I went back to the place where I took my last photos. Actually wanted to drive past this field but the city had closed the gates to the drive. So I had to park down at the bottom of some steep steps and climb up to there, and then walk across to the ravine at far right, where I took some more photos. At first I was a bit disappointed that the gate was closed. But once I got going I decided that it’s always good to adapt to change. It was a pretty long, chilly walk to the ravine, but turns out I got the best photos on the way, in the field. Had the gate been open I would have driven right past here. So the moral of the story… ADAPT.
I haven’t had a chance to get out of the city for quite a while and, frankly, it can get boring. The traffic has risen sharply, probably because of the soaring number of condos. Toronto seems to be booming. That’s great, but sometimes I miss the old, quiet city, the old days. So last night I updated my Songza “Sock it to me 70s” playlist.
My 70s list is probably my strongest. I was a young kid then, super enthusiastic about music. Always listening to the radio, hearing my elder brothers and sisters records, and then as I got a bit older, my friends records. Music has always been a passion. Maybe my number one passion. I don’t know. I like a lot of things.
While updating this playlist, one of the things that struck me was how the Canadian music scene differs from the American scene. Generally speaking, I think we tend to like slightly lighter tunes. And we have a Canadian content law up here stipulating that radio stations must play a certain percentage of Canadian songs. I can’t remember exactly how much. But it’s enough to give Canadian artists a chance. Some cheesy stuff got airplay from that law. But a lot of good stuff too. I tried to ditch the cheese and list only what I felt was worthwhile.
- Songza (forums.crackberry.com)
- Songza Canada Management Team Named (allaccess.com)
- Songza Launches Songza Canada Inc., Reaches 2.4 Million Canadian Users (betakit.com)
- Songza 3.0 for iOS: The single best music-streaming app? (reviews.cnet.com)
- Check out this playlist on Songza (codeasssays.wordpress.com)
- Does it still make sense to buy music? (reviews.cnet.com)
- Songza music concierge service officially launches for Windows Phone 8 (wpcentral.com)
- You Should Let Songza DJ Your Life (besttechie.com)
Click image to open interactive version (via Thomson Holidays).
- A questionable timeline of the evolution of Western dance music. (rocknerd.co.uk)
- Evolution of western dance music (flowingdata.com)
- Interactive Mapping of the Evolution of Western Dance Music (marktheclemens.wordpress.com)
- How Music Travels: The Evolution of Western Dance Music (soulofsydney.org)
Somehow this tune eluded me. I was 19 in 1981, and I always look back on that year as a turning point. I remember the music industry was in a bit of a spin. Supertramp did some lackluster album around that time. A once great group had pretty much lost its spark. Crosby, Stills and Nash did something too. But it was just a pale shadow of their former glory. Yes, the 70s were over. And we had to admit it and move on. New Wave (I think Midnight Oil sort of belongs in that category) was a welcome relief to the old 70s prog rock bands that had lost it by the 80s.
New Wave actually began in the late 70s. But who’s counting?
Anyhow… just heard this for the first time. And it reminds me of the early Police, B-52s, Talking Heads and a whole bunch of others who really helped to shape the music and keep it moving forward.
Yesterday I got a chance to hit the highway (see below). I listened to Avicii’s new lp on the drive out. I liked it. Seems he’s listening to all sorts of music these days… country, jazz, classical, 60s rock. What an interesting young guy. He’s also an incredibly talented producer who says that dance music is “half stuck.” And I couldn’t agree with him more. It seems there are formulaic sounds, sweeps and fills. When I first heard a Ministry of Sound lp about a year ago I liked it. It seemed like an exciting update to the kind of stuff I used to listen to.
But now I realize that Avicii is right. The scene is pretty stale. And full marks to him for trying to shake it up a bit.
I also realized from listening to his music that freeware can only take you so far. That’s my excuse, anyhow. I had my latest tune on the playlist, and when it came up I could hear more clearly in the car, miles away from the city, what I like and don’t like about it. After two listens while driving through apple orchards, way the heck out there, I realized I had to do it again. It needs far more modulation (changing the waveforms) on the main theme and the drum fills are… well, they just suck. Most of them, anyhow.
Not sure if I can fix the tune up or if I’ll just start all over again. But it was humbling. My tune came on right after Avicii’s new lp. Not that I expect to be close to his level (or should I say Levels). But I think I could do better. It won’t be dance music though. That’s not really me. But there will be dance influences, along with a whole bunch of other influences. Now, all I have to do is find the time. Making electronic music is fun but it’s incredibly slow going, and tiring too. Lots of starting at the computer monitor, moving midi notes around, adding curves, listening to a few seconds of the piece over and over and over… If anyone thinks it’s easy, think again!
