I’m finally getting back into the flow of things here. I’ve managed to hole myself up in my studio the last three days and develop a good bit of material. Hopefully I can get back on a weekly schedule here…..but no promises!
This week’s offering is – yet again – part of a class project that I produced this last week. I had to shoot and edit a 1-minute video for class, so that gave me a chance to do another soundtrack.
I was going for spooky and mysterious. No real curve balls here in terms of plugins, though I did recently pick up Reaktor 5, which is pretty incredible. I’ve barely scratched the surface with it, but I have discovered the downloadable ensemble packets from off of the NI website. There I found all manner of cool user-created synths and presets. One that I was particularly excited to find was the Soundforum synth that I remembered using some 10 years ago. I didn’t think you could still find that one….I used it for the Vangelis-esque Blade Runner pad at the beginning of the track.
Oh, and here’s the video, too. Enjoy!
In the interest of not allowing this Song of the Week thing fall completely off the map, I’ve decided once again – and against my better judgement – to pull another piece from out of the tune vault. While I realize nobody but me will know whether or not a piece was written yesterday or twelve years ago, I still feel obligated to maintain some transparency about when something was written. There. I feel better.
I wrote this about 10 years ago, not long after I first discovered VST technology. It had been out for awhile even by this point (2004), but I was pretty behind the times. A friend of mine gave me a copy of Computer Music Magazine or something and it had a software companion that included an light version of Orion by Synapse Audio. I’d used Reason a bit by then, but one limitation of Reason was that it didn’t have third-party VST plugin support – whereas Orion did.
I thus began my long and adventurous journey into the world of free VST software synths.
This tune was among the first batch of tunes that I’d written using this new software. I’m not completely sure of all the plugins I used on the track, and I’m sure I’ve lost many of the synths by now. I was also on Windows at the time, so I’m sure that many of them are no longer available.
A few plugins I do remember:
Pokegy – this was a Moog Prodigy emulator. Not sure how much it sounds like a real Prodigy, but I used it for the bass line in the piece. It’s a sounds that I try to imitate often even now.
Crystal (Green Oak) – this one is still out there. Great little synth capable of a lot of sounds. Available for Windows and Mac OS, and apparently for iPad and iPhone as well. Definitely worth checking out!
Blockfish (Digital Fish Phones) – a great little compressor plugin. DFP has a variety of other free plugins worth checking out here.
Triangle I and II (rgc:audio) – I believe rgc was bought by Cakewalk, but these used to be freeware synths. Some killer bass and lead sounds could be coaxed out of these bad boys.
The last few weeks have been crazy busy, so I haven’t gotten around to updating the blog. I do have a few pieces to show for it, however, though they’re all in varying levels of non-completion.
In my last post I offered a soundtrack to a series of tutorial videos that I produced for one of my Instructional Design master’s courses. Here I will show off the rest of the soundtracks that I included in the remaining videos. I haven’t taken the time to give any of these proper names, so we’ll just have to settle with “Section 2 Soundtrack” and stuff like that.
So the real challenge with these tunes was really my time constraints. I had to churn out four videos in fairly short order, and only had my spare time to do it in – which itself is in pretty short supply. So time was of the essence. I’d like to think that given some work, these pieces could actually develop into good material. As they are now, it’s strictly background music.
WORDPRESS PART 2
This one may be my favorite of the three that I’ve posted here. It centers around a neat plugin by AAS called Strum Acoustic. It emulates a variety of acoustic guitar instruments, and has some pretty cool features for mimicking strumming patterns. Perhaps the coolest feature was a built-in set of strumming patterns in the form of MIDI files that can be loaded into your DAW. I was able to pull up a pattern and tweak the notes to configure different chords and there it was. It doesn’t sound completely real, but it’s perfect for being buried under a video voiceover.
There’s little else going on in this track, except for the second melody guitar/dulcimer part (which is a Sonik Synth patch), the pad, and the glockenspiel (both of which are coming from the EXS24). For sure I’ll be digging into the Strum Acoustic more in the future.
WORDPRESS PART 3
This was supposed to be more than it ended up as. Just a little cheesy urban jazz jam. I did play a real guitar on it, so that’s something! The usual suspects on here: Scarbee, SampleTron, etc.
WORDPRESS PART 4
This may be the most ridiculous sounding thing I’ve ever done. It would almost work if it weren’t for the sloppy sounding drums. Again, the Strum Acoustic makes an appearance.
REJOICE PART 1
Since I was running out of ideas, and time, and the inclination to create more content, I filled some of the other space up on this last video with a piece I improvised several months ago. I used a guitar sound out of NI Kontakt that I like a lot. Again, nothing terribly elaborate. This could use some arrangement and turn into a solid piece of music perhaps.
Musings about keyboards, synthesizers, and music in general.