Monday, March 24, 2008

SonArt BassBox Free Sample Pack 1.3 GB of Samples!!!!


Now I normally do not post sample libraries, but when the price is free and it is 1.3 GB of samples I have to pass it along to everyone out there. The sample library appears to be in several sample formats for all of you out there who have that "one" sampler you love so much.

.:SonArt BassBox Free Sample Pack 1.3 GB of Samples!!!!:.

The latest material was created for such styles as Electro, trance styles, DnB, House, Electro, Hip Hop, Jump, hardcore, breakbeat and more!!! The disc contains 640 new patches in 5 different formats (EXS24, Kontakt 2.1, Kontakt, Halion and Wav). BASS BOX creates sounds based on more than 1000 wave forms (1.3 GB / 24-bit quality). While working on the tools we have used a large number of synthesizers and Bass boxes (Minimoog™, Roland Juno 60™, Roland TB-303™, Virus™, Arp Odyssey™, Moog Voyager™ and many others!)

Features in Detail:
* Massive 1.3 gig 24-bit core wav library
* 640 new patches
* 5 different formats (EXS24, Kontakt 2.1, Kontakt, Halion and Wav)
* All NEW Sounds developed by SONART sound designers.
* Hundreds of brand new Basses.
* Fully programmable
* Sounds legendary synthesizer (Minimoog™, Roland Juno 60™, Roland TB-303™, Virus™, Arp Odyssey™, Moog Voyager™ and many others!)

Formats: 1.3GB DVD multipack (1600+ files), includes 24-Bit Wavs (1.3Gb+MB, 1000+ files), EXS24, Kontakt 2.1, Kontakt and Halion patches (640+ files).


Goldfish Live from South Africa


I received an email from these guys a few days ago asking me to check out some of their videos over on their Youtube page. I have to admit, I was expecting only another dance duo result when checking their music, but after I listened to some of the videos I was totally blown away. Mixing in some live tenor sax and upright bass into their set really livens it up. They look to have a great thing going with their style and live set. Be sure to give the video above a look. You can also check out some of their music at their website:

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Tesla Coil Performance at the University of Illinois' Engineering Open House


.:Tesla Coil Performance at the University of Illinois' Engineering Open House:.

I just had to post this one, being that U of I is my alma mater. So we have all seen Tesla Coil performances before. They are all the rage apparently. I don't think we have seen any quite as involved as this one however. So what we have here basically is a performance that occurred during the Engineering Open House that the University does every year to entice new slaves students to the engineering department. U of I for those not in the know has one of the country's primer engineering programs (I was in Poly Sci.....yes.....ahem). Anyways the department every year puts on these crazy demonstrations to wow students and parents on the campus and this year they did a Tesla Performance in a frightening cold 4 degree night. Check out the quote below for how they set it up. Click on the link above for the Quicktime video.

Mark Smart performs live in Urbana, Illinois on March 7, 2008. This outdoor concert was part of a student-run open house for the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois. Tesla coils were used to create musical pitches via a control system designed by university student Steve Ward. Two coils were used. The right coil is playing a pre-recorded Midi track, acting as the bass, and the left one is performed live as a lead sound via the Continuum fingerboard. The Midi track as well as additional audio backing tracks were played via Cubase running on a Open Labs Neko workstation. In spite of the frigid temperatures (4 degrees Farenheit, 26 mph winds), the concert was well attended and was voted the most popular event of the open house.

Way to go U of I. Did I also mention that the Haken Continuum is also one of my most desired pieices of musical equipment that I will never own? Yes.......Yes it is. Thank goodness this open house doesn't appear to have happened on the same day as "Unofficial St. Patties" day as it did a few years ago. Inside wink for any of you who were there back in 2004 or so.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Custom Lemur interface used to control Lucifer VST in Ableton Live.


Here is a video of a custom Lemur interface used to control Lucifer VST in Ableton Live. It is very cool. I didn't even know custom interfaces could be done with the Lemur. More of that stuff needs to start coming out, it really show the power of the Lemur platform.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Nanoloop Jam.


