I’m doing an “Intro to Ableton Push” talk Tuesday April 8th at 7pm at the Boulder Synthesizer Meetup. Event is free but seating is limited so if you live in the Denver area and would to attend RSVP here: http://www.meetup.com/The-Boulder-Synthesizer-Meetup/events/172555802/.
Posts from April 2014
Back in 2012 I wrote a post called Sound Design and Workflow Tip: Make Better Use of the Stand-Alone FX Versions of Your Virtual Instruments which suggested you explore using some of the FX versions of the synths in your quiver for applying interesting FX to your tracks. Since then I’ve been exploring Absynth FX quite heavily and some of this work made on to tracks on my recent album such as “Coevolution” and “Gonna Rise Up”.
To show you more examples of how you can use Absynth FX and Absynth in general, I recommend you follow Absynth creator Brian Clevinger’s Soundclod page. He has a lot of cool pieces out there including this one called “Liquified Bass” which is “An ambient improv, playing my bass through an Absynth patch.”
Here is another piece called “Rossignol” which is “Nightingale sounds slowed down 3 octaves and harmonised a little with Absynth's Aetherizer effect. A very simple Absynth patch.”
Visit https://soundcloud.com/brian-clevinger-1 to explore more of his work. For more Modulate This! posts on Brian check out http://www.modulatethis.com/brian-clevinger/. For more posts on Absynth visit http://www.modulatethis.com/absynth/.
Gary Numan will be playing Denver tonight at the Gothic Theater. Show starts at 8pm. He’s currently on tour supporting his fantastic album Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind). I caught the show at the Mountain Oasis Festival 2013 and will be at the show tonight. It’s an incredible show so if you are in Denver area come on down.
For those readers not in Denver and for those who have not yet bought the album visit so visit http://www.numan.co.uk for more information on the album and tour.
Gary was kind enough to take time out of his schedule to answer a few questions for Modulate This!
Update 4/5/2014: The show was simply incredible. I’ll do a follow-up post with photos. Subscribe through RSS or email here. http://feeds.feedburner.com/ModulateThis.
Mark Mosher: I love the amazing amount of sonic space and dynamic range in the mix of Splinter. I especially like how your vocals are right up front and you can hear the amazing detail in the music and sound design. Even when songs like "Who Are You" are running at full tilt, the mix has enough sonic space so you can make out interesting sound elements like scraping metallic noises and such. Can you shed some light on the overall development of Splinter and your collaborative process with producer Ade Fenton to create an album with such drive and emotion without losing all the sonic detail?
Gary Numan: No special tricks or processes were employed to get the album to sound the way it does, just a lot of attention to detail and care. Ade worked very closely with Nathan Boddy with the mixing at their respective studios in the UK and those mixes were sent over to me for feedback. There was a lot of communication and discussion obviously as things progressed. The songwriting part of it is fairly simple. I start with a piano and work out the melody and structure. When I’m happy with that I turn to the technology and begin to flesh the song out, building the dynamics and mood. A rough guide vocal without real words follows so that I can get the phrasing exactly right without trying to squeeze in lyrics that don’t really fit, then, when I’m happy with that, the actual lyrics, then the final vocal. At this stage I will have a fairly well developed demo that gives Ade the guidance he needs to know where I see the song going. Those files are then sent to Ade and the production part of it begins. From then on it’s a lot of to and fro as we move the song forward. We do argue but it’s rarely angry, we’re always trying to get the song as good as it can be rather than win a contest between us. It’s quite difficult to comment on the way we work as being anything unusual because it really isn’t. I write the songs and create reasonably high quality demo's, Ade makes them sound much better and, quite often, will take the song in a new direction. Sometimes that works, sometimes not, but I’m always happy to try out his ideas and see where they take us.
Mark Mosher: My favorite track on the album is "A Shadow Falls on Me". It has such an interesting arrangement. The non-vocal elements of the song are conjured up in a wake behind your vocals. The end result is you really pull the listener along and make them try and anticipate what’s coming next. Was this a idea pulling the listener along with the vocals and melody a conscious idea from the beginning or something that happened as you developed the song?
Gary Numan: Yes, pretty much. The idea was to build the song with each new vocal section, increasing the level of emotion and power at each step. Ade came up with a huge drum part that was great and changed things considerably but it was just too much to have running from start to finish so we adapted it and used the idea to build an even bigger series of steps, following the original idea but with a greater shift in power and emotion each time. Interestingly the vocal line started out as my first attempt to collaborate with the band Battles. They weren’t too keen on my first vocal idea for their My Machines song so I used it on A Shadow Falls On Me instead.
