Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Making the Time

First of all, are you sleeping 8 hours a day? Well, that has to stop. It needs to be cut down to 6 or 6.5 hours per day with a half hour nap upon returning from work. Basically 6 hours at night plus that half hour nap. Then again maybe you have spare time, I don't.

Let's smell the coffee together. releasing my first CD , your first CD will take time and it requires putting in the time. This doesn’t mean that we need an 8 hour day but we do need to find 1.5 to 2 hours a day and try to push for 3 to 4 hours on Sat. and Sundays. For most people that's do-able. It just requires some time management.

Now that we have decided to put in the time I'm afraid that putting in the time is not enough, it has to be quality time. You cannot be falling asleep at the wheel or with your guitar strapped on. So when would that be? What is the best time to focus on your obsession ? You may not be at your best after a hard days work. So for me and because of that the best time turns out to be in the morning after having had some rest and regained the alertness to let the creativity flow.

Those first 5 minutes are tough, still are today and even after a few months but I have my techniques and very strong dark tea.

My morning starts by actually standing up to turn off an alarm strategically too faraway to snooze off and the knowing that I have to be quick not to disturb the rest of my sleeping pack. That is followed by some shock therapy. I start with a burst of refrigerated pressurized saline spray right into my eyes , face and nose. Followed by more cold water on my face and back of my neck. I then go to the kitchen guzzle some oj for the sugar rush, and fuel up with nuts and dates. Then a couple sets of push ups and then and only then am I awake enough to think about music.

A mountain will never be climbed if you don’t put one foot in front of the other.

So what are you doing to climb your mountain ?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

REAPER | Download

Just in time for Christmas:

REAPER Latest Version

REAPER v2.54 - December 22, 2008

* Dynamic split detection improvements
* Action: restore previous scroll position
* ReaVerb/ReaSamplomatic user/gdi object leak fixes
* Docked midi editor / fx window / mixer user object leak fixes
* Fixed looped-resampled-item glitches
* ReaSynDr, ReaSynth, ReaSamplomatic, ReaTune: smoother automation
* JS: fixed some issues with small increases in PDC
* Better wav/wv project filename setting when autosaving to .wav.rpp
* MIDI bank/program tracking fixes, duplicate note removal
* OS X performance updates
* Display rendering updates
* Faster meter rendering
* Left/right edge adjustment snapping now respects X track-distances like moving
* Massive memory use reduction when using large numbers of MIDI files
* Fixed bugs removing automated parameters from ReaPitch/ReaDelay/etc
* Fixed end/start of item sample rounding for items with no fades
* OGG decoder: fixed subsample seeking accuracy
* Clipping fix for fully buffered peaks drawing mode


Friday, December 19, 2008

2009 Release of RealBand and Band in a Box

Both of these products can create great stub or placeholder tracks. Great tools for n brainstorming a new tune.

Here's a blurb from their site including links to video and audio. Check it out:

Watch the Videos!

There are Video Demos here:
- BB 2009 Features video: (or download )

- RealTracks demo: (or download )

Listen to the audio demos below!

Audio Demos for All 101 new RealTracks

(note: many of these demos are demoing the RealTracks instrument only, and have MIDI tracks as well to accompany them. We will be replacing those MIDI instruments with "Real-only" demos.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Inspiration , where does it come from?

  1. Internal
  2. External

Internal inspiration is what comes to me when I walk my dog or at other unexpected times. Since it's unexpected it is best to be prepared. My pda cellphone has an audio recorder which I use to capture these gifts .

Then there is the forced type of inspiration which one forces to different degrees. For example:

  1. Record yourself Jamming to somebody else's music.
  2. Record yourself doodling on your instrument.
  3. Jam to your fav. synth patch
  4. Jam to some drum loops
  5. Grab a midi file from the web, strip out the melody and drop some riffs.
  6. Grab a lead sheet, copy chord changes into Band in a Box or Jammer then drop some riffs.
  7. if you can, do all of the above on a guitar, bass, keyboard end vocals. you will get different results

Word of advice make recording easy. I have set up things so that pressing the low E in my Keyboard controller will trigger recording.

After this initial important step produces the seed for your new tune, its important to commit. commitment is essential. Without it one can get stuck, in "doodling" land for a very long time. Been there , done that. and it is hell.

Rev: 1.1

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Trinity is Complete

I finally took the plunge and bought Trilogy the last in the trinity of Spectrasonic’s instruments:

  • Omnisphere
  • Stylus RMX
  • Trilogy

This now gives me a go to bass module and its really all there. It truly sounds great and now I’ll be eligible to the upgrade to Trilogy’s STEAM engine integration.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Methodology For creativity

A methodology is:

A set or system of methods, principles, and rules for regulating a given discipline, as in the arts or sciences.

