Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Two New Monotrons - DUO & DELAY

KORG appears to be introducing two new monotrons, the monotron DUO and the montron DELAY.  What's in a name?  Well everything in this case.  The monotron DUO will sport an extra oscillator for super-thick analogue tones and the monotron DELAY will have... well a built-in delay of course.  It appears that KORG has taken the original monotron concept and taken it to it's two most logical extremes making one monotron specialized for fat, musical, analogue tones, and making another for spacy sci-fi sound effects.

What is most exciting to me is it looks like the DUO at least has the option to trigger fixed-pitches in either chromatic, major, or minor scales.  This is exciting because anyone who has tried to play the original monotron as a musical instrument as I have (see the post below) as opposed to simply as a noise-maker will attest to what a challenge it can be to find and stay on pitch with the little beast.  The monotron DELAY looks like it may not have the fixed pitch option which makes sense as it appears to be geared more toward noise and sound effects side of things.  Needless to say I will be purchasing both.

I am glad to see KORG expanding its analogue-line of synths.  I can't wait for them to come out with a dedicated analog drum machine and also a microKORG like poly-synth.   I would even hazard a guess that KORG at some point may recreate its legendary mono-synth the MS20 in miniature form, as it did with its software controller for the original KORG Legacy Collection, but this time instead of it being a simple controller for software it will be an actual true analogue mono-synth.  One can dream anyway.

Korg Monomania Sound Contest - Monotron As Lead Synthesizer

What is old is new again. This is my entry into the monotron Music Category of KORG's Monomaina Sound Contest. Long time readers may recognize this as a shortened version of my video from last year and the third most viewed video on my YouTube channel "Monotron As Lead Synthesizer". I'm still rather proud of this one considering what gear I used and how quickly I put it together.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

So73 "A Farewell" - Ebow, Reverend Warhawk & Squier Jaguar Bass

'A Farewell' is the second song on "The Way We Feel" available now on iTunes, Amazon.com, and Bandcamp along with other online retailers.
This song features Ebow playing the melody line, my Reverend Warhawk electric guitar and Squier Jaguar Bass playing their parts and the Vox AmPlug AC30 and Bass as amps.
Cameras used were the Canon S3 IS, Canon S95, & Digital Harinezumi 2++.
All recording and video editing done in GarageBand and iMovie 6.
Thanks for watching!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

So73 - Summer Soft

The single for this song is available here: http://soundofseventythree.bandcamp.com/track/summer-soft

I've been very interested in working with acoustic textures lately and this is my first track using them. It contains a Seagull Entourage Rustic acoustic guitar, a Yamaha Guitalele, a RhythmTech Laptop acoustic snare drum played with brushes, an SX LG1 lap steel guitar, a Reverend Warhawk, a Squier Jaguar Bass, various Behringer guitar pedals, a Vox AmPlug, and everything was recorded using an Apogee One as mic or interface.

This is also my first video using my beautiful new Canon S95IS for video. I think you will be able to tell a big difference in the video quality if you watch in HD. I love this camera for it's ability to shoot in very low light and still produce a clear image.

Hope you enjoy it and thanks for watching!  :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I received my KORG nanoKONTROL 2 yesterday and it inspired me to improvise this little dub-style track which I am calling 'Ladybug'. It features the nanoKONTROL 2 controlling the Ableton Live mixer along with the Novation Launchpad launching clips, and the Akai MPK mini controlling the delay send for the drums. The bass is a sample of me playing my Squier Jaguar Bass through the KORG Pandora PX5D which was also used as the soundcard for this set. Thank you for watching and listening!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Korg Monotribe

Not entirely sure what is being said but I already know Sound of Seventy Three must have one. The Monotribe like its predecessor the Monotron is a perfect example of Sound of Seventy Three gadgetry. Its cheap, analog, and battery powered! Say no more the Monotribe WILL be on the next So73 album.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Shields Remix w/ Novation Launchpad & Ableton Live

This is the first remix and video from "The Way we Feel" the new album from Sound of Seventy Three available now on Magnatune records. Its a remix of the first song on the album titled "Shields" and is currently only available on the Sound of Seventy Three Bandcamp page as the b-side to the "Shields" single.

