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Melodyne – Direct Note Access

I haven’t been dazzled by a product in quite some time and usually on this blog we don’t care about new products but rather how people use them. For a while now I’ve known that a few of my friends have been Melodyne users because mainly, they can’t seem to shut up about how dope it is. But tonight, a friend sent a youtube video (he’s one of the few people I actually click links from) that has finally proven to me that this product innovative, clearly exceptional and groundbreaking. Ok, so these three adjectives are really mundane but I swear Melodyne is more impressive than my vocabulary. Celemony Product Comparison Sheet

It’s hard to comprehend that audio is now easily manageable as MIDI notes. Direct Note Access, or as the clever marketing team over at celemony call it: DNA, is opening a door I’ve always regarded as closed. I thought Logic’s audio to MIDI function was impressive, but ate serious ass when it came to translating any audio file with more than one note. Melodyne’s ability to decipher how many parts are playing, what frequency they’re at and ability to edit them clearly blows my mind and defies everything I’m used to. I can’t really see myself trying to fix guitar or vocal harmonies, rather trying DNA on really complex audio sources and see how it responds. Or testing it’s limits, finding glitches and exploiting whatever characteristics this program has. I do have questions on how it reacts to effected sound sources, like distorted guitars, complex synth patches and the sound of Justin’s voice.

It’s nice to know that Justin and I don’t have to do the dozens of takes on our barber shop project (mainly from my crying). Finally we can play our modular synths without tuning them (did I ever before?). And finally people who play Rock Band/Guitar Hero may actually sound good after using Melodyne (with alcohol…… and roofies). Although it is slated to be released in Fall 2008, if you buy the plug-in version 1 for $299 now, you’ll get the upgrade to version 2, which includes DNA, free. Normally version 2 will be $399.

In other ‘news’, the tour starts up again in a couple of weeks. It has truly been a rollercoaster and I’m exhausted. I have a few gigs left, the next one is in Paris on the 29th of April, a few other random places, finishing up in Amsterdam then it’s back to Chicago in May. I want to thank everyone involved and everyone that came out so far.

audio_Output: Richard Devine – The Electronic Music Manuscript

Just released by Sony is the The Electronic Music Manuscript sound library, which happens to be a brilliantly thought out collection of sounds plus an ‘above and beyond’ style presentation that you don’t often see as part of commercially released sound libraries. The two CD set comes bundled with a large number of photographs which highlight some of Richard’s methods of mayhem, two videos showcasing the creative processes, a huge interview with Richard giving a more in depth look at his work and history, NI Battery kits and finally the 24bit WAV files…

I caught up with Richard this week for a quick interview about the release…

JM: It’s great to see a library full of sounds that you can’t exactly tie to a specific genre that come from a more experimental direction, what was your inspiration for the overall collection?

I wanted to make a library that would be useful for many different people. I was aiming for sound designers, composers working in Film/TV, radio, video games, and electronic music. I tried to create some really unique material that could be used in a loop format with ACID and Apple Loops, but also include single shot and Battery kits for those who want to program and manipulate the sounds on a more detailed level.

More ahead.

JM: People generally know your work from the electronic side of things, but I know you also use a lot of weird acoustic instruments and different types of microphones/pickups. Did any of that make it into the library?

I have recently been going out and doing tons of field recordings. I had Josh Kay who is a close friend of mine work with me on a lot of these recordings and sounds. We both used the Beyer Dynamic 930C stereo pair microphones for a lot of the outside ambiences and Foley objects. We also used the Rode NT4, AKG C-1000’s, DPA-4017’s Shotgun Microphones, Sony ECM-MS 5 and the Blue Dragon Fly microphone for the instruments here at the studio. We used the Sound Devices Mic Pre’s for all the outside location recording material. We recorded lots of strange instruments like the Water phones, Tibetan Singing Bowls, Talking Drums, Space Phones, Thunder Drums and Wooden Log Drums. We also recorded a small collection of Indian Pan Flutes, Bamboo Flutes, Ocarina’s and several Didgeridoo’s that I got in Australia. Some of favorite recordings came from the African Finger Pianos. We did a whole bunch of sessions doing prepared Finger Pianos. I have about 12 different ones that we recorded doing all sorts of strange stuff to. We would take a very John Cage approach to experimenting and getting new sounds out of these instruments. Sometime Hammering nails into the wood and using Magnets, Rubber Bands, Paper clips, wires, and small mechanical motors to play onto the metal tongs. You would be amazed at some of the variety of sounds we got. We did a 4-day recording session of my old Kurtzman grand piano, which was amazing. We placed the Water phone on top of the Piano Strings and played the water phone with a Violin bow, and let the metal bowel resonate into the chamber of the piano. It was a super creepy sound. All of these recordings made it into the final library. I was really happy with how this all turned out.

