Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I can't stop making music. As hard as I may try it just won't ever happen. Time continues to move forward and I continue to make music and it continues to sit on my hard drive. I've got a small pile of it now. Some garbage, some gems, some things that need to be turned inside to find out what they're worth. What ever the state said music is in it needs to breathe. It needs to leave the house and get into peoples ears, hearts, minds, and souls.

Long ago I stopped worrying about trying to make money by creating music. Instead, now, I just want to share. Money doesn't drive me to do this. If it did I'd have given up music my second year of college and changed majors. The act of creation is a reward in itself. Anyone who ever painted a picture, created a sculpture, or penned a sonnet can tell you that. There is an indefinable pleasure derived from "When I came here there was nothing. Now I have built a wall. Soon there will be more walls and later there will be a house." It feels like I've built a lot of houses, but no one ever moved in. Maybe if I swing the doors wide enough people will come to live here and call it a home for a little while.

I'll stop with the over-indulgent metaphors and move on to something more solid. In addition to using this blog as an outlet to put my music out into the world I'll also be using it as a simultaneous teaching & learning tool. Over the last year I've become addicted to two pieces of software: Propellerhead's Reason 4.0 & Record. They are, quite simply, hands down, the best music creation programs I've ever used. (Here's a list of others I've used at one time or another: Pro tools, Jeskola Buzz, FL Studio, Sonar, Nuendo, Garageband, Ableton, Sibelius, Finale, Logic, Cubase.) I can already hear a 1,000 people offended by the fact that I'd put any recording software above the Holiest of Holies a.k.a.: Digidesign's Pro tools. I've used Pro tools on many occasions and if you have umpteen third party plug-ins it is GREAT. If you don't it's pretty dull. That aside, I've never opened up a new Pro Tools session and excitedly thought "I wonder what I will create!" It does not inspire. It's a tool, and a pretty vanilla one at that. Reason & Record have the opposite effect on me. Every time I open either program I'm struck by the depth and breadth of what can be created. After getting some knowledge under my belt, especially about Reason 4.0, each session became an exploration into a world of sound that holds infinite surprises.

Later on down the road I'll most likely go on and on about how I love both programs oh-so-much so I'll spare you the gushing til later. Right now, I'll get on to the rest of what this is about. You know that I love Reason & Record and anyone who has used them can testify to the fact that they can be intimidating at times. Reason in particular has a reputation for scaring folks away. When I first saw Reason 2.0 years ago I opened a demo, messed with it for 10 minutes, and said "Not for me" then didn't give it a second thought. I'll quickly say that it's not for everyone, especially if someone who's a bit of a n00b is considering delving into the strange and oft-confusing world of synth-modeling, hyper-sampling, and sequencing dots & loops. But if you are willing to learn, there are ample rewards waiting for you. That's where I hope this blog will help.

In addition to presenting works in various states of completion I'll be walking readers through how I created sounds, sometimes why I did what I did, and will also give away presets I use and/or create for various machines in Reason/Record. That way, if you like a sound, you will also have it at your fingertips. That's not even mentioning a free download of a new track every time there's a new post.

Lastly, for myself, this will give me an opportunity to explore the volumes of sounds that are free downloads for registered Reason users. I have no idea how many individual patches I actually have, but at some point during this project I'll begin cataloging and tracking them as I go.

I've rambled for awhile now, so rather than go into how to create anything I'll end this first post with a link to a free track that was created exclusively using Reason 4.0. It's a brief track, but was my first experiment while learning from this book so it seems appropriate as a first work to share. I hope you enjoy. Here's the link again.

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