Monday, March 21, 2011

"The Way we Feel" Now Available on Magnatune Records

The new Sound of Seventy Three album "The Way we Feel" is now available through Magnatune records.  If you are a subscriber to Magnatune the download is free with your membership.  If you are not a subscriber you will just have to wait for the album to show up at your favorite online retailer or go to my Bandcamp page to purchase it.  Last time I checked it was available through iTunes already but not yet on Amazon.com or eMusic.

Some facts about the album:  It was done entirely in GarageBand on a MacBook.  It was written, performed, recorded, mixed and mastered entirely by yours truly except for one drum part that Matt McKenny (So73's live drummer) helped out with.  The amps used were Vox AmPlug AC30 and AmPlug Bass.  The guitar pedals used were all Behringer.

Thanks for listening!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

NAMM 2011 - The mighty, mini BEHRINGER 302USB

Of all the new gear coming out of NAMM 2011 this Behringer Xenyx 302 USB mixer seems to be the one that I would like the most right now. I am definitely in the market for a new soundcard and this simple mixer seems perfect for my needs. Mixer, powered by USB with interface built in. Totally portable. Nothing fancy, you don't even get phantom power, but you have an assortment of connections and some simple but effective routing options. Behringer does not say when it will be available in the US and that makes me a bit nervous that I am in for a bit of a wait. Only $49.00 though which make me very happy. Hopefully the soundcard and D/A conversion will sound as good as the pandora or the USB Phono Pre I have been using. I have a feeling it will.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mastering With iZotope Ozone

So I finally broke down and purchased proper mastering software for my second album.  I went with iZotope Ozone and I am pleased with it so far.  I did this album and the first album completely with GarageBand and while I obviously think you can do a lot with just GarageBand there are a few other critical pieces of software I feel you need in addition to it to produce music that is, well more 'professional' sounding for lack of a better term.  In fact I would encourage someone just starting out to save money that they may spend on an expensive DAW and instead use a lightweight DAW like GarageBand and invest in these critical pieces of software instead.

So what are these pieces of software you may ask?  Well if you use 'acoustic sounding' drums in your music and you are not recording drums live, then you need a dedicated acoustic drum plugin.  I use Addictive Drums and it lets me lay down nice sounding drum tracks with minimal effort, but it also allows me to go deep and really sculpt or shape my drums should I decide I need to for a given track.  Unless you are simply using loops, or making strictly electronic music the included drum sets in GarageBand just don't sound realistic enough for rock or say jazz music.

The second piece of software I think you pretty much have to have is a program like Ozone, mastering software.  Yes you can make music without it, and yes I did release my first album without any such program, but I think a program like this is pretty much necessary in audio production these days.  With the major labels waging the "loudness wars" as fiercely as ever you need a program like this if you want your music to even approach the level that the majority of commercially released music is mastered at these days.

So if someone just starting out were to ask me about software essentials to release professional sounding recordings to the general public it might look something like this: starting level DAW (GarageBand or equivalent); 'acoustic' drum plugin (Addictive Drums or equivalent); and mastering software (Ozone or equivalent).  Again, if you are electronic or sample based you can leave out the drums, but if you are doing rock music realistic sounding drums are a must.

While I have not scratched the surface of what Ozone can do I am very pleased with what it has done with my tracks thus far.  In the past when I have dealt with mastering type plugins or 'loudness maximizers' I have always felt that I had to sacrifice the quality of the sound of my tracks in order to make them louder.  So far I have not felt this way with Ozone at all.  In fact I feel that not only are the tracks louder but they also sound just a tad bit more 'exciting' and present after being run though Ozone.

I know I know, your not supposed to master your own tracks.  But I don't think you are supposed to make your own artwork, maintain your own website, or do your own promotion either.  In other words, this is the reality for a recording artist like me.  Its either do it this way or don't do it at all, and I would hope that those who enjoy my music can appreciate that any imperfections they hear are the result of the fact that they are not hearing a collaboration which is what most commercially released albums are, but the work of one man working alone.

I also don't believe that this is an entirely bad thing either.  I'd like to think that music made the way I make it is like something you would get from Etsy versus something you might buy from Target.  I believe there is a new new cottage-music-industry developing and I think you are going to be finding more and more music produced this way in the future.  Thankfully businesses like Magnatune and YouTube are providing an outlet for musicians like myself to reach a larger audience than we might otherwise be able to reach on our own.  I think its a very exciting time to be a musician!