Mark Mosher: There are some amazing textures and sound elements on Splinter. What’s your creative process for creating unique sounds to support your song writing?
Gary Numan: Sounds can come from anywhere. Walking around the street with a recorder kicking things, slamming things, scraping, dragging, whatever. Using software packages like Omnisphere and Massive, whispering words and phrases and then manipulating those sounds beyond recognition, recording journeys, trains, cars, absolutely anything and everything, and then finding ways to mess with those source sounds until you have something you’ve never heard before. There is no process as such, just a real pleasure from finding new ways to create new sounds.
Mark Mosher: There is a fantastic video on the Nine Inch Nails YouTube channel where you make a surprise appearance and perform “Metal” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehMqEXUspfs) back in 2009. You’ve gone on to share the bill with NIN for a series of concerts and NIN guitarist Robin Finck both plays on Splinter and has played with your touring band. Can you tell us more about the Gary Numan-Trent Reznor-NIN connection and perhaps how this connection has deepened since you have moved to LA?Gary Numan: Trent came to see us at a show I was playing in Baton Rouge many years ago, this was when he was making The Fragile. He brought with him a copy of a song of mine that he had covered called Metal which was fantastic. After that, whenever NIN played in London I would go and see them and we would meet up briefly for a chat. Then in 2009 I was invited to join them on stage at their O2 gig in London, then to do the same thing when they played the last four shows of that version of NIN in Los Angeles that same year. When I moved to Los Angeles Trent wrote the first of my Testimonial letters for the US authorities which really helped. As soon as we moved to the US he invited to his house a couple of times and made us feel very welcome, then the recent shows and some other social things. He’s been a good friend, in his own, quiet way, on several levels and I’m very grateful to him.
Mark Mosher: I was in attendance at your interview at the Mountain Oasis 2013 Festival in Asheville, NC with Geary Yelton for Keyboard Magazine. In that interview, you mentioned that since you’ve now moved to Los Angeles, that you were hoping to get involved with some film soundtracks. Can you give us an update on any developments in this area of your career?
Gary Numan: It’s a very cautious thing for me. The musical side of that idea is very exciting but the political side of it, or at least the horror stories I’ve heard about it, are really quite daunting so I’m not sure whether it will suit me or not. I’m just finishing my first film score, which I co-wrote with Ade Fenton on this occasion, for an animated movie called From Inside. A grim and heavy story about a pregnant girls journey on a mysterious train after the world has been destroyed. It has been a gentle first step into writing scores for both of us and again, I’m very grateful to the people involved, John Bergin the Director, and Brian McNellis the Producer, for giving me the opportunity and for making it a stress free project. We’ll see where it goes from here.
Mark Mosher: Rather than fall back on “nostalgia” you have really pushed the envelope to try new ideas throughout your career. Do you have any advice for Modulate This readers on how to take the “long view” of their craft and their music careers?
Gary Numan: I’ve always been aware that everything you do today will stick to you in the future so you must be very careful. You need to think about how today’s actions will be perceived in the coming years. Will they hurt your reputation, weaken your fan base? Are you doing things now for short term gain that might kill your career growth in the coming years? I’ve made some terrible mistakes over the years but the thing that has always been important to me is never to rely or dwell on past glories, no matter how big they might be. Try to move forward musically with every album, don’t be afraid to try new things, constantly, and avoid nostalgia at all costs. Of course, if you just want to be rich then milk the nostalgia route for all it’s worth. Plenty of people make very good livings by simply repeating things they did decades ago but I think that’s a pretty empty way to look at creativity. Write music because you genuinely love what you are doing, not because you think it might get you on the radio or keep the record label happy. I went through a period of writing ‘strategically’ and the music suffered and I did nothing that I’m proud of or still play today. It was soul destroying actually and almost ruined my career. For the first part of my career, and certainly for the last 20 years, I’ve written songs with no thoughts at all about how they might achieve commercial success. I want that of course, but you must NOT try to design your music to achieve it. Write what’s in your heart, what you love, and then hope for the best as far as commercial success is concerned.
Special thanks to the fantastic photographer and musician Rod Tanaka for coordinating this interview.
