July 17, 2011
July 8, 2011
July 4, 2011
This past Canada Day long weekend marked Masthead’s Danny Tour–a drive across Southwestern Ontario with hopes of purchasing new music gear, frequenting many sandy beaches, swimming in warm waters, and visiting friends and family. The Danny Tour turned out to be an especially successful mission.
The tour was dubbed Danny Tour because of Masthead’s recently sparked interest in Danelectro music equipment. The desired gear was difficult to locate locally, thus inspiring Masthead to seek around Ontario. This Southwestern Ontario drive for music gear, beaches, and sunshine was an awesome adventure.
The first stop, Sarnia, Ontario, led Masthead to Canatara Beach and park and a DC 59 Danelectro guitar. Enjoying the beautiful weather, and walking away from the crowds, Masthead was able to sit by the tranquil waters and jam in the summer sun.
Accompanied by Jam Girl, hot and sandy Sauble Beach was the next stop on the trip where Masthead picked up various Danelecto pedals. With pedal names such as “grilled cheese distortion” and the “pepperoni – phaser effect,” this beachside stop could not be missed.
A two and a half hour drive away from Sauble led Masthead to the lovely Caledon, Ontario and the purchase of a Danelectro ’63 long scale bass guitar. This guitar is a true beachside beauty. Its aqua colored body complemented the many shades of green trees and blue skies and waters of this scenic weekend Ontario drive (and is Jam Girl’s favorite).
With new gear in the trunk, Masthead was able to share songs and laughs with family and friends throughout the remainder of the weekend. What a wonderful way to celebrate Canada Day, a drive across Southwestern Ontario.
June 19, 2011
Listen to “Gypsy Jewelry” on SoundCloud. I love the way the song is graphed–it’s pleasing to the eye.
June 19, 2011
Yesterday the London community experienced an exciting night of art, music and culture.
It was great to see people riding their bicycles and walking around the streets of the downtown core. Events like the Car Free Festival provide the community with the opportunity to further explore the city, soak up the summer sunshine and have a fun time. I look forward to the next Car Free days lined up this summer.
As for Nuit Blanche, I found the interactive art, film, sculpture and street music to be captivating. I especially enjoyed the AudioForge performance that took place outside the JLC. The combination of live metal making and music performance created an exceptionally soothing rhythm that replaced what is typically the sound of city traffic. This was one of my favorite highlights of Nuit Blanche.
The Hide and Seek Show and Tell Art Party at Museum London was so much fun. The venue was an excellent choice for this art party–exploring art exhibitions and listening to live performances, such as those of Jason McLean, Sarah Scope, Thesis Sahib, Dreamspoitation and Disleksick, provided the community with a unique experience of contemporary arts. I really appreciated the fact that this art party provided individuals with the opportunity to create art with feathers, fabric, yarn, paper, etc., to add their personal touch to the event. Inspired by the creativity of others, I decided to create Masthead art for the upcoming album using fabric, wooden pieces, and crayons. Stay tuned for news about the new Masthead album later on this summer.
June 9, 2011
Production Diaries readers, apologies for the lack of updates during the last month–it has been a busy, yet creative, time for Masthead Music. Throughout the last little while, Masthead has been actively reading about new music technology, seeking out different equipment choices to improve his music production sound quality, and, mainly, add a new dimension of creativity to his experimental music style.
Masthead also had the opportunity to release the new album On during his first public performance at the Metropolitan Market in London, Ontario. Playing original music at the downtown weekend artisan market proved to be an exciting step forward for Masthead. Featured songs included: Bounceoise, Swingers, Hover Conversion and Almanac. Performing live also provided Masthead with the opportunity to play along with various iPad applications, such as Reactable. Masthead is happy to announce that the first sale of On occurred at the Met during his live performance. Entry into the performance aspect of music is an exciting endeavour for Masthead.
Masthead’s latest song, Gypsy Jewelry, is comprised of sounds from the iPad application SynthX, Maschine 1.6, original vocals sampled on the pads, and some bass guitar. The song radiates a playful, yet gritty, sound. Listen to Gypsy Jewelry.
