Posts Tagged ‘The Beatles’

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The Beatles: Rock Band vs Guitar Hero

March 11, 2009

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The much-anticipated digital reunion of The Beatles has got a launch date: September 9.

Fans of Fab Four who have always wanted to sing alongside John, Paul, George and Ringo will finally get their chance when the band’s interactive video game hits the shelves.

“The Beatles: Rock Band” developed by Harmonix will be available simultaneously at locations in North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand.

The videogame is based on MTV‘s popular “Rock Band” and will “allow fans to pick up the guitar, bass, mic or drums and experience The Beatles extraordinary catalog of music through gameplay that takes players on a journey through the legacy and evolution of the band’s legendary career”.

Apple Corps, which handles the affairs of the group, and Viacom’s MTV Networks have also announced the software will be priced at $59.99. As well as support for the more usual instruments for the video game, “a limited number of new hardware offerings modelled after instruments used by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr throughout their career” can be bought for an extra $99.99. (There are no UK prices yet.) Platic Riky anyone?

“The Beatles: Rock Band” will be compatible with Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Sony‘s PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii systems. Existing Rock Band instrument controllers can be used to play the game.

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What has not been announced yet are the songs in the package but fans should expect to have more than a decent smattering of the greatest hits as they follow the band’s iconic career in the game.

The Beatles have closely guarded the distribution of their back catalogue – their songs are still not available for digital download via iTunes for instance. Their music continues to sell in huge quantities. The group has sold more than 600 million albums.

The official Beatles Rock Band website is here (not that it shows you much yet).

In further Beatles / Game news

Not a surprise but it looks like Activision (Guitar Hero), and MTV Games (Rock Band), are both going after the Beatles. What makes this a big deal is not only the millions, but the Beatles are not even on iTunes yet.

Representatives for the Beatles are in talks with Activision and MTV to expand the group’s licensing deal to include videogames, according to a new report by the Financial Times.

Any deal would be worth “several million dollars” according to sources, and could be reached within a matter of weeks.

Activision publishes the Guitar Hero franchise, while MTV Games is the company behind Rock Band.

But any potential deal would need to be approved by EMI, which owns the master recordings of the Beatles, and Apple Corps, the company set up to manage Beatles business interests.

Apple Corps has been selective with its licensing and has yet to release Beatles recordings on any online digital format, although according to the FT, the company has been more active in the past year since Jeff Jones took over the role of chief executive.

Activision has had considerable success with the Guitar Hero franchise in recent year’s, with a new portable version due for the DS, and a dedicated version featuring US rockers Aerosmith set for release.

Although MTV Games’ Rock Band is the new contender in the lucrative music gaming genre, it is also proving successful, with the company announcing back in February that it had already achieved downloads of over 3 million songs in the US alone.

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So you wanna carrer as a record producer ??

January 23, 2009

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Often glamorised,  seldon understood. The modern day music producer can be a man/woman wearing  many hats, most of which usually not music! The great Quincy Jones was a said to be on the phone more than on the console!

In the music industry, a record producer has many roles, among them controlling the recording sessions, coaching and guiding the musicians, organizing and scheduling production budget and resources, and supervising the recording, mixing and mastering processes. This has been a major function of producers since the inception of sound recording, but in the later half of the 20th century producers also took on a wider entrepreneurial role.

The music producer could, in some cases, be compared to the film director in that the producer’s job is to create, shape and mold a piece of music in accordance with their vision for the album. Unlike in film, the music producer is seldom responsible for raising the funds to create the record – more like the film director, the record producer is hired by those who have already obtained funding (typically record or publishing companies, though occasionally the artists themselves).

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Producers now typically carried out most or all of these various tasks themselves, including selecting and arranging songs, overseeing sessions (and often engineering the recordings) and even writing the material. Independent music production companies rapidly gained a significant foothold in popular music and soon became the main intermediary between artist and record label, signing new artists to production contracts, producing the recordings and then licensing the finished product to record labels for pressing, promotion and sale. (This was a novel innovation in the popular music field, although a broadly similar system had long been in place in many countries for the production of content for broadcast radio.) The classic example of this transition is renowned British producer George Martin, who worked as a staff producer and A&R manager at EMI for many years, before branching out on his own and becoming a highly successful independent producer.

