Sunday, November 24, 2019

Never Give Up

It's often worth going beyond popular wisdom and searching for the truth.
Today was a fine example of that philosophy.
To make making styles for my QY300 easier I decided that the best tool for the job was the Linux DAW software LMMS. The MIDI routing is second to none and with a decent sequencer attached it's pretty much perfect. The problem was that wherever I looked on the internet the answer was that LMMS would not run on a Raspberry Pi. The RPi just didn't have the resources. All I needed it for was MIDI and because Seq24 runs without a problem I didn't think that running LMMS as a MIDI controller would be a problem either. The internet kept on saying no, but I wasn't about to give up that easily.
After a couple more hours of searching and reading I found a possible solution. Someone had installed a version of Lubuntu onto their RPi and simply downloaded LMMS from the repository. I know that Lubuntu is a really lightweight system and I was going to be installing it on a RPi 2 which is kind of pushing the boundaries but I thought it was worth a go.
Two hours later and a new install of Lubuntu was indeed running my QY300 through LMMS without a problem.
As the title of this post says, never give up.
That would be just too easy.

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.