Saturday, June 27, 2009

Trine PC demo now available

Trine, a magical new gaming experience, is coming our way courtesy of Finnish developers Frozenbyte, makers of the acclaimed Shadowgrounds. In Trine, players take control of a band of adventures and guide them on a journey of soul-shaping proportions. In this co-op enabled experience you'll take control of Pontius the Knight, Zoya the Thief, and Amadeus the Wizard.

Watch the Trine trailer.

Each character has a distinct set of moves that enable them to solve puzzles and traverse the 2D landscape. Pontius is the master of combat, taking on the undead with a fury. Zoya is light and nimble while using a grapping hook to avoid spike filled chasms. Amadeus is able to conjour boxes and move platforms about with his levitation magic.

Trine has a marvelous sense of style and utilizes NVIDIA's PhysX technology for breathtaking detail. The world comes alive as you bound from platform to platform, break passages with battering rams, and take the high road using rotating floors.

You can check out the demo now available on PC. Trine will be available on PC and PSN and is now available to pre-purchase via Steam.

Trine PC Demo.

new track completed

I've finished up a track I've been working on titled BeeLine (previously Ente Ente). It will be released on NeoGAF's upcoming GAME 5 summer album. I'll post an update as soon as the album is released.

As always comments and critiques are very much appreciated!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Review: Woodnote - Söppel EP

Here's another free EP from a member of IDM Forums.

I. Dig. This. My fiancee can't get over this song either :)
It MUST have been MacAvity. There's no one like MacAvity ;p
The vocals just fit, the little blippy synth makes me blush, just great all around. Perfect opener for the EP.

Frank's Pretty Colours
This girl is smooth. It's a warm summer day, going for a drive down by the beach. A sense a slight retro 60's vibe. Then those funky, funky keys drop in like molasses. Real syrupy, they staple that tempo down, cement the beat.

What a fitting name. I want to say the intro reminds me of being in a cave, watching stalagtites drip onto the floor. This is a groovy little funker. That little blippy synth line just makes it (again). This one rolls off your tongue at the end.

It is funky - takes me back to the mid-90's. Smooth and buttery, great vibe.

Woodnote's got himself an amazing piece of work here. I can see myself putting this on constant rotation in my playlist, in fact I already have. Swaying my head side to side.

Download link:

Monday, May 4, 2009


There's no point in having a blog if I never use it. Why discover new tricks and techniques and not discuss them - even if I'm the only one to read this? Repitition fosters learning, plus I can look up information I may lose in a torrent of bookmarks. My lastest sources for music techniques have been Nhomas' Guide To Mixing, RavenSpiral's Guide To Music Theory, and Sound On Sound's Synth Secrets. I've been pouring over all three of them and devouring the content inside.

Nhomas is a member of IDM forums and released a guide to mixing a few months ago. There's a wealth of knowledge in there. A lot of it I'll read but won't necessarily understand what to do with it until I see it in action at a later date.

Robert Babicz about mastering audio from David Star on Vimeo.

Today I stumbled upon this post talking about Rob Babicz's (aka Rob Acid) mastering process [video link] and some of his techniques. Apart from using one hell of a spring reverb he uses chains of compressors to develop his sound. One technique he talked about was something I had read earlier in the mixing guide but didn't grasp, parallel compression.

Parallel compression [video link] is pretty much just what it sounds like. You have a dry signal going to your master bus, but also to a send with a compressor on it. This compressor can be anything from a short attack/decay with massive gain and threashold for drums (so called 'New York Compression'), to a long attack, short decay and wicked compression for a pumping/throbbing sound. I tried both of these, putting my drum send to the NY Compression send and my bass to the 'throbbing' send. The bass really stood out in the mix and the drums had a nice decay once sent through the compressor. The beauty is being able to mix in the results to your taste. Most of the applications I found in parallel compression call for a low mix of compression with a high mix of dry signal, and it's a solid technique - one I think everyone should at least experiment with.

Sound on Sound's Synth Secrets is just that - a guide to getting the most out of synthesis. I'm only on part 10 (out of, what, 40?) and I've only touched the basics. I already knew a great deal about synthesis, but these are great articles with amazing information. It's very easy to read and I've already picked up a bunch of tips I wouldn't have discovered otherwise.

