How St. Vincent Plays Live, ‘Through the Looking Glass’ [Video Behind-the-Scenes]

At the end of the day, what motivates extra technical preparation is the same thing that drives musicians to practice scales or work long hours in the studio: that extra discipline can pay off in real freedom of expression. So, it’s moving to hear St. Vincent talk about musicality as the end point for onstage computer-based coordination. In the behind-the-scenes video, you can see how the band combines Ableton Live, a loaded rack of instruments in Propellerhead Reason (presumably running via ReWire into Live), and a whole big mess of pedals. Interestingly, MIDI triggers for those pedals helped focus on …

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Modulation-o-rama: Rack Extension Tutorial with FXpansion Etch Might Make Knees Wobbly

Over the summer, a slew of new Rack Extensions has opened Reason’s modular, patchable rack to a variety of developers. I have to admit, I’ve been astounded by the quantity and variety, given this is just one host – it seems there was pent-up demand for Reason modules, and that Propellerhead made things developer-friendly. FXpansion do wonderful work, have some of the best synth modeling tools on the market, and I say really entirely too little about them. Now, the guts from their DCAM suite are available in a Rack Extension called Etch, a modeled filter with loads of modulation. …

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Reason Rack Extensions: What’s Good for Developers Might Be Good for Users, Too

Reason remains one of those tools that a whole lot of people use. So, the decision by Propellerhead to allow developer access to the Rack, the virtual array of modules in which you make sound, has been one of the fastest-trending music making stories of 2012. But it’s also big news for a wider audience: music makers and developers alike frustrated with the limitations of existing plug-ins. (The video above is racking up views, but it might surprise you what the biggest referrer on YouTube has been so far – it’s the Native Instruments forum. So, interest goes beyond just …

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Beats for Eva: Production Goodies Help One Woman Fight Cancer

Facing a health crisis, whether your own or a loved one’s, can be a serious challenge. It can make music making seem a remote activity. But here’s a case in which music production talent, the power to put together loops and tools, can help fight for someone’s health. What’s unique about this is that just using these tools in your own music – or contributing your own loops and tools – can get you involved, too. CDM reader Stefan Weise, a musician from Dallas, Texas, writes: My friend Jason and I run a label together called “Evoked Recordings” and he …

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Make Music with Anything: junXion Universal Send-Receive for Mac [Video Tutorial Round-up]

“So,” you say, “I’ve got a … and I want to connect it to a … to make music. How do I do that?” One strong answer to that question, if you’ve got a Mac, is junXion. Developed by the landmark audio research laboratory STEIM – a hotspot in Amsterdam that for years has been imagining new ways of making music by connecting things to other things – it got a big update recently. It takes lots of the inputs you might imagine (joysticks, mice, touchscreens, MIDI, OpenSoundControl, audio, Arduino-powered hardware and all of its sensors, and video sensing) and …

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Figure, Reason Sounds with Finger Control, Available Now on iOS [Video, Preview]

Figure, the iOS app that’s powered by Reason instruments and effects, is now available on the App Store for US$.99 cents. The sound is Reason on your phone – literally, with the Thor polysynth and Kong drum machine, plus the Master Bus Compressor and side-chaining from Reason in effects. But the user experience is quite different. Introduced as something you’d use on the bus, this is really more about playing drums and making melodic gestures with your fingers, then tweaking those sounds and musical elements via X/Y touchpads. It’s a little bit like Korg’s Kaossilator and Reason had a love …

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Propellerhead Rack Extensions, Figure for iPhone Video; Figure Q+A

We’ve got lots of other news from Messe to share soon – so don’t worry, this isn’t becoming the Propellerhead News Network. But since I’m starving and going to dinner, you can spend those 40 minutes watching the Propellerhead “keynote” press presentation I saw yesterday. This video is for the moment the only way to really see the new iPhone app Figure, powered by Reason under the hood. Speaking of which, I have some answers to questions readers asked during our live coverage from yesterday: Q. Will Figure be available on Android? A. No plans at this time, no. Q. …

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Reason Opens Its Rack To Developers: Q+A with Propellerhead, What This Means for Plug-ins

Reason’s Rack, a walled garden no more. Hmmm… “reason.” “Logic.” I’m calling my next musical creation “Inanity.” Sound good? Who’s in? Photo (CC-BY) Marco Raaphorst. He’s a fan. Users want more: that much is clear. But for years, Reason has famously (or infamously, depending on your point of view) resisted plug-in formats as a way of extending its production environment. At the moment, plug-ins have been dominate largely by Avid (RTAS), Apple (AU), and Steinberg (VST), as open source alternatives have failed to gain wide commercial traction. Those formats apparently didn’t make the cut with Reason. That changed officially tonight. …

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rePatcher: Make Your Computer a Real Modular, with Knobs and Cords; Pd and Max Right Now

For the last few decades, generally speaking, we’ve had computers, and we’ve had physical, modular, analog gear. Computers are endlessly patchable, but not using physical cords. Modulars use physical cords, but they lack the flexibility (and affordability) of a computer. Now, US$25 and an Arduino can change that. rePatcher is a simple, tangible modular interface for computers. It could work with any software, but right out of the gate it already works with two popular (virtual) patching environments, Max/MSP and the free and open source Pure Data (Pd). You use physical patch cords to make connections, and those connections are …

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Teenage Engineering: Opbox Sensors and Shoes, OP-1 Drums and MIDI Sync

Stockholm-based design technistas and boutique synth shop Teenage Engineering have evidently worked out how to keep busy and brighten those dark Swedish winters. They showed up in Southern California this week with a slew of new stuff to show off. And while mention of their OP-1 synth may elicit controversy in comment threads online, their booths are crowd pleasers. In contrast to the buttoned-up, business-like atmosphere of a lot of tech vendors at NAMM, TE’s whimsical science lab seems to spill out onto the show floor, and – along with more analog-tilted booths Big City and Analog Haven – attracted …

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