May 1, 2011
SynthX is very fun to play–an instant favorite. The design of this app combines keyboard-style playing with x-y parameter capability. The keys are visible at the top of the screen and you can play them anywhere in the designated area. Moving up and down the vertical rows opens and closes the filters. Masthead’s favorite thing about this app is that it includes the option of playing the sounds on a grid, as keys, or as x-y pad.
When creating the newest songs, Masthead used SynthX as the main inspiration. He plugged the iPad into Logic, via the soundcard, and recorded a four bar loop that served as the main melody for the song.
April 24, 2011
Now, for Masthead’s thoughts on this beatbox synth iPad app:
It’s refreshing to hear these original sounds from the album, The Fall–these samples sound so much nicer than the demo sounds from the original iElectribe. The app breaks down all the songs from the album into their sample categories. Using the handy feature, Gorillaz Wave, you can change between any of the samples within that category–allowing you to remix songs to your own preference.
The best feature is the automation of the effects. Simply press record and all your tweaks will be recalled in playback. In comparison to the original iElectribe, this is a completely different instrument because of the unique sample library.
Masthead highly recommends anyone who likes to have fun playing with sounds on their iPad to purchase iElectribe Gorillaz Edition, but not recommended for anyone looking to create original music as the samples are protected by copyright. I suppose you should be able to use the drum sounds–kick, snare, hi-hat, and perc (and possibly the synth category)–however, the vox, misc, and sfx contain melodies from the album that would be recognizable to listeners.
Masthead gives KORG iELECTRIBE Gorillaz Edition 4 out of 5 for it’s comprehensive sound library and aesthetically pleasing interface. The app loses a star for issues of copyright clearance requirements in song creation.
If you’re interested in this app, check out this video tutorial for further insights:
April 22, 2011
Masthead welcomes you to listen to and comment on his song library on SoundCloud: Masthead’s SoundCloud. Enjoy!
April 22, 2011
Interested in how Masthead got inspired to start making music, what he listens to, and what motivates him to make more experimental tunes? Jam Girl has persuaded him to take a few minutes to chat about his creative music process, thoughts on new technology, and future music goals. Check it out:
[Masthead] No, thank you for the opportunity.
[Jam Girl] How did your interest in making music begin?
[Masthead] I always wanted to play music and I played music with my friends, but there was only ever two of us so I always messed around with drum machines and synths to try and fill in for not having a drummer when we were playing in the living room. That led me to practicing on my own using Garageband and Ableton.
[Jam Girl] How long ago was that?
[Masthead] Last year. Back then I was recording the whole room sound while Ableton played like a drum machine through my stereo and into the room where I was setting up synth loops on the Dave Smith Evolver through a delay pedal. My goal was to play the guitar and the synth alternately throughout the recording. Through growing interest in electronics and music, I decided to invest in a sampler to help make beats. Through some research, I decided on Native Instruments Maschine. When I got Maschine is when I started producing music.
[Jam Girl] That sounds cool. Did you/do you have any music artists that you admire(d) and served as inspiration to your initial interest in making music?
[Masthead] Good question. I began to be more interested in artists that produce, and bring their music to their bands, such as Caribou and Miike Snow, as far as I understand.
[Masthead] Experimental. Electronic. I think my music would appeal to hipsters. I consider it experimental because experimenting is how I create a song. There are unlimited sounds at your disposal. Sometimes I record sounds as I trial them. For example, in the song “chin le hoff” I purchased and used the ninja sound bank from Dub Siren Pro while in record –hence experimental. Also working with so many variables, it’s possible that what you come across happens by surprise.
[Jam Girl] What inspires your music?
[Masthead] I have no idea. I enjoy it. I guess life inspires my music. I often name songs after something that happened or I did that day that stays with me. Like, if I lost my keys one day, I would call my song “Keys.” Sometimes just the sounds of the instruments or samples I choose inspire the rest of the song.
[Jam Girl] Where do you make your music? Can you describe the space?
[Masthead] I make music in my office, which is right off my bedroom. I work from home. Sometimes I make music at work because I try to make songs as often as possible. Sometimes when it’s slow at work I can try out some new ideas.
