Thursday, May 31, 2012

New Mixtape! Housey Trance or Trancey House? What about Both?

Did this mixtape last night - my ears were buzzing all day today coz i mixed it on headphones so that the neighbours wont kill me at 4am!!

Zilch - Caffeine Vol.9


1. JOC feat Cathy Burton - Perfection (Shogun Remix)
2. Sean Tyas - NYPD (original mix)
3. Temple One feat Neeve Kennedy - Love The Fear (Tom Fall Remix)
4. Rafael Frost - Channel 4
5. Marcel Woods - Time is Running Out (Cliff Coenraad Repimp)
6. Julie Thompson & Leon Boiler - Underwater (Marc Simz remix)
7. Lentos - Forget About Us (Barnes & Heatcliff Remix)
8. Sied Van Riel - Audio 52
9. Mark Sixma Feat. Amba Sheperd - Cupid's Casualty (PIXL remix)
10. M6 - Silverback
11. Starkillers & Nadia Ali - Keep It Coming (Basto Remix)
12. Porter Robinson - Vandalism (Feat. Amba Sheperd)
13. Leon Boiler & Cliff Coenraad - Belmont's Revenge
14. tyDi feat. Sarah Howells - Acting Crazy (Tom Fall Remix)

Listen, download, follow, whatever

This mixtape is dedicated to my old friend Patrick Sheldon, who recently passed away :(

He used to ask me all the time about when is the next caffeine mixtape is coming out, this one is for you buddy, Rest in Peace! You will be missed greatly

Friday, May 25, 2012

Traktor Pro 2.5 Mini Review!

Traktor 2.5 Mini Review! First Impressions!

Hmmm... Its like ableton inside Traktor??

So the massive Traktor Pro 2 Update is Here!! I spent some time testing it out for a few hours and so far, its SO AWESOME!!

The remix decks are really really something - each remix deck can contain 4 x 4 tracks (total of 16 tracks per deck!!), and you can do 4 sets of these per remix deck - effectively you will have 64 tracks at your disposal, of which 16 can be triggered by those 4x4 pads!

Of course to really make use of these awesome remix decks you'd need a dedicated controller - namely the Traktor F1

There has been a lot of buzz lately regarding the limited midi map functionality for non-native instruments controllers, but I'd say this may (or may not) be resolved soon as Native Instruments have commented that they have not implemented extended midi mapping function yet, but they did NOT say they wont - so we'll just have to wait and see, but seriously if you wanna have the most enjoyment with the new update you just gotta pick up one (OR TWO) Traktor F1's - they just made it so that you want it more and more!

The 2.5 Remix Deck update also comes with 1GB (compressed - bigger when unpacked!) of GOODIES - when I said goodies, i meant they have about 21 "Traktor PAk kits" - each remix kit contains up to 16 sounds layered up and ready to launch, this meant that fresh out of the box these 21 high quality sample deck kits will get you jamming for hours and hours and hours of fun!

They provided these remix sample packs for a reason - they show you how FUCKING AWESOME it is to use these remix decks, and also inspires you to build your own "REMIX SETS" - Remix sets are your own collection of up to 16 sounds of your choice, for example, if you are a producer, you might want to separate your tracks into parts, for example Drums, Percussion, Lead Synth, Bassline, so you can trigger them AT WILL at anytime and will be able to do LIVE MASH-UPs, combining different parts with other songs - lets say you just wanna use a song's bassline, and another song's drum patterns - no problem! The remix deck makes it easy and intuitive to prepare your live mash up!

Faster but still a bit buggy

The whole Traktor Pro 2.5 now feels a lot lighter, it runs faster, and the usual "choppyness" when loading new tracks into decks are all gone, every runs really smooth on my 2010 Macbook Pro 13 inch,  the previous version actually have some issues when loading new tracks into the track deck (which may cause the screen to temporarily freeze without any audible issue, not a big problem but still a problem nonetheless!)

I found a particular bug when I am unable to drag songs straight from the track deck into the playlist of my choice - Traktor simply wont allow me to do it (Hmmm......) I lodged a ticket to NI Support team about this and i hope this gets sorted out ASAP as for me it is a CRITICAL workflow issue!

I have not found any other bug so far, but being the first ever major release , I can kind of expect these minor bugs to happen, if it bothers you I suggest you stick with 2.1.3 for awhile, until an update comes out - a lot of people seems to do that, I dont really mind these minor bugs as long as it doesnt crash my traktor, the speed bump itself is worth the risk for me! Traktor used to run a bit sluggishly on my Macbook Pro but now it runs like its on redbull!

a quick visit to the Native Instruments forum revealed a few other people who are not so lucky - a lot of bug reports from various people so - upgrade at your own risk! New massive updates are bound to have a few bugs that needs to be ironed out! Traktor bible has also compiled a list of known bugs in 2.5

So overall - the 2.5 update is an awesome update to the already awesome, Fully-Featured DJ software, upgrade with caution though! with more updates it will only get better!

