Been working on a new project, which is the website oldskooltechno.com. The site will feature a blog, forum and wiki devoted completely to all things oldskool. The wiki is a pretty ambitious undertaking; I’m hoping to index oldskool tunes with corresponding video and sound clips to try and create a comprehensive, listenable, searchable catalog of tunes. I’m hoping to recruit other collectors of the music to assist me in entering tracks. So if you’re interested, please drop me a line.
This video introduces the Hybrid mode on the Denon DN-S3700 CD decks for use with Serato Scratch. This mode allows real-time control of MP3s without any time coded vinyl or CDs being necessary. I think that’s a huge step forward. The tricknology is being performed by UK DMC champ JFB.
Here’s a project that was done by Youtube user svenisnumb that uses the Microsoft Kinect as a Midi Controller. His Project was coded in C#. This is similar to my AirDeck Wiimote theremin. I don’t have an Xbox, so I haven’t been been able to fool around with the Kinect yet… but this intrigues me.
Moog, the historic analog synth manufacturer named after pioneer Robert Moog, has released an app claiming to replicate the authentic Moog sound on your iPhone (or iPod or iPad). The app, called Filtatron, sells for 5 bucks. Sound too good to be true? Judge for yourself in the preview video below.
Blu Mar Ten, an exceptional drum & bass (among other things) production outfit, recently hosted a remix competition for their track Believe Me. This was done in anticipation of their forthcoming album Natural History: Revision, which will feature a number of remixes including ones by the winners of this contest.
Unfortunately, I did not win. However, this was an epic track to work with and I learned a lot in the process. In the meantime, I am going to continue trucking along. I am seeing incremental improvement in my work as I continue to do these contests… and that has really been the main goal all along.
Here’s my remix:
Blu Mar Ten – Believe Me (Mojo Remix) by DJMojo
Here’s the original, for context:
Blu Mar Ten – Believe Me by Blu Mar Ten
And here is a collage of the three winning tracks:
Blu Mar Ten Remix Competition Winners by Blu Mar Ten
Reactable is an object based musical platform that uses the shapes of objects on a multi-touch like surface to create musical patterns and effects. They have now made a mobile version for iPod, iPhone and iPad. How cool is that?
20 finalists will be selected to have their tracks reviewed by D-Nox & Beckers. The top prize is an iPad. I won’t lie… as some of you know, I wish to move into development of musical apps, so having an iPad would be a big step in that direction. The tricky part about the selection of finalists is that 10 will be selected by Beatport staff. The other 10 will be selected by votes. I could really use some help here. You do have to have a Beatport login to vote, but registration is realtively quick and painless. I would really appreciate any help readers of my blog can muster!
If you just want to listen to the track:
Pulsing synth lines, frequency sweeping pads, earth-shaking wobble basses. These are a couple of examples of LFO at work. LFO or Low Frequency Oscillator is one of those mystical acronyms in synthesizer jargon that can be somewhat intimidating to new synth users. But at its heart, the LFO is a pretty straightforward concept to understand. In this post, I would like to break it down.
Sound is produced as a series of waves and the frequency, or rate of wave cycles occurring in a given span of time, is what determines the pitch (note value) of a sound. This is measured in Hertz (Hz). The average human can hear sounds that fall between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz.
Those booming low sub basses we hear in hop hop and drum & bass usually fall somewhere in the range between 20 and 100 Hz. These are the kinds of basses you “feel” more than hear. Anything below 20 Hz is too low for human hearing. So why would we care about using waves in these ranges?
This is the beauty of LFO. LFO allows you to use its waveform to modulate (control) a parameter of another sound. For example, if we use an LFO sine wave to control the pitch of a different sine wave that we can hear (oscillating at an audible frequency), the pitch of the sine wave we hear will rise and fall steadily. This audible sine wave is now being “shaped” by the lower frequency sine wave, which is the LFO. Modulating pitch in this manner is how siren sounds are produced. Here is an audio example:
Other attributes besides pitch can be controlled in this manner. Here is an example of amplitude, or volume, being controlled by an LFO sine wave. This gives us that swelling or pulsing effect:
These are two of the most fundamental uses. However when used in combination with other synthesizer modulation tools such as envelopes or filters… well, here is where the full power of an LFO can really be unleashed. Here is an example of an LFO modulating a Low Pass filter, on a saw wave (which is richer in harmonic content than a sine wave). This gives us that classic sweeping, phasing effect we all love:
All of the above examples use a sine wav as the LFO. A sine wave has a very smooth up and down shape and thus produces a very smooth up and down sound. But we are not limited to only using a sine wave. Other wavefroms can be used, each with their own characteristic shapes, resulting in their own characteristic sounds. By looking at the shape of the waveform, one can get an idea of what the resultant sound would be.
A triangle wave has a linear up and down sound. This results in a smooth up and down progression, even smoother than the Sine when used as an LFO.
