Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bragware Report: 1.44 MB's "a different petit besoin"

You might remember reader 1.44MB from the PAD Challenge that took place back in April of 2010.

The PAD Challenge was a pretty simple idea, brought about when another reader, Ruurd Huizenga, sent me a full week's worth of reader contribution patches, effectively giving me a break from my blogging responsibilities. So, having the week off, I challenged myself to create a new track, something I wasn't doing much of at the time (or now, for that matter). That personal challenge to create something new lead to a challenge to my readers and seven fellow Reason users joined me in creating new tracks while Ruurd's unintentional clocked ticked away the week. It was a lot of fun and while I'm not completely satisfied with my own contribution to the challenge, it felt pretty great to get something new done.

1.44MB was the only reader who submitted two tracks to the challenge, Burn Area and Vathi, and participated in the remix challenge a couple of weeks later, remixing my track Breaching the Heliopause and DJ Mad Wax's Ostbanhoff.

After two years of posting reminders that the patches here on Reason Patch A Day are bragware, I recently received an email from 1.44MB telling me that he used the Lone Cry REX file in a track. Finally! Someone willing to brag! He calls the track "'a different petit besoin" and you can find it on his Soundcloud page.

a different petit besoin by 1.44mb

In an email exchange he and I shared, 1.44MB mentioned, "I'd love to figure out how the really good chaps on Soundcloud get such crisp, voluminous sounding tracks," so if you have any constructive suggestions to offer, please leave them for him on Soundcloud.

Thanks for sharing your work, 1.44MB! It's great to hear Reason Patch A Day patches and sounds in action. If anyone else has used a patch or loop in a finished track, I want to hear about it. Leave a link where you've hosted your project in the comments section or send me an e-mail at patchaday (at) earthlink (dot) net and I'll put up a post like this one so others can hear what you've done.

Thanks again, 1.44MB, for being the first to step forward!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Book Review: Propellerhead Reason 4 Tips And Tricks, by Hollin Jones

If you remember my book review synopsis from the beginning of 2009, the name Hollin Jones might seem familiar, since his other book "Music Projects With Propellerhead Reason" was briefly discussed and rated with a few other Reason-themed books currently sitting on my bookshelf. While I appreciated the conversational tone of "Music Projects With Propellerhead Reason" and its easy to follow tutorials, I felt it was kind of lacking for the seasoned Reason user. Outside of a few interesting tips and reminders that I found useful, the book skewed a little too much toward the beginner, and I remember thinking that while the book's author knew a great deal about Reason, his format, a brief examination of several popular genres, was actually hampering his ability to provide any useful tips or workflow enhancements to those of us who've been using the program for an extended period of time.

With that in mind, I was eagerly anticipating "Propellerhead Reason 4 Tips and Tricks," hoping it would allow Jones to better display his obvious knowledge and provide some new information that would be useful, regardless of genre, about my favorite music making software. So, did Jones succeed in providing a book full of useful tips and tricks, as its title suggests?

Unfortunately, the short answer is no. "Tips and Tricks," like "Music Projects With Propellerhead Reason" before it, seems written with the Reason beginner in mind, tackling very simple topics like program installation, to slightly more tricky issues like exporting your finished tracks. Like a lot of Reason books, it has separate chapters for different pieces of the Reason rack, and talks you through each device, its basic operation, and provides numerous sidebar tips for how you can tweak or use a device. Its pretty basic stuff, really, with the sidebar tips being the most interesting pieces of the book, providing little reminders and ideas for how you can use each device more efficiently or in more interesting ways.

"Propellerhead Reason 4 Tips And Tricks" is a well-written book and maintains the conversational, friendly tone of Jones' other Reason book. If I were just starting out with Reason, rather than celebrating my ninth year of using it, I think this book would be indispensable. Many of its lessons and tips seem very basic, almost frustratingly so, but for someone just starting to dip their toes into the Reason waters, this book would be a great companion to the Reason manual, or perhaps even a good replacement, until a new user feels ready to digest the more technical presentation of the Reason manual.

Using the same rating system I used with the previous books, I'd give Reason 4 Tips and Tricks:

Overall Usefulness: Great for beginners

Patch Design Tips: Poor

Reason Version: 4.0

Hollin Jones also writes for Music Tech magazine. He's a good writer and really seems to know his stuff. I don't know how well it would sell, but if he were to write a "Reason 4 for Masochists" book, I'd be first in line to buy a copy.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The AREX 2011 VSTi Site Has Moved

I've put up a few posts about the Yamaha RX11 VSTi. It's a neat little Windows VST that emulates one of my favorite pieces of hardware, the Yamaha RX11 Digital Rhythm Programmer. Alex, the brains behind the VST, posted a comment recently letting me know that the site has moved. So, if you haven't checked this out yet, or want to make sure you have the latest version, look for it at:

If you're using a Windows machine, it's a lot easier than trolling eBay for a RX11 of your own!