Now here is a micro set worth investing in. Take a Gameboy Micro with Nanoloop, throw in a Korg KP3 and a Kaossilator and you have yourself a wicked groove setup.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Korg DS-10


Your Nintendo DS just got cooler.

AQ Interactive is teaming up with music keyboard specialists Korg for Korg DS-10, a music creation tool for the Nintendo DS.
Korg DS-10, demonstrated in the video at right, is a six track (four drum, two analog synth), 16-step tool that's controlled with the DS stylus.
Additional effects, like delay and chorus, can be added using a mixing board. Multiple copies of Korg DS-10 can even be linked together using a local wireless connection.
Here's the feature list:
World's first music tool software created for the Nintendo DS
Two patchable dual-oscillator analog synth simulators:
Four-part drum machine that uses sounds created with the analog synth simulator
Six-track (analog synth x 2, drum machine x 4) /16-step sequencer
Delay, chorus, and flanger sound effects available from the mixing board
Three note-entry modes: touch-control screen, keyboard screen, matrix screen
Real-time sound control mode via touch-control screen
Exchange sounds and songs and play multiple units simultaneously through a wireless communications link

That pretty much says it all. Such features, combined with portability and what sounds like a pretty versatile bit of software, make the imagination go wild. It's only going to be available in Japan for now; like many people, I'll be holding my breath until it's released in the US. And it WILL be released in the US, right Korg? Unfortunately Korg's ad department needs to do better research before making tall claims, though.

As found via the venerable Wired blog network, with corrections.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Singularity Liveset: Voidloss and Villian - Leytonstoners Bassbin Massacre


.:ingularity Liveset: Voidloss and Villian - Leytonstoners Bassbin Massacre:.

This week's liveset comes from the group Singularity and appears to be recorded at eytonstoners Bassbin Massacre. I think.....To be honest there is no information on this artist or on this liveset. It just showed up in my inbox. If anyone has some more information please let me know. The group's website is very sparse right now with only a splash page, but hopefully some more information will emerge in the newar future. you can find it at:

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Using a Point of Sale (POS) Keyboard in Ableton?


Over at the boards user Vayperlok posted an interesting question regarding a keyboard and Ableton. Now I am sure all of us out there with laptops, especially those used for live usage are looking for the perfect midi controller. We have seen the popularity of Monome and others of its like, but Vayperlok brought up a really great idea. Could you use a POS keyboard instead of a QWERTY keyboard to achieve this goal?

Having an army of self programmable keys in front of you like that seems like it would be a fantastic solution for triggering loops and midi. Has anyone had any experience using a POS keyboard in Ableton or any other DAW? We would love to hear your opinion on the matter of how easy or difficult it is to not only program the keyboard but also setup the DAW software to accept an input keyboard for music notes.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Direct Note Access


Soon to be included with the Melodyne software bundle from Celemony is the revolutionary and exciting piece of technology called Direct Note Access. In short, it can listen to recorded audio, pick it apart into individual notes (including notes played in chords!) and pitch-shift any of the notes independently of one another. This allows anything from the subtle correction of a single incorrect note to changing the key of an entire piece of music. The art of sampling just got an unbelievably valuable tool, as revolutionary as time stretching, pitch shifting and break chopping were previously. Click the above link to watch a video of this technology's inventor explaining Direct Note Access and its applications. This technology will now be standard in all of Celemony's Melodyne software, beginning with Melodyne 2, which is slated for release in the autumn of 2008. When it's available, it will cost $399 (349 Euro), a price which many of us will undoubtedly be willing to pay. Savvy musicians will buy Melodyne 1, which is already a top notch, audibly flawless pitch shifting and time stretching tool, currently available for $299, to take advantage of the free upgrade to version 2 when it becomes available.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ambiloop: Free Realtime Loop Software


Now here is a piece of software straight out of the 1990's. I have known about Ambiloop for probably more than 8-9 years and it is one of those pieces of software that I thought was cool, but never could really find a place for it. I just happened to stumble across it today while browsing on Yahoo Groups. For those who do not know, Ambiloop is a free windows software that essentially is a looping machine. What is so nice about it however is that it basically works endlessly as a tape delay or something like that. Its niche but a very cool concept none the less. If anyone has ever heard William Basinski's "Disintegration Loops" music the concept can be the same.