JM: While working with a company as large as Sony did they apply any limits to what you were able to create or did they let you design the library in the way that you wanted it?

The first person to contact me about doing the library was Richard Thomas who is one of the head directors of Audio at Sony Creative Software. We met at the 2007 NAMM show, and started talking about doing a library. Richard had mention to me that they had been interested in doing a library with me for a while. I was worried that it might be limited to a specific format or genre, but to my surprise they where completely open to what ever I was going to give to them. They had already done their homework and were keeping an eye on me for quite some time. They were familiar with my music, and the sound design work I have done for other companies. So it was a blessing that I was able to release this project with them without any limitations. They gave me total freedom over everything which is really amazing.

JM: The library actually comes with notes, photographs and even two videos. This is something I have never seen as part of a sound library, can you tell us a little more about this?

Yes, we wanted give more details about the project and how we recorded it. I almost felt like this was like releasing another record in a way. I love getting something that feels like you can get a glimpse of that artist life within a specific time period. I wanted extra linear notes, pictures, and videos so people could get an idea of how it all came together. To have some visual references that could be associated with the project. I think it is much more memorable then just having a bunch of folders with sounds on a DVD.

JM: Was there any specific or unusual sound design techniques that you used for any of the content in the library?

We used a lot of different techniques for this. We did lots of layering and combining of acoustic sounds with synthetic sounds. Like taking the sound of a train passing by and layering that with pitched down animal breathing sound, or layering the sound of a car driving over a bridge and layering that with the VCO of a Buchla 200e. Then sending them through a Eventide H-8000FW. We also used the Kyma System for lots of sound morphing and spectral FFT processing of sounds. I would run tons of field recordings through Kyma and get some really odd FM based modulated sound scapes, and beautiful granular bits. We used the Nord Modular G2 and Roland V-Synth GT for lots of Format and Elastic type sounds. A large portion of sounds where created using the Cwejman S1 and Doepfer Modular systems that we have here. We even used a handful of circuit bent
machines like the Highly Liquid bent 707, and TR-808.

JM: As far as I know this is your first commercially released sound design library, are there plans for more in the future?

Yes, I have lots of cool things planned the future. I am hoping to get into making my own custom hardware sometime. I have lots of interesting concepts that I have been trying to realize into hardware. I have been talking to Mike Brown (Livewire Synthesizers) and working with many software companies developing new interesting sounds for other virtual plug-in packages. We are also trying to launch our own small boutique sound design company DevineSound. I want to launch some really crazy new libraries in the near future for users who have Kontakt and Battery.

‘The Electronic Manuscript: A Richard Devine Collection’ can be purchased and previewed here.

Kammerl Audio Plugs

Greetings from Barcelona! Everything on this tour has been insane and the responses have been great! So thanks if you happened to come out. For the next few weeks I have some downtime and decided to go around the beaches asking if people want massages. Or more. Anyways, onto the reason I’m making a post….
Julius Kammerl just sent an e-mail informing me that he has just released his plug-ins to the public for the outrageous price of free. They have previously only been available for select artists including members of Funkstorung. I’ve been waiting (pestering him) for months for these to finally be released and even though I have tinkered around with them for about a day, I can say that they’ll make it in the heavy rotation of plugs I’ll use.
First and foremost I must compliment Klaus Kaske on his artwork for all the plugs. Anything that promotes some sort of bizarre bestiality is fair game in my book. There are five plugs and the names are extremely vague: The Slicer, The Scratcher, The Pitcher, The Looper, The Warm Distortion. Should you have questions about the functions of the plugs, there is a nifty readme that explains it in very basic and useful terms.
These plugs seem to be an intelligent, high quality and more functional reiteration of some of Live’s already existing plugs. Strangely I’m drawn to The Warm distortion and The Pitcher because of it’s subtle but extremely high attention to detail. The Pitcher exactly what it’s supposed to do but opposed to some other pitch benders, this one sounds great! The Looper is an endless stream of inspiration and fun. Hearing the loops slowly circulate through the file can suck you in for hours. I can keep doing these one liners but just download the thing and make your own mind up.

“Michael Fakesch is going to release a dvd with music videos on K7. These plugins are also part of this dvd as a little extra feature. “

Click on the logo below to get to the goods….