[Jam Girl] Are you the type of artist who takes a lot of time in your song creation process?
[Masthead] I like to work quickly and edit as I go. I have found that if I dwell too much on a single part of the production, I may lose the original inspiration. There is always the opportunity to go back and reedit any work that I would like to build on. For now, I’m always anxious to move on to the next song. There is so much I want to try working with that I record everything I do and usually I don’t go back to change anything–the times that I’ve tried I usually tend to like the original better–so I work quickly. It keeps the sound interesting to me.
[Jam Girl] Do you have a daily routine?
[Masthead] I like to get my blood flowing before I sit down to make music. Exercise helps keep me alert. I like to make music in the morning when my mind is fresh. That generally puts a time limit on my creative process, as I have to go to my bartending job in late afternoon. So when I’m running short on time I have to wrap it up.
[Masthead] I’m also a big fan of Damon Albarn and I love what he did with the iPad. The iPad is a fantastic music tool. Ilove making music with the iPad and I have used it in almost every song since I’ve got my hands it. I would love to be able to record applications internally with the iPad though. If studio mini or some other multi-track recording on the iPad would hear the other apps, then I could create new arrangements without having to have my computer and soundcard at my disposal–possibly something like Soundflower could do the trick. I’ll have to get back to you on that. I also really think the StudioDock from Alesis will help to bring the iPad to its full potential for music production.
[Jam Girl] Do you enjoy what you do?
[Masthead] Yeah, I really like what I do. I really like being creative and I like to make music!
[Jam Girl] What do you do when you’re not making music?
[Masthead] Right now I’m a bartender and I run the soundboard at the bar I work at. I also like to go sailing in the summer and snowboarding in the winter.
[Jam Girl] Have you had any live performances yet? Forthcoming performances in mind?
[Masthead] I performed live only one time and it was all improv music at a show to help out my friend, but he didn’t show up so we played the whole show. There was a storm outside and it was an unadvertised show, so really we were by ourselves for the most part. The only people who showed up were studying to be music writers. We had Ableton going through my guitar amp for beats–set up by a guy who decided to join that afternoon because he said he loved noise music. But, that has nothing to do with the music I make now. Someday I’d like to perform as Masthead–possibly make music geared more towards a DJ set of some sort.
[Masthead] All your questions can be answered on the internet–just do it. Talking and thinking about music isn’t enough, you have to always be trying new ideas. In fact, talking about your music can be completely counterproductive, as it often creates extra pressure on the artist. Everything that you do is original and worth listening to. Experiment with sounds and go with your first instincts–don’t dwell too much in one spot, take chances. Listen to your own music because if you don’t like what you’ve made than no one will. Once you’ve separated yourself from the creation process you may be surprised at the outcome.
[Jam Girl] That is quite an inspirational ending note. Thanks for describing your passion for experimental music for your blog listeners and readers.
April 10, 2011
This week Masthead decided to focus on production tricks using buss sends. There are many helpful videos on YouTube,including a series of video by FutureMusic that feature famous producers and artists in their home studios. Using buss sends can help add dimension and texture to an otherwise a non-captivating song. Masthead played with delay plugins, sidechaining, and automation using touch to read. With delay plugins, good practice is to have your delay plug-in on a buss send as opposed to directly on your instrument channel; thus, allowing for panning between effects and instruments. Sidechaining, also known as ducking, is one of Masthead’s favorite techniques. Masthead says, “what sidechaining does is it applies an effect–commonly compression–triggered by the kick drum, resulting in a rhythmic pulsing effect to an otherwise flat sound. There are many online tutorials on how to do this. Just search ducking or sidechaining.” In terms of automation using touch to read, Logic is known for having great flexibility in terms of automating any possible field. Masthead automated the bit crusher as well as the bypass pass feature on a gain plugin across a delay in order to automate the effect in and out accordingly.
Masthead found the article, “Delay plug-ins Part one: The basics,” in MusicTech Magazine Issue 96–March, 2011, to be especially informative. Author Mark Cousins, states “[w]hen exploited to its full potential, delay can produce myriad interesting results” (41).