Quote from the website:

Ambiloop basically functions like a multi-track endless audio tape loop or digital delay box with feedback. Simply set the desired loop time for a track (or use manual mode to set loop times on-the-fly) and press the record button. Incoming audio is recorded in real time for the length of the loop. Recording continues seamlessly as the loop repeats and the previously recorded audio begins playing back at a volume set by the feedback control. Or just grab a single loop on the fly with the Insert Record feature. Ambiloop will play up to eight tracks simultaneously. Loops can be slowed to half speed or played backwards and a multimode filter is available for non-destructive, realtime filtering

It is worth the download just for the fun of it.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Circuit Bent Tr-505


The Roland Tr-505 was the trailer trash cousin of the famed Tr-x0x line. Unlike the other Tr models, the 505 was built for budget musicians. Even the individual outs were missing, and one could not edit the samples. The memory held a paltry 48 patterns and six songs. It did, however, get a decently useful midi implementation and some tiny attractive drum pads. For those reasons, it is a machine ripe for circuit bending. The above video shows just what happens when you start wrenching the guts of this easily had and otherwise forgettable little box.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Great Gear Dilemma


So I am sitting here now writing to the blog in one of those states that I can imagine every single one of the artists who read this blog has weighed in upon at least once before. That is the the writers block issue and also to some lesser extent the organization of your studio equipment. Now my philosophy for writing music is that I try to set a musical goal, style or objective for myself each year when writing my music. For example, this past year (2007) I strove to try to write more dance oriented music. Traditionally that has been very hard for me to get into and I have always been a more chillout/ambient type of artist. Now I think I accomplished that task fairly well, but unfortunately I now find myself sitting here trying to contemplate what my goal is for 2008 as a musician.

For the past three months I have literally sat down in front of my gear and gotten nothing worthwhile out of it. I have when all said and done, writers block. Now I have had writers block before in many instances but I have never really had it to the severity that I have it now. It is now almost mid-March and I have not even written a single four bar loop that I feel has been deserving of being saved. Everything just sort of comes out sounding generic or the same.

So this past week I have been really sort of thinking of how I can break this writers block and it sort of dawned upon me that perhaps what I need is really a change of scenery.  A change in musical gear.   Now I will be honest, I have never really gone through the process of changing around my musical gear, selling some of it off, purchasing new gear and in essence starting from scratch.  Moving from software to hardware is one thing because I quite honestly look at software as being disposable. Hardware on the other hand really feels like an investment and letting it go is going to be hard. To be quite frank, I find the idea more than a  little frightening, but perhaps it is exactly what I need to give myself a spur of new musical ideas. So that is the position that I find myself in today. Do I dare sell everything off and start from scratch?

This has also led me down a second path of dilemma's as well. If I do want to mix up the gear list a little bit what gear to I go out an purchase? What gear to I keep?  I myself have always sort of been a fan of the "workstation" pieces of equipment, but have I alluded to other approaches slightly in my post the other day regarding  SP-404 sampler.  I have since begun taking a look at everything from the Yamaha RS7000 and even the much under discussed Roland MC-808. Do  I stick with this workstation formula or instead begin building smaller pieces of kit focusing on standalone synthesizers, a smaller sampler and perhaps grooveboxes?  The whole process is just now getting more and more into the downward spiral as I weigh, analyze and scrutinize the endless possible combinations of gear setups that I could go with. This adding to the headache that I am not even 100% sure if I can stomach parting with the precious gear that I have spent the last 5+ years writing my music on and you can only imagine how numbing this process may turn out to be.   

So with this all laid out on the table, perhaps I am coming to the conclusion that my goal for 2008 is to rebuild, start from scratch and reboot.  I am curious as to what the readers may think. Have any of you out there ran into writers block as this? Have any of you dove off into the deep end of starting from scratch with your studio or live setups.  I would love to hear any thoughts or ideas people have to weigh in on this topic.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Why Can't Hardware Recorders and Mixers Keep Up?


