Friday, July 27, 2012

Your Music Will Sound Different Everytime and They Will Charge You For It

A "Song Sandwich" is a new format of song file with embedded data and links. Your downloaded song will sound different every time its played back to fans.

1. Fans will hear a different version of their song each time.

The artist embeds live data links into the music which can affect playback  for a new experience. Artists  could embed their webcam feed, a new image, or quote which will insert itself into the music and change the lyrics. Expletives could be toggled on or off. Take a marketing quiz created by the label and your music will play to your taste and never offend you in any way.

2. Music will always be up to date

No longer will someone in the studio have to remix or remaster entire tracks of audio. They could edit some parameters and send the updates to the song file on the server. You can be the George Lucas of audio. New data will be pushed directly onto fans.

3. Plugin creators will be paid when the listener updates a song. If the artist uses a synth or effect, its embedded into the song or retrieved from the server. The listener could opt to pay to update it.

4. Content creators will be paid each time the artist uses a synth patch or sample on the songs. The more custom patches, commercial synths, and other modules available from the server, the more expensive the song is! Artists could also embed free open-source sound modules.

5. New levels of fan engagement and controversy! I could see a fan conversation on the internet forums going on like this...

"The 2016 un-updated version of Atomic Cowbell's Crap Stain, running on Itunes+ is the best there is! Roll back your plugin versions and see what I mean."

"No you should update to SynthPlug7000. Download the updated lyrics track while you are at it too."

"I just removed Moby.3ds and replaced him with DancingJesus.3ds. The animation is really funny."

5. Remixers will get paid to give unpopular songs exposure.

Top remixers and artists will have a following and there will be no difference between the two. In the future these data streams and edits will literally be point and click, drag and drop. Artists with little exposure could have their tracks remixed by a top artist or remixer. When a fan sees this they can download it, everyone gets paid, and a new artist is heard.


There is no efficient way to do this yet. We are only waiting for the infrastructure and file format. With copyright and competing technologies it will be awhile before the music industry teams up. A scrappy tracker-type version will happen first. If networked, Song Sandwiches will become the new Napster. Trading links to hacked data sandwiches with external links will be the new YMTD, and the final word in meme-generation. It will be live. It will be in 3d. And It will never stop.

Hardware Obsolete. Experience the Digital.

"Musical ideas are prisoners, more than one might believe, of musical devices." - Pierre Schaeffer, 1977

Remember that someone, somewhere, has made your accomplishment obsolete or has plans to do so in the next month. Your work with the microprocessor is fully automated and tagged, only to be experienced years later. Your music is a data object. It was created by software. You told it to release digital waste and now the data and noise is stored on the internet forever. Its obsolete.

Artists will release their music in object form in the future. Fans will manipulate recorded samples as panning vectors with embedded effects programming. Full audio plugins will be encoded inside the music files. No longer will slicing, filtering, and cutting be required.

Anti-DRM Pirates will decode studio released soundtracks back into objects. Remixed movie soundtracks will be recreated at basic levels. Home users will rival the studio mixers talent and make their names through custom sound mixes available through sharing sites.

We need a new musical language that allows anyone to tweak the inner workings of our recordings. Cut & Chop sampling, Melodyne, time-stretching, and filtered remixing was just the beginning. Welcome to the world of sound object programming where all your outside musical skill and hardware is useless and your imagination is truly unlimited.

Here is a neat page where I found the top image of Laurie Spiegal.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What are my favorite plugins?

What are my current favorite plugins? The best plugins that are easy to use and sound good. That might be a no-brainer, but many high end plugins don't meet this criteria. Many presets out there are not ready to be mixed. Many plugin presets aren't easy to edit. My favorites right now are:




1. Tal-Noisemaker

This soft synth is great for basslines. The resonance and filter are easy to mix with. If I'm just making new sounds, this one is easy. Its free!

