March 20th, 2008
The Ulysses project with Goh has been on hold until we can get back into Tiny Telephone, so he decided to print a new run of his first album “Daylight Savings”. Despite being swamped with another major project, I took on the responsibility of trying to deal with the layout for the production run. The tricky part of this was that it needed to go out by the end of February in order for the product to arrive for his gig on March 18th. This was somewhat important since it was a party for the SF Asian American Film Festival, and there were a lot of people planning to attend.
Nathalie Roland developed the artwork, and my cousin, Tamiko who is very talented with print jobs, offered some color suggestions to balance with Nathalie’s work. The February Deadline came around and it looked like the layout would be finished in time.
But… realized that Goh didn’t have anyone finalize the CD master. So I had half a day to work on mastering the CD. We had remastered his album a couple of years ago, and the Waveburner project was saved on my workstation. The problem was that a few bonus tracks needed to be added and balanced. I was under the gun to get the master finished, and didn’t have enough time to polish things - so i kinda effed up the final.
So on March 18th, the day of the gig, the CDs arrived about 3 hours before the show - just in the nick of time! I was happy that the finished product didn’t look like purple hell, but I was still worried about the audio. People were buying the CD at the show, and we had not even taken a test listen to make sure the replication was free of errors!
I took a listen and it’s not bad. The music is strong enough that people will forgive the inconsistent mastering. That level jump on the bonus track is obvious, but not obnoxious.
February 15th, 2008
Reason 4.0’s ReGroove Mixer is an amazing way to experiment with note timing and exploring rhythmic patterns. It’s no secret that the Akai MPC series of drum machines are legendary for their feel and some even speculate that the vintage devices have more character than the new ones. Included with the Reason 4.0 Factory Soundbank are a set of MPC60 groove templates, and even the new shuffle control features settings that emulate MPC swing patterns. The MPC 3000 groove files might seem a bit redundant, but they do have a unique character.
Many years ago I created a file of MPC 3000 grooves which were very popular on this site, and with the introduction of the Reason 4.0 ReGroove mixer, I planned to revisit this project with a set of groove templates. Originally i tried importing the old files, but I encountered some problems. Recently I decided to re-record the beats and reanalyze them for groove extraction. These groove patterns are four measures long with inconsistent timings (see the previous posting: MPC Groove Template Tutorial. The original REX files are also included in the refill along with development files I used to create the set.
Included with this refill are MIDI file extractions which are 1 measure groove templates. These are slightly different and offer a different groove than the ReCycle based groove templates.
I’m still having some problems with the templates. Namely the 74% and 75% swings are not working properly, but everything up to that point works great. For now this is merely a beta version of the patches until I figure out the problem.
Download Peff 032 - MPC 3000 Groove Templates 19Mb zip archive. <– link fixed!
February 6th, 2008
The Computer Music Reason 4 special edition is out and apparently available in North America. I contributed a couple of articles to this issue including one version of the granular effect combinator patch. Many thanks to Jeff Bradley, who helped with the REX loop programming article.
You can find more information on the CM site at the following link:
February 1st, 2008
I’ve been up in San Francisco for a couple of days working on the mixdowns of Goh’s album - which is now titled “Ulysses”. We’ve been at Tiny Telephone Studios where this project has taken an interesting twist. We’ve decided to bounce a majority of the tracks back to 24 Track tape for mixdown. Tiny Telephone specializes in full analog recording with a beautiful Studer and a Neve desk. Unfortunately this posed a potential problem for us: their pro tools system is equally as antiquated and we would be at the mercy of bouncing the hangar session (which were recorded through apogees) through the crappy mix 24 converters going to tape.
The day before we went in, I was scrambling to find someone who could either lend or rent out a set of decent converters that we could use instead of the old 888 i/0s. Through some amazing luck, I was referred to Steven Jarvis of Area51 Mastering who had 24 channels of Genex converters that I was able to rent for a few days! Steve met us at the session and even teched the system to make sure everything was clocked properly and working. It took ages to get everything going, but finally we were running and managed to transfer most of the album to tape.
We were working with Scott Solter who took the tracks and started shaping the mix into something completely different than what we originally expected - in a great way. The tape mixes had such a different feel from pro tools renders, and Scott gave us a “Bro Bounce” to 1/2″ 2 track which just sounded amazing.
Ulysses seems like an apt title for this project. The production has been a epic tale taking us all over the place and meeting bizarre freaks who still align heads and splice tape. We will be back in March or April to finish things up - hopefully. The next adventure will be finding someone who will master this project.
January 29th, 2008
My NAMM report is still on hold until I can finish up a few outstanding projects. I wasn’t in the best of spirits during the week leading up to annual Music Manufacturers Convention, but I’m certainly glad I went. The first day there was not without a bit of drama, but I learned a very valuable lesson: Never use Hotels.com when you know rooms will be scarce. Basically they took my deposit and did not verify that the hotel would honor the reservation. We were stuck in Anaheim without a place to stay because Hotels.com screwed us. I will never use that service again.
Fortunately we managed to find a place about a mile from the Convention Center, but I didn’t sleep well (if at all). Josh and I were on at 10:30 AM on the first day of the show, so no one was really there to see how tired I was. Unfortunately, the Propellerheads Press Person, Sara, cornered me into doing a little Thor demonstration for the guys at Sonic State. So feel free to have a look at me somnambula-thoring.
Sonic State Close Up on Thor Polysonic Synthesizer
I did manage to see a few cool things at the show, and hope to get the photos and reports posted soon. I’m still working on this indie-folk-yacht rock album and will hopefully finish the mixdowns this week!
January 15th, 2008
The annual NAMM convention is going to be a bit different for me this year. I’m slated to present at the Propellerheads booth along with Josh Mobley (Neoverse). We’re going to have a little live demonstration of MPR4. I’ve also put together a little Live PA remix of Narrow Escape which incorporates synth patches and combinators that I’ve made for Reason 4.0. The entire song file is setup to be manipulated in Real-Time from a control surface, making it pretty fun to play with and tweak in a performance. I just need to work on my dance moves now…
Some of these patches, which include a filterbank and granular sampler, will become available pretty soon. The filterbank appears in the January Issue of Electronic Musician:
There’s a link to download the example files and the combinator patch on the EM site. Also featured are some workflow tips with the new sequencer, RPG-8, and Regroove Mixer:
I’ve received a lot of emails about the granular patch, and there’s some good news regarding this one. Future Publishing commissioned me to do a tutorial on the combinator, and this will be coming out in one of their Computer Music Reason special issues in the near future. Keep an eye out for that one.
Disclaimer: The one downside of having to present at NAMM, is that I may not have the time (or energy) do do my annual show report. If things Anyone attending, please come by and say “hello”. We go on first at 10:30 AM on Thursday, and you can check the schedule for our other appearance times on the Propellerhead Software website
December 30th, 2007
Goh Nakamura and I have been back in the studio to do a few mixdowns of his new album. After weeks of editing and some last minute rerecording of his songs, we made it back to the Hangar. We have some drum tracks from a session recorded earlier in the year. The drums were ok, but lacked something. While in the shower this morning, I thought about a crazy idea of reamping the old tracks, and rerecording them through the same mic setup employed during our tracking session: D12, D19, and Coles and RCA Ribbons.
I mentioned this idea to Bryce, who came up with a crazy setup using an ampeg and a genelec. We setup a little submix going out to the amps and set up the microphones to capture some of the great room sound at the Hangar. The result was really cool, and gave the drums some life that was lost from being recorded in a small room.
When I get the time, I’m going to give this a try with sampled drums to see what happens. This might make for an interesting drum machine / natural ambience refill.