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16 March 2011


Sequencing a realistic-sounding guitar performance is not an exercise for the faint of heart. Programming piano, drum, glockenspiel or any other percussion instrument is a splash of urine compared with the scope of nuance that can be wrenched from a guitar. Listen to any one of numerous demo performances in which keyboard players attempt to emulate a rock guitarist and you’ll hear the giveaways. Bent notes appear synthetic; power chords antiseptic; twiddly runs a tad too neat. From Al Di Meola to Slipknot’s Jim, the raw sweat, grind and accidental grunty bits are what make guitar-sound possibly the most expressive howling short of the human voice.

So, in devising a Propellerhead Software Reason 5 and Record 1.5 barrage of guitar ReFills, what did Nucleus SoundLab do? In its typically atypical way, NS hung a wild left-turn at the traffic lights and appears to have thought: “Soddit. Let us make guitar-like scapes and to Hell with emulation.” GuitarScapes is the result and, speaking as a guitarist of many years, I’m rather glad that NS founder Jeremy Janzen exercised his ever-novel take on the world’s most popular instrument. What we have in this elegantly constructed duo of ReFills is the essence of guitar tone, but warped beyond reason. Mentioning which, if you don’t have Reason 5, then there’s no reason to read further. The $59 installation won’t work with Reason 4 or earlier, and has its limitations (like, 46 hobbled Combinators) if you don’t have Record 1.5, but do check out the note at the base of this post.

10 March 2011


There are some big, fat dirty lies which capture the zeitgeist: 1 The economy is turning round, no, really. 2 'Of course I'll love you in the morning'. And 3 Propellerhead Software’s Reason may be just for beginners because it's so easy to use. Wrong, wrong, wrong and rong. And no, I don't really know what kind of tranquilizer dart you need to take down a zeitgeist either; I just put it there as a big, liberal newspaper kind of a word to make me sound more erudite. Well you're not here because you want to talk politics or love, so we'll leave the first two BFD lies, but what of Reason? Even when version 1 came out it could get pretty complicated. It's got more knobs and cables than the San Fransisco bondage scene. So, faced with this, you need a man like Scott Griggs talkin' to you on Groove3's Reason 5 Explained videos.