Posts tagged: Music

Aug 29 2010

Morphine in C

Ok, so driven in from the garden by a plethora of wasps and one annoying neighbour, I was planning to stick my head in a book, but sadly my synth got a hold of me. So, without further ado, I present Morphine in C – the music I image would be played in a psychiatric hospital to keep the patients calm – if, that is, psychiatric hospitals were staffed by people with good taste in music.

John Dow – Morphine in C

Aug 25 2010

Dresden Amen

Anyone familiar with Wagner’s Parsifal will know this one. It’s a short 24 second snippet of exquisite loveliness, using my nice warbly theremin sound.

John Dow – Dresden Amen

Aug 24 2010

Vangelis / Blade Runner sound

This is a gorgeous gorgeous rich sound and I use it all the time. The patch is pretty straight forward on a microkorg:

  1. Turn off write protect and initialise a sound bank to the defaults
  2. Add a second oscillator (Saw wave) and set the level to 127
  3. Detune the second oscillator – I set it to 2
  4. Get rid of the pitch bend and mod controls – pitch bend rand 0, vibrato int 0
  5. Tweak the LFO frequency for LFO2 – I use 53
  6. We’ll use this LFO for vibrato: Patch 1, source LF2, Mod int 7
  7. We need to tweak the filter to play nicely with the mod wheel: Filter cutoff 30, resonance 10
  8. Patch this cutoff to the mod wheel: Patch 2, source mod, Dest cut, Mod int 63
  9. Give some shape to the amp envelope generator: Amp eg: Attack 26, Decay 120, Sustain 27, Release 83
  10. Add some delay: Time 26, Depth 69
  11. We need to patch an oscillator 2 detune to the pitch bend wheel to give the swoopy effect: Patch 3, source bnd, Dest, Mod int 20
  12. Save the sound parameters and you’re done!

Really easy to work with – starting with the mod wheel fully back, holding a note and sweeping it forward and back will give the signature Vangelis ‘WAH’ sound, and pulling the pitch bend wheel towards you will give the second oscillator detune wail. All done. Have fun.

Aug 21 2010


Another simple one, with some dodgy timing.


Aug 18 2010

Hello World

Programmers are allowed to write a “Hello World” program to learn about a new language, so I’ve made a “Hello World” to learn about a new synth. This was played on a Korg MicroKorg. It’s not Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, just a few notes to get the hang of the tiny keyboard and to try out a patch. The recording is a bit rough as it was taken from the headphone socket cos my PC doesn’t have a line in in a convenient place (for now), so there’s a bit of distortion.

Hello World

Jul 20 2010

Volbeat – The Garden’s Tale

Jan 14 2010

Top 5 Albums of 2009

For those of you who may be reading on facebook, you might be better popping over to to read this. If you’re already here – well, that’s alright then 🙂

Ok, so these weren’t all necessarily released in 2009, but some of them were. They’re albums that affected me in various ways throughout the course of the year. They’re not listed in any particular order as it’s just not possible to compare them as they cross so many genres of music. For each album, I’ve suggested a couple of tracks that listeners unfamiliar with the artist can listen to to get a semi-representative view of the album.

Bruce Springsteen – The Rising. Ok, so the boss is getting on a bit and maybe even getting a little introspective in his old age, but that’s not a bad thing. The Rising seems, at first listening anyway, to be a lot more spiritual than you’d expect from Mr Springsteen. There’s a lot of Gospel influences in here as well as the slightly-cheesy patriotic Americana we all know and love. I’d recommend listening to “The Rising”, “Worlds Apart”, and / or “My City of Ruins” for a bit of an insight into the overall tone of the album.

Note: if you find poignant songs about 9/11 annoying, you may rate this album slightly lower than I do.

Sabaton – The Art of War. I seem to have arrived at the Sabaton party a good while after everyone else – I discovered them after Apple finally got Genius working as far as recommendations go. The Art of War is a stonking album largely based around, as you might expect from the title, various aspects of Warfare. Naturally, guitars dominate the album, but that doesn’t prevent Joakim Brodén’s titanic vocals from keeping you riveted in your seat for the duration. I’d recommend “The Art of War”, “40-1” and “Cliffs of Gallipoli” but this is really an arbitrary choice. There truly isn’t a bad track on the album, so take your pick.

The Devin Townsend Project – Addicted. A little poppier than the other two, but don’t let it fool you – this is a seriously heavy album. Production-wise, it’s like a spiritual successor to something by Phil Specter – from start to finish, the album is a wall of sound. It has the same dominating qualities as something like, say, Blind Guardian, but presenting catchy pop songs instead of overly laboured bewildering slices of WTF?? There’s touches of KMFDM / Black Lung style industrial electronica mixed with grind metal all with garbage style guitar hooks and cheeky lyrics. There’s even a little bit of pathos in there. I’d recommend listening to “Bend it like Bender!”, “Supercrush!” and “Hyperdrive!” as a way of getting started.

Them Crooked Vultures. Well, any band featuring John Paul Jones, Dave Grohl and Josh Homme has to be something special. This is most definitely a special album. Soundwise, you get the impression of a very rough ‘everything in one take’ recording, which is perfectly in fitting with the musical style. There’s a bit of everything in this album; psychedelia, metal, rock, pop, beautiful harmonies and strangely effective discords. It also benefits from what is possibly the fattest guitar sound I’ve ever heard. I guess this is what you get when you stick three seriously accomplished musicians in one place and leave them to their own devices. This album manages to sound old and familiar at the same time as being new and exciting. Go figure. Really, you should just go and buy it immediately, but if you insist on recommended tracks, go with “No one loves me & neither do I” or “Elephants.”

Turisas – The Varangian Way. This isn’t only the most epic metal album I’ve ever heard, it’s quite possibly the most epic ANYTHING. Varangian Way is Turisas’s second album and builds on their debut, Battle Metal, in almost every way. The same “viking metal” style is there, but the accordions have been replaced by full orchestration on many tracks. I wouldn’t say Varangian Way is better than Battle Metal because the two albums are complimentary and each serve their purpose equally well. Varangian Way just seems a little richer. Again, there  isn’t a bad track on the album, but start out with “Miklagard Overture” and “Cursed be Iron”.

So there we have it. Notable mentions go to “Dark Passion Play” by Nightwish, “Marshall Mathers LP” by Eminem and about a million others, but those five up there have made the biggest impact on me.

Dec 05 2009

The Indifference of Heaven

Just because. No particular reason.

Oct 08 2009

Ratings in iTunes

Further to the last post on this subject, I have a new smart playlist. It’s everything with a rating of one or less despite having five or more plays.

It’s called “Stuff I really don’t like.”

I reckon by the time it has enough material in it to fill a DVD-R, I’m going to start archiving off stuff I just don’t listen to any more, in an attempt to keep my library manageable.

Sep 30 2009

bye bye beautiful

did you ever hear what I told you?

did you ever read what I wrote you?

did you ever listen to what we played?

did you ever let in what the world said?

did we get this far just to feel your hate?

did we play to become only pawns in the game?

bye bye beautiful

bye bye beautiful

nightwish, 2007

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