Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bragware Report: 3 New Tracks, by Nikolai Bonamente

Reader Nikolai Bonamente (formerly known as 1.44 MB) and I were trading a few emails recently and he let it slip that he's been sticking a PAD sound or two in most of his recent songs. He said:

Just thought I'd let you know your "spicknel" pad is getting an outing in my latest track "Afgan Hound" up on the cloud and "mugwump" is included on the track "times draggin" just below it.


I've just been playing with adding another bassline and string section to "Taratop" and realized it features "Torpidity" really quite prominently!

Nikoali knows how much I enjoy hearing what other people have done with the patches here and was letting me know about his recent tracks as a courtesy, not a quest to get yet another mention here on Reason Patch A Day, but I can't think of any reason not to post his new tracks. This is a blog about making music, after all, so there's always a reason to listen to something new.

Afgan hound by Nikolai Bonamente

Times Draggin by Nikolai Bonamente

taratop by Nikolai Bonamente

Be sure to let Nikolai know what you think about his tracks by leaving him a comment on his Soundcloud page. Thanks, Nikolai!

Friday, January 20, 2012

.968 Commercial Refill Sneak Peek: 1985, Part 2

Yesterday, Ben from 3rd Floor Sound shared a couple of patches from his 1985 Refill, the Tenderness emulating "Public Tender" and the combined lead patch "Voices Carrying." Today, Ben is providing O.M.D. mimicking "So In Love" and two additional patches that were inspired by and created from some of his more faithful emulations, Massive Organ and Cathedral Monster.

Ben took a few minutes to answer some of my questions about his refill and his process.

This refill is obviously fueled by nostalgia. Were there any particular sounds from the era that stood out for you as being necessary for this refill?

Oddly enough it didn't start out with the nostalgia in mind. I'd just been wandering around 4 or 5 Reason forums and kept seeing the same question in every one: "How do I make "x" sound from song "y?" I always tried to answer these posts, thinking that even if I didn't get it exactly right, I'd be learning as I went. Did that for who knows how long before I realized I loved doing it, so I picked a year at random and checked out the end of the year billboard chart to see what songs were in there. It started becoming nostalgic after I was listening to all these great songs from when I was a kid in order to pick the instruments. You automatically connect them with specific memories and get a little lost in your mind. It becomes even more fun when I finish an instrument and get to try to learn how to play the song -- occasionally well enough that it might be slightly recognizable.

When it came down to it I included every sound from the year that I could make with synths, so there are a few songs that didn't get represented in the refill because they were recorded entirely with guitars, etc. There were also a few that used the same sound as another song, so those didn't get included. Thinking about it now though, there are a couple instruments that had to be there aside from those in the standard ultra-popular songs: the bass (pretty sure it's a minimoog) in Starpoint's Object Of My Desire was one of those. I don't even remember that song being on the radio, but that bass is perfection in the studio version of the song. Another was that clanky synth in John Parr's Naughty Naughty -- the sound just screams 1985. Well, that sound and John's incredible mullet. That was a tough one because it's layered over a bass playing the same notes a good part of the time.

How did you go about creating your emulations for these classic sounds?

It really came down to having a song playing in the background, opening up a Thor with an analog oscillator and finding the basic wave that matched most closely. Sometimes it's instantly apparent that you're listening to a saw with a quick filter on it, for example. From there it's a matter of additional oscillators and little tweaks to get it just right, but sometimes it can be like playing Jenga: sounds are so well blended that if you try to pull one out the others fall apart. There were cases where I brought songs into Adobe Audition (3.0) in order to use the program's spectral frequency display, where you can visually select notes and frequency ranges to delete them. It's not perfect, but it can be helpful when you're trying to hear instruments that were obscured in the mix. You reach a certain point where the stack of Jenga blocks is swaying back and forth, and that's when you move into Reason. Then it's a matter of moving left to right in Thor, oscillators to filters to envelopes and LFOs to effects. When it's done I try to program the Combinator to either have the options I would want or that the instrument came with, assuming I can find out what it was. Sometimes that's a mystery and it's fun to make it do weird things that people won't expect when they bump the Mod Wheel or click a button.

Were there any sounds that you wanted to create, but just couldn't get right? Can we expect to hear them in an update or follow up refill?

Oh there were a bunch of those, and they were nearly all drums. This was just before Reason 5 came out so Kong wasn't available. I played around making drums using Thor off and on, but there's only so much you can do that way. I'll definitely be revisiting 1985 to get that worked out eventually, at which point I'll post it with a really cheap upgrade price.

There was at least one sound that was giving me fits though. The strings in Raspberry Beret. It seems simple, but at the time I could have sworn it was evil. Hopefully I've learned a couple tricks since then that will allow me to hit it just right. I will pin that one down even if I have to... okay, no, I'm not going to go and try locating Prince.