As for RavelSpiral's Guide To Music Theory, well, I have none of that. It's 93 pages of scales, chords, modes, etc. Most of the things you'd expect to find in a guide like this. The great thing? It's easy to read, free, and focused on electronic music. You'll learn that the blues scale is great for jazz bass (a given for the name, but something I never even knew about) and with the wholetone scale you can easily write fantastic acid lines. Not to mention it's full of wit and humor directed at the electronic scene (Drum & Bass jokes abound!).

So that's what I've been up to. I also have a new track I'm working on that I'm going to enter into GAME 5. The last few tracks have fallen short, but this one is turning into something special. I know I've said that before, but I really, truly dig this track. Once this track is completed I think my music will take me someplace more serene. I've been hit hard with inspiration via Boards Of Canada, and I can't wait to tackle a nice warm, silky, crackly, BoC-type track soon. I already have a vocal snippet I plan to eradicate for this project.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Mosiac Mosaic - Both Sides Of The Same Side EP

A wonderful piece of work by a member of IDM forums. A must download. What follows are my feelings of each track.

Irresolution (Solution)
Guitars bouncing back and forth backed by a dirty industrial complex. A very relaxing piece. Silky smooth reverberations that pulse and evolve yet stop just sort of a fantastic breakdown.

Bird Rib
Lots of crackling, bleeps and blops fly around the sound-field. Beautiful acoustic guitars combine with broken fax machines and stutter to a close.

If I Had A Hi-Fi
More upbeat from the start. Stuttering beats and rhythms breath life into the track. The guitar scratches away from the silence in the middle of the song adding a subtle layer that isn't noticeable at first but adds a warmth to the soul of the song.

Mr. Owl
A piece most ethereal - speaking of wise old age and patience. Everything is smooth and soft yet glitchy and noisy. A very soothing piece, reminiscent of Boards of Canada. Fine craftsmanship polished into an imperfect perfection. My favorite piece in the EP.

Overall this EP is simply put, brilliant - excellent. It has a cohesiveness that is hard to find and brings the whole album together into a netting of warmth. I can't help but compare it to BoC - dirty, warm, soft, silky, bubbly, and glitchy.

Highly recommended.

4 Tracks
Running time - 9:24
Download Link:

Monday, March 23, 2009

coming along

I've been working (mostly) on the song that I started on the 19th. I've gotten a nice progression so far. Along with what I had, I've switched up the bassline with a few breaks, and added a couple extra instruments.

I've changed a few things since this upload. Mainly lowering the cutoff on the bassline (it was a little too rezzy) and upped the last synth line an octave.

Along with this song I came up with two other loops. One's an arpeggiated Cynthia VST line with some drums and the other is a house-y riff with some simple drums. I'm keeping those on the backburner until I finish this song - just adding to them when I get an idea in my head.

I also got some graph paper out today to map out song structures. I was stumpted as to how to advance on my tunes - they tend to end up too repetitve. So I went after 'Got Glint?' by The Chemical Brothers. I love how their songs are simple in structure, yet have so much going on. They're masters at tossing about little effects and sounds. I'm going after that in my current work - hopefully I can come somewhat close.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

back on track

After being lax on music for the last month I'm back in the groove. I went to revisit WiP 7 (out of 8) but ended up, as usual, starting a whole new track. It's really smooth and groovy - tastes like wine.

I was reading up on techniques, namely Breakbeats via Wikipedia. I knew the fundamentals thanks to The Chems, so I took a hand at creating a polyrhythm with a dash of syncopation for good measure. I came out with a funky little drum line. I planted a bassline on top of that and added some wispy pads on top. The result is a groovy little funker that I really dig. I only have 4 bars so far, but it's coming along nicely.

I also stumbled upon GOLD tonight. A persona by the name Kutiman takes youtube music clips and edits them together into entirely new songs. His project is called ThruYou and it's simply amazing. Not only is the music astounding, but the video editing is fascinating as well. At least listen to 'This is what I became' and 'Babylon Band', his style ranges from Jazz, to Hip-Hop, to Drum-and-Bass. It's just amazing the talent this man posseess. Great stuff, and very inspiring.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Working in progress

A couple days ago I scored a new set of headphones. Granted, they're $20 Sony MDR-V150's, but I was using a shotty $5 pair of Coby headphones with ripped wires that emitted a constant buzz. Once I get the funds I'll be upgrading to a pair of AKG K240's, along with a new soundcard (did I mention my current one crackles constantly and has the latency of a dying elephant?).

