Interview: Jon Hopkins Talks Live, Studio Process, Habit, Instinct

Jon Hopkins performs live at the ICA. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Matt Biddulph. Classically trained as a pianist, musician and producer Jon Hopkins has one of the richest resumes in electronic music. He’s a frequent collaborator with Brian Eno, wand has worked with artists like Coldplay (who featured his music on their last album), Tunng, David Holmes, and Imogen Heap. He worked with director Peter Jackson, and has a sci-fi score on the way. He also has a rich set of solo releases. And we’ve seen him here recently with remix swaps with Four Tet and contributions to Eno’s upcoming Warp record. …

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Apple Logic Speed Run: Production Timelapse

Japanese fusion “underground music unit” Human Boot Project have a clever take on the music video, one that – well, let’s face it, probably appeals only to music production nerds like us. Using the free/open source software Gawker (Mac-only screen capture, not to be confused with thegossip blog), they take an extended timelapse of their production session in Apple Logic, as arrangements and various plug-ins flash by. You get to see the track, “Xen,” assembled before your eyes. I’ll let you play “spot the plug-in” first, then have a look after the jump for what they used.

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Symphony I/O: Next-Gen Apogee High-end I/O, Works with Any Mac DAW Via USB

Looking for all the world like a high-end audiophile stereo radio receiver as much as pro audio equipment, the shiny, new Symphony I/O has arrived from Apogee. It’s a top-of-the-range audio interface designed for low latency, high-quality digital-to-analog conversion, and quality clocking, as well as flexible input and output, coming from a company known in the category. With Pro Tools HD support, it’s also a rival to Avid’s own audio interfaces, while also working with all major Mac DAWs – even Ableton Live. You’re talking an investment of a few grand here, depending on configuration, so this isn’t likely to …

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Back to the Future: Save an Old Laptop, Make it a Music Workstation

Computers can have longevity as musical instruments, but it takes a little extra effort. (CC-BY-NC-SA) Bill Van Loo. Computers and computer software can have as much or even more longevity than traditional music hardware – that is, if elements like copy protection don’t intervene first. As a postscript to the discussion last week, prompted by a new software release for the Apple II, here’s a report from our friend Bill Van Loo. He was able to make a productive little workstation out of an old iBook (500Mhz), with access to Reaktor Session instruments and an Apple electric piano now gone. …

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64-bit Mac Audio Tools Coming; Logic Pro and Mainstage Add Support

Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6) represents the end of a long-running transition of the Mac operating system from 32-bit to 64-bit support. 64-bit computing offers marginal (but measurable) performance improvements, and more importantly the ability to address more RAM — a lot more RAM, currently more than is even physically available in any shipping consumer computer. By contrast, under the current Mac OS, each 32-bit application can access up to 4GB of RAM. A few tools, like Apple’s EXS24 and Native Instruments’ Kontakt samplers, can address greater memory through the use of virtual memory and memory server schemes. But …

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Trifonic’s Music, Beat Slicing Technique, Free Bass Patch

Trifonic: Editing Beats – Part 1 from Next Step Audio on Vimeo. No more secrets: that could well sum up the zeitgeist of music making in 2010. So it is that Trifonic, aka virtuoso beatmeister brothers Brian and Laurence Trifon of San Francisco, share their technique for chopping up and glitching out audio. Their new blog, Next Step Audio, is entirely dedicated to sharing their production techniques: http://nextstepaudio.com/ [site slightly erratic response-wise for me at press time] The video tutorial on beat editing, published by Next Step Audio, starts out generically enough: grab the ubiquitous “Amen break” as a sample, …

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Subcycle: Multitouch Sound Crunching with Gestures, 3D Waveforms

multi-touch the storm – interactive sound visuals – subcycle labs from christian bannister on Vimeo. What if you could mash, mangle, mush, and morph sounds with your fingers on a screen, watching the waveforms dance in response in three dimensions? That “what if” is expressed beautifully in a project by musician-developer Christian Bannister of Portland, Oregon, who works as Subcycle Labs. The result is like being able to touch sound directly. Three-dimensional forms morph and vibrate using visuals programmed in Processing, making architectural-organic shapes and spaces that really begin to “look” like sound. These forms can represent synthesis and effects …

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Apple Logic Studio 9 Review for Macworld; What Stands Out

Flex Time is likely to be the feature that will have the biggest impact on users, by making audio more malleable. Logic has been a big box of sound toys for some time, but I think what decides whether you really build a working relationship with software like Logic is whether you like editing in it. And that makes Logic Studio 9 worth a new look – and a must-upgrade for fans of the tool. Its combination of subtle tweaks to the editing interface, the ability to edit inside takes, the incredible Flex Time for squishing around audio like Play-Doh, …

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Logic Express Packs Most of Logic for Less; Apple Adds PDF Manual to Logic 9

I have to say I think Express is a model of what a more entry-level edition of a product could be. (I know Apple competitors reading this are shaking their heads and pointing out that Apple is in the comfortable position of selling pricey computers with big margins, but I think Apple still provides incentive to buy the Studio version without feeling the need to cripple Express.) Nearly everything new in Logic Studio 9 is also in Logic Express 9, which Apple began shipping yesterday. Apple Logic 9’s audio editing have been transformed, via a new means of squishing audio …

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Apogee GiO: Foot Control, Audio for GarageBand, Logic, MainStage

The market is clear: guitarists (and other instrumentalists) want to plug in a piece of hardware, fire up their Mac, and start playing with GarageBand right away. The announcement of Apple’s new Logic Studio 9 last week coincided with the release of new hardware from Apogee, the audio vendor that has gone Mac-only and Apple-centric. Today during a meeting with Apple, I got my first in-person look at the GiO (pronounced “Geo,” like the compact car, not G.I.O. as would rhyme with G.I. Joe). A number of impressions that I didn’t get from the press announcement:

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