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As a result of these changes, record producers began to exert a strong influence, not only on individual careers, but on the course of popular music. A key example of this is of Phil Spector who defined the gap between Elvis and the Beatles (1958–1964) with such acts as The Ronettes, The Crystals, Darlene Love, The Righteous Brothers and The Paris Sisters. Spector’s Wall of Sound production technique also persisted after that time with his select recordings of The Beatles, The Ramones, Leonard Cohen, George Harrison, Dion and Ike and Tina Turner.

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Modern Day Production

In modern digital music, it is possible for the producer to be the only person involved in the creation of a musical recording. The said producer is entirely responsible for writing, performing, recording and arranging the material. The existence of such producers is, in some ways, challenging the role of the traditional recording studio in that feasibly, an entire album can be created and recorded from the producers home studio. .This change has been partially due to the increase of inexpensive yet powerful music production software (such as Ableton Live, ProTools, Digital Performer, Logic, Cubase and Sonar), which allows for entire tracks to be composed, arranged and recorded on a single computer, allowing the roles traditionally carried out by a team of people to be performed by one individual. With the advent of portable recording equipment, live album production has become much more cost-effective than in the past. Also with the new innovation with MIDI technology the world isn’t so bland after all. This has resulted in countless live music recordings.

With the advent of the computer web applications like Facebook, YouTube and MySpace, record producers can now serve in very non-traditional roles, using “social networking.” They can produce music via the internet by having their clients email .mp3 or .wav files to them. In this way the producer can be located in a different geographic location and still accomplish their goal.

Producer  can be classed into  several catogories:

• MUSICIAN PRODUCER
As long as you can communicate effectively and have a basic awareness of what the studio equipment can do, you don’t actually need any technical knowledge at all to produce a record. This point is more easily understood if you think of the director of a TV commercial. He will be very visually aware, and will know what can be achieved with telecine and digital video effects. He cannot be expected to be a technical expert, but as long as he can communicate clearly with the telecine operator and digital artists, the result can be visually amazing. So, the musician producer needs to know what can be achieved in the studio, but someone else will be pushing the faders. A musician is obviously in a much better position than an engineer to know how to put together a piece of music for a recording from scratch, but the one thing that successful producers from either field have in common is that they have a clear image in their mind of the importance of the final product.

• EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
As well as the engineer producer and musician producer there is a third type, which I shall call the executive producer. The executive producer doesn’t know anything about engineering or about music, but knows the right people with the necessary technical and musical skills to handle all the elements of production, and most importantly, knows when something sounds right. Executive producers don’t need to be present all the time in the studio, they just need to hear work in progress occasionally. Their instinct will tell them whether the product is marketable or not. DJ’s often find their way into production along this route as they are in an ideal position to know what will, or will not please an audience. The difference between something that sells and something that ends up on a cut price market stall may be incredibly small, but the DJ will usually be able to tell.

• FREELANCE PRODUCER
Any type of producer may work as a freelance producer. In this situation, a record company might have signed a band or act and be scouting round for someone to co-ordinate them in the studio. Obviously, all the producers know the record company A&R people, and the A&R people know who the key producers are. Matching an act with a producer is an important A&R skill. Sometimes the decision will be made on a ‘flavour of the month’ basis. If a producer has had a series of successful records, then he may be seen as being on a roll and the next production will be a big seller too. The act and the producer must also be compatible in some way, though. Perhaps they will share the same musical vision and have a deep understanding of the style of music in which they work. They may get along well together because they are musically in tune, or the band could be wilful and potentially difficult to work with. The producer must be capable of exercising a degree of control to shape the band into something that will work on CD as well as it does on stage. Maybe an older and more experienced producer will have more respect in the band’s eyes, or maybe they need someone who is able to share their vision and will simply smooth over the rough edges. The freelance producer will be paid by the record company (who will get that money back from the band’s share of the eventual profits), and he is then free to go on to work for another record company.