Today I uploaded a set of works in progress to Soundcloud (embedded below) to try and get a feel of where I should be heading. GAME 5.0 is coming up (releasing in June) and Project 168 kicks off on Monday, April 13. I would like to have 2 songs for GAME 5, and another 3-4 songs, comprising an EP, for P-168. I've been slacking on music lately, so I'm going to have to kick it into high gear to churn out 6 unique songs in April.

Give these WiPs a listen and let me know which you'd like to hear turned into a choon. I'm thinking of making an Acid-House track along with a complimentary ambient/chill tune for my set of GAME 5 songs. The theme is Summer, so it shouldn't be too hard to get into the vibe.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

GAME 4 Released!

GAME 4 has finally been released! You can visit the thread on NeoGAF or download the album directly from m0dus' website (that also includes the previous 3 GAME compilations).

GAME 3.1 will be released shortly, from what I understand. We're currently working on the theme for GAME 5, which will probably end up being a summer party themed album. We're looking at a June release date.

Time to get back in the studio!

Friday, February 13, 2009

I was abducted

Not really though. I haven't been making much music lately, took a little hiatus. Although I did manage a work around on that MIDI CC issue in FL Studio. Seems FL Studio has a bunch of MIDI channels that it doesn't respond to. I re-mapped my nanoKontrol around most of them. Some of them still pop up from time to time but it's not a huge deal anymore.

As such I want to work on a couple songs. I just remembered the IDMF compilation, I really have to bust my ass to get in on that. And it seems GAME 4.0 is finished, it just needs to be packaged and uploaded. Hopefully the people working on it can finish it by the end of the week. Regardless I'll post links up here when it's finished.

Monday, February 2, 2009

I broked MIDI CC 66 :(

So today in FL Studio I revisited an older project I was working on. It's a tight little acid line written on the TS 404. I wonder, is that v2 of the original stand-alone TS404 application? I wonder if Fruity bought them out? Anyways, I added a patch I had made in Synth1 called Ressosaurous. It's pretty acidic and thought it would mend well with my track.

So I go to set the arpeg gate to knob 9, scene 2 on my nanoKontrol (those black units look mighty fine) but I turn the knob a little too fast. Now, these knobs aren't the best in the world and are a tad flimsy. So when I do that FL totally bugs out and stops responding to that knob. At first I thought I broke the pot, but that knob worked fine on all other scenes. So I hop over to Ableton and that knob works fine on ALL scenes.

So here I'm stumped. I go into the Kontrol Editor and change the CC# on that knob/scene from 66 to 67 and viola! FL now recognizes that knob. So I turn on my Alesis QS6.1 and set slider D to CC 66 and guess what? Nothin' doin'. FL totally freaked out and now won't accept any form of CC 66. Not even after a reboot. I really don't want to reinstall FL yet again damnit.

So my music was cut short because I didn't feel like messing around with one less knob. It just totally ruined my workflow for the day. Hopefully I can find a solution, if not, here I come reinstall...

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Today wasn't very productive. I caught a piano riff during work and quickly recorded it. It was just a simple major chord that I played along to Boards of Canada's 'The Beach at Redpoint'. I had some trouble nailing down the tempo so I aborted to a later time. Then I messed about with some stock Impulse banks and came up with a couple groovy little drum lines.

Over at IDMF someone asked how to get the Vangelis arpeggiation in the intro to Blade Runner. I poked around youtube for a bit and found a nice demo on how to get the strings for the intro, but nothing on the arpeggiation. Then I found a video of some guy going to town on the outro theme with his Korg Radias, Trinity and Moog Little Phatty. So I grabbed the chords from the video and recorded the outro into FL Studio using my newly created VangelisRunner patch. I might elaborate on it later and try and pull off the entire outro. Once I figure out the intro arp I'll record that as well. This time I'm doing the entire song though, none of that half-assed 'oh I got the chords down time to quit' shit I did with Underworld yesterday.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Best Mamgu Ever

Today I decided to revisit my attempt at scoring Underworld's 'Best Mamgu Ever'. I had figured out a bit of the bassline a couple weeks ago so I gave it another go today. Man, does working with MIDI suck when you have a shit-ass sound card. I can audition the MIDI through my QS6.1 just fine, but as soon as I try and capture its audio I get a mess of noise. My motherboard is a piece of shit, I'll tell you what.

Anyway, I got the piano bit down after slowing the song down in Audacity. Now I just have to figure out the thousands of variations on the bassline they used. I have the opening two minutes out of a total of nine minutes. I'm going to be pulling an all-nighter and get this song layed down. From what I can tell there's not much going on, a pad in the background, some piano, and a solid bassline.