Masthead also explored some Apple Loops. “Busses and Concrete” features Apple Loop “Concrete Jungle” for some ambient street noise. Further, “Dissasemble” features a more prevalent loop, “Pendulum # 1.” Masthead says, “I don’t generally use Apple loops in music practice, however it was fun to experiment this time around.”
Here are Masthead’s next two songs: busses and concrete and dissasemble. These two songs were created using a caps lock keyboard directly in Logic. Listen with headphones or in stereo to observe panning.
Also, Masthead just joined the SoundCloud community. Provide some feedback: SoundCloud
April 5, 2011
“When listening back to the track I realized there were issues with the levels. I rarely, if ever, revisit songs to make edits. I wanted to do that with this song to fix the levels,” says Masthead. Making songs as often as possible is part of Masthead’s personal schooling. Every time Masthead starts a new project, he learns something new. Masthead says, “I’m always anxious to start something new to see what happens. With all of the virtual instruments available through iPad and various software, the possibilities for creations are without limitations. This is why I’ve chosen to leave the song in its original form.” Masthead is always trying to work with new sounds to see what develops.
Today’s song: load da bah
April 4, 2011
The focus for this set of songs concerned three new incentives: velocity sensitive wobble bass in Albino 3, layered sounds in Maschine 1.6 using master/slave relationship in pad mode, and organizing and renaming samples in Maschine using new features. Online research has been the main source for development in achieving Masthead’s music goals. Some new apps that have been fun to work with include Chirp! Lite and Bells and Whistles for fun sound bites. Also, Melodica Free and Korg iMS-20 were used briefly sampled into Maschine–this is the platform Masthead was working from. Masthead will further explore Melodica this week with the paid version.
From the Maschine platform, projects are then exported to Logic Pro 9 where further tracks can be added to enhance the project while on the fly. While recording “chin le hoff,” Masthead downloaded the Ninja bank from the sound bank of DubSirenPro and recorded sounds into the song. These Ninja sounds were discovered by serendipity and proved to be just what Masthead was looking for.
March 30, 2011
A couple of new revelations have come about in Masthead Music. Number one, was the search to create the wobble bass–commonly found in DubStep. It began with Logic’s ES2 Synthesizer. Masthead followed the steps found on YouTube, soundLogical’s Dirty Dubstep Basslines with Logic\’s ES2, to find the sound he is looking for. Masthead also read Mark Cousins’ article in Music Tech Magazine–Issue 95, February 2011, “Synth bass sounds using Logic’s ES2.” The article raves on ES2’s power for bass. Though it is true, soundsLogical assured users to have better results using Rob Papen’s Albino 3.
So, Masthead gets his hands on Albino. He was instantly pleased with the settings and had a wobble bass going in no time. Masthead says, “I look forward to using the wobble bass in future songs, as I have had limited success with my first recordings of the wobble–there is a glimpse of the wobble at the end of “because of corruption.”
Masthead also worked with Singing Fingers by special requests, causing him to sound quite like a robot. But, what Masthead is most excited about is the Native Instrument’s Maschine 1.6 update. Masthead looks forward to using all the sounds from programs such as Kontakt 4 and Albino 3 Synth inside of Maschine’s software.
March 17, 2011
Sometimes people have too much on their mind to concentrate on the task at hand, but you still have to pull through and give it a shot. No matter how bad a song may seem, there are always elements that shine through–there will always be parts that you like. This song sounds a little chaotic–a lot of the songs do–but whenever I’m worried I’m not doing a good job, I always refer back to the previously mentioned quote from Edward Albee and try to find beauty in the chaos.
I’ve been concentrating on exploring Logic and using some drum kits from the drum synth Ultrabeat, by making four bar loops using the marker. I haven’t quite got the hang of it yet.
Today’s song, “Bounceoise,” was also created using some free iPad applications: Classical Guitar and various atmospheric sounds. There are so many free apps out there to make sounds–don’t be afraid to try them out!
Here’s today’s song: bounceoise
March 16, 2011
It is true, Masthead has created Song 10.
