Half Normal

Too late for a spoiler alert, this article is going to describe the benefits of a patchbay and why for most applications choosing half normal is a good bet. If you have a music studio, regularly find yourself plugging and unplugging equipment and you don’t know your normal from half normal then all you need is this article. And a patchbay. Essentially utilitarian the patchbay is an inexpensive piece of equipment that is incredibly useful and also manages to be fun and inspiring, helping you stay in the flow rather than wrestling with spaghetti tangled leads.

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Let the healing begin

This is a call for common sense. We all know that in these turbulent times feelings can run high and people take strongly held views, but enough is enough. It is time to show some respect. For instance, I have heard people say that Boris Johnson looks like a startled orangutan in a suit. Really, there is no need for this. Wild haired, lumbering and rarely seen in public and widely persecuted, orangutans are endangered species. Boris Johnson is the prime minister of the United Kingdom.

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Dusting the Marotte

Around the new year a radio station here in the U.K. has a programme featuring experts predicting what will happen in the year ahead. Generally their predictions seem entirely credible, yet so often are shown to be less than prescient a year down the line. In fact the significant events often seem to be something that came up out of the blue. Perhaps these events are so significant because no one saw them coming? 

So prediction – a mug’s game played by fools and quacks. 

As we start a new decade it is time to preen my feathers, dust down my marotte and step up to the crystal ball. Here are my predictions for electronic music production over the next decade.

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Jimi Hendrix

Mr Hendrix

The first records I had were given to me. From Uncle Terry I had ‘Help’ – The Beatles, ‘After Math’ – The Rolling Stones,’The Times they are a changin’ and ‘Bringing it all back Home’ – Bob Dylan, and from my cousin Carol came a record with the most amazing psychedelic cover. That record was ‘Electric Ladyland’ by The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

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I care because you do….

Thanks to some constructive feedback I’ve made a tweak to the Catalyst VSTi. The new version has a recalibrated filter env mod control. What I like about Catalyst is that it is different yet easy to use. Development of my forthcoming effect is going well, just the manual and audio demo to complete, so it should be out in the next couple of weeks.

May 2013

I’m still posting tracks from the Memory Drift album, wishing I had more to report. Searching the internet I found that someone has made a video of a very old plug-in of mine. This is a plugin I won’t be reviving. What is in the pipeline  is a reworking of a plug- in that I still use from time to time. The original was mono and had room for improvement, so it has been completely rewritten and is all finished and ready to go save for a few presets and a manual, so should be out soon.  As I write this thinking about that plug-in and the latest tune I realise that I do use a fair amount of free stuff and how much of it is really very good. In keeping with the theme of Memory Drift most of what’s used on the latest track eludes me now, certainly I used Glitch on the drums and Physix as the glockenspiel sound. Thank you to the developers.

Talking of free stuff this month’s track like my others is hosted on SoundCloud and I’ve been discovering some great music there. My current favourites are Spiel:Feld from Berlin who are producing consistently wonderful podcasts.

Snow in April

As Prince sang, sometimes it snows in April. Quite often in fact. The sound that starts the latest release from the Memory Drift album is the twanging of a barbed wire fence recorded a couple of years ago around this time of year at an old chalk and flint mine. Most of the hillside is missing, leaving cliffs and  chalky grass topped stalagmites. There are grassy meteor strike bowls formed from ancient flint mines and the place reminds me of the Max Ernst picture Europe After the Rain. So two years ago outside drumming and discovering twangy fences; this year biting winds and polystyrene snow.

Mad as a March Hare

Take out a payday loan. Sell you wife, sell your life, sell your soul, sell out. Extend your penis. Improve your erectile disfunction and address grammar error computer function disgenerated. Finding article really moving, why not have a look at my pay, you might like offers appealing!

These are all things that visitors to this site would like you to do. I’d invite you to know your rights. The acquistion of personal data through hacking, malware and the like is unlawful, illegal and in the European Union a contravention of the Convention of Human Rights (Article 8, the right to privacy). Here is an interesting overview of human rights in different parts of the world: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_human_rights_law

The UK has a telephone preference service which allows you to opt out of recieving marketing calls, and similarly there is also a mail preference service.

A number of countries also have information commissioners, with varying powers to investigate or inforce infringements of data usage.

On a different note, a welcome visitor to the site contacted me about the apparance of my Catalyst VST in the Computer Music Special. The magazine is now out and describes Catalyst as a “strange instrument with an unusual synthesis technique.”

“Different is good and Catalyst is nothing but different! This odd synth creates its sound by half rectifying the output of a pair of wavetable oscillators and then recombining the results to make new waveforms. There are some familiar controls to help you along, but this is wierd and wonderful territory. At turns it sounds noisy, click and chaotic, but it is capable of gentle subtlety too.”

Editor’s note – Catalyst uses conventional waveforms rather than wavetables before the rectifying stage.

This month also sees the release of the latest number from the Memory Drift album. It conjours up images of cold sea fog, swells of noise, indistinct colours and shapes.

Silly Season

This year I am releasing a track a month from the Memory Drift album. The album was put together over four years, and even so not every month got a tune, nevertheless all the seasons were covered. Wanting to avoid any Vivaldi related confusion a variety of season themed names were considered: In Season; Out of Season; Shooting Season; Low Season; High Season and more, all of which have already been used in various creative endeavours and some of which I didn’t even like. Which is a round about way of excusing the fact that here in Febraury 2013 I offer you January 2010. This is a drifting drone fest of swelling harmonies.