The Cloud and Musical Collaboration

One thing lacking in the current landscape of the Internet, digital media, computer based recording, digital synthesis etc. is an easy, streamlined way to collaborate online. This has always frustrated me.

The much anticipated and promising Ableton Live 8 sharing feature quietly disappeared with not so much as a peep. The feature never did leave beta as far as I am aware. When I was beta testing I unfortunately was unable to do any serious collaboration. The Live 8 beta release schedule was extreme. Daily updates and bug fixes, not to mention stability questions. I wasn’t quite ready to make the jump to Live 8 when it was released. By the time I did make the jump to 8 the share function was completely gone.

There are some pseudo solutions such as that I won’t get into here. I hate sending large files over the internet in such a kludgy way. That seems to be the biggest problem with collaborating online at the moment. The kludgy, slow, giant file landscape of music collaboration frustrates me to no end. I should be able to just open my DAW and start working on a project without the headache of downloading giant files and reinstalling plugins I no longer use regularly.

The fact that every producer’s DAW has different collections of third party plugins and settings makes things infinitely worse. Every DAW install is customized to its user. A fingerprint of all the additional “stuff” a particular producer feels he/she needs or can afford, not unlike a modular synth. Freezing tracks can make editing a colossal pain in the ass.

We’re living in a mess of plugins and messiness that we created with beautifully simple, complex, diverse, expensive and affordable plugins. I love third party plugins for a myriad of reasons, but more and more I’ve been trying to use what I can within the box to keep things as simple and transferrable as possible. I hate doing this though because of the amount of external hardware synths and effects I have and consequently waste.

Remix stems are one thing. I usually only ever reuse the vocal stems so that I can put MY arrangement and music to the song. Please, for the love of Moog, only include unprocessed vocals in remix stems! Reverb and delay drenched stems are insulting! Full on collaboration can sometimes bring up a whole new brown flaming bag of sonic turds. Frozen effects, uneditable synth patches and mixes are nasty to have to work with.

How do you manage your DAW mess? What methods do you use to collaborate and keep things as simple but as editable as possible?



Filed under Collaboration, software

Metered Internet Will Kill Artistic Collaboration

MeterThe latest story about the CRTC is something much more insidious but possibly slightly harder to grasp the importance of than their Dire Straits media guffaw. Metered Internet, otherwise known as Usage Based Billing or UBB, sounds innocuous enough but the long and short of it means that you will pay more for your Internet. What this means for artists, and more specifically musicians, is that sending that modest two gigabyte Ableton Live set to your friend across the country in Toronto could cost you between $4 and $10 extra on your internet bill.

What happens under this new billing system is you will pay for a limited amount of data or bandwidth every month with overages if you go over. Currently this amount has been unlimited for all intents and purposes and the main differences in the internet service providers plans has been the maximum download speed. Starting March 1st this will be a very limited amount of bandwidth with overage charges similar to that of cellphone minutes. Break the limit of your allotted bandwidth and you pay per gigabyte of overage. Continue reading

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Hardware v.s. Software

Roland Jupiter 8V

Can you tell the difference?

Recently I read a story about a particular soft synth. In the post a point was made to state that this was the only soft synth that the author would not likely retrack with hardware. While I understand that using and mastering hardware synths can be a point of pride for some, discounting the value of software to the point of ignoring it outright is likely leaving out about 80% of the synth market.

I’ll warn you now, this is not an analog v.s. digital comparison. Though the subject is discussed to a certain extent, this isn’t really the point of my comparison.
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Filed under Hardware, software, Synths

The Sound Design of Mass Effect 2

My good friend Réal Cardinal works as a sound designer at Bioware. He was recently interviewed for an awesome story over at about his involvement in the sound design of Mass Effect 2. I highly suggest you check it out! Additionally check out Réal’s musical project Comaduster. He’s a super talented guy with an amazing ear for sound design and production.

Continue reading to see a preview clip of his amazing new audio visual project Scrape! Continue reading

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Synth Events

Shout out out out out synths

The importance of community

In the last few years we’ve all witnessed some amazing technological advances in the world of synthesizers and electronic music. That said, one of the most impressive things I’ve come to appreciate about the synthesizer world is the grass roots community that has arisen in the blog/facebook/twitter age. From the Trash_Audio Synth Meets and BBQs at NAMM to MoogFest there is a real sense of community and fellowship in the world of synthesizers and sound design. I’ve personally spoken to people from all over the globe in all age groups with one singular thing in common. Synthesizers. Continue reading


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In my last post I mentioned this charity as an aside at the end of the post. I was thinking about it today and I realize it deserves it’s own post.

Bob Moog is one of the pioneers of electronic music. His synthesizers are heard on nearly every top 40 album of the last 30 years. His MiniMoog synthesizer is a classic that nearly singlehandedly changed our modern musical landscape completely.

The Bob Moog Foundation is looking for funding from the Pepsi refresh project to introduce science and math programs using Moog instruments to inspire lifelong passion among students for the art and science of sound.

MoogLab brings electronic instruments like Theremins and synthesizers into underserved schools to teach children the science of sound, to inspire their own creativity and desire to innovate, and to forge connections between their classroom learning and fun, real-life applications.

Voting is open and you can vote daily to turn this dream into a reality for the Bob Moog Foundation.

With arts programs and school budgets suffering nationwide, and science education lagging behind that of other developed countries, we are committed to making an impact with MoogLab.

Vote now and vote often! The login is MUCH easier if you connect it with your facebook 😉

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Tron’s Musical Legacy

What a great day to start a music blog! On the eve of Daft Punk’s latest release, the soundtrack to the most anticipated film of 2008 2010, TR2N Tron: Legacy.

I’ve been a fan of the original Tron since it originally came out in theatres in 1982. A world that looked unlike anything before or after. I also heard something completely different.

Growing up on my fathers beloved classic rock, Wendy Carlos’ epic Tron soundtrack sounded like nothing else. For those of you who don’t know, Wendy Carlos’ 1968 Switched on Bach brought synthesis out from the exclusive experimental avant guard and proved without a doubt the synth as a true musical instrument that could stand on its own. Without Wendy’s interest and influence on Bob Moog’s original synthesizer designs the modern synth as we know it could have languished in obscurity or have been laughed into obsolescence by “real” musicians.

Daft Punk has a pair of HUGE shoes to fill. Will Daft Punk be able to live up expectations put upon them by the giant Tron: Legacy hype machine?

Personally I think the Tron: Legacy soundtrack stands up well next to great modern theatrical soundtracks like Wendy’s. However I don’t think it’s what diehard Daft Punk fans will be expecting. It’s not Homework for the big screen. We’ll find out over the next few weeks what people think.

In the mean time, local poet laureate, genre smasher, and friend of a friend of anyone from Edmonton, AB, Rollie Pemberton (aka Cadence Weapon) released his awesome hype hijacking “Tron: The Mixtape” a few weeks ago. It’s awesome. If you love music you’ll love it, but like the new Tron soundtrack don’t expect 130bpm french electro bangers. Just good music.

|edit| I just wanted to drop an aside regarding another related legacy. The legacy of the father of the modern synth, Bob Moog. Please vote to get the Bob Moog Foundation 250K so they can help to teach kids science through electronic music.

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