Happy Friday. I've just posted the single "Dormant" - Track 1 from my new album Fear Cannot Save Us on Soundcloud with the option to download a free 192kbps MP3 version of the song. My soundcloud profile is here if you want to swap follows https://soundcloud.com/markmosher :^)
If you enjoy the track and want to stream the album swing by Bandcamp. That's a great place to buy the album as well as you can buy high-rez versions of the music there and the album download includes a 10 page digital booklet. The album is also available on most major outlets including , iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby.
Film composer, session drummer, and recording artist Deane Ogden has launched a cool new internet radio show/podcast called On the Hit which features candid one-on-one interviews with “players who make the music you know best”. Episode 3 just went live which is an interview with the legendary session bassist Leland Sklar and is simply fantastic!
I also want to mention this new show is the latest in a long line of projects (such as the informative and inspiring Scorecast Online) where Deane has taken time to give back to the community. So I encourage you to support this show by subscribing, taking a moment to leave a comment on iTunes, and of course by spreading the word about OTH.
Below is an overview of the show including links to get you started.
ON THE HIT with DEANE OGDEN (OTH) is an internet podcast featuring Deane’s one-on-one candid conversations with the most intriguing personalities in rock, pop, R&B, jazz and country music — the artists, musicians and moguls who’ve created music history as we know it today.
OTH airs each Tuesday on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and Liberated Syndication. The premiere episode of OTH was launched on March 12, 2014 and featured Wrecking Crew keyboardist Don Randi and son of Wrecking Crew guitarist Tommy Tedesco, Denny Tedesco. That episode was recorded in Los Angeles with subsequent first-season episodes recorded in Portland, London, San Francisco, Nashville, Austin, Los Angeles and Tokyo.
ON THE HIT with DEANE OGDEN was born out of Deane’s work in Los Angeles, New York and Nashville as a session drummer, percussionist and programmer. He began interviewing colleagues he was recording with and later expanded to include musicians who’d influenced his own work as well as engineers and producers who have helped shaped modern music and sound.
Deane has also composed and produced some amazing music which you can find on his web site http://www.deaneogden.com/.
<<< Checkout my new album Fear Cannot Save Us
Gary Numan just released a new video for the song “I Am Dust” from his latest album Splinter.
Directed by Logan Owlbeemoth with effects by Omebi Velouria, this video was made using a Tachyons + video glitch synth effected live via a HI-8 camera and a CRT television to create triply, blurry, VHS-style images of Gary Numan as he sings the song. In a nod to Gary's analogue roots, no computer post production was used in the making of this video.
Gary Numan is currently on tour in the US, then off to Australia/New Zealand followed by the UK (http://www.numan.co.uk/tour/). He’ll be playing Denver on April 4th at the Gothic. Visit his official web site for more news and links to the new album http://www.numan.co.uk/.
<<< Checkout my new album Fear Cannot Save Us
The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose has kicked off a 6-month exhibit called REBOOT:music. The exhibit includes the latest version Tim Thompson’s Kinect-based Space Palette which is a musical and graphical instrument that lets you play music and paint visuals simultaneously by waving your hands in the holes of a wood frame.
Here is a video of Tim explaining the instrument.
It’s great to see how far Tim has taken the Space Palette since I first interviewed him back in 2011 on his work in this area.
In all there are 16 installations at this exhibit.
Unleash your inner music-maker at The Tech’s new exhibition, here for a limited engagement March 7 – August 17, 2014. Explore what it means to make music in the digital age. Interact, and inspire your creative spirit with the help of more than a dozen imaginative new musical instruments.
- 16 installations by renowned artists that allow you to collaborate and explore the boundaries of music making.
- Red Hot and Sympathetic Resonance, two large-scale, electro-acoustic experiences bring a technological twist to familiar acoustic instruments.
- The multi-player ConnecTable invites spontaneous jam sessions with friends and strangers alike – no rehearsal necessary!
- The Space Palette puts futuristic soundscapes at participants’ fingertips – literally.
- Stepping Tones’ immersive projection mapped environment lets participants create and visualize beats by hand.
- The Laser Harp Alembic surrounds visitors with an orchestra of sounds, each just a pluck of the air away.
- …and many more.
In addition to the installations, the museum will host talks and workshops from artists, musicians, instrument builders, and creative tech luminaries to provide opportunities for deeper exploration and hands-on learning. And, for guests over 21, two evening concert events will bring together the best cutting-edge live music performers from all over the world. Stay tuned for details.
For more details on Tim’s work as well as links to more videos of the Space Palette in action visit Tim’s Official Space Palette Site . For more information on this exhibit, visit the REBOOT: Music Web Page.
<<< Checkout my new album Fear Cannot Save Us