Category Archives: Music

Ambient Explorations 4

Here’s a little story about how this track came into existence. The end of March was a little bit foggy and rainy, and I was looking for something dark to follow on the descend I mad in Ambient Explorations 3. I started browsing for some material on my old scores and found a score for “Good Vibrations” from the California Beach Boys. I do concede this is not the first thing that comes to mind when searching for inspiration for an Ambient piece, but I went for it anyway and took the first few notes (“I, I love the colourful clothes she wears…“) this amounted to D, a whole lot of A’s, D, F, G, C C and D again, which I laid out in whole notes on the top voice. I then did a small two-voice counterpoint on top of that (actually, bellow that).

The 3-voice counterpoint sounded ok on the piano, but it was only about 20 second long and I needed something a lot longer. So I made a MIDI file with the notes, imported it into Ardour and changed the tempo to 20bpm. I also had to triple the score, making the approximately 7 minutes I has. Continue reading Ambient Explorations 4

RV600 A New Perspective

If you happen to follow my YouTube channel more than this blog (and why should you d otherwise, as most of the good stuff comes in video format?), you’ll notice I posted a new video demonstrating the Behringer RV600 in combination with Korg’s Volca Keys. If for some odd reason you came across this post before listening to the video, you’ll find the video here:

I have originally reviewed this pedal here, and made an accompanying video for it. Actually, this was the first video I I did demonstrating a pedal, and it is still the most viewed of the Gear Demos playlist. However, this video was done in poor lightning, with an ageing camera and the sound quality, either by personal lack of experience or by bad programming of the synth, did not really came up to par. After more than a year using this pedal in many of my productions, and noticing an ongoing interest about this little reverb unit, I decided it was time I did right by this pedal, and re-do its demo. I also wanted to add in some of my personal notes about its sound and capabilities. Continue reading RV600 A New Perspective

Microkorg Patches

Hello all!

It’s been a while since I updated this site. Today I started a new section, devoted to one of my favourite synths: the Microkorg! In this new section I’ll share some of my patches with you. This is more of a personal complement to the microkorg cookbook website. However, in this site, I can assure you that all the patches were originally developed by myself, and are available for use under a Creative Commons Attribution license. Bellow, you’ll find the video demonstrating how I assembled the first patch to be published here: FM Bells.

RM1x First Set

During the last few months I’ve been deciding on a main sequencer for my setup. Some of the main contenders included the BeatStep Pro, the Electribe 2, the Squarp Pyramid, and the Octatrack. The latter two are a little bit on the expensive side. Plus, the Octatrack’s workflow is something of a unique thing, with a manual the size of a small novel. On the other hand, the Pyramid’s operation is much more straight forward, but the lack of documentation and demos makes me wonder if it will have any supporters in the future.

So, the two main contenders ended up being the BeatStep Pro and the Electribe 2. The BeatStep Pro is a very neat sequencer that can (in theory) control some pieces of gear, while I jam away freely in another synth. The electribe 2 also features a nice patter sequencer, plus a built-in synth engine that is derived from the mighty King Korg. Unfortunately, both the BSP and the E2 have some important shortcoming when I started to plan how they would fit my setup. The BSP does not have ANY support under Linux. Although the device appears as a class-compliant USB-MIDI device, Arturia’s refusal¬† to publish the SysEx implementation means that backing up projects, or assigning CC values is only possible using their software (which does not run well on a VirtualBox or Wine). This is despite all the program does is send and listen to strings of SysEx messages.

As for the Electribe 2, I would be my first choice if I ever need something for live performances, but for my personal journey in the studio, I need something that can hold patterns with more than 4 bars (I still prefer the classical 8-bar phrase) and also be able to play drones, which is not easily done with an Attack-Decay envelope similar to that of the Volca Sample.

Earlier this month I began looking for other alternatives, including older gear. I already own a Yamaha QY-70, which is interesting for recording MIDI, but a little bit troublesome to create and edit patterns. Then I found this video by Meecek and instantly feel in love with the RM1x. It took a few weeks until I found one available on e-bay, as these things, although not expensive, are a little bit rare to come by. Then I was able to score an almost new-old-stock Yamaha RM1x from a collector in France, and the machine arrived just in time for Christmas.

So, here is my Christmas tale for 2016, now lets wait and hear for what 2017 will bring! :)

Ambient Kaos 1: Full, Re-mastered Version

On September 2015 I started the Ambient Kaos series. The objective was to produce 12 tracks of ambient music using only the Korg Kaossilator and mini- Kaos Pad 2. The series ended last August, and serves has a register of my own evolution during my first year producing videos on YouTube. The first few tracks were recorded directly using the mini-KP2. Later, I started to record stuff using my pc and save the trouble with transferring files from a micro SD to the PC. This also means that the audio for the first few episodes is the raw recording of the mini-KP2. Although the recordings are not bad, some EQ and overall mastering definitively increased the quality of the latter episodes.

What is more, the first episode is about 7 minutes long, but the track takes almost 20 minutes. And since this is the time of the year to look back and see were to improve, I took the chance to publish the full version of the first Ambient Kaos, now with full mastering treatment (well, YouTube will certainly add some more compression and normalization on top of my work, nonetheless). I hope you enjoy it while you rest during these Holidays.

Nux Flanger Core Review

I brought this pedal during the Spring of 2016: I was walking through a store and saw it at a reasonable price (about 30 euros). Now, there are three things to know before reading this review: a) I’m not a big fan of flangers in general; b) this pedal is more subtle than your average flanger FX (compared, for example with the Flangers in the MiniKP2, this one is very, very shy); and c) I think NUX stopped making these pedals during the summer of 2016, although you can still find it on amazon and other retailers. As usual, I recommend you to complement this reading by watching the demo on my YouTube Channel (see bellow).

Ok, so let’s start with the obvious: this pedal is white with a purple background in the control area. It is a metal case with the same dimensions and overall Feel of the NUX Time Core (reviewed here). I must say the NUX Time Core has been with me for about a year now and is my main delay pedal. I don’t use it as a stomp box (i.e. I don’t have it on the floor and use my feet on it), so I cannot state it was built like a tank. Nevertheless, if you’re not going to take it to some physical mistreatment, the built quality is fine (specially considering the price). Thus, I’m expecting the NUX Flanger Core to be at around the same build quality, which is not bad,¬† and it is perfectly adequate for my usage. Continue reading Nux Flanger Core Review