This track was built from in Garageband using some of its piano loops run through the Kore Player using FM8 and Absynth presets. Then I added a simple drum pattern plus my own bassline, plus some basic effects like a track echo automated on the drums.

I did a quick mix and master in Logic (on headphones). The tune was made as a backing for a video of my daughter and our new puppy so it has a kind of twee plinkiness, but there are some ideas in there I want to adapt and work on.

The slideshow is a set of texture shots I’ve taken in Barbados over the last year or so.


Steve Horelick has done a masterful (ha ha) job with both these tutorials. The one on mastering has only just come out and it is superb. He takes a subject that has the reputation of being pretty intimidating and esoteric and makes it very clear and easy to understand and apply, without any dumbing down. The tutorial is a model of screencasting really, particularly the way visuals and metaphors are used, corny jokes and all.

The ES2 tutorial has been around for longer but I only just got round to buying it. It is something else though. All of Steve H’s courses have been good but this one I just love – I can’t quite work out why. When I first tried to use the ES2 I found the presets disappointing and the faceplate confusing so I ignored it for ages. Then I started experimenting and getting some interesting results. However, now I’ve been watching this tutorial I’m really beginning to get it, and not just the ES2, but the principles of synthesis and sound-design more generally. This is probably the best thing I’ve used from MacProVideo and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Below is a great YouTube video introducing the ES2 by SFLogic Ninja. His stuff is also well worth checking out.

Another amazing site seems entirely to have escaped my notice.

Librivox is a project to provide readings of books in the public domain recorded by volunteers.

I am as I write this busily downloading a selection: Max Carrados stories by Ernest Bramah, some Lovecraft stories, a couple of PG Wodehouse Jeeves collections and William Hope Hodgson’s House on the Borderland.

Looks like Olaf Stapledon isn’t there yet so I might volunteer to read Star Maker… although maybe I should start with something a little less ambitious.

Aptly monikered sound-designer Jeremiah Savage created the amazing Kore Soundpack ‘Acoustic Refractions‘ for Absynth.

The video was created by Torley on his review site and gives a wonderfully enthusiastic overview. Some of the sounds are just superb.

Add it to my wishlist.

This is the second mix of a track I’m working on, named after the book by James Blaylock. I’ve been choosing song titles from books I’ve been reading lately. It seems as a good a method as any.

I want to work some more on the arrangement as it is perhaps a little monotonous. It’s getting there though. I particularly like the skittering, slithy drum noises, courtesy of Ultrabeat.

But I’m not happy with the bassline and the overall balance of sound. Part of the problem is that it is pretty much impossible for me to monitor the mix accurately as I don’t have decent speakers, only cheap headphones and my nephew’s bass amp. Also, the mix posted here is heavily compressed which doesn’t help either (excuses, excuses…).

The video is just there to frame the music so I can blog it and is a random comp of footage from Slovakia and Somerset.

Berklee Music is probably the best regarded online music training school. I registered there a while back but simply haven’t been able to afford to do any of their amazing-looking courses (yet – I’m working on it). However the site is still extremely useful with lots of free resources.

For example, they have several excellent blogs with advice on music production, theory etc. I have embedded an example from Erik Hawkins’ blog, which focuses on using Reason and Pro-Tools (click this post’s title for the link).

Last FM have decided to start charging users outside the civilized (i.e. ad-funded) world.

I won’t delete my account just yet, but the thought of a ’30-song countdown and then you have to pay’ makes me feel a little ill. It stops me wanting to play anything on the site.

So Last FM is to join the Kindle, BBC iPlayer and countless other tasty treats in the out-of-reach section for those of us living in the ‘developing’ world.

The irony is I was considering getting a paid account but not if I’m forced to.

Diego Stocco – Luminosonic from Diego Stocco on Vimeo.

The brilliant sound-designer Diego Stocco has a page on Vimeo where he has uploaded various clips of himself making music with a range of unlikely everyday objects and substances. For example, the sounds on the video shown here were all sampled from lightbulbs and their filaments. The results remind me somewhat of the quality of sound that Cliff Martinez achieves on his score for the re-make of Solaris.

I was pointed to this page before by a comment on another blog (thanks Erika), but it has taken me a while to follow it up.

Inspiring stuff.

PS – Make sure you check out the burning piano video.

I am doing some research into online mind-mapping, as I am tired of having all my notes on different machines and memory drives.

So far I have found an application called MindMeister, that lets you have a basic account for free. You can create, share, collaborate on and embed your mind maps with this site.I put together  an example map (won’t load in WordPress), summarising Keith Johnson‘s book Communicative Syllabus Design and Methodology.

Then there is Freemind Share, a site (currently in Beta) for uploading and sharing the mind maps you create using Freemind. I have become a fan of Freemind, despite having paid for and used NovaMind a lot. As much as I love NovaMind I just don’t want to keep paying for upgrades. Freemind does most of what I need it to do, but I haven’t got my head around its text export options yet – particularly for Open Office.

It would be great if Google could integrate a Mind-Map program into Google Docs with text export capability. I also would love to see an outliner faeture in Goolge Docs, a la Omni Outliner (which, along with Scrivener is one of my all-time favourite programs). In the meantime there is Text 2 Mind Map a rather nifty free site that converts outlined text into a mind-map style diagram.

Finally, there are several blogs on the subject. This is a site that seems to cover different products rather than being affiliated with just one:

St Ives Returns!

St Ives Returns!

As I near the end of Lord Kelvin’s Machine, which holds up very well on re-reading, I thought I would mention an upcoming addition to the Langdon St Ives oeuvre: The Ebb Tide.  Here is what the publishers have to say:

A flaming meteor over the Yorkshire Dales, a long-lost map drawn by the lunatic Bill “Cuttle” Kraken, and the discovery of a secret subterranean shipyard beneath the River Thames lead Professor Langdon St. Ives and his intrepid friend Jack Owlesby into the treacherous environs of Morecambe Bay, with its dangerous tides and vast quicksand pits. They descend beneath the sands of the Bay itself, into a dark, unknown ocean littered with human bones and the remnants of human dreams. In this tale of murder, infamy, and Victorian intrigue, the tides of destiny shift relentlessly and rapidly as the stakes grow ever higher and the pursuit more deadly….

Dashed intriguing, what?

July 2018
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