Traktor 2.5 update is available for free for existing Traktor Pro 2 users or costs $79 from the Native Instruments Online Store

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Traktor Pro 2.5 update is online now!!!!

Holy Shit! It's Out One Week Early!!

Yes people, go to your Native Instruments website now and download the latest, FREE (Free For Traktor 2 owners - not everyone!) update to Traktor Pro 2.5 REMIX DECKS - Im downloading it as im typing it now

Its supposed to be out on 30th May - but guess what? Its out now!!

Reviews and Comments Soon!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Logic Pro 9 for $200 - Why You'd be Mad not to get it

Most of you would have already heard the massive price reduction on Apple's Logic Pro 9 - A very good, solid Digital Audio Workstation that used to cost A BOMB (My friend bought it for about SGD $850 last time - yes he's kicking himself now hahaha), now in Apple's APP Store, you can buy it for... USD 200!

Logic 9 was originally released in 2009 - yes that's like 3 years ago, a lot of people has been saying that its outdated, needs major update, blah blah, well yes its true, but still it is a solid performer in pretty much every way, its good for electronic music production, not too bad for audio post-production, and also excels in recording/mixdown of instruments (if you are into it)

If you are starting out with music production, this is probably the BEST $200 you can ever spend - serious! For the price you do get a MASSIVE number of instruments and loops, excellent instruments (they look outdated but the built in synths such as the ES2 is still a BEAST!), good plugins, overall it is just a really really good bang for your buck to invest on!

I personally own Cubase 6.5, Ableton Suite 8, and Logic as I am studying Audio Engineering and happened to be able to use Educational pricing to buy most of my stuff, but still, even I already have other DAWs, Logic is still an awesome investment!

So yes if you own a mac, into audio production, and have $200 to spend, you should definitely look at getting Logic 9 from the app shop! I mean it used to cost waaaay more than this when it first came out!

Speaking of loops, the built in instruments and apple loops (MASSIVE amounts of them!) are, while not the best, serve as an EXCELLENT basis for a lot of commercial / audio post stuff, the optional Jam Packs (optional content - Free to download after you purchase) ranging from World Music, Orchestral, Remix Kits, have all been neatly organized and tagged, labelled, so lets say you need to get something and you are running out of ideas, these loops can often be an awesome source of inspiration, whether you decide to replace the loops later or not is another story, but hey its always good to have and dont need than need and dont have no?

I suspect that Apple is about to release Logic X (or logic 10 whatever), which explained the massive price drop on the now slightly dated Logic 9, but hey, $200 for a full featured DAW with lots of samples, instruments, and plugins is one heck of a good deal! I mean i paid about USD400 for my Cubase 6 (with the 6.5 upgrade), thats like double!

So yes, always wanted to check out Logic? There's never been a better time to invest!

Logic Pro 9 is available at the Mac OSX App Store for $200

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Finally upgraded to Cubase 6.5!

I decided to upgrade my Cubase 6 to Cubase 6.5 yesterday (which costed me 42 Euros GRRRRR!)

Everything seems so good so far!  Really loving the new Retrologue Synth, really really nice sounding synthesizer with a pretty good looking interface - thank god! I mean look at the older Cubase software instruments - they all look and feel so outdated to the point that you dont really feel like using them at all!

In Logic you have the mighty powerful ES2, praised by many as a solid all-rounder synth, good for stuff ranging from dubstep wobbles to awesome leads.

Ableton has the really versatile and easy to use OPERATOR, really nice FM synthesizer that can also be additive/subtractive depending on how you use it, the ANALOG synth is not too bad as well

But Cubase? I did not really like the built in synths previously, a lot of people i know seems to think the same way, seems like Steinberg listened and introduced the two new synths : Retrologue and Padshop

Cubase's new synth - Retrologue! Looks GREAT doesnt it??

Retrologue is a nice addition, but The Padshop on the other hand, a "granular synthesis" kinda synth, did not really impress me much. Recently Native Instruments gave away an amazing Granular Synth "SKANNER" - FOR FREE! Now Skanner is really really awesome, I somehow did not get the same feeling with padshop, plus in padshop, we are not able to insert our own wav file , leaving us only to experiment with their own built in samples (for now - i hope they change this in a future update!)

DAFUQ is Granular Synthesis Dude??

Well okay, to put it in easy-to-understand terms, for those who dont know granular synthesis is a form of audio synthesis where the use of very tiny slice of an audio is used, for example, you record yourself saying "AHHH", load it in, lets say, the "SIMPLER" instrument in Ableton (a good granular synth too), when you load it up you can set the instrument to play such a small amount of that "aaaah" sample to the point it sounds totally different, putting it into grain-sized micro slices of audio and playing them back that tiny piece, depending on the length of the sample you chosen and other factors, you get different results, you can make a bass, a lead, or really whatever you want

another example? well here's a good one, you know in Swedish House Mafia's One - where in the intro they turn the kick drum, looped it so tiny, and made it into a bassline? well i suppose that's the idea/concept :)

Why DID I even get Cubase 6.5? Especially since I already have both Logic Pro 9 and Ableton 8? 