In a recent interview with Vice Magazine Edward Albee stated, “[i]f you’re not willing to make a lot of mistakes, you’re not going to take any chances. If you don’t take any chances, you’re not going to do anything interesting” (68). Sometimes when you’re trying to do something creative you have to just dive in and be willing to make mistakes. Anything that you do creatively is unique. It is impossible for someone to replicate anything you do–whether it be the way you walk or the way you sign your name.
Today’s song was made out of the office. Masthead is trying to put the mobility of the iPad technology into use. All I had to use was my MacBook, my soundcard–hidden in my backpack, and the iPad. Making music on location today was fun. Masthead used FunkBox to record beats into Logic Pro 9 while manipulating the beats in record to add change in the song. Also, the iPad application Speak it! was used along with some echo delay from Logic.
Check out Song 10: it is true
March 14, 2011
Beatwave is super cool. The sounds are easy to listen to and easy to change. Also, the interface of Beatwave is aesthetically pleasing. The vibrant and colorful arrangement of the grid makes the process of creating a song very engaging and exciting. Masthead is eager to learn more about Beatwave, as it was only recently downloaded onto the iPad. He claims, “This is the best free music application I have downloaded and I can’t wait to learn more about its possibilities. When I first opened Beatwave, it sounded so good right away that I just started recording before I learned anything about it. Now that I actually sit and look at this application I see that I can make layers and patterns to create better composition within a song.” Masthead looks forward to using Beatwave in subsequent songs.
Masthead recommends for anyone interested in music to download this FREE Apple application and to dabble in some music. Beatwave has such fun possibilities to play around with.
March 14, 2011
In the last few days, Masthead has been working with the innovative Apple application, Dub Siren Pro as well as trying to get back into the Maschine–although patiently awaiting the 1.6 update when it will be hosting VST Plugins.
Dub Siren Pro gives you a transistor WIFI radio. The image on the right is the radio display of Dub Siren Pro. Masthead says, “I love the music on the Dubby, especially the BigupRadio and DubstepFM selections giving me reggae mixed with hot beats and great horn sections.” The screen on the left is one of the two screens where you can play with sound effects to play along with the radio. Masthead claims, “all the sounds are great! But I wonder if I can load my own sounds.”
Previous to being submerged into the world of iPad music applications, Masthead primarily worked with Native Instruments’ (NI) Maschine making roughly forty songs in the first three months. Many samples were utilized primarily from Back to the Future, Planet Earth, as well as the Maschine library. Also, live instruments were used, such as: Dave Smith Mono Evolver, live guitars, and sampled-in vocals. Because the last few days have been dedicated to learning about Dub Siren Pro, Masthead encourages you to check out a few songs that were created before the iPad applications began to play a role in Masthead music: Swingers, next available agent, and round house.
March 9, 2011
Today I put some wave files into Reactable Mobile to do a remix of the first song I made on the iPad, el joindre. I mixed some drum loops from Reactable with the files from “el joindre” to make a remix–my first ever remix. Reactable Mobile is fun to use. You can try changing the tempo of the entire song, but not individual sounds. I used the delay and the sequencer to manipulate the track and add changes.
The method of importing wave files into Reactable Mobile can be found in the online user manual. First, I synced the iPad with my iTunes. Then I opened Reactable on my computer and I dragged wave files from iTunes into Reactable. The benefit of this process is using your own music clips to create an original song in the iPad.
Here is my song for today: el joindre–reactable remix
March 8, 2011
This afternoon’s song was made using the Reactable mobile By Reactable Systems SL application for the iPad.
Reactable is super cool. This iPad application emulates the original electronic musical instrument Reactable. Reactable Mobile is a visually stunning iPad application. It’s highly intuitive design allows for a very creative work flow and a whole new way to approach making music.
The song of the day, “Allergic to Cheddar,” is made using built-in loops from the library. Also, the input selector was used to capture voices on the fly while recording.
This was Masthead’s first improv session using Reactable Mobile. So far, Masthead ranks Reactable Mobile with a perfect score for it’s vibrant interface, clever design, and immediate response to work flow. Masthead claims, “I cannot wait to load some original beats and melodies to remix using Reactable’s intuitive design.”
Here is today’s song, “Cheddar,”: allergic to cheddar