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23 June 2010


We’ve all done it: Ended a lyrical line with ‘orange’ or ‘silver’ and sat there thinking ‘bugger’. Rhymes do not always come easily. One becomes bottlenecked, which is wincingly galling when so much effort has been expended at the sequencing and tracking stage. Applying lyric content to a song provokes sweat levels similar to those experienced in the performance room of an overly expensive recording studio, so how to break through and give full throat to your poetic message? I’ve taken to Rhyme Genie, an app that has propelled my lyricism to unheard-of heights. And depths.


Could it be that it was all so simple then, or has time re-written every line? Of code? A while back, I was the group editor of FututreNet, Future plc's online presence. All we did was hand-coded, Flash was still Macromedia's (and wasn’t very flash), the inter-web was grindingly slow and Google was still a twinkle in the eyes of two, now very rich, code-monkeys. How rapidly times change.

19 June 2010


It’s all coming back to me now: The feeling I had when first loading Propellerhead's ReBirth RB-338. “It looks like a toy,” I thought on first sight of the dual emulated Roland TB-303 Bass Lines plus TR-808 and TR-909 drum machines. Then I got into it and discovered ReBirth, now reborn as an iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad app, is not only fun to use, it offers much to muzos who like their acid lines squishy and their beats tight and pooky. It’s a similar story with Toontrack’s Beatstation, but with added grunge and the facility to use custom sound sources. It does look toy-like - even the skinny (four-page) get-started manual appears graphically designed to appeal to modern yoof - but this sound-mangling suite does have depth.

15 June 2010

EW/QL GOLIATH & STORMDRUM 2 | £351.17 & £281.93

There are numerous ROMpler engines on the market, each front-ending large sample libraries and offering a degree of sound-sculpting. Soft samplers they are not, in that you can’t drop in your own audio clips and perform extensive modification. Rather, the ROMpler relies on typically huge banks of audio files, often of a specific genre or type, and such shaping tools as envelope generators, filters and ambient effects by which to customise them.

13 June 2010


Deep joy hit me the other day with the arrival of a Wacom Intuos4 L graphics tablet. No, I haven’t lost it and turned MuzoBlog into a discourse on digital imaging. A graphics tablet is of similar function to a mouse and no matter how many keyboard commands you learn, you’ll still need frequent recourse to some kind of pointing device when coaxing music from a computer.
 Since the 1980s, I’ve used a multitude of mice, often for protracted periods; often with great intensity.

11 June 2010


The first MuzoBlog post, just to populate the page. I'm looking at Toontrack's new Beatstation at the mo and aim to have Native Instruments' Kontakt 4 nailed pretty soon. Yup, I'm all about music and the technology used to create it. You'll not find orchestral-type instruments here - I might flirt with flute and viola, but there are other sites for such traditional devices. 

Sequencers, control surfaces, interfaces, mixers, monitors, soft synths, ROMplers, audio editors and processors, along with electric guitar and everything related, are among my specialities. So if you're a modern muzo, whether amateur, semi-pro or already nominated for an MTV Award, join in with your own comment on kit, songwriting, performing et al. Pick at my brains, make your voice heard, start an argument or whatever - if it's sound stuff for other musicians then it belongs on these pages.