The marketing of shiny things

Absurd, Art, Synthesizers

This week I saw on http://www.synthtopia.com/ the following video (that amazingly it has more than 3 million views):

If you don’t want to check it all I’ll give you a small summary. The video presents a new software for making music, in which the marketing was made by professionals that do not have a clue about the music software market. I said professionals because it seems that they are doing a correct campaign. However I think is not really effective.

In that video these guys present a simple and affordable solution that will help you make good music. They claim that is so easy that you don’t need to study music theory, learn complicated stuff o buy expensive gear… and the weirdest thing is that they say that your friends will envy you…

Guys of Dr. Drum, I have to tell you that when I buy software or hardware I search exactly for the opposite.

I don’t like shiny things,  I like it dirty.

We love complex stuff, we love learning.

That’s one of my principles. That’s what I pray every morning.

Music software and hardware is complex by nature. It’s mysterious and intriguing, but is friendly. Even the simplest machine plays an important role. For example this AB Switch pedal.

It’s function is to route the guitar signal to two different destinations. It’s easy to use and it allows doing amazing stuff.

When I see one of these images I start drooling…

These images are pure beauty.. these are machines of controlled chaos…

I think that all the music is chaotic, and harmony it’s just a piece of it that our senses got used to.

The perfect balance

Ernst Nathorst-Böös nailed it with Reason. In this talk he mentions the key point of a music software.  The software needs to be simple but still having a level of complexity.

We need to feel that every song, every sound we make is our own sound.

Even if my songs are crap they are still my crap and I’m happy. That’s why I can spend long hours preparing a sound.

In the chaos I can let myself go…

BTW. The Reason screenshot is one of my songs.

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HackPrism a MIDI controller inspired by SoundPrims

Art, Music, Synthesizers

Last December I had the opportunity to try for the first time an iPad. (Yes I know, I’m a little bit delayed). It was really amazing the number of music apps available. You can find from apps that fart, to complete DAWs. One of my favorite apps was SoundPrism by Audanica.

Soundprism is a software midi controller that simplifies playing chords. I tried it and in a few minutes I was making nice songs. The best part is that, using the iPad, you have the multitouch screen and it feels really natural playing that thing.

There is even a short film in which the music was completely created using SoundPrism: Julie, Agosto, Setembro.

Sadly I don’t have an iPad, and I don’t have any plants to buy one. But still I wanted to be able to use SoundPrism. That’s why I made my own basic version using Processing.

My version is very basic and does not include any of the nice features available in the Pro version of SoundPrism. This is a screen shot:

If you want to use it, you need 5 things:

  1. Processing
  2. “The Midi Bus”  library
  3. LoopBE1 or any other virtual MIDI cable
  4. A software synthesizer or midi instrument
  5. My source code

If you are new in these things, I will guide you step by step.

Go to http://processing.org/ and download processing. I use the 2.0a4 version. I recommend you to download this version since makes very easy the installation of libraries. This is the direct link.

Once is decompressed in your favorite folder, run processing and go to  Sketch->Import Library-> Add Library. Now select and install “the Midi Bus” library and restart processing.

Now you have to install a virtual Midi cable. Since I’m using Windows 7, I recommend LoopBE1. Download it and install it. If you are a Mac or Linux user, there should be some equivalent software but I can’t help you now.

Now we need something to make noises. If you don’t have any program installed, I recommend you Native Instruments Mikro Prism. That is a free plugin that you can run with the Reaktor Player (also free). Once Reaktor player and Mikro Prism are installed you need to be sure that Reaktor can receive MIDI signals from LoopBE1. Go to File->Audio and MIDI settings, in the MIDI tab check that “LoopBE internal MIDI” is ON.

Now you just need my magic source code. you can get it from my public Dropbox folder HERE.

Now prepare everything. Open Processing, open my code. Run Reaktor Player, load Mikro Prism. Press the play button in Processing and you should see HackPrism. Play some notes with the mouse and enjoy.

If you know a little bit programming, you can modify my code and add different scales to play with. Now it is up to you.

If you like it post a comment, and if you have a iPad I encourage you to get the Pro version of SoundPrism.

Everything is a Remix Videos

Art, Music, Nostalgia

A few weeks ago I was playing with a step sequencer that I made in Processing. I used a random approach to get something with a good sound… by just tweaking I got a very nice bass line… but then I started to think… maybe that cool bass line wasn’t product of mine…

Luckily I started watching these “shocking” videos that helped me overcome the potential (not-yet-proved) plagiarism of my bass line.

It’s a series of 4 videos, all of them are great.

After watching these videos I think that I going to change my approach of making music… I’m always trying to get the most original sounds, without using samples… maybe that’s the reason I’m not very productive.

 

Origami

Art

This is other of the things that I loved to do when I was a kid… mainly because I love patterns.

I don’t know why I stopped… maybe because I love the abstract.

I found the blog of this guy that does amazing things, just take a look.

mask study 2

 

this is his page: HERE

Music = Drugs

Art, Music

I just read this article in which the researchers corroborate something that we all already knew…

MUSIC IS LIKE A DRUG

That’s very bad because now the “conservative” parties have a scientific prof… they will start banning more music for being too addictive.

People like me, that listens to music over 8 hours a day, is going to be fired… because we are always high of music.

to end this post, I will let you with a song of Philip Glass that will make you feel like you are really on drugs.

Kickstarter and the Sundance movies

Art

Kickstarter is a great project that now is allowing the “consumers” to put their money in the “crap” that they really want. I’m considering to get fundings for my new “secret project” this way.

What is even more amazing about Kickstarter is that 14 movies from the Sundance festival where founded by the people.

I’m particularly interested into the movie about the drama of being a game programmer.

Indie Game: The Movie

Sweden and the Design

Art, Music

One afternoon walking by Stockholm, it started to rain. Just by chance I was close to the Nordiska Museet (a museum of Swedish traditions) and I entered. During my first visit to the museum I didn’t had the opportunity to visit the full exhibition because (weird) the museum closes at 5 PM. This time I decided to go to the Möblerade rum (Furniture Room)… and I was amazed by the things that I saw. In Sweden the Design is a fundamental part of things. We just need to check the newest catalog of IKEA to understand.

Design in Sweden is everywhere, we just need to see the Teenage Engineering OP-1 synthesizer/drum-machine/etc. I have to admit that looks really nice with those white buttons and the beautiful OLED screen.

More examples in music, we have the Clavia, another company from Stockholm. I fell in love with this synthesizers since the first time I saw a real one.

The last example its a comparison between the German design (brought to us by Behringer) and the Swedish. Both pictures are USB audio cards. One costs around 25 euros and the other 500.