Archive for the ‘Home Studio’ Category

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Prog Rock Britannia! – BBC Documentary

January 6, 2009

kingcrimson

One of the most influential times in British music has recently been the the topic for a season of broadcasts from the BBC.

This series ran over the festive period and is repeated on BBC Four today and tomorrow.

It charts the growth and rise of the ‘Progressive’ musician starting with The Nice and Soft Machine moving onto King Crimson, ELP and of course The Pink Floyd.

Progressive rock (often shortened to progressive, prog, or prog rock) is a form of rock music that evolved in the late 1960s and early 1970s as part of a “mostly British attempt to elevate rock music to new levels of artistic credibility.” The term “art rock” is often used interchangeably with “progressive rock”, and while there are crossovers between the two genres they are not identical. Prog Rock was the first steps of pop musicans and rock and roll musicans begining to get bored playing 12 bar blues. This was the sound of musicians who wanted a little more from their music than repitition

Progressive rock bands pushed “rock’s technical and compositional boundaries” by going beyond the standard rock or popular verse-chorus-based song structures. Additionally, the arrangements often incorporated elements drawn from classical, jazz, and world music. Instrumentals were common, while songs with lyrics were sometimes conceptual, abstract, or based in fantasy. Progressive rock bands sometimes used “concept albums that made unified statements, usually telling an epic story or tackling a grand overarching theme.”

Progressive rock songs either avoid common popular music song structures of verse-chorus-bridge, or blur the formal distinctions by extending sections or inserting musical interludes, often with exaggerated dynamics to heighten contrast between sections. Classical forms are often inserted or substituted, sometimes yielding entire suites, building on the traditional medleys of earlier rock bands. Progressive rock songs also often have extended instrumental passages, marrying the classical solo tradition with the improvisational traditions of jazz and psychedelic rock. All of these tend to add length to progressive rock songs, which may last longer than twenty minutes….Sounds Great Doesn’t it!

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Another super cool aspect of Prog is the avid use of technology to aid their timbral exploration. Progressive rock bands were often early adopters of new electronic musical instruments and technologies. Emerson Lake and Palmer pioneered use of the Moog synthesizer, and the mellotron was a signature sound of early progressive bands such as the Moody Blues, King Crimson, and Genesis. Pink Floyd utilized an EMS Synthi A synthesizer equipped with a sequencer on their track “On the Run” from their 1973 album “Dark Side of the Moon“. In the late 1970s, Robert Fripp, of King Crimson, and Brian Eno developed an analog tape loops effect (Frippertronics). In the 1980s, Frank Zappa used the Synclavier for composing and recording, and King Crimson utilized MIDI-enabled guitars, a Chapman Stick, and electronic percussion.

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10 string chapman stick

The whole genre obviously imploded and was finally killed off by a combination of Rick Wakeman performing  ‘On Ice’ style shows and the new wave of punk (which was created by ex prog fans).

Prog the early days

Allmusic cites Bob Dylan‘s poetry, The Mothers of Invention‘s Freak Out! and the BeatlesSgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band as showing the “earliest rumblings of progressive and art rock”while progressiverock.com cites the latter as its “starting point”, although earlier albums such as Rubber Soul and Revolver had begun incorporating Eastern music and instruments not common in rock music. This would later be followed by progressive-rock acts such as Yes and King Crimson. However, Piero Scaruffi claims that “technically speaking … progressive-rock began in 1967 with Cream and The Nice”, which he describes as “groups that reacted to the simple, melodic, three-minute pop of the early Beatles”, and notes that if “a more stringent definition, one that considers ambition and pretentiousness” is used, this “would push the birth date [back] to the Pretty Things‘ S.F. Sorrow (1968) and the Who‘s Tommy (1969).”

Freak Out!, released in 1966, had been a mixture of progressive rock, punk and avant-garde layered sounds. In the same year, the band “1-2-3″, later renamed Clouds, began experimenting with song structures, improvisation, and multi-layered arrangements. In March of that year, The Byrds released “Eight Miles High”, a pioneering psychedelic rock single with lead guitar heavily influenced by the jazz soloing style of John Coltrane. Later that year, The Who released “A Quick One While He’s Away”, the first example of the rock opera form, and considered by some to have been the first prog epic.

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There is so much to cover in this topic it impossible to cram it all here. Mike Oldfield’s  ‘Tubular Bells‘ was a breakthough track demonstarting the poswer of the studio. Mike played every instrument himself onthe recording and the song became a staple stone for sound technology enthusiasts everywhere.

Tubular Bells stayed in the British charts for over five years, reaching the number 1 spot after more than a year and taking there for one week the place of his second album, Hergest Ridge, thereby becoming one of only three artists in the UK to knock himself off the first spot. It sold more than two million copies in the UK alone and according to some reports 15 to 17 million copies worldwide. The album went gold in the USA and Mike Oldfield received a Grammy Award for the best Instrumental Composition in 1975.


In 1967, Jeff Beck released the single “Beck’s Bolero”, inspired by Maurice Ravel‘s Bolero, and, later that year, Procol Harum released the Bach-influenced single “A Whiter Shade of Pale”. Also in 1967, the Moody Blues released Days of Future Passed, combining classical-inspired orchestral music with traditional rock instrumentation and song structures. Pink Floyd’s first album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, contained the nearly ten-minute improvisational psychedelic instrumental “Interstellar Overdrive”. In 1968, Big Brother and the Holding Company incorporated Bach’s prelude from The Well-Tempered Clavier into their cover of George Gershwin‘s “Summertime”.

