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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Tip: Sync Traktor Music Collections, Max Patches, More with SugarSync

A Traktor setup, ready to go. Now make sure your files are, too. Photo (CC) Stefan Schmidt (not the one who’s creator of Reaktor). Here’s a superb reader tip: DJ Josef Prusa has been using SugarSync to synchronize Native Instruments’ Traktor Pro DJ software, so that he and his brother have their full music collection at the ready at gigs. (Naturally, this same technique means that if one of their MacBooks should die, bro to the rescue!) Not only does music get synced, but playlists, collections, MIDI mappings, and settings do, too. Now, you could use something like the ubiquitous …

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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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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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Thing-a-Day: Matchbox Synthesizer

We all make all sorts of promises to ourselves about how when we have some free time, we’re going to get to various projects. Here’s a way to keep the forward progress going: make one thing every day. Our friend Ranjit, creator of the MIDI ironing board, the Mister Resistor ensemble, and a robotic Theremin, is doing just that. Having to make one thing a day means you’ll almost certainly have to simplify what you’re doing, maybe even do some things you don’t necessarily like — but always do something, which could be a great learning experience. My favorite so …

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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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