• ENTREPRENEUR PRODUCER
‘Entrepreneur producer’ is a title I have invented to cover the type of producer who initiates a project and then sells it to a record company in the form of an act with writing, recording and management already in place, or as a partly developed idea working towards the same end. Either way, the producer will be at the top of the food chain and will receive the lion’s share of the rewards. The project could be a band in which the producer takes the roles of songwriter and musician, with a front man or woman to handle the vocals and provide a focus for the marketing machine to work on. Alternatively, the producer might be an engineer or musician who takes on the role of A&R scout and looks for a band or singer to work with. There will probably be a certain amount of investment involved, since the band will need studio time and promotional material. The entrepreneur producer will need to be able to promise the band or singer the earth, and give the impression that he is capable of delivering it. A track record of success will of course help! One of the advantages of working in this way is in the payoff. Not only is the entrepreneur producer entitled to a larger slice of the financial cake, he is also in control of an ongoing project, rather than staggering from one to another.

Source:

http://www.audiomasterclass.com/arc.cfm?a=what-is-a-record-producer-do-you-really-want-to-become-one

http://www.soundonsound.com

ref:

Hewitt, Michael. Music Theory for Computer Musicians.
Moorefield, Virgil (2005). The Producer as Composer .Shaping the Sounds of Popular Music

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You want The Beatles, Yes, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin ? Then GForce M-Tron Pro virtual instrument is for you

November 19, 2008

The GForce M-Tron Pro virtual instrument is an incredible emulation of the classic Mellotron—the unique tape-playback keyboard used by such luminaries as The Beatles, Yes, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, The Moody Blues and Radiohead.

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The 3.5GB sound library features over 200 tape banks (sample sets) including 19 of the original GForce M-Tron tape banks, which have been remastered at London’s legendary Abbey Road Studios. M-Tron Pro also delivers 45 brand-new tape banks and over 700 patches, many created by world-class recording artists and programmers. Select from the patches or open the lid to access G:sampler’s easy editing controls for layers, splits, reverse, half-speed and more. Use it in stand-alone mode (Mac/PC) or as a plug-in for most popular host applications.

Dating back to the pre-digital 1960s, the Mellotron was one of the first sample-based keyboards. Artists such as The Moody Blues, Yes, The Beatles, Elton John, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Genesis and Pink Floyd used them to emulate strings and other orchestral instruments, while the BBC used them extensively for sound effects. When pressed, each key engaged playback of a discrete strip of tape with an eight-second recording of that note played on an instrument such as a violin. The tape rewound after key release. The lack of looping gave the instrument a unique playing characteristic in addition to its already distinct sound. The more commercial models featured the ability to switch between three different sound sets within the installed tape bank—and adventurous owners could physically swap tape banks with care and patience.

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The actual size of a Mellotron!

The Mellotron is an electro-mechanical, polyphonic keyboard originally developed and built in Birmingham, England in the early 1960s. It superseded the Chamberlin, which was the world’s first sample-playback keyboard. The heart of the instrument is a bank of parallel linear[1] magnetic audio tapes, which have approximately eight seconds of playing time each. Playback heads underneath each key enable the playing of pre-recorded sounds.

The earlier MKI and MKII models contained two side-by-side keyboards: The right keyboard accessed 18 “lead/instrument” sounds such as strings, flutes, and brass; The left keyboard played pre-recorded musical rhythm tracks in various styles.

Throughout the 1970s, the Mellotron had a major impact on rock music, particularly the 35 note (G-F) model M400. The M400 version was released in 1970 and sold over 1800 units, becoming a trademark sound of the era’s progressive bands. The earlier 1960’s MK II units were made for the home and the characteristics of the instrument attracted a number of celebrities. Among the early Mellotron owners were Princess Margaret, Peter Sellers, King Hussein of Jordan and according to Wiki Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
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Mellotrons were normally pre-loaded with string instrument and orchestral sounds, although the model 400’s tape bank could be removed with relative ease by the owner and loaded with banks containing different sounds including percussion loops, sound effects, or synthesizer-generated sounds, to generate polyphonic electronically generated sounds in the days before polyphonic synthesizers.