It's a way of thinking about a subject matter, in other words a way to skin a cat. This is my personal method. Developing from thoughts I gather as I try to compose music to my satisfaction. Ideas that can turn into a process which I hope will make me more fluid and ultimately more productive. A lot of these ideas come from my software development experience but most from my struggles with composition.

So lets start by brainstorming some concepts:

  1. Inspiration
  2. Commitment
  3. Vision
  4. Big Picture
  5. Go with the Flow
  6. Development
  7. Stamina
  8. Energy
  9. Space
  10. Gravity
  11. Direction
  12. Focus
  13. Contrast
  14. Speed
  15. Incremental and cyclical
  16. PlaceHolders

Enough for now. Next I will try to define these terms.

Coming Soon.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Naming your Chords

I find it very useful to setup what I call a "Chords" track. For the
same reason that chord names are specified in most modern compositions i.e. Jazz and Pop music. I first tried doing this with markers in Reaper but that was less than ideal. Recently , it occurred to me that I could simply record basic block chords for the changes in question. Then its a matter of splitting the chords track into generally 2 , 1 or half a measure in duration accordingly. Not only can I see what exact change I'm on but I can also listen. Check out what I mean in the pic below.

BTW , do you find this useful ?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Making a Push with ScribeFire

ScribeFire is a Firefox addon that besides being a pretty decent blog editor it has the added benefit that one can work offline. That along with my new UMPC and AT&T 3G LaptopConnect card will give me less available excuses to not blog more actively. Of course, that's a bunch of BS. Either I'm too unsure, have nothing to say, have no reason to say anything or think that nobody's listening , these are all better explanations than suggesting that I don't have enough time.

But time will see.

Anywho, this is my first ScribeFire blog.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stickys for your DAW ?

I would love to be able to freely drop notes over the wave form track area of my DAW. I'm using Reaper. Basically this amounts to Stickys , little memos one leaves behind to remind oneself of issues, action items etc. In the case of a DAW these notes would be associated with a specific position on a timeline and for a specific track. Global markers can already be left in Reaper but they just amount to a label on the timeline. There is not much room to leave much of a note at all. Pretty powerful way of getting the big picture , whether the project is still an evolving tune or whether everything has been tracked and is ready for mixing. Some other Reaperites feel the same way. See here. Hopefully it will catch on.

If the reader knows of any DAW that already does something like this please drop me a post. thanks.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Portable Vocal Booth

About a year ago it occurred to me to research if somebody had built some sort of mechanism to handle recording vocals in very hostile spaces i.e. my home studio. I could viably DI everything else but vocals were a problem. At the time I found the SE Reflection Filter. Yesterday on the Reaper forum, I bumped into the Real Traps Portable Vocal Booth. Its for one much larger and just in that sense it seems more effective. Also because of its size it has more applications e.g. it is viable to use it to isolate a guitar amp. It goes for the same amount of cash which is just under $300.00. Check them out.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Reaper Skins

Its amazing the number of skins available for Reaper. This is one of the new flavors of the week , most of them created by the community.

Pod Farm Is up!!!

See the discussion at Reaper forum:

Here is the line6 page for it:

Pod Farm is the next incarnation of the Line6 GearBox plugin. If you owned that just doing update via the Line6 Monkey is only you need to do. The UI looks much better and you do get dual amp configuration which is nice. Time and playing will show whether there is more tone. It does seem to come with more pre-sets which include the GearBox plugin presets.

Is this Delicious

Lately , I was turned on to Delicious. They have been around for a while so I'm a bit late to the party. Very useful especially to bookmark the posts I make into the various forums and some of the resulting web surfing that arises from that. You can embed your delicious links into your blog as I have done on the right panel of this blog. I might move that to the main content area. I wish that there was a filter so that I could limit the links here to be just music related links. Currently , either one shares a Delicious link or not.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Just went alpha

no not alpha male but I did just get my Frontier Designs AlphaTrack which has to be one of the coolest control surfaces out. It installed in a second and became immediately useful and immediately indispensable. Click on the image and check it out.

Monday, January 07, 2008

BFD 2.0 looks amazing but ...

If you looked at the demos, it was simply a no brainer, if you had BFD 1.5 you simply had to purchase the upgrade and quickly, it was that impressive, and it is but I can't help thinking that Fxpansion may have been pressured by their retailers to have this available for the xmas / end of year retail season. I think that maybe its release was a tad early.

The features, the sound quality, the workflow, the interop to trigger units, the number of grooves provided all of these make BFD quite arguably the top virtual drum package. Unfortunately, I don't get to enjoy all of that. I'm still trying to make sure that my investment in some of the expansion paks is safeguarded. You see the upgrade process from 1.5 to 2.x is not free of its kinks and so I have started the year on a very frustrating note indeed. That's what I get for being an early adopter :)