Category Archives: Music Production

Exclusive Pre-Release Stream of Polybius by Demonic Sweaters

My new album will be officially released on 1/11/17 at anthillrecordings.bandcamp.com, but you can check it out right now at long time DS supporter, Ronan Conroy’s blog! www.ronanconroy.wordpress.com

Ronan has always been a huge supporter of what I do, possibly the biggest supporter. I thank him once again for hosting this exclusive stream. You can stream the whole album for free now, as well as pre-order it for only $5!

Thanks Fornax Void for the Polybius gif

The legend of Polybius goes that In 1981 a strange video game showed up in a select few arcades in Portland Oregon. Kids who played the game seemed to experience amnesia, forget who they were, where they lived etc, and suffer from extreme night terrors.

The game was reportedly serviced by men wearing black coats who instead of collecting the quarters from the games, took only data from “records” inside the machine. Rumors were starting to grow that it was developed by some military intelligence agency such as the CIA.

The game was not around long and was pulled from the arcades nearly as quickly as it arrived. There is no known machine in existence today, but ROMs have surfaced over time, though the authenticity of them has not been verified.

The story of Polybius was first documented on the site coinop.org in 1998 www.coinop.org/Game/103223/Polybius

I first learned about the game on the Astonishing Legends Podcast, and thought the story was so amazing and also felt it was the perfect inspiration for my new album.

So here it is

Recording details:
Three main recording devices were used in the making of this album and will be listed as Systems 1, 2, and 3 in the rest of the liner notes.

System 1 – 2007 Black Apple Macbook running Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and Mixbus 3 with Jack as it’s primary DAW.

System 2 – Zoom PS-04 handheld digital 4 track

System 3 – 2012 Samsung Chromebook running Ubuntu 12.04 w/ IceWM desktop environment and Ardour 2 with Jack as it’s primary DAW.

Individual track notes:

1. The Wrong Way The Stripe Goes – Recorded on System 3. Casio CT-370 for drums and synth sounds, as well as AMsynth (LADSPA software synth for Linux)

2. Helicopter Cop – Recorded on System 1. Music sequence created in LMMS using all software synths/samples contained within LMMS software. Stems exported and mixed in Mixbus3, live drums recorded using Alesis IO4 audio interface in conjunction with built-in audio for 6 channel input. Mixed in Mixbus3.

3. Ghost Image (same as #2)

4. Cerulean Blue – Recorded on System 2. Synth sounds were played on my Mothman 1000 and 2000 software synths for windows running on wine on System 1 physically routed to system 2. Exported to and mixed on System 3 in Ardour 2.

5. AM Ultra – Recorded on system 3, sequences created in seq24 using Hydrogen, Amsynth, Zynaddsubfx, and Hexter softsynths for Linux. Mixed in Ardour 2.

6. Polybius – Recorded on System 2 (long recording mode 15.62khz sample rate) Synths all played live on Casio CT-370. Drums recorded with two mics, kick and overhead mixed to a single track with a behringer micromixer. Mixed on system 1 in Mixbus3.

7. Tunnel of Dark – Recorded on System 2 (hi fi mode 31.25khz) Bass and drums recorded (1 mic) and exported from System 2 to System 3 and guitar was recorded directly into Ardour 2. Mixed on Ardour 2.

8. Flowers – Recorded on System 2. Main sequences created in LMMS, drums recorded in (2 mics) Aurdour 2, mixed in Ardour 2.

9. Autumn Sun – Recorded on System 1 except with Mac OS 10.6 and Cubase LE 5. Guitars and basses are all sampled and played via midi within Cubase. Drums recorded in (6 mics) and mixed in Cubase.

10. dev/null – Recorded on System 1 except on Mac OS 10.6 using Ableton Live as DAW. Synth sounds played on Casio CT-370 and sequenced in Ableton. Drums recorded in (4 mics) Mixbus 3, mixed in Mixbus 3.

