Inspiration Is Bass-ic

Black Friday is dangerous for any consumer connected to the internet. Consumers of music production software are at the mercy of extremely tempting “plug ins” that offer new avenues of inspiration. Case in point is the Bass Slapper from Waves. Bass Slapper is a virtual slap bass instrument. Although I have some excellent slap bass sample libraries, Bass Slapper’s approach to playing ghost notes (the in between muted notes) works very naturally for me on the LinnStrument.

After a half hour of playing around with the presets, I had the inspiration for a new song entitled “Slap Happy”! After the bass part, I added drums from Toontrack’s Custom and Vintage Library using my trusty Zendrum. Solo Alto Sax is courtesy of Audio Modeling while the horn section is from Native Instrument’s Session Horns. Finally, I added electric piano (an instrument I actually know how to play!!)

With respect to mixing and mastering, Izotope’s Ozone and Neutron have changed my life. These products automatically generate suggested channel strip (Neutron) and mastering (Ozone) settings that get you about 80% of the way to a mix/master that makes me happy. The new Visual Mixer in Neutron provides a new way to adjust your mix. Each track/instrument is represented by a circle. You place each instrument in the stereo field (left and right), adjust volume by moving a circle up or down, and adjust width with handlebars on each circle.

While this sounds very simplistic, it is very powerful. Instead of scrolling track by track, you can make adjustments and immediately see how tracks relate to each other. The trend with music plugins is to simulate classic, analog gear as closely as possible. A mixer plugin looks like a real mixer. But while the simulated wood grain and metal may look great, there are better designs, as Izotope has proven.

The rough draft is below, with more parts to come, including guitar from my brother Dan!

Audio Modeling Instruments

Historically, keyboard players have been at a significant disadvantage compared to wind or string players. Wind and string players can control volume and add creative nuances to their playing with the tiniest change in breath pressure or tilt of a bow. In contrast, keyboard players have been stuck with on/off switches and various forms of pedals and wheels.

In recent years, technology has come to the rescue! Expressive MIDI controllers like the Eigenharp, LinnStrument, and Roli Seaboard provide a high level of expressivity that approaches wind and string instruments. However, expressive MIDI controllers are only as good as the electronic instruments they control.

Which brings us to virtual instrument companies like Audio Modeling. Their solo orchestral instruments combine the best sound and articulation engine I have heard and are a perfect match for the expressive capabilities of today’s MIDI controllers.

Here are two recent videos of LinnStrument controlling Audio Modeling’s English Horn and Violin:

Audio Modeling’s instruments respond to multiple expressive dimensions- velocity, pressure, x-axis pitch, y-axis timbre, and release velocity. Having this degree of control at your fingertips is a giant leap from relying on on/off switches.

Welcome to hearseethink

hearseethink presents a world of sound, images, and thought. Since childhood, I have spent countless hours creating music, taking pictures. The purpose of this website is to collect and present, and comment on the creative process. 

Music is presented through hear:media and hear:music

Hear:media offers music and sound design to enhance video, film, podcast, video games or any other presentation that can be enhanced with music and sound. 

Hear:music offers music from ongoing solo and band projects ranging from rock to jazz to world to classical music using an array of new and old instruments.

See presents photography from close to home in Maryland, USA to far flung places around the world.

Think ties everything together with essays and videos about the creative process.

I welcome your feedback and input.

Jeremy Cubert

November 2017