2009 promises alot following yet another British invasion of Prog bands. A scene taking influences also from post punk and experimental music has emerged spearheaded by bands such as a.P.A.t.T., Kling Klang, The Laze and Stig.

Here is footage of some of the more over looked genius’ not featured in the BBC documentary.These are the American and European counterparts. These artists have all strived to make advancements in their art, whilst maintaining a ridiculous air.

Prog Rock Britannia Tonight.

  1. 06 Jan 2009
    23:15
  2. 07 Jan 2009
    03:15
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Online Recording Program – Need A Session player quick??

December 10, 2008

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It is now possible to record online,  in real time and with other musicians!

Bizzare to think but very possible now with ‘digitalmusician.net’

So if you need a part for a song for example,  using the community within the site you are able to meet and hook up with the player you need then you are able to exchange the relevant files and literally record a  take online through your already existing Sequencer software (Cubase etc).

The digital musician link (DML) plug-in is a VST 2.0 plug-in. You can start the DML in your music software (assuming it is compatible) and then connect to musicians and producers from all over the world. Using a standard broadband Internet connection (ADSL) you can record audio in CD quality and MIDI online in sync with your playback.

What is digitalmusician.net?

digitalmusician.net is the place where the international music business community (musicians and producers) meets and works on joint projects.

DM-Recorder software is a free online multi-track recorder which is available to all DMN members. Besides the “normal”  recording functions the programme allows you to mainly record projects on and offline with other musicians using a normal Internet connection. Use the DM-Recorder as a multi-track machine with other musicians that have a basic broadband connection.
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The advantages of the DM-Recorder are:

* Offline collaboration with partners. Data is saved on a server and updated by other project members each time a project is reopened.
* Performances can be bought or sold directly via the DM-Recorder.
* Direct connection to partners and real-time recording via the Internet as if you were in the same studio (online collaboration) It offers you, for example, the possibility to find and sell music jobs via the Internet. This way you can further your career without even leaving your studio.

You can:

* Make professional contacts worldwide
* Find music jobs and make money
* Record songs together with other members without travel or hotel costs
* Choose music projects that you would like to work on
* Find suitable partners for your projects (using the „”Studio & Artists” database)
* Place  “adverts” for your own services and sell them

DML is an abbreviation for the digital musician link plug-in. You can download the PC or Mac versions of the DML plug-in here.

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Christmas Gift Idea: Headphones 5 of the Best

December 2, 2008

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With Christmas looming and the idea of many new sights and sounds omitting form your house,  please do consider the neigbours in this season of goodwill.


One sure way of keeping all those keyboards, guitar amps and what-nots at a decent volume is to simply plug in a pair of headphones. The quality is generally the same (if not better depending on your headphones) but it is kept ‘personnal’. Ideal for those late night mixing sessions of even jamming along with your practice amp.

Here are five of our best buys this season:


Numark HF125
Buy Now

Numark HF125

Clarity & Comfort For The Modern DJ One place a DJ can’t compromise, is in how they hear their mix. The Numark HF-125 headphone set delivers the goods with flexible 7-position independently adjustable dual ear cups, large 40mm Mylar speaker drivers, 6′ tangle-resistant cord with 1/4″ connector, and padded headband and ear cups.

Sennheiser EH 150

Closed, dynamic hi-fi stereo headphones. a great introduction to the Sennheiser brand at very good price.

Sennheiser HD 215

Enjoy excellent sound: The HD 215 has both outstanding sound characteristics and excellent attenuation of ambient noise. The rotatable ear cup for one-ear listening and the single-sided coiled cable make them ideal for DJ monitoring. The HD 215 comes with a convenient protective pouch for storage and transportation. Features Excellent stereo sound Spatial sound image …

Shure SCL2 – Clear

An excellent introduction into premium audio via sound isolation, the SCL2 features single dynamic microdrivers for full sonic range and resonant bass. Features Sound Isolating Technology – The Shure E2c’s in ear design, using foam or flex sleeves, naturally blocks background noise. This allows lower listening volumes in loud environments. No batteries or extra equipment are needed for sound…

Sennheiser HD25 mk II

Whether in the studio or in live sound recording: detailed sound reproduction, ease of use and excellent attenuation of ambient noise is what you expect of a pair of monitoring headphones. The HD 25 offers all this – plus an extremely rugged construction with a steel cable for high durability. The closed-back HD 25-1 IIs are purpose-designed, professional monitoring headphones…

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Christmas Gift Suggestion: Roth Audioblob 2

December 2, 2008

This is a perfect Xmas gift for any audiophile looking for a good and affordable, 2.1 System!

 

The new Roth Audioblob2 multimedia audio system is an idea partner for PC or Mac based music/multimedia systems. This system has been developed in partnership with audio engineers from Tannoy, with many years experience in designing the very best home audio systems.

Audioblob2 provides superlative audio quality for music/multimedia & gaming and is configured so that you can control the overall audio volume and the sub-bass level separately, thereby providing subtle and discreet volume control, up to an annoy-your-neighbours, floor-shaking level 10 – The choice is yours !

Now available for just £45, this is quite simply an amzing deal! Save a massive £104.99 – 69% off SRP!

More about the Roth Audioblob2 on the product page.