Category Archives: studio diary

studio diary

Resistance is futile

For as long as computers have been a part of music studios, I’ve resisted using them. I don’t know why that is, given my otherwise great relationship with machines. I used to love writing using hardware sequencers, samplers, drum machines….and keeping the computer in a different corner for when I needed to e-mail the band about practice.

Eventually, because it became pretty much impossible *not* to use a computer in the studio, I got one. I can’t say I’ve really regretted it, but I’ve never really embraced it, either. I’ve let it be my tape machine, editor and recorder, but I still prefer to have a room full of synthesizers and even hardware samplers (I will always have a hardware MPC of some flavor in my studio) than to let it all be in the box.

It’s kind of ridiculous if I really think through it. Most of my hardware synthesizers have cheap and easy software equivalents. In many cases, I actually *own* those equivalents, but just don’t use them as much as their real-world counterparts.

This is undoubtedly some sort of psychological thing for me. Making music, being a more ‘physical’ activity, I prefer to be able to physically touch and interact with my instruments in 3d meat space. It feels better touching a ‘real’ instrument instead of mousing about on a virtual one.

In the name of personal grown and exploration, I’m attempting to embrace the computer more in my workflow. I’ve been tempted to sell off large parts of my hardware and *force* that issue…but that’s probably not a very wise idea.

I’m working on a little project now, and I’m going to make it interesting for myself by pushing myself to use a stack of software to get it done. I know, I know…I’m way behind and many of you have been doing that forever. But I’m an old guy with a psychological block against using software. Time I got over that.

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 – 2016-12-19

modular01It’s been a while since I posted one of these, but that’s not becase I’ve been inactive. Quite the contrary, actually.  I’ve been deep in writing what I *think* is goig to be the title track for the new album.  What that title is, I’ll just hold onto for now.  It’s survived the two week test, being a name I’ve been playing with in my head for some time.

The song started as an idea.  Some words written on the train and some sounds swimming in my head.   It’s going to be built around a sound I created on the DSI Pro 2 that shows a different side of that instrument than I normally see.   It’s a softer, gentler, burbling sound that makes for an excellent back drop.  I am countering it’s softness with a wave sequence off of the Kronos.   The more I work with the Kronos, the more I realize it’s an instrument I have been waiting my whole life to own.  It’s absolutly fantastic.

There is a pad melody thats swiming in my head, too.   This is coming off the V-Synth GT and/or the Virus TI.  I haven’t made up my mind yet.

I haven’t made my choice of readers for the spoken word portion of the song that I wrote on the train.  In my head, I heard Neil Degrasse Tyson reading it…but good luck with that.  The more I think, though, the more I want to go into a more gentle and sad direction.

So…right.  Back to it.  I’m looking forward to my vacation next week to really dig in and finish this one.

Studio Diary – 2016-12-13

Tweak till you think you broke it – that’s what today was all about.  

I spent all of my time working with the Dave Smith Pro 2.  This is not a synth that likes to sound ‘nice’ or ‘warm’.  It likes t sound like an audiological middle finger.  I have no problem with this.  In fact, I think this is what makes it a perfect companion to the Virus TI.  They never want to stand on the same ground, and compliment each other well.

Studio Diary – 2016-12-12

I hate December.

The holidays are majorly messing with my ability to create.   Parties, people…and more people. I’m getting into that part of the year where I want to just go hide from everyone and hibernate until after my birthday.

Birthdays…ugh.  I hate them.  Enough said.

I did, fortunately, have some time to work in the studio this weekend.  A little bit on Saturday morning and a little sprinkled through the day on Sunday.   For whatever reason, I decided to work with that Electronic Music Works EMW-300 Controller/sequencer that I bought on a whim a while back.  I’d like to say that I’m finding it’s magic, but I really am not.  There is no way to sugar coat it – buying it was a mistake.   It’s a one trick pony and I don’t like the trick.   What’s worse is I can’t sell it because I found out the clock input isn’t working.   More specifically, the switch that switches from internal to external clock is faulty.   Color me pissed.  Off to the closet it goes.  Maybe one day, I’ll hack the shit out of it or something.

So I guess this is to say the time was not very productive.   Oh well.

Did I mention I hate December?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Studio Diary – 2016-12-06

I didn’t get to spend much time in the studio last night, just a short bit listening to a recording and taking some notes. I’ve got a third concept for a song going and I’m starting to jot down ideas for it’s execution.  It’s likely to be near the middle or end of the album.

The album is not looking like it’s going to be very uplifting.  In fact, each track seems to be a small expression of how I think everything will actually end.  I’m into exploring that a lot at the moment as I need to work through this ever growing pessimism I’ve got seething behind my eyes.

Also, I’ve started making changes around my social media.  I killed any service that just felt worthless and burdensome to me.  I have no use for Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, Snapchat, Ello or….a half dozen other small sites I just don’t bother with.   My media interactions are going to be focused on this blog, Twitter, Facebook and Google + (I had high hopes for that last one, but still believe it’s viable).  Any other social network, I’m killing.

Cleaning up my digital life is important, cleansing.   It’s also clearing up my mind for what’s ahead.

Work calls.   Off to it.

Studio Diary – 2016-12-02

Continued working with the virus tonight. The more I do, the more I get used to it's front panel. It's obvious to me that once access created the VSTi, they decided the front panel ergonomics didn't matter. It's a great synth, but a terrible interface!

I also started toying with a cover I'd thought about conceptually in high school. It's a great classic song who's time has really come around again, unfortunately. I've a singer in mind, and I'm hoping she will work on it with me.