A case for presets – and creativity

If you’re discussing music and sound design – especially with a group of synthesizer fans (or should I say “synth nuts”) – you often hear a strong sentiment against the usage of presets. They say to avoid them like the plague. But are presets really all-out evil?

Presets

Continue reading “A case for presets – and creativity”

Make room for your singer in the mix

So you’ve recorded great vocal takes, edited them and now you’re mixing your song, but the vocals won’t shine out as much as you’d like them to. No problem, but it’s not just about frequencies…

vocals

Continue reading “Make room for your singer in the mix”

Your Rises are not epic enough? Here’s a trick

Rises, stings and transitions are a stable in modern film scores – especially with movie trailers, tv promos and reality shows. They make dramatic string crescendos and finales even more dramatic and epic. They underline the superhero flying over your head with a big SWOOOOSH. And although the sounds and plugins used for this usually sound good already, they often don’t deliver that full sound you might want.

But with a few little tricks you can make your rises and transitions fuller and more piercing in the mix.

Continue reading “Your Rises are not epic enough? Here’s a trick”

5 songs you didn’t know were written by Pet Shop Boys

Not all famous artists write their songs themselves – but there’s a lot that do. And although I’m really interested in the “who wrote what”, there’s of course many where I don’t know that they were written by somebody else. Shame on me, I only discovered after his death, that Prince wrote The Bangles’ “Manic Monday”.

Source: Wikipedia
Source: Wikipedia

One of my favorite synthpop bands are Pet Shop Boys, and although I knew the obvious songs they wrote for other artists like Liza Minelli (“Losing My Mind”) and Dusty Springfield (“In Private”), there are more songs besides the big hits, that they wrote and not always recorded themselves later.

Continue reading “5 songs you didn’t know were written by Pet Shop Boys”

Step-Sequencing like Klaus Schulze, the easy way

Step sequencer patterns can be pretty repetitive, and although that’s what you often want when using them, you don’t want them to be boring. So you can use filters and other tricks to liven them up. Or: If you’re into electronic instrumental music, I bet you’ve heard of Klaus Schulze. He’s one of the founding fathers of the so-called Berlin School (as opposed to Kraftwerk‘s Düsseldorf School) in which you can find artists like Tangerine Dream, Manuel Göttsching, Bernd Kistenmacher… And Klaus Schulze is famous for using step sequencer patterns that, although being repetitive in their parts, don’t really repeat over time, as they weave into each other more or less randomly and create new patterns over a song of, say 15 minutes.

Klaus Schulze
Source: Wikipedia

Recently I wanted to try this, too. So I started a tribute song for Klaus Schulze. Of course there are other ways to achieve these kind of (more or less) randomly interweaving patterns, but here’s how I did it this time:

Continue reading “Step-Sequencing like Klaus Schulze, the easy way”

5 electronic cover versions you should hear before saying “covers are boring”

I really like cover versions if they add something to the original, if they turn it around a bit, interpret it. Because, let’s be honest, a Rock cover of a Rock song might be nice, but it’s not too special. But a Reggae cover of a Heavy Metal song is something different 🙂

And there are tons of great cover versions out there and unfortunately I can’t know them all. I wish… But here are five (electronic) cover versions that I really like and that can restore your faith in cover versions – just in case you’re bored by the umpteenth folkie cover of another folkie 😉 Continue reading “5 electronic cover versions you should hear before saying “covers are boring””

Another rant about music, production and business?

Why I finally decided to start another blog about music, production, studio work and music business.

I’ve been asked one too many times, why I don’t start a blog where I write about my production techniques or give tips and write about what’s happening in a composers life. And to be honest I didn’t think there’s so much I can tell, maybe apart from the odd rant about the music business or make lists of favorite plugins, albums, artists… Also I’m (still) not sure if I can teach others anything new. So I was reluctant for a long time.

But recently more people come up to me and ask about production advice or just would like to see how I do certain things in the studio. And I guess sometimes it might really be interesting – just like I want to see how others work or achieve a certain sound or effect (admittedly it’s more interesting to see how Hans Zimmer or any other big name works, but maybe it’s not all boring stuff I will post).

Besides, it might be fun to write about all this, maybe sometimes give a little opinion piece and maybe even be helpful to other composers, songwriters and producers 🙂

So here it is – the start of my blog…

I’m looking forward to see where it will go and get your comments 🙂