Sunday, November 17, 2019


The picture above is nothing much to look at.
It's just another instance of Bitwig Studio. Tonight I decided to build a track from scratch so I started in D minor in Sundog Song Studio. I made two blocks of 4 bars and then exported the MIDI file to FL Studio to re-voice. It was more a jam session with FL Studio, I wanted to get an idea of the sounds I'd be using. I didn't settle on anything in particular so I didn't export any multi-samples. I did get a feel for the track though.
Next I imported the MIDI file into Bitwig and got to a stage where the 2 groups of 4 bars were in their own space and I added some basic drums. I then decided I wanted the first 4 bars of chords to be 8 bars. By the time I'd done that I'd not only moved the second chord up a semi-tone too much but I'd forgot to resize the loop to 8 bars. The resulting 4 bars sounded really good, mistakes and all so it's been kept.
My next mistake was adjusting the bass wrongly after I'd duplicated it several times. The result was my original bassline alternating with an offset version. Again it sounded good so it's staying too.
It's only the start of the track but my mistakes have given me ideas as to what I need to do to make the track more interesting.
At this stage all I can predict is that it probably won't end up in D minor for long.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Worth Your Time

I have a lot of time to listen to the entertainment system in my truck.
This week it was mostly spent listening to the audiobook version of Edward Snowden's new book 'Permanent Record'.
It's a good book. It's about him and what made him the kind of person that would expose a country's secrets. There are no big reveals about hacking or insider views of his time in exile. In fact it's as bland a story of what happened to Edward Snowden before, during and after the events that brought him to the world's attention.
The fact is that because the story is so interesting the telling of it doesn't need added bells and whistles. Before you read or listen to the book you know the ending but it's the joining of the dots that is fascinating.
There is information in there that you need reminding about concerning privacy and your digital identity. In case you think anything has improved in the last 6 years ask yourself why a company like Facebook who these days are talking about your privacy have just introduced 'Portal'. This book is very good at reminding you that all such things gather some kind of information about you.
With the prospect of few voices like Edward Snowden's talking publicly about the state of surveillance in the future it's worth keeping up with what he has to say now.
There's a good possibility most people will simply forget and slip into bad habits. And then all is lost.

(Photo credit: Laura Poitras / Praxis Films)

Saturday, November 02, 2019

One Step Back, Two Steps Forward

The last 24 hours have been a bit frantic as far as computers go.
Last night I managed to delete the wrong partition on the wrong disc. Five re-installs later and I'm able to write this blog on my usual laptop.
With that out of the way I decided for some reason that I'd like one more go at installing FL Studio to one of my studio laptops. It turns out that both are now able to run FL Studio 12. The missing Tahoma font has been found and I have all my menus once again. Everything (for now) is just working.
This means that my studio now has access to all FLS plugins and the sounds and effects contained within. I'll be producing samples and multi-samples like never before. I have a tune to write but I imagine the process will be a little longer due to the sonic library now at my disposal. I still have some hardware to move around and some MIDI cabling to do but then I'm done.
It's all about writing tracks now.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Sundog Song Studio

I'm usually a cat person but I'll make an exception for Sundog.
Sundog Song Studio is a piece of software that will help you write songs. The title gives it away really. It's like a really smart combination of lots of bits of software I've used in the past. You pick a key, choose some chords and then add melody and bass around the chord structure. You can also add rhythms. It's a case of tweaking until you're happy and you can then export a MIDI file to re-voice and add to in your DAW.
I have also been linking it to my MU100 and RM1x with great results.
Considering I'm running it as a Windows executable on Wine in Ubuntu Studio it works perfectly. It normally runs on Windows and Mac so if you're a musician in need of a backing band it's a fantastic addition to your musical arsenal.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

No Parrot

I spent all of yesterday evening trying to install Parrot OS.
The installation didn't work which is kind of a disappointment. I say 'kind of' because once I knew it wasn't going to work I installed Ubuntu Studio instead. Anyone that follows this blog will already know that I have a laptop with Ubuntu Studio already installed, so why a second?
My main reason is that I'm starting to write my own patterns for the QY series of sequencers I have. It's going to be useful to have various patterns all in one place so that when I've built up a decent collection I can mix and match the various elements.
The direction my music is going in will rely heavily on pattern based music. I've always liked the idea of that being not only the foundation of tracks but the whole track. It isn't uncommon in electronic music but I'd like to try a few different styles and create decent arranger keyboard type tracks. I think it can be done and I have all the kit and sounds I need it's just the patterns are quite generic and sound generic when they're put together to form tunes. My approach will hopefully be that you don't notice or at least if you do you don't mind. Something akin to a contemporary Mescherin. I like the thought but maybe I'm trying to bite off more than I can chew.
I've just been testing the theory tonight by re-voicing my Yamaha PSR-240 keyboard styles with the MU100 and the RM1x. The results were fairly impressive. If the pattern elements were changed a bit it would actually be pretty good.
If I get time in the week I'll work on a bit of MIDI syncing so that hopefully next weekend I can start writing.
Things are never that easy with MIDI though.