Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tabletop Beatmaking Software for the iPad

Hey peoples,

I mentioned earlier that I'd been working on a project and would share information when I could. Well, finally I can!  I've spent the last few months developing content for Tabletop, a revolutionary beatmaking tool releasing today for the iPad.

Check this link for the deets:

If you own an iPad and like making beats on the run, please check out that link, your iPad will never be the same.  This is a project developed by Retronyms, a San Francisco (and beyond) based team of developers who've done some very interesting things on the iPad.  Recently, they brought Propellerhead's ReBirth to the iPad.  If you've ever had a tweak on ReBirth back in the day, you owe it to yourself to try it out in a multitouch environment.

But Tabletop!  It is like a Westcoast beatmaker's wet dream.  It contains virtual turntables for playing and mixing .mp3's, a pad based sampler akin to the legendary MPC for recording and bashing out beats, a tone matrix similar to a Monome or Tenori-On for plinky lead and bass lines, a synth with some very funky patches, a block based sequencer that is triggerable for on the fly beat mashing, and a host of stomp box style fx for live tweaking.  And live tweaking is the idea. Everything is playable and accessible in real time.  Basically all of the devices are laid out on a... you guessed it, a Tabletop, and you can just sweep around, grabbing, playing  and wiring up the devices you want.  And on top of that, you can resample, and just start mashing and reprocessing your own beats.

I'm not going to lie, I'm frothing a bit as I'm writing this. Jokes.  If you own an iPad and have ever nodded your head to beat, pick up this app, it is a lot of fun.  And to my musical peepz, you know who you are, hit me up, I've got some promocodes, you can get started smashing out some Tabletop beats right quick.

Maybe we could post up some microwave beats here in a couple of days?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Maschine - Background on the Beast -

Okay, so everyone wants to know about Maschine.  Deservedly so.  This is the single most useful, inspirational, FAST, extensible, *fun* music making device I've ever used.  Hands down, nothing comes close, how does that sound?

In a previous post, I was mulling finding a balance between hardware tactility found in the old pad based samplers of yesteryear, ie the asr-x pro's, the mpc's, and the flexibility and creativity of software devices a la your garden variety daw like FL Studio or Abelton Live.  The catch was always that the hardware was more fun, more real, more emotional, more groovy, but limited and slow.  Something like naming a few samples could take an afternoon.  We went through that back in the day  because we had to, there was no other way.  But once you've experienced the facilities afforded by mouse, keyboard and computer, with a screen roughly 50 times larger than the basic lcd screens found on these old boxes, well... it is very hard to go back.

So, software is strong on the speed and flexibility, but it has always lacked that tactility the boxes encouraged.  Software has always felt cold, uninspirational.  Just a bland piano roll'ed grid... it is kind of hard to get excited.  Spend most of your time staring at a screen to figure out what is going on.  Yuk, it can just kill creativity, any kind of flow or vibe you get while working on music.

But Maschine has come along and kicked that ying yang duality in the nutz.  It is literally the tactility and grooviness of hands and ears based music, but when you need the keyboard and screen and mouse (and eyes), they're there.  For naming files, or instantiating fx, or any of the myriad mundane tasks that go into making music with technology.

This thing is literally what I've been waiting for since music making/production moved to the computer.

Ni is a bit of a gnarly company, and maybe they are getting too big for their own good, maybe too big for our own good, as I can see them choking out smaller developers, especially in these "difficult economic times", but by god I love them for making Maschine, and all the while, the notion sits squarely in the background of all thoughts of Maschine... this is embryonic.  This is the beginning of what Maschine will really come to be.  NI themselves have really just realized what they have, so much so that they are dumping Kore entirely to make Maschine the centerpiece of what they do.

With that said, there is a lot that is wrong with Maschine, and I'd like to do a few posts about that, because, honestly, when you encounter some of Maschine's limitations, you have to ask yourself, have these Germans ever actually used a beat box, so glaring are some of their omissions.  But I'm late to the party, I bought in at 1.6 where many of the most ridiculous oversights have been corrected.  There are still some, and you'll be hearing about them.  The first will be the pads, as that is what this post was supposed to be about, but larger thoughts entered.  Though I've got a secret decoder ring hint: they suck.

More later, thanks for reading.

And to that ox guy, no wasn't stoned, just psyched to be posting again!

Fl studio 10 Finally

Okay, finally got around to installing FL Studio 10.  Waited too long.  The refinements that they've made... are long overdue but extremely welcome.  FL studio was always a very quick environment, something I find to be extremely important in electronic music production, but now, some of those gnarly rough edges that remained from the days of yor have been chiseled down and rounded off, the speed is incredible.

Am having a problem with scrolling fx in the fx stack though.  Can't figure out if I'm the only one experiencing this or not, so any FL users, please chime in if you have this:  When I attempt to move and fx up or down in the fx stack with the scroll wheel, the fx will not move.  If I then click the fx, the mixer jumps to the master channel.  Then... if I go back to the channel with the fx, it is scrollable.  Very odd behavior.  I haven't found a solution, if I do, I'll post it up.  If you've experienced this, please let me know, I'd like to present this to ImageLine for a possible fix.

Maschine posts coming.  Count the days.

Oh, and what is with all the typos in this blog, who is writing this shnips?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

D16 Plugins, follow up to the group buy.

Just wanted to post up a follow up to the D16 group buy.  I love the "shit depression" (runt brother of the great depression), cause there have been some great deals on software (and why shouldn't there be!).

The D16 group buy was like the best deal of the century.  Redoptor and Devastor are great plugs, but Decimort is fncking priceless.  Decimort's chief aim is to simulate old school reduced fidelity samplers, and it does a smashing job of it.  Your average knob (no offense to knobs) thinks it is just a bit crusher, which are beyond free in vst land, but no, you would be wrong to think that.  It is all about that old school crunchy, mushy and generally fncked up old school sampling sound.  I'm finding I use it on almost all of my drums now.  It is like an addiction.  Like yeah that drum sounds good.  Drop decimort on it, omg, that drum sounds like it just dripped off of Pete Rock's greasy fingers.

Also of note in their silver line is fazortran, which bills itself as a phaser, but you can create some serious choppage with it's square wav'ed lfo.  In the words of my long lost kiwi homie, chea!!!!!!!!

Get read for a sh1t tun of posts regarding Maschine.  I've finally started digging in.  Find some serious holes and oversights in its fundamentals, but this thing is an embryo.  We're talking some serious potential.

Guaranteed this concept will change the shape of digital audio workstations in the midterm future.  That is a nwj guarantee (assuming the world can hang on to the Pax Americana sans the Americana).

Peach out Bartches.