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Posts from October 2009

Mark Mosher Electronica Album REBOOT - Production Notes and Insights Into DIY Distribution with Bandcamp

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REBOOT Announcement
I’m happy to announce the release of my new album electronica REBOOT. I’ve been working on this project on and off for over 2 years. In this and future posts, I’ll share some behind-the-scenes information on the project and DIY music publishing that I hope will save you some time.

Get Reboot Now
I decided to currently offer REBOOT using a “pay what you will” model. Although the suggested pricing is $6 for the 7 song album + digital booklet and $1 for singles, you can name your own price including specifying $0 for free downloads.  You can download/buy from my Bandcamp page - http://markmosher.bandcamp.com.

About Reboot
First let me say that I think you fellow electronic music artists are going to enjoy the album. It’s loaded with complex layers and lots of synth “ear candy”. The album was composed, performed, produced, and mastered using Ableton Live and a Windows Laptop. With the exception of vocals, ALL instruments are virtual – in other words the album is 99.9% digital. Most songs are made up of around 30 tracks.

Production Notes

Virtual Instruments: Ableton Sampler, Operator, Simpler, Impulse; Lennar Digital Sylenth1; reFX Vanguard, Slayer 2; Tone2 Gladiator 2; Camel Audio Alchemy; Native Instrument Absynth 4, Massive; Cakewalk Dimension Pro, Image-Line Morphine, Toxic Biohazard III; Future Audio Workshop Circle; SonicCharge Synplant, FXPansion DCAM Synth Squad. I think I go them all ;^).
Controllers: Novaton Remote SL, Korg nanoKey/Kontrol, M-Audio Trigger Finger, Akai APC40, QWERTY Keyboard, Wacom Bamboo Tablet
Digital Effects: All effects were produced using Ableton Live’s built-in effects or with effects within virtual instruments with the exception of Image-Line Gross Beat and Multiband Compressor
Finalizing & Tagging: Sony SoundForge 9, Mp3tag

Phased Plan for Digital Distribution
I decided to distribute digital only for now and do a phased release and slowly build up distribution channels. This will allow me to stay focused on music and not get completely bogged down in managing distribution. In addition to launching a landing page on a publishing site I wanted to integrate links into www.markmoshermusic.com/music.htm so I could build equity on my own site and centralize distribution.

Bandcamp Publishing Solution
After much experimentation with various social media music distribution sites, I settled on Bandcamp for phase 1. I really like Bandcamp. It focuses more on distribution than trying to compete with social media sites. Instead it offers many sharing options that allow visitors to spread the word. It simply makes publishing a breeze. It’s very simple and clean. Integrating with PayPal is a snap. It also has some nice widgets that allowed me to use Bandamp for heavy lifting on the music page on my site.

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Pay What You Will
Bandcamp also supports the top high-rez audio formats and offers a flexible system that allows for many options for payment. Pay what you will, minimum payments, free but force an email address and more.

More on Self-Publishing…
If you’ve never self-published, there are a tone of little details behind the scenes – tagging, ISRC codes... I’ll post more on this in the future.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Composer, Sound Designer
Louisville/Denver/Boulder
http://www.modulatethis.com
http://www.markmoshermusic.com
http://www.twitter.com/markmosher


Modulate This! - Review of DCAM: Synth Squad Virtual Instruments

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FXpansion, the makers of BFD and Guru, have released a new bundle of virtual instruments called DCAM:Synth Squad. I've been using the package for a number of weeks and have a good feel for a majority of the features.

In this review I’m going to offer a high-level overview of the elements that make up Synth Squad, and highlight some features that make DCAM: Synth Squad stand out from the crowd. I’ll offer my impressions about usage along the way. Note that this review is over 2,300 words and I barely scratch the surface of the the features within DCAM: Synth Squad – it’s a huge feature rich package.

WHAT IS DCAM SYNTH SQUAD?
Over three and a half years in the making, DCAM: Synth Squad is a collection of modeled software synthesizers with a sound design rack environment called Fusor. The package runs on Windows XP SP3, Vista SP1 (32-bit) VAST/RTAS OR Mac OSX 10.5.7 AU/VST /RTAS. Instruments include:

  • Strobe - A modeled single oscillator analog synth
  • Amber - A modeled string divide-down synth with a formant filter
  • Cypher - A three oscillator synth with dual filters/waveshapers and realistic audio-rate modulation
  • Fusor - A sound design rack to hold three instances of any combination of the Strobe, Amber, or Cypher. Fusor also includes digital FX, global modulation capabilities, as well as a step-sequencer/arpeggiator.

UNDER THE HOOD 
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The DCAM synths are not just emulations of analog synths from days past. While FXpansion did analyze old analog synths from each class of synth represented in SynthSquad, they didn't simply model the output of these synthesizers. Instead they modeled components within circuits and they then created new instruments using these components. The end result is a fantastic set of rich sounding instruments with analog character but with modern interfaces.

THE SQUAD

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FXpansion made a wise decision to create three single-page interface synths with a sound design rack (Fusor) synth rather than some monster synth with a multi-page interface. As a result controls on the synths themselves are very focused for the type of synthesis at hand which makes programming more immediate. While you can use Fusor to setup splits/layers, map global modulatators, insert FX, and trigger notes and modulation via a step-sequencer/arpeggiator - you can also insert each individual synth directly into your host application.

Continue reading "Modulate This! - Review of DCAM: Synth Squad Virtual Instruments" »


Modulate This Electronic Music Blog Turns 4

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Modulate This has turned 4 years old! In year 3 the blog experienced non-linear growth in page views and subscribers. I’d like to thank:

  • All the readers and subscribers. Especially those who took the time to comment.
  • Donors. Every donation helps me cover costs, encourage me, and buys my coffee to fuel posting ;^).
  • Fellow music bloggers. Some bloggers that come to mind are James Lewin of Synthtopia, Peter Kirn of Create Digital Music, and Ronnie over at Rekkerd.org. You are all doing a fantastic job covering the industry. I also want to thank you for re-blogging some of my original posts and videos! Very much appreciated.
  • Followers, fellow artists and educators on Twitter. Thanks for all the RTs and for sharing your insights. I’ve learned a lot and discovered a lot of interesting technology and music.

Here is to year 4!

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Composer, Sound Designer
Louisville/Denver/Boulder
http://www.modulatethis.com
http://www.markmoshermusic.com
http://www.twitter.com/markmosher