2. Amplitube

Amplitube still has the best distortion simulations. It goes beyond the call of duty to model real life gear. It is the only thing suitable to mangle chords properly. Love this plugin.

3. Sylenth

I used to use Sylenth. I thought it was the best but I don't want to bother with it anymore. Looking back, I don't think it made my music better. I think its better as a second soft synth. I have a V-synth that covers all the same ground and then some.

4. Voxengo

This visualizer is free and its the best I've seen for visualizing the frequency spectrum. I need to use that a lot when mixing actually. I don't always trust my ears. Sometimes I know what a good mix looks like rather than sounds like.

5. MicroTonic

Another great noise maker, but for beats. It seems to sound really good with Tal-Noisemaker without much EQ or mixing. You can mess up the knobs real quick. Its easier to use than Image Line plugins.

6. DIVA (updated March 2013)

I've messed with this before, and it wasn't as deep as I hoped, but it does sound perfect in the mix. It may be the only soft synth you need. make sure you have it on light CPU mode.

7. Sonnox Oxford (March 2013)

Not bad for dynamics and drum mixing. It doesn't color the mix much. I've been experimenting with it and it gives a high end sound.

8. iZotope Ozone (March 2013)

Still a good plugin with excellent presets. This may be the only mastering device needed.

That said, if I was going to buy one thing, I'd get the latest copy of Reason w/ extensions. Presonus Studio One is also a good choice for mixing, recording and automation.  Update: I no longer user Studio One. It crashes all the time switching plugins. For DAW I'm using Digital Performer. The interface sucks for electronic music, but its handling of third party plugins is more solid than Studio One. It seems to crash way less during operation. Thats all I really need.

Other plugins you might want to look out for: TAL-DUB (Free), TAL CHORUS-60 (Free), Audio Damage Plugins, Addictive Drums, or maybe Rob Papen Albino (which seems to have cool arpeggiations)


Obviously you shouldn't take my opinion as something important. In the software world you can try everything that works for you.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Listen to Saturn Bomberman Music w/ MiniMoog - June Chikuma

June Chikuma Photo

After purchasing a Saturn to play older games that I happened to miss, I had to get Saturn Bomberman (1996). It is a direct sequel to the Sega Genesis "Mega Bomberman" which had excellent music. Since the Saturn supports CD, the music was taken to the next level in this game. Most songs featured the MiniMoog.
Saturn Bomberman/June Chikuma by June Chikuma

Musicians : June Chikuma(key, nai, prog), Kaoru Akimoto(g, vo), Hirohiko Otsubo(b) / from SEGA SATURN Saturn Bomberman / 竹間ジュン

This is excellent music, and a great game.

Other Saturn games I have tried have not been as good, except for "Shinobi", but Saturn Bomberman is a must have. Unfortuneately most copies for for 50+ dollars on ebay, and the PC emulators out today are not very adequate. It is great that June Chikuma seems to have uploaded this music.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

V-synth Granular Synthesis Bass

After a long period of using the V-synth I gave up on modern granular synthesis style bass. It doesn't quite have the "motion" control of software, therefore I thought it was impossible. Well here are some tips to get some good granular synthesis sounds on v-synth. I was able to get a sound that sound fresh out of a VST or reason combination.

Roland V-synth Bass Tip:

  1. Use PCM oscillator 1 with Vari synth on. Choose a drum sound or a noise sound. Vocal sometimes works (you will have to find a new sound after)

  2. Set TIME to the middle zero, so the sample is basically "stuck." This creates the granular synthesis effect. It won't play backward or forward but we don't need it to. Its basically acting like granular synthesis. You can mess with some envelope, but basically we want the sound to be stuck.

  3. Retune the sound with coarse & fine!!! For some reason its not always in tune when the sound isn't moving forward or backward.

  4. Play with the formant control. This gives it some vocal-like control!!! Not all samples do this. Different encodings worked better than others.

