Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cover du Jour : Sweetness Follows

Another tune from an unfinished Cover Series EP, this time REM.
Pretty folkish, with a small dose of Moog and vintage drum machine.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Single du Jour : Hollow Man Kurtz

UPDATE : Track removed until the final commercial release

Opening groove : M-Audio Venom. 
The rest is pretty much all Prophet 08.
Quote from Conrad's "Heart of Darkness"

Lyrics :

These are the times
That wail and call for you
To bury your death
So deep inside of you
Prayers to broken stone
Dreams and bones and fortunes told
This is the way the world ends

“All that mysterious life of the wilderness that stirs in the forest, in the jungles, in the hearts of wild men. There’s no initiation either into such mysteries. He has to live in the midst of the incomprehensible, which is also detestable. And it has a fascination, too, that goes to work upon him. The fascination of the abomination - you know, imagine the growing regrets, the longing to escape, the powerless disgust, the surrender, the hate”

This is the way the world ends

Saturday, May 21, 2011

ERS... Uninstalled

Well, I was talking about those new ERS plugins yesterday, and after an hour of bugs and crashes, I uninstalled them.
They're very good, but is it my computer setup that needs a refresh or bad programming I don't know, the fact is, they just kept crashing and crashing.
So, I would suggest to try them on a test project, not your regular tracks.

Friday, May 20, 2011

ERS Chorus and Reverb

A couple of new emulations. The classic EMT-250 reverb and SDD-320 Dimension D chorus.
Unlike the UAD plugins, these ones don't need dedicated hardware cards and cost a lot less.
I just installed the demos and my first impressions are quite good. The chorus is thick, warm and musical. The reverb is lush and soft, very natural.

I'm using these on a new song called "Hollow Man Kurtz", which I should release this weekend. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

"Up the River" Preview

A little glimpse of the upcoming "Up the River" album.
This was recorded last week as an interlude of sort.
Miss Roxanne on vocals.
Piano, Mellotron courtesy of the amazing Gforce M-Tron plugin (alto, trumpet, vibes...) and... banjo!

Emily and the Art of Vanishing (II) by khoral

Saturday, May 14, 2011

AKG K430

For once, time to listen instead of playing. Since I do listen to a lot of music on the move, I badly needed a new set of headphones. After reviewing the options on the 30-60€ price bracket, I went for the K430 from AKG, a brand I already knew for the professional microphones and the (very good) K314P earphones I was currently using.

Let’s cut to the chase : they are excellent.

The building feels solid and trustworthy, with a head band that won’t feel uncomfortable or slide. The white design is slick, with a smooth leathery inside.
The cable is very short. That’s something you'll want to keep in mind if you’re considering getting one to listen on a hi-fi or TV or computer. You’ll need an extension cord. The K430 were clearly designed for nomad use.
The volume command on the cable is quite big, and I have to say, feels a bit wobbly compared to the overall build quality.

The sound : full and cohesive. It clearly emphasizes the low frequencies, providing powerful but well-defined basses and generally adding a lot of energy to the songs. As usual with bass-heavy headphones, one loses a bit of clarity. I certainly didn’t find the crystal clear clarity of my previous AKG earphones, but those were actually a bit weak on bass and often harsh.
That said, the K430 basses never overpower the mids and highs, and the stereo image remains clear and crisp enough. I especially loved how detailed the mid frequencies are, and how the K430 tends to smooth the highs in a very musical and pleasing way. You can push up the volume and feel immersed in the sound without ever being annoyed by hiss or sibilance, or having your eardrums crushed by overwhelming basses.
In conclusion, excellent headphones well worth the price.


Depeche Mode – “Wrong”
The band’s last single to date was a great one but the analog lover in me tended to consider the synths a tad cold sounding. This is alleviated by the K430. Simply put, it sounds fantastic : there’s tremendous energy coming from the aggressive synth bass, the drums and the vocals, and the ability of these headphones to coalescence the sound in a natural way truly shines, without sounding muddy. Rocking.

King Crimson – “Vroooom”
This is an instrumental track with intricate hard prog guitar parts, with an unusual mixing style : there are virtually two bass-guitar-drums bands playing, one panned to the extreme left, one to the right, with occasional additional parts in the middle. This mix is crisp and edgy, with a cold, clinical feel. Thus it is a good test to check out if the K430 will respect the original mood. As it turns out, this is one case of the K430 slightly altering the spirit of the song : while it still comes out pretty edgy, the headphones do warm up the sound and smooth the highs, so that it the instruments sound "closer" than they really are. I wouldn’t say that it’s a problem : the track sounds awesome on these. But it definitely shows how the K430 isn’t totally neutral.

Stevie Wonder – « Superstition »
Now we’re talking serious ! Entangled web of clavinet, funky bass, blaring horns, it all pops out in 3D in my ears with the K430. This is one of the best way to listen to that classic stuff. The K430 enhances the bass line nicely, overall bringing great energy to the rhythm section.


Sting Nordenstam – “Everyone Else in the World”
Nordenstam's vocals are often mixed up front with a very bright, sometimes even harsh, sound.
Another example of the K430’s tendency to smooth the high frequencies. The vocals here sound more natural and soft than they usually do.


Nine Inch Nails – “The Big Come Down”
Here’s a track with some complex, heavy industrial groove going on, which comes out really good on the K430. Iinstrument separation remains excellent on this mammoth rhythmic section and I’ve heard some background haunting synth parts I had never noticed before, proving that the energy the headphones brings to the low frequencies doesn’t actually shadow the mids and highs.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Moog + Prophet = Fun

A repost from a year ago, this time in streaming.
The Prophet 08 is playing the beat, which is fed to the Moog Little Phatty filter, itself triggered through MIDI by the Prophet and playing an arpeggio.
I then proceeded to add layers of Prophet 08, heavily using the sequencer.

Atari Forever by khoral

Thursday, May 5, 2011

New Pedal : EHX Freeze

It's been a long time since I haven't bought an Electro-Harmonix pedal, eh?
Here's the Freeze.
It literally freezes whatever you play the instant you press the switch, which is why EHX calls it "infinite sustain".
Really good for creating textures and guitar pads. I'll be sure to post some sounds this weekend to show this off.
Meanwhile, check out these videos :

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"Cold Sweat" Wins Festival Prize

"Cold Sweat", the Thomas Lesourd short movie featuring music from my "Upon a Sleepless River" EP, has placed 3rd at the DSLRcinema First Film Festival "Speechless".
Congrats to the man for this fantastic ambient piece of film.

You can download for free the "Upon a Sleepless River" album at Bitkins.com.

Cold Sweat (5mn version) from Thomas lesourd on Vimeo.