Well recently I did a lot of interviews and data collection with a lot of local studios here in Singapore, seems like a lot of the post-production studio over here use a lot of Nuendo (which is like Cubase's big brother) and Protools, you see I dont like Protools all that much, and since Im heading into the Audio Post-Production field once I graduate from uni (soon now... soon...) it just makes sense (and wise) for me to start using less ableton and more of the stuff Im gonna actually need to use at work (hahaha)

It just kinda made sense for me to "master" Cubase 6.5 - when i said master as in I'd know it inside out, know all the hotkeys, so  i can work REALLY FAST in super stressful environments, i mean i have done all that with Ableton 8, got all the logistics sorted out, and Logic too, I suppose It'd be a good idea to get myself comfy with Cubase so later I can do Post-Production stuff good and fast

Audio Post-Production is a bit different with music production, it mostly involves a lot of audio/video-syncing and we mostly deal with demanding clients who want the best quality work at the shortest time possible (hahaha), so yeah being extremely familiar with a piece of software will really help!

New Features

The New Padshop Synth! 
honestly, not so much, other than the 2 new synths (Padshop and Retrologue), a dj style 3-band EQ (what for? it puzzles me!) , a new filter (not too bad), there's not much new stuff in 6.5, they look the same, feels almost the same, so I think those who are pretty happy already with Cubase 6 and doesnt really feel like going 6.5 - you aint losing much. Do you really need to upgrade?

But hey if you want two new synths for 42 euro (if you look at it that way seems not too bad), i think 6.5 is a great update!

Cubase 7 Wish List :)

Okay 6.5 just barely came out and Im already thinking about Cubase 7??? Well, anyway here is a list of things I hope will be in Cubase 7:

  1. MORE Software Synths Please! - Yes the older ones start to feel really outdated, please renew/update/rework or even introduce more new ones :)
  2. Better Warping Engine!  - This is where Ableton really shines, double clicking an audio file, placing warp markers like a machine gun (bam bam bam so fast) and voila - track warped, In Cubase it still does not feel that intuitive to do warping
  3. Piano Roll FOLD MODE - you know in ableton where you can just write in a scale that you wanna compose on, and then FOLD IT? Holy shit that is so awesome!!! I really wish something like this can be done in Cubase!

Eh by the way if you wanna purchase Cubase 6.5, you can check the link Below for cheap EDU price from amazon:

If you qualify for an Educational version - its A LOT CHEAPER than the full price, so yeah if you happen to be studying, do make use of the EDU discount for the Pro Audio software - they save you so much!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sequelitis : Mega Man Classic vs. Mega Man X

Nothing to do with music or audio but you just gotta watch this!

Funniest Shit Ever!

(especially if you are a retro megaman fan like me!)

Friday, May 4, 2012

deadmau5 feat. Chris James - The Veldt

Have you heard deadmau5' new track?

I have been listening this song on repeat lately, I really love the sound and the lyrics, i know some people who probably think "uh its the generic mau5 prog  hau5 again" but actually there's a lot of cool story behind this song

I remember as a kid (15 years ago??) I read this book called "The Veldt" or also known as "The World  the Children Made"  - a really cool story but a bit tragic and messed up at the same time

The veldt told a story about... (well im just gonna paste something from wikipedia!)

"A family lives in a house with the latest technology. It is called the “Happylife Home” and its installation cost $30,000. The house is filled with machines that do everything for them from cooking meals, to clothing them, to rocking them to sleep. The two children, Peter and Wendy, become fascinated with the "nursery," a virtual reality room that is able to connect with the children telepathically to reproduce any place they imagine.

The parents, George and Lydia, soon realize that there is something wrong with their way of life. George and Lydia are also perplexed that the nursery is stuck on an African setting, with lions in the distance, eating the dead carcass of what they assume to be an animal. There they also find recreations of their personal belongings. Wondering why their children are so concerned with this scene of death, they decide to call a psychologist

The psychologist, David McClean, suggests they turn off the house and leave. The children, completely addicted to the nursery, beg their parents to let them have one last visit. The parents relent, and agree to let them spend a few more minutes there. When they come to the nursery to fetch the children, the children lock them in from the outside. George and Lydia look on as the lions begin to advance towards them. At that point, they realize that what the lions were eating in the distance was not an animal, but their own simulated remains.
The kids realized that the only way they could stay in their nursery is to get rid of their parents by locking George and Lydia in the nursery with the lions."

You see its one of those stories that just gets stuck in your head, so when I heard deadmau5 - the veldt I feel that i can relate to it as i used to read it over and over again, trying to understand what the writer was thinking when he wrote the story. I think its one of the coolest yet rather fucked up story!

I mean, i think i was really young when I first read that story, the thing that first went through my mind about the ending was "WTF did just happen??"

Tuesday, May 1, 2012