A couple months ago I purchased a Novation Launchpad. The device is basically a square with 64 square buttons inside it that light up. That’s really all it does. It’s up to the computer and software to make it do anything. These “bit boxes” got their major start with the Monome. Monome devices are some of the most beautiful electronic music instruments I have ever seen. I would love to have one some day, but the $500 price tag on a 64 unit (compared to my $90 ebay purchase) has put me off.
But like any great thing, it has been copied and mass produced with cheaper materials, and hence you get the Novation Launchpad. Normally the Launchpad is meant to work with Ableton Live, but it also has full specs on the midi implementation which allowed an individual to write a patch to use the launchpad as an emulated Monome device. Most monome applications are written using this software called Max, which is basically a music oriented set of programming tools.
(Running the Max patches Nonome and MLR on my computer)
Since the Monome is one of the most popular of these devices, there are a lot of patches made for it, so being able to emulate one is a plus!
The music that I sampled in this song is from an old Jazz record I had gotten. The song is titled “Eddie Harris – Listen Hear” on the record, but everywhere I see it online it is spelled “Listen Here” Not sure what happened, but I like “Listen Hear” better. I originally used the samples back in 2008 for a song of the same title that ended up on my first album as the artist Audio Parade. When I got the Launchpad, naturally this was the first song for me to turn to and try out. It’s one of my favorites, and my “fan’s” ..HAH!.. favorite as well.
It has been interesting to learn playing music in this way, and in fact it is similar to jazz in the sense that what I play will never be the same each time, I am sorta making it up as I go. I am excited to play with all the other patches and make more great music with this device.
Sharks, the song that made me buy the self titled album by The Silent Years. A unique song set in 6/4 about moving up in the world and forgetting those who used to be close to you, about swimming with the “sharks”… “there’s blood in the water I think you should blink and go home.” The chorus was just so catchy and stuck in my head and I just had to get the album. Thankfully the rest of the album wasn’t a disappointment. In fact, The whole album was equally as pleasing to my ears as Sharks. From slower songs like “Lidocaine” and “Someone To Keep Us Warm” to driving songs like “This Town” and “No More Magic” the album was fresh and full of diversity. That was four years ago… and I still love this album!
I then found an older EP titled “Stand Still Like The Hummingbird” which was a little more intimate feeling with more acoustic guitar, but still great music.
A year later they released their second album “The Globe” Which blew me away all over again. “On Our Way Home”, “Black Hole”, “Open Up Our Eyes” Such good songs, yet this band has barely seen any more fame with it. I would mention The Silent Years to everyone I know, and NO ONE had ever heard a thing about them. So sad. I got to see them live once… went alone cause no one wanted to go with me. It was a great show! Only a couple people knew the lyrics to the songs but everyone there enjoyed it.
Then the next year the band came out with a new EP called “Let Go” which came with a new sound and energy. From the catchy group vocals in “Taking Drugs At The Amusement Park” to the really cool string opening in “Madame Shocking”, this EP did not let me down.
Here’s where the downer comes. 2010 came and went with a few talks about a new album coming and a teaser track posted on their Myspace page. After then, the band has been pretty silent. Josh, the lead singer started a new band called “Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.” and has been pretty busy with that this year. They even just recently played at Lollapalooza in Chicago. The Silent Years’ twitter had posted back in March that their new album is still coming, and I’m still hoping!
Regardless of whether or not another album becomes available you should still check out their stuff!
–JakePosted in Artists you should know, Music | Leave a comment August 4, 2011
I decided to redesign my blog yesterday. A little over 24 hours later and it’s done! I also decided that I’m going to start blogging a lot more. I’m going to write about my adventures in life with running a business, recording music, making music, and working on crazy projects. I’ll also be writing reviews of music and products that I find interesting.
I’ll try to keep things interesting and not be too annoying with over-posts.
Until I start posting more you can check out the 5 other blogs I’ve written in the last 2 years. Hah.
JakePosted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment July 20, 2011
– click to listen
Back in May I went and visited one of my best friends Andrew Shearer. He and I both share common interests in musical styles, and have done many projects together. This visit became the latest project.
I came bringing recording equipment, and we recorded 2 songs that weekend. One of the songs being Hope is Why the Heart Beats. It’s a simple acoustic song with a driving feel to it. Andrew played the rhythm acoustic while our friend Jake Yonkers grabbed an Ebow and played lead on his acoustic with it. I decided to record them playing together live and without a click track to get a real organic and emotional feel. I set up 1 microphone each for Andrew and Jake’s guitars and then I placed a room mic about 10 feet back. The room mic added a lot of depth to the recording. You can hear people moving around in the room in the song, I always enjoy little things like that for some reason…as long as they are within reason I recorded vocals separately, using Andrew’s closet as a makeshift vocal booth!
The drumming part was recorded in a bathroom. Jake hit a drum and Andrew was shaking a
metal can with change in it (now i think it was just an egg shaker) and we were all stomping to the beat. We recorded 2 takes of the stomping and such with different variations. I panned the 2 drum tracks left and right. I was pretty amazed with how good they sounded. definitely added to the song alot.
As far as mixing goes, I kept Andrew’s guitar panned center and panned Jake’s guitar hard left. I then put a reverb on Jake’s guitar and panned that hard right, gives kind of an errie effect which is what I was going for. Everything else was just minor eq adjustments and compressors.
Overall I was very happy with how the song came out. It makes me want even more to find a way to make a full career out of ths.. but one can only hope!
JakePosted in Artists you should know, Music, Recording | 1 Comment March 8, 2011
Well, I got my first paid recording job in over 2 years last month with a band called Halloween Candy. It’s going pretty well so far. I recently got pro tools at my home studio, so it’s been fun running it through its paces with my equipment. I was also able to use the pair of Beyerdynamic M500 ribbon mics that I picked up a few months back as well, and I am pleased with them! We have almost all the instrumentation done and have started with vocals; things have been moving at a great pace. I’ll keep posting as things progress.
JakePosted in Recording | Leave a comment December 8, 2009
I’ve decided my next project will be to make custom MIDI transport controls for my studio. I found 4 of these really sweet buttons at Electronic surplus. I’m lucky enough to live down the road from them so i can find neat stuff, but you can purchase stuff online too! anyways the buttons originally had 120v ac light bulbs in them, so I set to replace them with white LED lights as simply as possible. I’ll show how in my next post, but for now here’s what the final product looks like:
this was taken with my phone so its kinda crappy. The play and stop buttons already had the words on them when i got them, the other two said play and stop too, but i removed the lettering and made the REW and REC button, and added pause to the play button. I used dry transfer letter decals that I got from the local hobby store, and they work pretty well! The next step in this project is to interface them with the Arduino and get all the midi transport commands working.