The GForce M-Tron…

GForce first paid homage to this venerable keyboard with the M-Tron virtual instrument. Now M-Tron Pro goes far beyond—and is as much a labor of love as the Mellotron itself. GForce has remastered 19 of the original M-Tron tape banks at London’s legendary Abbey Road Studios, resulting in a warmth of tone surpassing the original. M-Tron Pro has over 200 tape banks—40 of which are looped—including 45 completely new ones not found in the original GForce M-Tron. This massive library comes with 700+ presets, many of which were created by world-class recording artists and programmers.

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The Beatles gone soft….

November 5, 2008

Some of the most recognizable songs of our generation have been made by the same band, made with the same instruments and even in the same room!
The legacy George Martin and The Beatles left musically is so heavily documented and is almost intangible to admit the breakthroughs these people made in the field  of pop ‘songs’ and modern music production.

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Much has been said about EastWest’s ambitious Fab Four virtual instrument/soundbank, due in part to the fact that it focuses on The Beatles, probably the most permeating and influential pop music group ever. But it’s also because the 13 GB worth of sounds are themselves so convincing and because of the pedigree of the package’s creators and sound sources. Long in the making and finally delivered well past its initial ship date, much has been made about how impressively accurate the sounds are to the original song layers they re-create. My goal, however, was to discover whether Fab Four’s sounds could really hold their weight in a more modern-styled production session; sure, they work great for making Beatles-y tracks, but will they work for anything else?

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For those who haven’t seen or heard about Fab Four since its introduction way back at the 2007 Winter NAMM show, this high-profile (and not officially Beatles-endorsed) soundbank focuses on re-creating some of the most classic setups achieved by The Beatles and their producer/engineers, rather than just the instruments themselves. Sparing no expense to find just the right pieces, dedicated project producer Doug Rogers began by gathering and restoring not only the original drums, basses, keyboards and guitars (some of them costing more than $200,000 supplied from private collectors), but also the original period amplifiers (Fender, Vox), rare microphones (Neumann, AKG, Cole, STC), preamps and unique compressors/limiters (Fairchild, EMI modded Altec) and even the same Studer tape machine and EMI Redd tube mixing desk used in making the original songs. To step up the credibility notch even further, Rogers enlisted the help of Ken Scott, the legendary Beatles engineer who worked on “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Help” and “Rubber Soul” and was main engineer for Magical Mystery Tour and The Beatles (White Album), among many other amazing credits. Then, to help play the instruments he had gathered, Rogers brought in drummer Danny Seiwell and guitarist Laurence Juber, both longtime members of Paul McCartney and Wings. Once everything was painstakingly sampled and organized, they added a powerful new GUI with a graceful articulation-control solution and a killer implementation of the Beatles’ legendary ADT technique (artificial double tracking).
The cumulative result of this labor of love is a virtual instrument that has proved to be sonically true to the original, yet completely 21st-century in usability. Fab Four also includes EastWest’s recent 64-bit (and 32-bit-compatible) Play Advanced Sample Engine, which streams from disk very capably with no voice stealing and impressively high polyphony. Using Legato Detection, Play is able to sense smoothly phrased or repetitive playing and respond dynamically, alternating samples or adjusting articulations. For many of the patches, Play uses a small group of MIDI notes as “switches,” making it easy to move between chains of samples on the fly with one hand while playing with the other.

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The convolution-based emulations of Abbey Road’s many reverbs (both physical and electromechanical), ADSR envelopes, detailed Delay section, incredibly useful Stereo Spread control, Pan, Mono/Stereo settings like L/R Swap and Mono Sum and extensive MIDI input filtering all offer extended flexibility to the patches, some of which are already highly processed. Play can load multiple sounds into its chooser simultaneously for quick switching, and the slick Browser window helps you quickly find the sounds you’re after. As a powerful bonus, the awesome built-in Network Control functionality allows you to load instruments on extra computers and control them from the master computer without KVM switching and without needing to purchase extra licenses. And don’t forget the truly impressive ADT, which pairs a very short delay with a slightly moving phase shift that I swear makes just about anything sound better (especially guitars).