The Great Mundane : reMIXproject

A really excellent electronica/hip hop (with a touch of Jazz) artist by the name of The Great Mundane has an open submission remix project running right now. There are three tracks available for remixing and you can download zip files with all of the content directly from his site. The remixes are due no later then 11:59PM (Central Time) Sunday May 25th and the best of will appear on an upcoming album.

Rotterdam: Worm Studio

The venue in Rotterdam, Belgium Netherlands last night had a recording studio as well as a video studio. Obviously I was more interested in one than the other. Jonathan Snipes from Captain Ahab was already there when I arrived and was navigating his way through the Arp 2500. I’m not sure how I feel about the wireless patching because it takes an extra second to trace back patches. Then again, its simple and quick after some practice. We geeked out on the Arp and some Serge Modules for many hours while the others were catching up on sleep and working on their sets for the night. I could give you a quick review of what I thought of it but will pass for now as I’m trying to catch up on sleep myself. Touring is murder on your brain and body!

International Dance Party

Very rarely I will find a new product that immediately impresses me. But the day has arrived and we now have this amazing machine called the “International Dance Party.” Over the last 20 years in an underground secret lab, this device was invented. It’s first intention was to ’cause’ dance parties to happen at any location. It was later downgraded to a machine that could merely ‘detect’ parties currently in action and then add to them. Anyway, check out the video in the full post….

More info here:

Bomb the Bass : Butterfingers Video

While Surachai is in Europe eating cheese, I will take this opportunity to post things that he would normally not allow. Starting with this amazing video I just found via MatrixSynth that was created by Perish Factory for the track called Butterfingers by Bomb The Bass. Click the image to view…

Workspace and Environment: Miles Tilmann

I remember meeting Miles at a local club in Chicago and ending up talking to him at length about mutual friends, living abroad and most importantly: food. We shared from our experiences of the differences between urban European food and rural. A couple people stopped by, heard what we were talking about and promptly left. So, to share the details of the conversation would probably make you leave as well. Miles lived in France for an extended amount of time and that is where I am heading later today! While there are a few more Workspace and Environment articles left, I’ll most likely be busy for the next few months eating. Don’t worry, Justin will take care of you.

I was born in Michigan, I live in Chicago now because I wanted to see snow
again after living in Florida for 20 years.
I’ve been making music since 1995, so about 13 years now. I got motivated to make music because I always heard it in my head and figured it would be a good
idea to get some of it out. The same reason applies today.

What is your current favorite piece of hardware?
Faderfox midi control. It’s tiny and has a joystick. Also record
players and cassette 4 tracks.

What is your current favorite software or plugin?
Logic ES2 synth…. it’s extremely versatile.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
I like the color orange because it helps me think clearly.

Extra Curricular
I have some collaborations with Steve Hess, Kate Simko, Mark DeNardo
and Rich Grillotti. Some of these collaborations will be in an
upcoming film.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining?
Korg MS 2000… still one of my favorites.

What is on your current ‘wish list’?
I dont have anything I dont need. I inherited a MPC that I haven’t
touched yet.

Do you have a setup for live performances?
Laptop, Faderfox, Korg MS2000

How many physical locations have you had your studio?
This is my first real studio.

You can find Miles at Webhole and He has an LP coming out with Steven Hess. It’ll be released june 3rd, 2008 on the label ‘other electricities’

Workspace and Environment: The Volt per Octaves

I’m not sure how I stumbled upon these guys but when I looked at pictures of the Husband/Wife group, I realized Anna was the woman we bugged at NAMM in the Moog booth (ie, stalking). Either way to see die hard Moog enthusiasts actually making music is refreshing.

Nick Montoya of The Volts per Octaves
I was born in Burbank, Ca. Grew up in Pasadena, Ca. Moved to Santa Barbara when I was 13 with my parents, before moving all around northern California during my high school years. I lived in Susanville, Redway, Garberville, Shelter Cove, among a few other tiny towns. Now I reside in beautiful Santa Barbara, Ca. This is the place that feels most like home. It’s summer all the time too.
I started playing cello in third grade. Shortly after that I got in to guitar and other rock instruments like bass, drums. Started my first band at age 12 called “Putrid Existence”. I was Nick Putrid, the mastermind of the band, yet the youngest. Kinda like the tough little boss in old cartoons, that orders all the big henchmen around ;) … In high school I got into electronic music when my music teacher let me borrow a virtual analog midi module. That was it… I started buying up keyboards like mad starting with my old MS 2000 (now very dead, like most of em are) and my trusty Moog Prodigy, which I ended up selling when I got my Little Phatty. Then I just went nuts and thats where I’m at right now.

