▶ I made a Drum’N’Bass song

In my advanced Music Tech course, I like to make the projects along with the students so we can have a collaborative learning experience. Every time I re-do a project with these kids I end up learning something new and it’s fun to share it with them – students can really tell when you’re genuinely excited about something new, and this type of teacher energy is to me much more authentic than giving the same canned inspirational speech each go around.

Anyway, the main things we explored were sampling breaks and creating the Reese bass instrument.

I called it “Peanut Butter Cup” due to the abuse of the Reese bass sound. I’d love to hear some feedback on how to make it better:

Here’s what my tracks and clips looked like in session view:

 

Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 7.38.25 PM

 

In outline form, here’s what’s going on:

  1. Drum Group
    1. “2 Audio” – these are sampled funk breaks
    2. “02 Funky D” – a “sliced to MIDI” version of the funky drummer, for playing on the Launchpad
    3. “Drum Rack” – some stronger/layered snare and bass on a drum rack.
  2. Synths Group
    1. “Reese Bass” – an Operator instrument imitating the classic detuned saw waves of “Terrorist” by Master Reese.
    2. “133989_2” – A Simpler containing an air raid siren from freesound.org
    3. “VES2 Synt” – A Simpler containing a canned sample from some CD I had
  3. SFX Group
    1. Various canned uplifters, impacts and a Jamaican guy because it’s DnB

 

 

Traktor for iPad

Native Instruments is getting serious about iOS.  Apps like this are why Android tablets are still very much behind iOS ones.

Some juicy details:

  • Traktor recognizes class-compliant USB audio interfaces, so a separate cue/mains mix is possible in stereo (lots of DJ apps hack this by making you pathetically use a headphone splitter).
  • It recognizes transients, and makes them playable sampler-style hits that can be played while the song is going on.  Very cool – and something that is much harder to do on a full computer.

Also this:

Traktor DJ also does something DJ apps haven’t done before: it builds a recommendation engine into the app itself. That seems to me to be inevitable in the Spotify and Last.fm age. While it may make some DJs cringe, the software itself now uses tempo, key, and even timbre metadata to work out what music will match well with what you’re playing.

Huh?  We’ll see if that one works out in real life.

Anyway, read the full post over at Create Digital Music.

▶ Get back OS X Mountain Lion’s Displays Menu

As a teacher, I heavily rely on the ability to switch back and forth between mirrored and spanning mode for my Mac. I seriously hate messing with Displays preferences during class and fiddling with resolutions and such. Until this summer, Macs were pretty good at quickly switching between these modes, but with the arrival of Mac 10.8 Mountain Lion, the displays menu was replaced with the much more specific Airplay menu, which does not include the old Mirroring toggle. In fact, the key shortcut to enable/disable mirroring (⌘-1) forces a rescan of the displays, often resulting in a resolution change. Terrible!

Luckily, we can re-enable this feature easily with a free app from the Mac App Store called Display Menu by Thorsten Karrer. This app does exactly what you think it should, and it also enables the quick resolution switching that OS X had way back in the day. Everyone chained to a desktop with mirroring mode for their day job needs to get this app, posthaste. Check out more info on the Display Menu website.

 

“Instrumachines”

Great new term for the tools used by DJ’s who have been working very hard to add real-time performing to their performances.

But pushing a button 30 times in 30 minutes versus pushing it 30,000 times in 30 minutes, presents an order-of-magnitude difference that you can feel in your bones. It’s the difference between playing a piano, and playing a CD.

via Bryan Kim’s excellent music tech blog.