  5. Set COSM 1 to TB-303 filter.  Set LFO -64 so its turned all the way back. Set the speed to a 1/3rd time and set the resonance upward. This is the wub sound that is still necessary to filter the noise out.

  6. Set OSC2 to whatever you like. Turn on FM modulation (optional). turn down OSC 2 for less FM harshness.

  7. Set cosm 2 to bitcrush or distortion amp.

That is the basic sound. You can modulate different parameters and just experiment with tuning and COSM filters. At some point you will probably get something really badass. The point of it is to experiment so have fun. You may just end up with a new sound you didn't think was possible. I was able to get a completely modern bass sound which I made a zone split with an organ. Remember don't skimp on effects! The main trick here was to get something granular sounding and setting the time VERY SLOW or at zero. Its not perfect but it will get you "that sound" a lot closer than just a wub-filter which any synth can perform. An LFO filter alone isn't good enough today anyway. Today there will be several modulations going.

Another tip: Upload a changing vocal formant sound into the memory card. Set the event points differently. Now set your OSC PCM to "EVENT" mode. Every time you press the key you will get a new granulized formant type sound as long as the Time is set not to still. (though it may not be in tune).

Namm 2012 Critique.

"Kronos X"

If you are totally insatiable, Korg is offering bigger SSD for huge libraries on the Kronos X. 2gb-->64gb. Bleh! This doesn't change the fact I had a poor impression of the original in the store.


More content posted here as I see it...

Thoughts on Repurposing and Combining Technologies.

New things are created when two different technologies are integrated. Also when old technologies are re-purposed. Everything comes together at a certain time and place just because we can. New musical styles can come about in the same method. They have roots in these technologies that were meshed together or repurposed. Sample synthesis brought new musical genres to the 80s and 90s. Vast computer power from 2001 and later brought about more control over our music.

What is your favorite new technology? What is an old technology that you could find a new purpose for? Thinking about these questions could lead to new music!

Lastly maybe we should spotlight softwares that are just putting out the same thing. Refining an old technology, in a way, is deconstructive. In practice its okay, but this minimalist approach should be criticized. For one thing it is not new. It does not lead to new thoughts and sounds. Secondly the decision not to incorporate other technologies leaves you with building blocks that don't connect with eachother very well...for example two VST plugins that can't interact. There are endless software clones, none of which will have a big impact because the developer chose not to repurpose and combine new things or code that was available to them. The ipad world is filled with these and get a big PASS from me. Sometimes its not a matter of inventing, which is super hard. Sometimes its just taking two things and mixing them together. You are taking a big risk if your output depends on refinement and minimalism no matter how perfect your product is. Minimalism and refinement have no place in the future because your customer and listeners are perpetually bored.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Size upgrade

Everything has been bumped up about 30% This was to ensure 480p widescreen videos displayed. I had first tried 720p sized posts for retina display etc, but the reality is nobody has those yet. Full HD is the standard right now and that means content on my site should fit inside it. My site should be readable on a tv. It seems that about every 3 years its necessary to do a size makeover even if I've had the same monitor forever. Everything keeps growing.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Philosophy Of Die Antwoord

What does it mean to "keep it gangsta?"

