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.

Sunday, September 29, 2019


Sometimes nearly good enough is as good as it gets.
Compromising is a difficult thing to do especially when you're 99% there. It's like riding a bicycle with a flat tyre that last mile home because it's still quicker than walking. If the end result is all one is after does it matter how it is achieved?
In my case, no. So it has been this past week with trying to iron out a couple of problems with Windows software and trying to get it to run successfully on Linux. The end result is that I got my way but I had to be content with 99% and a couple of work-arounds. This means that time and money invested in my studio has been well spent. I can still do what I intended to do and that is good news.
One of those things is that I can after many years run FL Studio on my Ubuntu Studio laptop. It isn't as good as Bitwig Studio in that environment but it can be used as an audio processor and sound source which is all I need it for these days.
One thing that is working 100% is the Yamaha MU100. As you can see I've created my first patch and it sounds amazing. I could spend hours sound designing, it's a lot of fun and very rewarding especially as I can multi-sample my results into Bitwig.
I intend to add one more piece of kit to the studio and then that's it. I will have to wait, there are more pressing things that I need to spend money on.
Maybe I'll treat myself at Christmas.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Layers Of Complexity

I've learned a valuable lesson.
Years ago when I started writing my own tunes I had few sound sources and I wondered where people got their sounds from. In the 80's there weren't any samplers to speak of until the Fairlight. What I thought was that electronic bands had access to a multitude of synths and that they messed around with them until they found the right sound. I have spent hours sound designing only to settle on something that was only 'near enough'.
Last week I bought the Yamaha MU100 simply because it could layer 4 sounds at once, I thought that might be interesting. It's a brilliant sound module for a whole load of other reasons, too many to list here. My Korg Liverpool similarly has the ability to layer sounds but thus far I had only dabbled in that side of it. Back to the MU100. The presets for the layered sounds are nothing short of amazing. The videos I had watched online don't do them any justice. I also started double layering tracks with the RM1x and it instantly became obvious that the years I had spent thinking that amazing sounds came from a single source were totally misinformed.
I think just about every one of the tracks I have ever released had every sound as a single source sound, regardless of how many oscillators were involved. The secret all along was to get simple sounds from various sources and layer them.
I really do feel stupid. My search for those elusive sounds is over. I know how to make them now.
It's a shame it took so long.

Monday, August 26, 2019


I've been hard at work on this track for a while now but it's finally finished.
There isn't a lot I can say here apart from the track is called "Hey!"
As usual it's available to stream and download for free from the Internet Archive and is covered by a Creative Commons licence.

Sunday, August 18, 2019


Today has been a good day.
The Bear and I went for a small adventure to Astley Book Farm. I liked it there. There were obviously plenty of books, I bought a few on maths, and the cafe is very good also. We enjoyed fish finger sandwiches and coffee and cakes, but not all at once. I recommend that if you get a chance to go you really shouldn't miss the opportunity.
I also managed to get everything working in the hardware studio. Finally!
The QY10 talked to LMMS, LMMS recorded the MIDI signals and the RM1x played the MIDI notes back with fab new voices. The only problem at the moment is that I output a type 0 MIDI file instead of a type 1 but that's my fault and I'll rectify that next time.
I have a tune and an idea on the go at the moment so I'll get on with those next weekend which fortunately is a Bank Holiday so I'll have a few spare hours for mixing and mastering.
Hopefully I'll have something to play you next weekend.