Show Us Your Home Studio, Workspace – or Closet; For Dolby, It’s a Boat

A little stretch of desk, a couple of monitors, and a copy of the free and open source DAW Ardour running on Linux, (CC-BY) wstryder / Lauri Rantala. (Note: this is presumably Lauri’s studio, and is certainly not mine, seeing as I can’t play the guitar, and thus recording the results of me playing a guitar would be somewhat less than fruitful!) I’m done with posting for this week as it’s time to overhaul my (very, very humble) apartment studio space and gear closet. But that seems the perfect time to ask you how you set up your musical workspace. …

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Brains, Computers, Focus: How Do You Stay Productively Creative?

The original pomodoro. Photo (CC-BY-SA) borgmarc. For an artist, being productive and being happy are often closely intertwined. Whether you’re polishing off an album, practicing your instrument, patching or coding a new musical tool, or managing your career, music requires immense levels of focus and discipline. Then there’s the matter of the stuff that tends to be an obstacle: your day job, your to-do list, your taxes. Most musicians aren’t full-time, but even if you are, sometimes the greatest challenge is simply hurdling everything that isn’t your music, leaving you time for what is. Digital technology is naturally the bread …

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Logging MPC Projects (Or Other Drum Machines) on Paper

It’s the little things that keep you happy sometimes. The Sunday Soundtrack blog has an interesting idea for tracking work on the MPC — write it down. (I have to say, I miss having paper notes as I did when I was making hard-copy patch diagrams of my Moog and Buchla modular creations in college.) This fellow has a printable template you can use yourself if so inclined – and, of course, it’d work with any 4×4 grid, not just the MPC. Post: Music Production on the MPC Full-sized image for use as a template Keep anything on paper in …

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Favorite Artists on Productivity, Process: Jonathan Coulton, New Imogen Heap Album

Food for thought: if we didn’t still make “albums,” we’d never know when the album was done. Sure, the delivery mechanism that spawned the album may be disappearing – “LP’s” in particular are long gone. But perhaps, like so many ubiquitous technologies, the album was a fortuitous coincidence of physical practicality and human scale, happenstance generating some unit of creativity that just makes sense to artist and listener alike. For Imogen Heap, the beloved artist who’s just finished her latest, it’s cause to literally dance and sing, accompanied by a generative Buddha Box. (We can dance around when we get …

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Sound Design Recipes, in Blog Form

Sound design secrets have traditionally been closely-guarded secret sauce. But in the age of the Web, the opposite is happening: people can actually enjoy sharing what they’re doing, just as passionate cooks chat about recipes on food blogs. Case in point: reader John Keston writes to tell us about AudioCookbook.org, on which he’s blogging a new sound each day. Not only is this a nice way to talk about techniques with fellow enthusiasts, but it’s a great example of how you can use blogging to encourage you to get things accomplished, rather than just distracting you. John writes: I’m a …

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Beyond Mobile Music Making: Organizational Musical Uses for iPhone, Other Smart Devices

Despite my complaints, you will find some useful music apps in the iTunes App Store – you can at least get some fine tuners. (Andy Ihnatko was excited on Twitter that one of them helps him tune his ukulele, thanks to four string support!) We do expect more hefty music tools in the coming months, and via the jailbroken platform. But some of the real stars on the iPhone – or whatever your favorite smart mobile device may be – have to do with simply storing ideas and keeping your life together. That means one of the best downloads so …

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Musics and Other Stuff on One Page at Alltop; How Do You Read?

RSS readers can be terrific; I use FeedDemon and NetNewsWire, both of which recently became free. (Yeah, after I bought them.) But sometimes it’s just too much to wade through RSS, especially after you get back from vacation. Alltop, a site headline aggregator, recently added CDM to its music page, and I’ve started using it as a quick way of glancing over topics like “Music” without cluttering my RSS reader more. Oh, yeah, and it’s nice to see CDM next to KEXP. Alltop is the product of Guy Kawasaki; he’s been a hero of mine since he introduced evangelism to …

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Help Make Elton Johning a Verb

Andrew Stone has added the term Elton Johning to the Urban Dictionary; head over there and give it a thumbs up. Quick review: the term means to unplug from the Web to allow yourself some creative space, a concept suggested by Sir Elton John himself, who wants someone to tear down the Internet so we can make some music.

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I’m Elton Johning Today

We’re pleased at CDM to introduce a new verb: to Elton John will hereby mean to unplug from the Web in order to do creative work. No blogging, emergency emails only (heck, ignoring the emergency emails will be even more satisfying), no RSS, etc. In all seriousness, it’s a great idea. The Web will be used only to solve, say, bugs in my Processing code. I don’t particularly need to share my own state of Elton John, of course, but I do this only to advocate selective Eltoning to boost creativity. (I don’t think you need to Elton on a …

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Organizing Your Music Life: Minim 1.1 for Mac

We’ve already been exchanging some great tips for organizing your life, both musical and mundane. On the musical side, one of the most compelling software tools just got a big update today: Minim: Music Management for Musicians This elegant, very Mac-like utility organizes your songs, storing lyrics and audio/MIDI files and letting you track metadata about what songs are on what albums and work in what venue and are in what state and require what musicians … you get the idea. Basic features: Metadata and lyrics Albums and album art Audio and MIDI files, images, and videos Collaboration via iChat …

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