After this I might have a go at some more complex pieces, probably something from Nobuo Uematsu. I figure the best way, at least for me, to learn how to properly compose a song is to learn by doing. I'll figure out what key pieces are written in by re-composing them, how to transform from one line/riff to another, and how to play on chords throughout a song. Of course I'm still going to supplement all this with further reading.

Back to work!

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Drop in the Bucket

I actually worked on music today, how awesome is that? I picked up a nice arpeg in Synth1 and made a simple beat for it. Kick into claps into rolling hats into snares, just basic but building. Then I decided to toss a filter onto the arp and rise it through the intro. It's a nice effect and sounds good so far.

I was listening to some other works on Soundcloud and thought to myself that I should start recording some non-synthetic sounds from my QS. But I was in FL Studio, so I couldn't record from my non-shit soundcard (that's reserved for Ableton!). So I decided to load up my newly acquired E-Mu Proteus VX synth. I had a hell of a time trying to load the presets from that thing, a bad case of read the fucking manual. But once I did get the presets loaded I found another problem. Whenever I press the button to go to the next patch it skips two patches. So it's a complete pain in the ass to audition sounds. I eventually gave up and decided to export the song to Ableton as MIDI. Too bad that didn't work either...

So I got a nice little part going in FL, kinda stuck there at the moment. I went to add a bassline and all my inspiration was apparently gone and it just sounded like ass. I really need to read up on key signitures, harmony and chords. I've heard that dropping a bassline in the key of C sounds like ass when looped over a lead in the key of G or whatever. I'm really not sure what any of that means, even though I have a pretty strong background in music. I was never really taught chords or anything like that in band. Good old monophonic trumpets can't be bothered with that much theory apparently.

So now my task is to read up on music theory. Along with my previous task of organizing my damn sample library. Hopefully I can accomplish something bigger tomorrow. I know I keep saying that, but it's gotta happen one of these days!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Day Off

So I did a whole lot of nothing today. Figures, eh? I played some TF2 and put my old HD in my PC. It has a bunch of old songs and some remix material on it, and a bunch of pictures I've been wanting to go through. So I guess I did something productive today.

I really need to get back on my music though. I've been concentrating so much on that one damn loop that I've burned myself out on it. I really want to re-organize my samples. But before I do that I'll have to make copies of all the current samples I'm using and stuff them into the appropriate project folder. From here on out all my samples get organized first, instead of just tossed into a massive folder. I figure it's better to get it over with now, instead of having more songs using up samples that'll just end up getting moved.

So looks like that's on for tomorrow. Hopefully I can start writing again after that!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Desks and Tricks

Yesterday and today I spent designing my future desk. I stumbled upon a site called IKEA hacker and this desk in particular. I love how vast it is, and just had to have it. Too bad it's $330 from IKEA :( So I decided to just rip off the legs ($10 a pop) and build my own top for it. I figure it'll be around 65" long and 36" deep. I'll then have another piece for the top that doubles as 2 2U racks side by side and will hold my monitors on top. That piece will be about 5" high, 50" long and 12" deep. Once I clean up my blueprint I'll be sure to post it, or sculpt it via Google SketchUp. Something along those lines.

Yesterday I figured out how to chop audio in Ableton (figures it was easy as pie) and a few other nifty tricks. The audio chopping is simple. Drop the audio in Arrangement mode, then slice it up and drop the slice into new channels. The problem I was having was that I totally forgot about the snap feature. Idiotic.

Another trick I found via tutorials is to make a new instrument rack and then drop your samples into there. Once you assign them to a MIDI note you can draw out a pattern. After that, go into the sample and turn on 'Loop', assign a controller to the 'Length' and go to town! This will retrigger the sample at your leisure and create some great glitch effects. Start messing with the filter and you got yourself an instrument! I really dig this trick and I'm sure I'll be using it alot in the future.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll work on my song. I have to finish one before March for IDMF and I want to finish at least two more for GAF. Although that's a few months away yet.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Learning the ropes

So I did a couple more tutorials in Ableton today, nothing much as I had a slow day today. I messed around trying to get my VSTis imported then tried to record some MIDI and failed at it. Took the tutorial and managed to pass! At first I was missing FL's piano roll, and I think I still might a little. Even Deadmau5 praises FL's piano roll and I can see why. I think it might just be my favorite part of FL. Oh, and I do love it's mixer. Being about to send to any of its 64 channels is miraculous.