Wow, this got a little long-winded, didn't it? I may need to get out more.

Thanks for giving us a look at your process, Ben, and providing Reason Patch A Day with its first potential kidnapping threat.

If you're interested in learning more about the 1985 Refill or purchasing another refill, including the new Theory Refill, you can find more information at 3rd Floor Sound.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

.967 Commercial Refill Sneak Peek: 1985, Part 1

Almost a full six months ago, I felt the undeniable fatigue of burnout creeping into my work on the blog and I took a break of week or two to try to recharge with my family. When I came back, I promised a few changes, and embarrassingly, never really followed up on them, aside from quickly throwing together a new PAD Challenge.

I'm not sure what held me back from moving forward on a few of the other changes I mentioned, but its certainly past due that I get to them, because there were some neat ideas in that original list, most specifically offering sneak peeks at a few commercial refills making the rounds in the Reason community.

The first commercial refill we'll be looking at here on Reason Patch A Day is 3rd Floor Sound's nostalgic 1985 refill, a part of their Historical Refill Series. Described as "a set based on the instruments used to top the charts over the last 30 years," for those of you who came of musical age in the 80s like I did, this refill is bound to put a smile on your face with surprisingly accurate emulations of sounds you grew up with, as well as patches that more generally mimic the sounds of the time.

Ben at 3rd Floor Sound was kind enough to share a few patches from his 1985 Refill to give you all a peek at what sounds he has in store for you:

Come back tomorrow for a couple of additional patches from the 1985 Refill and a brief Q&A with Ben about his work and what inspired him to create such a focused library of sounds.

Bragware Report: Electro of the Gods, by Nait_Phoenix

The new year must have everyone feeling more creative. We got a Bragware Report a week ago with TheFatControlleR's Dylan & The Seven Drones, then posted the new track Forgiven from Martin Kremser, and while I was literally preparing the post for Martin's song I received an email from Nait Phoenix telling me he just finished up a new song using a couple of old Reason Patch A Day sounds.

Nait_Phoenix had this to say about his song:

"I used the Norse Gods: Forseti patch for the main melody and the Norse Gods: Hoor patch for the grumbling bass."

Electro of the Gods by Nait_Phoenix

If anyone has any comments or constructive criticism for Nait_Phoenix regarding his new track, I urge you to go to his Soundclick page and let him know what you think. Thanks for sharing, Nait! I look forward to hearing whatever else you come up with in the future.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Bragware Report: Forgiven, by Martin Kremser

I recently got an email from reader Martin Kremser, letting me know he used a couple of Reason Patch A Day patches on one of his new songs: Forgiven. Martin let me know he used Ba-ba-ba-bass and Iatrogenic on his latest techno song. If the results don't get you moving, you might have to see a doctor.

Martin Kremser - Forgiven [Original Mix] by Martin Kremser

Provide any constructive criticism you might have by leaving a comment on Martin's Soundcloud page.

Thanks for let us know what you've been up to, Martin!

If you have a track of your own that you'd like to highlight on the blog, please send me an email with a link to your track and a description, so I can post it here. I'm always eager to hear what's being done with the patches shared here, so I'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bragware Report: Dylan & The Seven Drones, by TheFatControlleR

Threads cycle pretty quickly on the Propellerhead User Forum, but a few weeks ago Ben from 3 Floor Sound was nice enough to draw a little attention to my new archive refill by pointing folks in my direction. Thank you, Ben!

The thread was short and short-lived, but was the internet equivilent of getting a bear hug, with a few people thanking me for my work on the blog and posting about their excitement in getting the refills. Thank you all for showing interest in what I've been doing!

One of the highlights of the thread, however, was a song that FatControlleR put together using patches from the Vol 1 Refill. His efforts can be found in the thread or heard here:

Dylan & The Seven Drones by TheFatControlleR

FatControlleR even put together a video for his track. You can see it below.

FatControlleR was kind enough to outline all of the patches he used in his song, telling me he used the Gravel, Journeyman [Run (off)], Mandible Lullaby, Mantis Prayers, Memory, Metaphor, The Snickers Of Shadows [Run (off)], TwangSlang, and Unfaithful + Heft + UglyBoy instrument patches. On the effects side, he used the Auto-Pan, Campfire, Character Enhancer, Heft (Stereo), Nasal, Shimmering, Spacey, and TapeFlutter effects and Combinators.

As I mentioned to FatControlleR privately, it's always a treat to hear what other people have done with the sounds I've created. Sometimes they sound the same, other things I can't recognize them at all. Thanks for sharing, FatControlleR! It was a lot of fun for me to hear what you've done with my patches.