Musician... well, learning to be at any rate.
I first started thinking about making music, in a roundabout way, in July 2008. Prior to that I had never picked up an instrument or read any music or had any inkling either were possible for me. But I saw a video of the reacTogon and it changed my life. "Here", I thought, "Here is an instrument I would love to play with."
That lead me to build a software sequencer that I called Elysium. It also lead me to need something that could make sound and I wound up downloading the free Kore Player from Native Instruments. That sounded amazing and I wound up buying Kore 2 and, from there, a world of electronic music opened up to me. I released Elysium in January 2009 and set about making music in earnest.
Since then I've started taking Piano lessons and learning some music theory and I've been pumping out tracks which I upload to alonetone.com which is a great community for hobbyist musicians like myself. A lot of my tracks aren't necessarily very good: often they represent some small step forward I have made, or some idea or technique I want to play with, without being fully-formed musical ideas. But when I look back I can see that I have come a long way.
In October 2010 Sister Savage (another artist from Alonetone) and I collaborated in a 24-hr album challenge and our band Elusive Gene was born. We blend Sister's beautiful vocals and music with my sound design & beats, and I think we complement each other well. It's been very rewarding for me to work with someone so talented and with such a different perspective on music. We're working on a second album (that will take a lot longer than 24hr's to make!)
The following are 5 tracks that I think best represent my progress as a musician in my second year:
The following are 5 tracks that I think best represent my progress as a musician in my first year:
In about November 2009 I got around to looking at Reaktor. I've had it for ages and enjoyed some of the sounds but, never having come across a modular synth before, not taken any special interest in it. When Tim Exile's TheFinger came out, watching videos of his setup and what he was doing with Reaktor completely turned me on. I spent several months learning the basics of Reaktor patch building and the first result is Reichatron - my instrument for experimenting with Steve Reich style phase-shifted looping.
I'm currently building a number of granular sampler instruments in Reaktor that I hope to release this year.
In January 2009 I released Elysium which is my, open source, generative MIDI sequencer application for Mac OS X. Elysium is based on a "visual programming" metaphor where you generate music by moving different tokens around on a playing surface. But it's really much easier to play with than describe.
Elysium is built in Objective-C using the Cocoa application framework and is, I hope, enjoyable both visually and musically. Feedback so far has been very positive with a lot of people finding it both interesting and fun. That's more than I could have hoped for. Why not give it a try yourself and let me know what you think?
- MacPro 5,1 3.33GHz 6-core with 10GB memory
- MacBook Pro 2.4GHz Core Duo 2 with 4GB memory
- Kurzweil SP3X Digital Stage Piano
- Mackie Onyx Satellite FW audio interface
- KRK-RP5 near field monitors
- Behringer BCR2000 controller
- Novation Launchpad
- Novation Nocturn controller
- Kore 2 controller
- M-Audio Oxygen-61 MIDI controller keyboard
- Zoom H2 recorder
- Dr.Beat DB-60 metronome
I pretty do everything "in the box" working with software sequencers and synths. And I've amassed quite a few. Too many if I am honest. But I find it hard to resist shiny things that sound cool. That said I think I've now bought everything I actually wanted. No, forget I said that...
- Ableton Live 8 + Max for Live
- Apple Logic Studio 9
- Native Instruments Reaktor 5, Kontakt 3, Kore 2 and the rest of Komplete 5 (Massive, FM8, Absynth 4, Pro-53, Battery 3, B4 II, Guitar Rig 3, Akoustik Piano, and Elektrik Piano)
- Spectrasonics: Omnisphere and Stylus RMX
- Camel Audio: Alchemy, CamelSpace, and CamelPhat
- Audio Damage: Replicant, Eos, Ricochet, BigSeq2, and 914 Fixed Filter Bank
- LucidMac: Elysium (gotta plug your own stuff!)
There are, of course, a bunch more plugins like Volcano2, Vintage Warmer, TimeFreezer but I got bored of listing and linking to them all. I also have a lot of samples including great stuff from Soniccouture, Tonehammer.