Sunday, 15 October 2017

Thoughts on "The Devaluation of Music: It’s Worse Than You Think"


via GIPHY


A friend of mine shared an article by Craig Havighurst on facebook the other day. After reading it I got frustrated how focused on the recent past many articles regarding this topic are and how pessimistic that point of view is. It is a good article, with interesting thoughts, still I felt compelled to write a bigger comment wich you will find below following the link to Craigs original article, which is a highly recommended read.


Most things in that list are society problems at large, the question is how the music industry deals with it. With all the pessimism about music as a main career, there are loads of new things to focus at. First, what I never read anywhere, is that a society determines the place for music. In Ireland, children learn to play their instruments from their parents. It is not a deal if you are a master of your instrument, you just bring it to the pub at night and play. Without expectation of fame or money. Just for the craigh. Same in Africa. Loads of skillful and creative musicians, Just playing for fun and worship. So the question should be: is it just to expect being able to live of recordings at all? This career path is about 150 years old. The career path of a performing musician on the other hand thousands. Recordings are a fad passing by imho. The real value will go back to performance.
Some more thoughts:
Loss of context as a product : Music blogs deliver interviews, thoughts and information along with play list. This is often way more comprehensive than anything ever delivered with sold media. Also, others where arguing that all the context was distracting from the music. One could argue it is purer now.
Commercial Radio has staled : Podcasts have become exciting.
The Media : Depending on the definition of "The Media", is suffering from and profiting from the same transition as the music industry. That is no excuse, but art has always been for the freaks. Real success is measured in money. Always was (going thousands of years back!), always will.
Conflation : Nothing new. Ever been in a Virgin Mega Store in the 90s? iTunes Store mirrors just that. A one stop entertainment supply with movies, games and music. Also MTV was successfully mashing up TV consumption and Music consumption, opening a new marketing channel.
Anti-Intellectualism : Again, this is not a problem of the music industry but society. The music industry does only react to market demand (it is an industry after all.) Also, in western culture, we do not worship anymore. Our churches are temples of consumption (Malls are triggering the same brain regions as churches btw.). My church is the club. This reflects in the music. Classical music was often mainly worship music. The same counts for Gospel. Indian classical music too has religious aspects. It is a culture thing, anti intellectualism. Look at our leaders. 
Movies and Games : Are new career paths. Add sound design to that. After recordings opened new opportunities for musicians and composers approx 100 years ago, social networks allow for direct contact between composers/producers and their clients. Also Audio professionals such as engineers did not exist 150 years ago. I agree with the devaluation as background noise though.
Music in schools : Yeah, meh :/ That was never a particularly pleasant topic. Churches and private tuition where always the paths to mastery. Unfortunately there has been no progress there…
The 40 years between the 60s and the 2000s where an odd anomaly that have been distorting our expectation and perception of music through the recording industry and their marketing. Combine that with a decline in certain cultural values ( or maybe just raised voices of the masses drowning out intellectualism ) and you got the reasons for the current state of music in western society.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

HALion Script File listing tool

Just wrote a little Ruby script to solve a few problems I encountered in HALion while trying to select and load samples from a directory using a macropage dropdown. 

First of all the problem it solves:
Problem 1: HALion
-I wanted to switch samples of a zone using a dropdown on my macropage. But I did not want to load layers or change presets or anything that could potentially contain the path information.
- The workarround is using a table with filename/path pairs. Like this:

sampleSearchPath = "/Users/myUser/Documents/Steinberg/HALion/Recordings/"

builtInSamples = {
    { name = "Growlar-A#5.wav", path = sampleSearchPath.."Growlar-A#5.wav"},
    { name = "Growlar-A#5.wav", path = sampleSearchPath.."Growlar-A#5.wav"},
    { name = "Growlar-A5.wav", path = sampleSearchPath.."Growlar-A5.wav"},
    { name = "Growlar-F#5.wav", path = sampleSearchPath.."Growlar-F#5.wav"},
    { name = "Growlar-G#5.wav", path = sampleSearchPath.."Growlar-G#5.wav"},
    { name = "Growlar-G5.wav", path = sampleSearchPath.."Growlar-G5.wav"},
}

- Creating such a table is time intensive, so I created a dumb little script to do that for me. 
Problem 2: LUA
Halion script is restricted to halion. I could not find a way to access the filesystem because io and os are not available.
I used ruby because io and os are bitches to use for what I do and ruby is perfect for file and text stuff. Also i did not want to use popen because ls is not available on windows per default(unless you use linux subsystem to run lua).