Die Antwoord repeats the phrase often in their music and videos. They talk about being gangsta and gangsta life. Ninja & Yo Landi's personal values, or at least taste in art, could be derived from their creation. To most people, "keeping it gangsta" would be about guns, money, drugs, and about being a physical threat. They did not invent the culture. In their video collaborated with Harmony Korine they jack wheelchairs using handguns and dream about having a better life. A better life to a gangsta is through materialism and luxury objects. In the video they have stolen the "Rolls Royce" of wheelchairs. Most philosophers would disagree that material objects or wealth would constitute a better life. There is nothing left for Ninja & Yo Landi to aspire to once they have the best wheelchair and if they ever see one better out there they will have the same anxiety. In fact, their premium wheelchairs are not enough to satisfy their desire. They have to kill another man to put holographic mags on the wheels. Only an uneducated or poor person would think their life is better using these methods. In fact the use of colored animal pajamas suggests they have the mindset of children. It would definitely make them a a far worse person from the view of ancient philosophers. Partly this is the humor in the video. But becoming suddenly wealthy in real life has changed them and made life easier. They should know that keeping it gangsta is not something that would lead Die Antwoord to happiness for very long. In short, this is not the answer. It seems like this is an intentional reflection purposed by video's creator, Harmony Korine. This reflection might be lost on Die Antwoord because of their repetition of gangsta style lyrics. Humor and a subtle warning message in the video could be lost on fans, especially younger ones. Most fans won't go out an act like this but it could inspire greed and vanity.

Keeping it gangsta also means being a physical threat. Lyrics like "Physically fit, the Ninja very energetic" mixed with others warning not to mess with him are many. Keeping it gangsta is merely the typical way to market music to youths in the United States. The youth want strong "don't mess with me" type people as their role models who flaunt their power. But in real life people are often forced to be hypocritical to survive. If they were joking they would eventually get really tired keeping it gangsta every night. Eventually Die Antwoord would lose and let their card slip. Most people won't think about it for longer than a second, allowing them to repeat the phrase and collect all the cash there is to take as a performing artist.

Can rave be gangsta? Traditionally techno has never been about guns and money. Usually it is about dance, technology, inside jokes, and a fresh sound; the fun of borrowing and making a new product often without any intention. Some Drum N Bass and Dub has been about that, or at least drinking & drugs. Die Antwoord's "DJ Hi-Tek" who takes beats to the next level is obviously a joke. The group does not take electronic music seriously. Most artists Die Antwoord has shown to admire like Aphex Twin, The Orb, also don't take their music too seriously either. So there is the very possibility that they do not take their style of music to heart, and taking things to the next level is not true. Keep in mind techno came to be 20 years ago. What they are doing is a rehash. They borrow it and rap over it. Die Antwoord is still more rap than rave in this aspect. They are the equivalent of what The Prodigy was to the 90s "techno" electronica as well. The borrowed imagery and borrowed sound make up a new product but it is not traditional rave music, it is more rap.Taking shit to the next level is something ancient philosophers would agree with, but perhaps it is something they aren't really doing yet.

It is possible that staying gangsta means something completely different to Yo Landi & Ninja. It could be something that gives them confidence to tackle hurdles in life. It is also likely they don't adhere to any particular philosophy unless it brings attention. Becoming famous and rich are all temporary things. Sometimes vulgar images do have some kind of political purpose or personal message. All of this is just speculation. We can only look at what they supply and its artistic tone to interpret these things. Since they are both anti-status quo, but glorify wealth, I can only interpret it as some kind of philosophical failing in being gangsta. Not everyone can shoot to superstardom on the same path. Believing so might be a lie. Being gangsta is not virtuous unless it means something completely different to Die Antwoord.

What is Die Antwoord's philosophy? In short, ME ME ME.

"Dat's right it's all about me!"

"I like partying! partying! partying! damn!"

"Play now, cry later"

"....piss on all the hard-up 'n fokken rap"

"Fuck everyone"

Get money but don't sell out.


Positives about the group: Nobody really does take them serious. They call to action to keep life in the present. Their videos are quite fun and succeed in making you want to dance. They are accepting and celebrate people that look different. They are about equality and resist being pigeon-holed into any social class or system. Other themes include love, friendship, and family. Baby's On Fire is a great example of what they can do right in a video.

In conclusion I'd recommend people would keep it next level for real and not in the way Die Antwoord does. I'd probably  like this group a lot more than I do now if they changed and adopted different values. They wouldn't have to change their music style or rapping and it would still be great. In the meantime, all their creations just beg you to laugh at them. Everyone slightly educated knows the message is a lie.