Photo: Bobby Collins.

Step inside the mystical sound world of Circular Ruins

Circular Ruins’ auditory landscapes are rich and strange, hypnotic rituals of loops and layers. They’re dark, but somehow un-menacing – safely resonating with whatever dangers live there. The artist speaks to us here about process, and zeitgeist, and cassette tapes. And we get to premiere the full release. We have a look round his studio and rig along the way. Circular Ruins happens to be Marijn Degenaar, who also happens to be on the design team at CDM. Oddly, friends and I have each done a double-take there, discovering his music through some other channel only to find out later …

READ MORE →
tr808

Watch this to learn how to create hip-hop 808 bass lines easily

You either already know what this is about – or you don’t know that you already know what this is about. That is, you’ve heard bass lines made with 808s all over the place. That’s likely to continue, too – thanks to the dominance of PAs with heavy bass, and the corresponding use of bass in all kinds of tracks, this has become a big part of musical language. And it’s a versatile approach to making bass lines. Because of its construction, you could take this same technique and apply it to any kind of music. But yeah, it is …

READ MORE →
modulator_zoo_6c

Bitwig Studio 2 is here, and it’s full of modulators and gadgets

Go go gadget DAW. That’s the feeling of Bitwig Studio 2, which is packed with new devices, a new approach to modulation, and hardware integration. Just a few of these on their own might not really be news, but Bitwig has a lot of them. Put them together, and you’ve got a whole lot of potential machinery to inspire your next musical idea, in the box, with hardware, or with some combination. And much as I love playing live and improvising with my hands, it’s also nice to have some clever machinery that gets you out of your usual habits …

READ MORE →
Offline processing in Nuendo 8.

You can compose entire interactive game scores in Nuendo 8, more

There isn’t one music production tool that fits everybody. What’s special about Steinberg’s Nuendo is that it is uniquely poised for high end production workflows. And maybe more than any other developer, Steinberg seems to be catering to the needs of A-list game scores. That says something not only about Steinberg, but about the changing face of music production. Once, there was the studio world, and “pro” releases meant the Audio Engineering Society (AES) show. You know, for people producing records. Now, odds are, you’re going to laugh when you open the statement from your label showing how much you …

READ MORE →
console1

The $499 Softube Console 1 now looks like a great buy for producers

Softube’s Console 1 was an intriguing offering when it came out, but I suspect some people balked at the price – and simply didn’t know what it was or what it was for. Now, at five hundred bucks, the audience should be bigger. And Softube are working on making the “what is this anyway?” story clearer. So, what is it? Let’s back up. First, imagine a big mixing desk – like a big Solid State console. Now imagine what that console would look like a computer accessory. Obviously, you’d want it to be a whole heck of a lot smaller, …

READ MORE →
6_apollo_twin_mkii_beauty_large

One of the best premium audio interfaces now claims to be better

How much time do producers spend just handling one or two inputs and stereo output (plus monitoring)? My guess is — a lot. Once you’re out of the studio, that amount goes up. But generally speaking, premium interfaces have tended to assume you need more I/O – even though a lot of electronic production now occurs in the box. So part of the reason the Universal Audio Apollo Twin has been important is that it changes the value equation. It doesn’t do a whole lot of I/O – this is really about recording one thing at a time, listening, and …

READ MORE →
ni_maschine_ableton-link_02

Maschine adds Ableton Link, for jams with DJ, production software

For some time, Maschine has topped the list of “things we wish had Ableton Link support.” Well, wish granted. And now that means easy jamming with DJ tools and production tools, on desktop or on iPad. Maschine now adds Ableton Link for seamlessly sync and live jamming over wires and wireless with a whole bunch of stuff. That includes Ableton Live, of course, but also Serato DJ, Max/MSP, Pure Data, and a whole mess of iOS apps. Instead of having to bother with MIDI sync, you just switch on Link and everything syncs – with any tool or any user …

READ MORE →
zone-concept

In-depth: Cubase 9 adds integrated Sampler Tracks, lots more

Cubase 9 is here, and Steinberg are touting improved stability and performance, and lots of user-requested features. That includes new goodies like a built-in Sample Track for manipulating audio, plus history in the mixer. At last, all the Cubase releases are synced – Elements, Artist, and Pro all hit Cubase 9 at once. (Steinberg says it’s the first time that’s happened.) But this is also intended to be a clean break. 32-bit plug-in support is out – 64-bit only. There’s also meant to be improved compatibility as a result, and a scanner tool will hunt out plug-ins you’ve got that …

READ MORE →
Ableton-Live-9_7-Release_1_web

Here’s what you’ll get out of Ableton Live 9.7, available today

Ableton Live 9.7 – the final stable download – is available today. (A public beta was released over the summer.) It’s got a host of improvements for the latest Push hardware, but there are advantages for everyone.

READ MORE →
skramscreen

Meet Skram, the free iPad app full of patterns and synths

We’ve reached the mature age of music apps. You’re likely to use fewer of them, and the landscape is saturated with the most popular ideas. It’s also clear that iPad, not Android, is the viable tablet platform. But the few apps that are left standing as serious music tools are better than ever. They’re easier to integrate with your computer and standalone hardware, and they feel more like instruments and less like toys. They walk some line between making music production more accessible to beginners, and offering refreshing simplicity to people who are mixing them with other gear. And Skram, …

READ MORE →