The tool is available here:
https://github.com/tekkzoo/halion-script-collection/blob/master/HALionFileListCreator.rb

I only tested this on mac because ruby is preinstalled here. If you have ruby installed on windows it should work there as well, please let me know.

usage: 
 ruby HALionFileListCreator.rb "[path of directory with samples]" "[outputfilename.lua]" 
 example: 
 ruby HALionFileListCreator.rb "/user/Documents/Steinberg/HALion/Recordings/" "/user/myBuiltinSamples.lua"

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Creating a live set as a modern synth performer part 1

This is the first Video documenting the creation of the Tekknovator live setup, which will eventually be joined by drummer and mc. So far I settled on #Cubase as a host and #HALion for sounds. The #Linnstrument is split into one half channel per row and one half channel per note. This way I got full expression with the right hand and can trigger or play all kind of sounds with the left hand. And: Omg I need to freakin practice now 😱

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycmAckRUcpY



Let me know if you are interested into the spicy details of the internals and I can write them up at a later point.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

HALion Scripting Resources

Composer and sound designer De Wet van der Spuy whom I stumbled upon while browsing the Steinberg HALion Forum has written a nice article for LUA noobs to get started with HALion scripting
It is a nice collection of resources and therefor deserves a bookmark :)

https://dewetvanderspuy.co.za/halion-scripting-lua-resources/

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Tekknovator Drum and Bass Track Mixing in Progress







I have set up a Youtube channel for my music project called Tekknovator (surprise :P ).

It is a Bass focused breakbeat and electronics project for the hedonistic dance addicts and head cinema. Inspired by science fiction and society. Sometimes dark, sometimes sweet, often weird. Prepare for impact.



Found this video of the old studio. Can't wait until they finish the new one. All the music is purely Cubase stock plug-ins and HALion.

I hope some day I find the time to finish those tracks and publish them...

Btw, if you want to learn about electronic music production, send me a message and you can book a skype or facetime course with me.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Transformers Age Of Extinction and its impacts






My wife surprised me with a Germany release screening ticket for the latest Transformers output (always later then the international release) . Vice has been marking it as "the new high gloss trash" and I have to agree, but thats what makes it so amazing!
Behind the trash factor there is a lot more to this movie, an endless list of references from Goranger and Megazords over Gojira to Neon Genesis evangelion and other mecha culture stuff, there is even a nod to tentacle porn as the girl encounters the alien in the cage (I don't even remember any names of the human protagonists.) :P. All in all great, I was entertained and hooked. But seriously, don´t try to start thinking or all magic wears off. And also, as always if you think about transformers, don't try to search for creativity as the references listed above might as well be interpreted as lack of the latter. But since I got brainwashed to be a transformers fan as a kid and since I am big fan of remix and clash culture this still won't spoil the fun for me :D

Now, there was something else that caught my attention: The impact. Not the Impact of the movies actually, but rather the impacts in the Movie.
The frequency range by the majority of the impacts is more in the mids and upper lows rather then in the deep end.

It also seems to be an evolution: Transformers 1 introduced dancefloor style sounds in order to illustrate all kinds of events, most remarkably the transformations themselves.



But if you compare the trailers, impacts where pretty classic, bass heavy events with debris sparkle on top.


Wheras in age of extinction, the whole event choice and mix go even further into a dancefloor range. It makes sense, considering the popularity of EDM these days.


Listeners are used to be exposed to these kind of mixes over a long period of time.
It also makes sense on the drama level, while effectively illustrating the impact it leaves space for rumble if needed.

It will be interesting to see how this evolves across movies in the future.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Time for the bi annual update of my blog :P
Time flies!
Studio time? none!
who cares!
I can at least look at pics of my setup from time to time, and so should you:



Been moving house again since the last update because the landlord turned out to be a neo nazi asshole of a lawyer plus the house was humid. Sending out a big fuck you to that guy!
The new place has way more positive vibes about it, it is great.