Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Video Retrospective : Nothing Sickened

Since these days I'm working on a new lo-fi folk-blues EP, let's dig up this fine fine blues song from the "Black Hole Years" album.
The video was made using footage from various turkish favorites.
The song itself can be purchased through most digital shops, such as iTunes or Amazon.com

Nothing Sickened
envoyé par khoral_kmore. - Films courts et animations.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Video Retrospective : Faking Evidence

Another oldie, but if you ask me, totally goodie, the video to "Faking Evidence", still from the "Elevator Songs" EP, and using great public domain footage. Again, Microkorg for most of the synths... that unmistakable thin, retro sound...

A little warning, some (well, actually a lot of) nudity...

Faking Evidence
envoyé par khoral_kmore. - Films courts et animations.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Beat It (The Aptly Funeral Piano Cover)

Well, I'm of those people who didn't especially care for Jackson's weird personal life, but I grew up in the eighties listening to his stuff and loved the musician, so I'm a bit dismayed by the news.

I had the "Bad" album K7 when I was a kid and pretty much wore it down, and just a couple of weeks ago I found a bargain copy of the Jacksons Five's "Destiny", which contains some badass funky grooves.

So anyway, I won't digress endlessly on Michael Jackson's oddities, I'm sure the blogosphere can indulge without me on that.

I'm actually thinking of a demo recording I did a couple of years ago to test a new piano emulation plugin. Can't remember the synths too well, but most probably Microkorg.
It's the classic "Beat it" single, in dirge mode.
Rest in peace.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Video Retrospective : Fairyland of Science

I'm remixing my "Way to Dusty Death" video to produce a trailer for the upcoming "Strawberry Blonde" album, but meanwhile, let's have a look at the past ones...
"Fairyland of Science" is from the "Elevator Songs" electronica EP.
The tune itself was recorded on the Microkorg, and as usual, the work is based on various public domain videos.

Fairyland of Science
envoyé par khoral_kmore. - Regardez plus de courts métrages.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

John Cale cover (BR-600 demo and review addenda)

Testing the Boss BR-600's built-in mics,  I tracked a couple of guitars and vocals.

As you can hear, the two built-in mics are very sensitive, and picked up a surprising amount of noise, including conversations down my windows! And since there are six different takes, the noise is itself cumulative, so beware if you want to use these mics for your multitrack demo.

Still, they can be useful to capture some room atmosphere or a live band if you can't use external mics.

The song itself is from John Cale's Sabotage album.

John Cale "Chorale"

Monday, June 22, 2009

Heap of Sheat (Boss BR-600 demo)

This is dedicated to all the annoying buzz machines of this lovingly void Internet subculture of ours.

This little demo was entirely recorded and mixed within the Boss BR-600 digital recorder.

Electribe EMX for the drums, Moog Little Phatty bass and lead, Roland Juno-1 pads and electro-acoustic guitar treated by the internal effect engine.

Heap of Sheat

Sunday, June 21, 2009

BOSS BR-600 Quick Review

The BR-600 is a portable, 8-tracks, digital recorder. I  borrowed that particular unit in order to record my new backing band's rehearsal tomorrow (more on this later!).

I had a couple of days to get to grips with the thing, so I figured I'd drop a few words about it, and possibly record a song to demo its functions.

Specs from the official site:
8 simultaneous playback tracks, 64 V-Tracks
CompactFlash memory card slot for storing recording media; 128MB card included
Built-in FX processor, including pitch corrector and COSM amp models
Built-in drum-machine with velocity-sensitive pads
Built-in stereo mic and battery power to record anywhere
USB for data transfer/computer connectivity
Portable and ultra slim: 257 x 182 x 23mm
Carrying case and XLR-to-1/4" mic cable included

The BR-600 is light and small, works on 6 batteries, and stores music on a CompactFlash card. The unit comes with a 128Mb card, which is enough to get you started, but no doubt you’ll eventually want to purchase a bigger one. Beware, and here’s my first gripe with the BR-600, it only accepts up to 1Gb cards.

