It slices! It dices! No, really – it does. Finally, you don’t have to leave Reason to prep samples and loops or re-time recorded sound.
Far beyond the simple sampling that first appeared in hardware, slicing, re-timing, and stretching audio keeps getting more sophisticated, manipulating recorded sound in musical ways. But a lot of the popularity of this technique traces back to Propellerhead and their ReCycle tool. By bringing together smart digital slicing with its REX file format for loops, ReCycle helped launch the looping craze in software.
REX support has always been part of Reason, since the start. But the way sound works in Reason has gradually evolved, particularly as Swedish developers Propellerhead made Reason into less of a rack of synths and more of a full production environment. Bringing integrated recording, live sampling, and time stretching into the mix, literally, meant that you might go directly from a mic into an instrument.
And that brings us to Reason 7. If you want to do your own sampling work, you probably want the ability to have everything happen inside Reason rather than rely on an external tool like ReCycle. Propellerhead certainly kept you waiting for the chance to do that, but in typical form, they’ve also got their own way of going about it.
But if the last story got their answers on what Reason 7 could do for your favorite synth or drum machine, let’s put them in the hot seat on the question of what it does for your microphone. Continue reading »
There are lots of improvements, but the banner features are clearly integrated slicing and external MIDI sequencing.
Those features have been a long time coming. The ability to sequence external MIDI gear seems a no-brainer for a tool with so many great sequencing tools and robust MIDI input control support. And integrated audio slicing is, oddly enough, something Propellerhead was instrumental in advancing through their REX format and ReCycle product. What you get in Reason 7, though, in exchange for the wait, is an implementation that only Propellerhead could pull off.
The other good news is that Reason 7 works with any Rack Extensions you’re adding. After all, Propellerhead promised that Rack Extensions would provide deep integration but forwards compatibility – so when you update Reason, all the extras you’ve added work, too. Propellerhead tells CDM that all currently-available Rack Extensions do indeed work with the new release.
Third-party developers are saying the same thing. Producer and developer Peff posted via his Facebook page that he’s happy with compatibility with the new release:
Buffre and Directre are both running stable in Reason 7. No code updates required = Propellerheads are awesome!
Rack Extension forward compatibility appears to deliver, as you’d hope. Legendary developer Peff posts visual proof of Buffre and Directre working in the new release.
Sampling might feel sometimes like bottling up sounds. But in a project from Japanese designer Jun Fujiwara, the experience is delightfully literal – much to the surprise of people who try it out. As seen in videos, Re:Sound Bottle records sound snippets when uncorked, then remixes them into rhythmic music.
Have a look. It looks like great stuff. Dear Jun, if you’re out there and read CDM, we’d love to hear from you!
Minneapolis-based artist Patrick Flanagan is no ordinary drummer or electronic musician. His rig does everything the hard way – and the results are fantastic. With robotic drum kit mechanically playing acoustic drums, his fingers command complex feats of rhythm and melody from an oversized, custom grid controller.
There are idiomatic musical possibilities unlocked by software he’s built in Max/MSP and Java. Repeat increments, of the sort found in drum machines, produce complex rhythmic figuration on multiple drums – partly because, unlike the dumber implementation on drum machines, it’s possible to play multiple repeat increments at the same time. (In other words, you can have one drum playing eights while another plays sixteenths.) In melodies, his layout make big octave jumps easier – think Giant Steps.
Mega, indeed. Apart from using the Arduino mega, Patrick Flanagan’s controller has a big scale and big ambitions. Image courtesy the artist.
Human experience is weird; it’s full of wonder – and it’s also full of fear. The sounds, for me, should also evoke that. Jad Abumrad
From reading online, electronic music as a scene seems in a nasty sort of malaise, ranging from existential angst over everything from genre popularity to gender issue crises and pessimistic views of any new technologies. Maybe it’s time to return to why you’d want to make weird noises in the first place.
This is just a teaser for The Pleasure of Sound, a forthcoming documentary that follows Jad Abumrad and Matthew Dear for two days of music making. But the couple of quotes here for me speak to why we’re involved in this field. Jad Abumrad, the Tennessee-born composer and journalist known best for his work on WNYC’s adventurous Radiolab program, says it best, above.
(I may be biased, reviewing Jad’s bio. I was also born in the south – Kentucky – and I’m also of Lebanese-American descent and the son of two doctorates. I even had my first introduction to electronic music at Oberlin College. Funny how these things can go in parallel. I can be a Radiolab fanboy, though.)
I thought back to Abumrad’s quote last night, listening to stellar live shows by NHK’Koyxen, Holly Herndon, and Laurel Halo. Each of these three artists manipulated sounds into the dream worlds Dear and Abumrad describe in the teaser, even against the frame of danceable rhythms and drum machine conventions. Somehow, in those odder and otherworldly timbres and compositions, I hear something that I can’t express any other way – not in words, not even in my head, deeper feelings that only music can turn into sense.
When music and sound give you pleasure in ways that nothing else can, then you know why you’re doing it. I can’t wait to see the film.
Deep thoughts: FL Studio is a boring name. Fruity Loops was better. You don’t want me as your trademark lawyer. FL Studio could show up on stage. Cereal straws are a crazy idea. America is a crazy place. Photo (CC-BY) Michelle Tribe.
FL Studio 11 has arrived, hot on the heels of an impressive FL Studio Mobile release. The folks at Image Line have been intensely busy, but what strikes me is that you can now play FL Studio using almost anything, on almost any device. The Mobile version works on Android and touch Windows devices, not just iOS, when most folks target only Apple.
And the upgrade to FL Studio 11 is similarly flexible.
There’s a clip-triggering performance mode, which already supports a range of input methods: “mouse, touch screen, typing keyboard or MIDI controller. Supports APC20/40, Launchpad, Lemur, Block, Maschine/Mikro, padKONTROL, Traktor Kontrol (and more).”
Multi-touch support works in the UI. Microsoft’s gestures are supported.
Editing views have been tweaked all over the place, including lots of Playlist improvements.
And there are a number of new plug-ins, too, in typical Fruity Loops fashion:
BassDrum percussion synth with sample layering
GMS (Groove Machine Synth): “Multi-timbral hybrid synthesizer & FX channel lifted from Groove Machine.”
A “performance-oriented” Effector multi-effects unit: Distortion, Lo-Fi bit reduction, Flanging, Phasing, Filter (low/high pass), Delay, Reverb, Stereo panning & binaural effect, Gating, Granulizer, Vocal formant and Ring modulation effects.
Patcher is improved with voice effects and a new UI, for saving and recalling plug-in chains.
New key mapping works on live notes and Piano Roll editing to modify notes. (There’s a color mapper for the Piano Roll, too.
Above us, only sky. Christopher Willits playing the Overlap + Ableton show at Public Works early this month, San Francisco.
You can think about melodies and harmonies in geometric shapes. In fact, instrumentalists playing piano keys or guitar frets have already been doing that for some time. What’s happening with grid controllers like Push – among other alternatives – is that it’s now easy to rearrange melodic setups to see and play these relationships in new ways.
Musician Christopher Willits has started a series of videos called CREATE (hmmm… like that name somehow), through the creative community platform Overlap.
Willits tells CDM, “I really love this instrument. I’m excited to work with it more and become really comfortable. Like any new instrument, it’s going to take a little time for it to become a fluid part of the creative process.”
So, consider this a first chapter. In it, Willits has a nice overview of how to think in triadic harmony using triangles – a good place to start if you’re finding those layouts a bit overwhelming. And stick around for the end as he begins to make some music.