11. Overlapping Spirals – Recorded on System 3 with seq24 used to sequence midi, Amsynth, Zynaddsubfx, Hexter softsynths, Drums (2 mics) recorded in and mixed in Ardour 2.

All songs mastered on System 3 in Audacity

credits

releases January 11, 2017

Justin Wierbonski – drums, bass, guitar, synths, sequencing, programming, recording, mixing, mastering, artwork

OM-1 Synth uses a real portable cassette recorder for voices

I love how much innovation smaller musical instrument companies have these days. This is just one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while!

“The OM-1 Cassette Synthesizer is an analog musical instrument built around the concept that when a continuous tone/note is recorded to tape, its pitch will change as the tape’s playback speed is increased or decreased. Individual notes are playable via the 8 buttons (keys), each with a tuning knob directly above it. The volume of the notes can be articulated by using the pressure sensitive volume control – the harder its pressed, the louder the note. A three position switch controls attack/release response of the audio output – Short, Medium, and Long. CV/Gate inputs allow control over the cassette’s pitch and volume from a linear (non-quantized) voltage sequencer.”

the pre-orders are already sold out for this beauty, but you can sign up for the waiting list here http://www.ondemagnetique.com/shop/om-1

Amiga ProTracker and a Drummer 4

Here’s the 4th installment of my Amiga ProTracker and a Drummer video series. This one I was referring to as “Castle” when I was working on the .mod file because I felt it had a dungeon / castle feel to it. I’m really getting into these now! I added one more synth track to this one in addition to drums, but got too lazy to film myself playing synth, haha. Next time!

I used my 2004 PowerBook G4 once again to make this one from start to finish. Edited in Final Cut Pro 5, audio recorded in Cubase SE 1.0.7, song composed in Amiga ProTracker clone. Thanks for watching and check out the other Amiga/Drummer vids on my channel.

The Manasota Project (Web Series)

Last summer I recorded some songs all by myself then started a kickstarter campaign to release the songs on 180g vinyl. Much to my surprise the kickstarter completed successfully! The album is being pressed and is set to be completed in April of 2016. Now is when the real challenge begins. How does a largely unknown artist sell 500 vinyl LPs in 2016? Good question.

I’m a 40-year-old guy who’s played in bands since I was 10, so the idea of putting together a band to play unrewarding shows at bars for no money to try to sell an album really didn’t sound like fun nor like a good idea.

So instead I’ve decided to get some musicians together to perform on YouTube. It’ll help promote the album, and be a lot of fun in the process. The Manasota project documents this process and is a window into the life of a musician who never gives up.

KORG Volca Sample is iOS only to transfer samples? WTF Korg?

I knew the unit didn’t sample on its own, but I didn’t know it was iOS only. That’s pretty stupid. They should have at least given you a way to just connect usb to a windows machine. I still think it’s a cool device, but I have no plans of ever getting an Apple product.

The KORG volca sample is a fun-looking sample “sequencer” – it can play back, modify, and mangle pre-recorded samples in a step sequencer. But it requires a dedicated iOS app to do the actual sampling.

That makes for a mixed bag, straight out of the gate. As KORG says:

“The new volca lets you recapture the excitement of the first generation of samplers, in which any sound — vocals, spoken words, ambient sound, or glitches — becomes material for your creations!”

– right, but then it leaves out one of the best things about those hardware samplers, namely – sampling.

With that disappointment out of the way, the volca sample otherwise is full of some cool ideas. Let’s have a look at what it can do.

The heart of the beast is the sound parameters, which you can then map to individual steps:

Sample select, start point, length, hi cut

Pitch: speed, envelope, attack, decay

Amplitude: level, pan, attack, decay

And you can motion-sequence each of these.

There’s also per-sample reverse and reverb, plus overall reverb mix and swing.

The “Analog Isolator” gives you bass and treble controls. (UK-style, that’s “Analogue Isolator” on the front panel.)

via KORG’s Latest volca sample Sequences Sounds – But You Need an iOS App to Add Your Own Sounds – Create Digital Music.