One thing that I should clear up first : you can only record on two tracks at a time, so forget about recording your band with, say, 5 mics and 3 line instruments… that just won’t do, and the only two options for recording a band are :
1. Route all instruments to an external mixer and feed the result to the BR-600’s line input (good sound but everything’ll have to be perfectly mixed beforehand because you’ll end up with all instruments on a single track... that's how I'll proceed tomorrow, because I only need a reference recording of how songs are arranged for the live set), or :
2. Capture the whole band with a couple of mics plugged in the BR-600 or use the two built-in mics (now you’ve got two tracks, but sound quality will suffer). 
By any means, the BR-600 is best suited for the single musician who tracks his instruments one by one.

Second important point : tracks 1 to 4 are mono, while tracks 5/6 and 7/8 are stereo. That means that the BR-600 may technically feature 8 audio tracks, but more precisely we’re talking about 4 mono tracks and 2 stereo tracks, that is, 6 workable tracks at any given time.
Note that each of these audio tracks features 8 “virtual tracks”, which doesn’t mean that you’ve really got 64 tracks overall but that up to 7 alternate takes can be stored for each audio track.

How does it work? Like I said, two tracks can be recorded simultaneously. There are two mic inputs, one guitar/bass input and one line input. Guitar and mic inputs can be used at the same time, for most purposes, live guitar and voice recording. The line input is the ugly duckling of the lot, and makes it clear that the BR-600 is targeted at the guitar player, not the synth addict. Not only is the line input a mere 3.5 jack, which is quite insufficient to say the least, but you can’t use the guitar and line inputs at the same time, so forget also about taping a demo with your guitar and a drum machine (at least, not conveniently).
Once you’ve chosen your sources, and lit up the tracks in the mixer where you want the data stored, just press Rec, then Play, and you’re on.

The BR-600 features good quality effects to process the input, even while recording. Realistic distortion and other classic chorus or flanger effects for the guitar, more adventurous processing for the line input (bit reduction, etc…). These are really useful, as you can just plug in a guitar and record a decent electric guitar track, and so on… There’s also a whole mastering section, which I didn’t have the time to test, along with some facilities like tuner, phrase trainer, pitch correction or loop.

Much less convincing is the internal drum machine. I doubt anyone will find the dull, generic drum samples good enough to use the factory beats or program new ones. The best that can be done with them is providing tempo reference, only to be muted afterwards.
More interesting is the possibility to load new drum samples, but then again, the limitations are drastic : only 4 drum sounds, and up to 13 seconds sample time overall. Still, it’s a good idea, granted you realize that the BR-600 is no MPC, and don’t intend to be.

Once you’ve recorded several tracks, you can, in true analog fashion, bounce up a mix of these tracks to one empty track, allowing you to free the first ones, and record again. Since we’re in the digital domain, this can be done without significant quality loss and allows you to expand the number of available tracks, at the price of course of having several instruments merged on a single, definitive track.
One very odd thing is that the bounce, while very easy to do, isn’t processed internally in some seconds, like I would have expected from using a computer. No, you’ve got to do it real-time : just like on a classic tape recorder, you have to actually set up the selected tracks as source, then launch a normal recording, and let the song plays till the end. Of course, that way, you may play around with the levels or effects in real time to be sure your bounced track sounds just like you want, but an “instant bounce” option would have be nice as well.
Now, who’ll need that thing ?
My feeling is that it’s primarily aimed at the amateur musician, preferably guitar and/or bass player, who wants to make music without the fuss of software recording. The BR-600 is an affordable, self-contained box with a straightforward interface. Just browse the manual a bit, plug a guitar, press “Guitar” on the top to set it as source, push “Effects” to choose a treatment, then push track 1 to route the instrument there, and voilà. Easy to use and good sounding, it’s definitely a good price/value ratio for the occasional player.
If you’re a more “serious” musician, chances are the BR600 will prove far too limited to produce a complex, "pro sounding" song, but it’s still a nice tool to quickly sketch demos while on the move. It works on batteries and it’s surprisingly thin and light. You could of course use a laptop, supposing you own a laptop that light and portable with quality audio inputs. Well, I don’t! On the other hand, I personally prefer using a small Yamaha QY sequencer to write little demos, instead of a recording facility, but I can definitely sense the appeal of the product.