- Avicii Takes Dance Music to New Levels (roblogmafme.net)
- ‘True’: Avicii’s brave and unbounded debut fortifies dance music’s win column [Album Review] (dancingastronaut.com)
- Avicii ft. Adam Lambert & Nile Rodgers – Lay Me Down [Preview] (thebanginbeats.com)
- Q&A: Superstar DJ Avicii on “Wake Me Up,” Partying Sober and Why He Owes His Name to MySpace (entertainment.time.com)
- Avicii feat. Adam Lambert: ‘Lay Me Down’ – Listen Now! (justjared.com)
- Rock Radio Stations Love Avicii’s ‘Wake Me Up’ (youredm.com)
- Deadmau5 speaks out on risk taking in EDM, supports Avicii for ‘making something completely f*cking different’ (dancingastronaut.com)
- Avicii – You Make Me (Radio Edit) (thebanginbeats.com)
- DJ of the Week: Avicii (electroupdate.wordpress.com)
- Pete Tong premieres Avicii’s new single “You Make Me” on this week’s Essential Selections (dancingastronaut.com)
My latest experiment in sound production. Just added LoudMax Brickwall LImiter to the mix. Brickwall Limiters are used to get the signal as loud as possible without clipping (going above 0db). Brickwall limiting is often used by pros and I can see why. Pop stars want their song to have a big bang when we turn on the radio. Compare to my last demo, which is exactly the same but without the Limiting.¹ This one’s much louder from the get go. And it’s a bit more “together.” Although some might say overly “canned.” Like anything, there’s debate here. But the current cultural trend is to package music in a box… that sounds like a box. So there we go.
LoudMax Brickwall LImiter: loudmax.blogspot.ca/
¹ Well, actually, that’s not entirely true. I converted the last demo to a wav file at FULL SPEED (faster than the song plays) whereas in this demo I converted it in REAL TIME (same rate as the song plays). I used the different rendering speeds because each time, they sounded better that way. But FULL SPEED vs. 1x rendering to a wav file is a subtle difference that many might not hear. Can you tell I used to be one of those excessive audiophiles, back in the day?
- Shut Up, Dude: This Week’s Best And Worst Comments (stereogum.com)
- Super clean compressor with high ratio choice and sidechain insert? (gearslutz.com)
- Listening to Mixes not Masters (gearslutz.com)
Here’s a nice tune by Toby Mac. I think the video is good too. I like the underwater motif.
I’m getting a bit bored of Christian pop these days. I guess life’s changes have taken me more into jazz – especially Chick Corea – and dance. But this tune still rings a bell, as it were. I’m certainly not bored of Christ! Just the sort of formulaic way the Christian rockers have fallen into depicting his story. As the Canadian folkie Bruce Cockburn once put it, if the music’s no good, the message, no matter how good, doesn’t really get across.
- Chick Corea & The Vigil (musicofourheart.me)
- Classically inclined: Pianist-composer Chick Corea knows Miles, Mozart (hispanicbusiness.com)
- Chick Corea: The Vigil – review (theguardian.com)
- Chick Corea + The Vigil (thescoutlife.com)
- Unusual Facts About Chick Corea (musifacts.wordpress.com)
- Chick Corea, Afro-Haitian sound of Mozayik mark Jazz Up July finale (hispanicbusiness.com)
- Chick Corea & His New Band, ‘The Vigil’ To Release New Album with Concord Records| Music news (soundcolourvibration.com)
- Chick Corea’s ‘Vigil’ combines jazz, friends (goerie.com)
Here’s a tongue-in-cheek tune demonstrating the TAL-Vocoder and Shortcircuit sample player, among other plugs. Cylons beware… there’s a new bot in town!
- Vocoders (gearslutz.com)
- Vocoder for guitar with White Noise (gearslutz.com)
- Kaossilator Pro as Vocoder (gearslutz.com)
- Deals of Korg microKorg Analog Modeling Synthesizer with Vocoder (freerideboardsfnq50.wordpress.com)
- We aren’t the robots (yet): Early Kraftwerk, live 1973 (dangerousminds.net)
- Keep Calm, Put Your Headphones In And Make Music With Voice Bot Vocoder (appadvice.com)
This is a tune I wrote while living in Santiniketan, India. I wrote it on a 6 string acoustic guitar but thought it would sound nice through a blown bottle with whale songs in the background. Sometimes the whales get a bit grumpy. I could have lowered the levels there, but that just wouldn’t be real!
I just updated this by reducing the volume 10db and adding a little pitch bend at the end. The cool thing about MIDI is that you can draw in pitch bends via the computer. My musical keyboard doesn’t even have a pitch wheel. Don’t need one, unless I was performing live, which is highly doubtful!
Two more totally free VSTs. This time for guitar. This sample was generated using a MIDI keyboard (not a guitar) with a combo of DVS Guitar plugin by Martin Best (“Soft ‘n’ Clear” preset) and the AmpliTube3 demo (“Crystal Planet” preset). Later on I might play my Telecaster (a real guitar) through AmpliTube but I wasn’t in the mood today!
- Is there an automatic guitar strumming software? (gearslutz.com)
- Musician’s Corner: iRig HD Connects Your Instrument With High-Quality Sound, A Hands-On Review (appadvice.com)
- thick distorted guitars (gearslutz.com)
- Guitar heaven? (mclark.wordpress.com)
- New Version of iRig HD Lets Guitar Players Rock Out With Studio Quality Sound (CraigPeterson.com)
- Man gets guitar surprise of a lifetime (kvue.com)
- In the beginning… (timelesssky.wordpress.com)
- Making the switch from GarageBand to Logic Pro X (gigaom.com)
- Mixing guitar and vox tracked together (gearslutz.com)
- Guitar Hero (thejakartaglobe.com)