (I have a whole blog post I could make about that, but it wouldn’t make me many friends..) and prefer to do most of my thinking in the peformances. For this, both DAWS are fine. I do feel that Reason may be a bit more focused for this type of editing since Live seems to focus on the clip view (which I honestly never use, not even in writing).

Live, however, has VSTi, which reason just plain doesnt. I don’t use VST instruments, but I have a *lot* of FX. Also, sometimes its nice to build a quick something in Reaktor and use it on a send. Can’t do that with Reason without looping the audio through a third application.

I *could* try rewire…but I’ve never had luck getting that to work and not crash projects.

hmmm…

Overall, I’ll probably go with Reason for this one. It just kind of makes sense to go with the simpler tool. Also, I really like the way I can build FX chains by patching cables. For an oldschool guy like me, that speaks to my home and where I came from as a musician.

So…decision made: Reason 8 for entanglement. Time to start recording…

 

Writing

I’ve been assembling the gear and arranging it so that I could start in earnest the process of writing a follow up to 2012’s ‘Dust’.  I am glad to say that I think I am now ‘there’ as far as the cast of characters I am going to use to produce this album.  For all of my fellow gear nerds, this will be my core tool set:

  • Eurorack Modular System (of course)
  • Virus TI2 Polar Dark Star
  • DSI Pro2
  • Elektron A4, Octatrack and Analog Rytm
  • Korg KronosX

I will, of course, be bringing in other tools from my storage closet as I feel the need.  My first track that I am writing now is using the Akai MPC1000 through a mess of pedals (Korg SDD3000, Rodeck Restyler, Eventide ModFactor) and that’s turning out well.  I like this concept of core devices and rotating in and out the extras.  It makes the setup more manageable.

So writing has begun…and I will post about my concepts soon.  Time to get to it.