I’ll record a demo song on the BR600 and post it these next days, so stay tuned.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

La Leçon de Piano de Cinéma de Sergueï

The opening theme to "La séance de Sergueï"... extended cut, including cues that eventually weren't used.

I was asked at the time to do something avant-gardeish, turning into a Philip Glass-esque piano tune... Gforce's M-tron for all other sounds (violins, vibes...).

Introduction en Sergueï Mineur

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Showdown at Sergueï's

The duel music to La séance de Sergueï's last episode (see just below).

Electric guitar, Mellotron courtesy of Gforce's fine M-tron plugin, and some Prophet 08 for the atmospheric fx...


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Earth vs Everybody

If you're quite familiar with The Simpsons, you already know that John Swartzwelder is the best and most prolific writer on the show. Otherwise, well, there you have it. That guy is really funny. His scripts remind me of Woody Allen's 70's movies and books, when he had that non-sensical, surrealistic humour.

Swartzwelder don't contribute scripts anymore, but he's published a series of short but great novels, most of them starring loser detective Frank Burly, which could be described as an Homer-ified Bogart . The last release is "Earth vs Everybody", which follows in the "film noir sci-fi gone crazy" vein of his 2006 masterpiece "How I Conquered you Planet".

It's published by Kennydale Books, and available on amazon.com.

As always with Swartzwelder's novels, there's hardly a "plot" to pitch, so here's an excerpt to give you a sense of the Swartzwelderian touch.

""Boing!" the cop said.

I turned around. It was Larry Laffman. As he slammed me up against a rock-face and told me to spread'em, and I laughed myself sick at the serious way he said it, we swapped stories. He told me how he'd ended up as an Intergalactic Policeman, and I told him how I had evolved into a space monster. Then he reminded me that anything I might say, including all of the things I had already said, could be used against me in a court of law. I said he might have told me that before I blabbed everything. He said he was sorry. He was new at this. Also, he pointed out that my hands weren't up nearly high enough.

I was surprised to run into Larry way out here in the middle of outer space. Last I heard he was in Vegas."

Friday, June 12, 2009

Leader of the Free World

No, not me (although I look sort of menacing with my powerful Yamaha).

Just a sketch, toying around with ultra low budget sounds... I tried to convey musically what this expression evokes to me.

The cheap and infantile Yamaha PSS-50 seemed appropriate. So the bass and drums are one Prophet 08 patch, and all the rest is Yamaha with some reverb.

Leader of the Free World

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Morricone Vibes

Another Sergueï video with new score from yours truly.

This time it's a western cartoon and I was asked to do very clichéd, atmospheric duel music.

Lots of ambient fx, some slide guitar, and synth-wise, I used the Gforce M-tron for strings and other acoustic sounds.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Farewell, Bluey

I just sold my Roland SH-32.

Great, portable, powerful instrument, but well, gotta make some space and that kind of virtual analogue module was getting a bit redundant among real analogue instruments like the Prophet 08, so...

In any case, I'll do a farewell review these days.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Meat is Beautiful

The beat uses samples provided by the good John at bagger288.com/.

Otherwise it's Prophet 08 pads and Moog LP leads.

Meat is Beautiful

Friday, June 5, 2009

It's Analogue, Biatch

I probably shouldn't listen to Snoop Dogg before posting on this blog...

But anyway, here's an instrumental, developed from a Yamaha QY70 sketch I did in Greece last summer, and featuring a totally geekish analogue arsenal : Minikorg and Jupiter 8 (courtesy of RogerRoger, all my gratitude for his contribution), Moog Little Phatty, Roland Alpha Juno and Prophet 08...

Many thanks also to adcBicycle who provided great acoustic drums and electric bass (that thundering rumble in the middle of the track).


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Damn you Murphy

In case you wonder, I'm not dead but I've been plagued, and I mean black death plagued, with computer issues on my music setup...
First my DAW stopped working, then the screen went down, then the RAM went down, then the motherboard battery, and finally the CPU fan...
All that in the course of a week.
It's been a busy week.
Not music-wise busy, but busy.
Anyway, I'll post some cover songs this week, that I made in between failures, and there's a great GREAT blues project coming up...