Every one of us who has been a musician or composer for the past ten years or so has seen and very likely participated in the rise of the software driven music environment. Software and the laptop has pretty much completely taken over music production in almost all aspects. With all of the convertors that are out there  are inevitably those, like myself, who just prefer using hardware. It may be the tactile working, it may be the ability to multi-task on equipment. Whatever the case may be even the hardware nuts like myself have still had the luxury of seeing most of our synthesizer and music production gear progress and evolve in parallel to the software world. That is except for the hardware recorders and the mixer industry.

I am not sure if you have really had an opportunity to look around at the mixer and harddisk recorder field as of late but if you compare the feature specs and the capabilities to any of the latest music interfaces on the market, they simply cannot compare. One of the most glaring deficiencies in both of these fields is the lack of stereo input channels and in general the lack of affordable multi-track recording.  Our software these days lets us record and mix unlimited tracks, IN STEREO that we can then pump out to the PA system generally for as low as a few hundred dollars, yet you would be hard pressed to find an analog or digital mixer even to this day that features more than four or five 1/4" paired stereo inputs for an affordable price.

Lets take a quick look at some of the most common mixers around and see where they stand.

Mackie 1202-VLZ3:   $300 a 12 Channel mixer that features only four channels (eight as mono) configurable for stereo. That means I can only plug in four synthesizers, samples, workstations in and have them feature stereo sound.

Yamaha MG166CX: $500 Sixteen channels again with only four configurable (again eight as mono) for stereo input.

Soundcraft EPM12:  $430   12 channels, none configurable as stereo.

The downfalls don't just seem to be there however. The recording platform equally has its shortcomings. If we look at a digital 8-12 track workstation in the likes of Tascam and so forth we will find that there are plenty of 8-12 track recorders available. However, again their flexibility comes up short with almost every single one featuring a lack of inputs and recording options. The Boss DR-1200 for example comes in at $895 and features only two track, mono simultaneous recording. The new Akai MPC5000 which comes in at $2500  only offers up to eight tracks and the powerhouse Korg D3200 at a price of $1300 only offers twelve mono tracks. Does it really cost that much more to run some analog circuitry for more inputs?

I suppose the run around to my point here is , why I can get such great innovation with the Elektron Monomachine, the Access Virus or the Waldorf Blofeld in the hardware arena, yet at the same time not even get evolutionary features such as the capability of receiving paired stereo 1/4" inputs on all of the available channels in a mixer?

Is it really too much to ask to just be able to plug in more than four pieces of gear as stereo using 1/4" unbalanced plugs?!?!?!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

SP-404 Studio Jam


Sampling has never been one of the arts that I have been able to master and unfortunately it has never found a place really in my gear set at all. I am constantly on the look out for a sampler to somehow incorporate into my gear and normally everyone's suggestions for the live artist gravitate towards the MPC series or the Korgs ESX-1. All that being said I have on several occasions looked at the SP-404 from Roland as another alternative and I think it is unfortunately overlooked in many circles. . In the video above we have drewzle showing a nice little off kilter usage of the 404 and it gets me thinking again about this oft under looked groove sampler.

Tom COSM Liveset from New Years Eve 2007


.:Tom COSM Liveset from New Years Eve 2007:.

We have another liveset from a regular here on the LivePA blog. COSM. This set is recorded from his New Year's Eve gig down in New Zealand at the Cannan Downs Festival.

COSM Quote:

The event was called Cannan Downs Festival ( ), a party held in a very famous NZ party spot. The site was the first outdoor festival I went to when I was younger (getting blown away/inspired by the likes of Pitch Black), and I always told myself one day I would play the countdown set.. so it was a real special treat for me.

The set is big outdoor proggy trance/house, moving into more minimally technoey electro stuff.. most of it is quite new.

As usually be sure to check out all of COSM's stuff over at his website.