But only time will tell how much Ableton has to offer me. I really dig the live mode and can see myself writing patterns then playing them live to compose the final song. I've always been a fan of jamming out, since I started using Rebirth way back in highschool.

So yea, I think I'm going to take a break for the night and see what happens tomorrow. I'll probably go through a few more lessons and hopefully figure out how to glitch up my loop. Right now I'm heading off to play some Left4Dead and finish off this Vodka and Kool-Aid!

Able in Ableton

Wednesday I decided to copy the drums from It Doesn't Matter to see how they were constructed. I managed a ruff outline and then decided to glitch them up a bit. After looking at some tutorials I figured it out. I spent the rest of the day trying to program triplets in FL Studio and Audacity to no avail. Yesterday was spent furthering the loop into my own creation, and it's a hot loop, but I still wasn't able to get any glitch to it.

So today I said fuck it. There's no way FL is making this possible without me wanting to kill myself. So I downloaded the Ableton Live demo to see what it had to offer. I was blown the fuck away. The 'Live' portion of it is simply amazing and perfect for my workflow. I can't believe I was missing out on so much all this time!

Now that I'm working more heavily in audio as opposed to FL's loop style I needed more options and Ableton gives them to me. I'm so pleased with it that I'll soon be making the switch. Today was spent going through a couple intro tutorials inside Ableton and learning what it had to offer.

Tomorrow I plan on going through some more tutorials and figuring out how to glitch beats inside Live. I might end up keeping the loop non-glitched, as it has a really nice house vibe. I've been wanting to compose a house song for some time and feel this is the perfect groove. I still want to experiment with glitching however, and will probably recycle the loop into an IDM style song as well.

Here's hoping I pick up Live quickly!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Another song down!

I finally finished 'Modulations'! [Hear it here!]

This song was made entirely out of a single sample. It's short and sweet. I didn't have a super long time for arranging, so it's only about two and a half minutes long, about the same length as my previous tracks. Pretty much completed in one day, aside from chopping up the original sample and getting some vibes from it. In total I'd say it took my about three days worth of work.

Enjoy and comment (on my soundcloud or here) if you enjoyed it!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Today was a long day

So I managed to find a copy of Modulations (link to trailer) and watched it this morning. It's about the beginnings of electronic music and the art of sound. If you can find a copy I recommend watching it. Truely great stuff. Plus it has interviews with a ton of artists and the late Robert Moog himself!

It really motivated and inspired me to work on my current project. Evelon from the IDM forums started a post to see what we could all do with only one sample. I chopped it up a couple days ago but didn't get very far past that stage. Today I managed to get a nice groove and most of the parts written. It's very noisy and crunchy - just how I like 'em. I'll be submitting it for NeoGAF's upcoming GAME 4.0 Chiptunes release. I have one more day to finish my track, hopefully I can pull it off.

I decided to call this track 'Modulations' in honor of the documentary. This track brings me to three completed songs. I've been getting some praise on 'The Colors Are Bleeding' which really pushed me to work harder on my craft. Hopefully I can have an EP ready for summer release. Plus I have another compilation I want to enter in, which deadlines in March for IDMF.

In other news, it seems like I won't be majoring in the Audio-Video Recording track at Bloomsburg. They require you to be 'proficient' in an orchestral instrument, attend ensembles, and generally do things that I never wanted to do. That was the reason I dropped out of band in high school. I want to further my knowledge, but not at the expense of my identity. There's still a chance I'll minor at Bloom, but I'm currently looking for alternative options. The music department had the nerve to tell me to attend Full Sail instead. Yes, I'll pay out of state tution (which amounts to something like $40 grand a semester), and move to Florida. I'll get right on that. Hah... Furthering my contempt for this system of ours. I don't want a technical education. I want hands-on learning with a solid UNIVERSITY education. There has to be a path for me somewhere at some school. Hopefully I can find it soon, deadlines for enrollment are coming up fast...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Second song information

So I completed this song about 2 months ago, but it was never officially released as NeoGAF's G.A.M.E 3.1 bonus album was put on hold for awhile. I figured I'd share the track however, as I enjoy it immensely.

The Colors Are Bleeding

I recommend downloading the song as Soundcloud runs everything at 128kbps and my song's volume is rather low. Pump it up for full effect!

Comments are very much appreciated. Whether bad or good, send them my way! And I'll be sure to link everyone to GAME 3.1 once it's released. At the moment we are working on GAME 4.0 a chiptunes release. Due within the week!