A sawtooth features a rise and then a sudden drop to silence.
A square is merely on or off, kind of like a binary function applied to sound. This switches the sound on and switches the sound off.
Finally, by matching the LFO frequency to the tempo of our song, we can get incredible timed patterns, that almost make our LFO act as a sort of sequencer. Most modern synths or synth software have a sync function that allows you to easily input the timing of the LFO rate. In other words, do you want the cycles to occur on quarter notes, eighth notes or through a whole measure?
So we have seen how LFO is used to alter the attributes of a given sound and how the waveform chosen for our LFO offers different sonic options. By combining multiple LFOs or having the same LFO control multiple synth parameters, some incredibly crazy sounds can be dished up. The LFO is an incredibly versatile and effective tool to liven audio productions. It’s amazing how something we can’t even hear can offer us so much power. Kind of like our imaginations…
A Guy Called Tom (yes, that’s his name on Vimeo) is using the TouchOSC app on his iPhone to control a modular synthesizer. Pure Data is doing the heavy lifting, converting the data to MIDI. Here is what he says about it:
TouchOsc iPhone app sending osc data into PureData Extended, where it is converted to midi and sent to the Doepfer MCV24 which converts it to voltage and controls the modular synth.
TouchOsc XY Pad controls the pitch of two Thomas Henry VCO-1 which also crossmodulate each other.
TouchOsc Sliders control Elby Steiner filter cutoff, Plan B Model 10 env cycle speed, Doepfer BBD feedback and delay. Thomas White LPG used in both mode for amplification. Delay is a Stereo Memory Man with Hazarai. Sorry for the video quality, its done using a photo cam.
Using TouchOsc is fun, there is a lot of control right at your fingertips. Actually it can control way more than i have to control 🙂 Really cool app. Disadvantage is the steping in the control voltages that you can hear quite well, especially when controlling the pitch of oscillators. Not sure if its the midi resolution, the mcv24 or the application itself.
This is very cool. I was experimenting with TouchOSC during my Special Projects in Music Technology class last quarter. I was just using my iPod to control some sounds in Pure Data, this is taking it to the next level. Maybe even the level after that.
Yes, I just recently wrapped up work on the Sunchase remix contest, and I already have the bug again to work on another one. Not drum & bass this time… this one will be some funky tech house. Details of the contest, sponsored by Beatport and Baroque Records, can be found here. I have most of my remix finished, just adding details at this point. And of course, still need to mix down and master it. I will post a link as soon as it is closer to completion.
Welcome to the future. This is a concept I have been playing around with in my head and on paper for some time and now Pablo Martin has brought this vision to fruition. Basically, Pablo has created a software interface called Emulator that allows Traktor to receive multi touch data, freeing it up from the confines of just the mouse and allowing it to be used on a multi touch surface. That right there is cool enough.
Rodrigo from Chile is developing the multi touch surface you see in the video, which is called Töken. Between the two of them they have put together one hell of an incredible DJ rig.
Shout out to simfonik for turning me on to this.
I reworked the remix a bit, wanted to make it a bit less “abstract.”
I haven’t done a Drum & Bass mix in quite a long time, but overall I am pleased with how this turned out. Mostly new stuff with a few old classic favs thrown in for good measure. Mostly liquid but a little bit of everything and I throw some harder stuff in at the peaks.
Here is the remix I am submitting for the Sunchase “Moulded” remix competition. I spent a lot of time on this and feel good about how it turned out. The two main things I wanted to do was expand on the excellent moody vibe of the original, and also focus on the “futuristic” elements. It’s funny, but to me anything that sounds futuristic reminds of the “old” analog synth sounds – stuff you hear in 80s sci-fi classics like Blade Runner. Or stuff you would hear from artists like Jean MIchael-Jarre or Vangelis. The irony is that these synths have been around for like 40 years, and yet to me they still and probably always will sound futuristic.
I did this in Sonar, and I am still learning my way around the features and quirks of Sonar. All in all, I think it’s a great piece of software, which is why I bought it. However, there are still intricacies I am trying to wrap my head around. The good news is that I learned a lot during this. So regardless of the outcome, I am better for having done it.
I had my doubts about the little guitar and classical segment that I close with. I wasn’t sure that it “fit.” However, as I was working on building up elements for the song, this theme would not leave my head… and I’m a big believer in following inspiration whenever it rears it’s head. So, I spent a lot of time transcribing it from my head, the way I heard it and I decided to go with it, for better or for worse.
Anyways, enough chatter. Here’s the song:
And here’s a clip of the original, for context:
Thanks for listening!
I am busily working on another remix competition. This is for another Drum ‘n Bass tune called “Moulded” by Sunchase. The original track, a nice minimal moody number, is released on the Camino Blue Recordings label. Details of the of contest can be found here.