What is the name you work under and where can we find your work?
My wife and I are “The Volt per Octaves”, and we both play Moogs, keys and theremin in our live, non sequenced electronic compositions.\
People say we’re “electronica”, but for some reason I hate that term. I perfer just electronic music or MOOG music. That “a” at the end just kills it for me.\
You can check us out on our myspace ( ). Our CDs can be ordered almost anywhere and can be found digitally at iTunes among many other online retailers.

What is your current favorite piece of hardware?
My favorite piece of hardware of all time is my Minimoog Model D, but right now it’s in the shop for a general tune up. So, I’ve been having lotsa fun with my friend Ross Harris’s Baldwin Synthasound! It’s a super rare old analog monosynth that Baldwin made for a short time at the height of Minimoog and Arp 2600 popularity (1971).
Sounds like Dick Hyman in a box and I love it. It has one of the craziest glide times ever, like 20 seconds… But it actually says “Slide”…

What is your current favorite software or plugin?
We only use software to track/record our analog synths and drum machines. We tried a bunch of software and ended up liking Cubase the most.. Why? Not sure, ease of use I guess…

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
When we get ready to record we like to have everything ready to go. But unfortunately we have to swap out keyboards here and there ‘cuz we don’t have much room in our bedroom/home studio. It’s nice to have everything patched to the board and ready to go. That way when we get an idea we can just run with it.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining? The last?
The first piece of gear that really inspired me was my Moog Prodigy. Although it doesn’t hold a candle to my Mini, it does some cool shit the Model D can’t do. Especially the amazing Oscillator Sync. Best of probably any stock Moog, and the Little Phatty is right up there with it. A very similar sound.
The last piece was actually a dump load of keyboards all at once. My brother’s best friend just unloaded 5 decks on me. A Korg M1, Korg Polysix, Crumar T1 organ, Yamaha CP10 and a Roland Juno 6… All in different working conditions. But the Juno is very clean and worked great right away… The Korg Polysix makes very authentic “dead” polysix sounds. I think the on board-battery leaked all over the damn place ;)

What is on your current ‘wish list’ for new hardware or software?
I’d really love to get a small Pro Tools rig.. It’s seeming more and more essential all the time. But as long as we can record our stuff okay in Cubase, we’re happy.

Do you have a mobile studio setup? What does it include?
Our main setup is pretty mobile. A Mac Book, running Cubase. Our interface is great. It’s an Alesis Multimix 16 Firewire mixer. It can also double as an analog mixing board… When I got it it seemed like a no brainer. Either a 2 channel Pro Tools system for about 500.00 or a 16 channel Alesis/Cubase set up for 450.00… It’s great to be able to record everything to it’s own track in a live studio setting…

Do you have a setup for live performances?
It is very much the same as our studio setup. There is very little we leave at home. Our most common setup for a gig would be:

Anna: Concertmate MG1, Moog Little Phatty Tribute Edition, Korg Microkorg.
Me : Moog Minimoog Model D, Moog Voyager, Korg Electribe ES1, Moog Etherwave Theremin.\
Eva: (when she plays with us) : Hohner Student 32 Melodica\
0Sound: 500W Crown Power Amp, Fender PA Speakers, and the Alesis Multimix 16 Ch. board.

How many physical locations have you had your studio?
Too many to count. I’d like to think that each time the setup has become bigger, bettter more stable and all around more sonic with each piece of gear added, or taken away for that matter… My first setup in the “Putrid” days was a Malaysian Kareoke machine… Dopest punk rock garage recording rig EVER !!! ;) Sure, it’s come along way from there, but it is still very basic…\

Have you ever heard your music being played at a random/public place?
Actually yes. We were flipping through the TV one night and our music was being played in background for a friends computer generated graphic art video project for television. It was this strange little bubbley, busseling city and our song “Super Milk” accompanied the animation.


A+ student Richard Devine just told me that Mike Brown of Livewire Synthesizers just released the AFG for Pre-order!! I imagine these will sell out quickly because they’re limited editions that look SICK! At NAMM, I managed to pin point every single one of its features and produce every sound capable of this oscillator in the 3 minutes I played with it. No forreal, I probably didn’t grasp 2% of what it is capable of but apparently it has sick FM capabilities and a tremendous amount of options (number of knobs and patch points: science!).
If you don’t know how you’re going to stimulate the economy, I suggest getting one of these guys. I’m picking one up immediately after I get back from tour. Click on the picture for the site and audio examples! More later….

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