Computer Music 206 – Easy Guide: Contrary Motion, Pitch ‘n’ Glide feature, MozaicBeats AutoTheory Review

Computer Music 206 – Easy Guide: Contrary Motion, Pitch ‘n’ Glide feature, MozaicBeats AutoTheory Review

CM206 Cover Wide Hot off the press, here’s the August 2014 issue of Computer Music, and nestling within its info-packed pages you’ll find 8 of them containing things I wrote! My ‘Pitch n Glide’ feature is a useful 5-pager extolling the virtues of performance-enhancing techniques such as portamento and pitch bend, with a dash of vibrato. You’ll find out how to program synth parts that exploit your synth’s portamento feature to the fullest, how to reinstate vibrato to your controller’s modulation wheel, how to draw and edit pitch bend curves and even how to program a Dolby THX-style polyphonic glide. You’ll find the piece on page 67.
Elsewhere, in the issue I have a single-page review of Mozaic Beats’ AutoTheory, an innovative plug-in that remaps the MIDI input from your controller to predetermined keys and scales, making it easier to program parts that conform musically to your project. You can find out what I thought of it on page 104.
Finally, as always, there’s my music theory Easy Guide on page 74, and this month we’re dealing with the scary-sounding contrapuntal motion. Actually not scary at all, my 12-step walkthrough with accompanying video breaks down contrapuntal motion into its four basic types, with examples to illustrate each type. I then go on to demonstrate how you can use contrary motion in your productions. Well worth a look, along with all the other great stuff in the mag, including a huge cover feature all about reverb, CM 206 is available now! On reflection, it could be the best issue yet!

Video Tutorial – Create a Dolby THX-Style Polyphonic Glide (CM206)

Here’s a link to one of the video tutorials I created for my Pitch n Glide feature, as found on page 67 of the August 2014 issue of Computer Music magazine. It demonstrates how to use long portamento times on multiple instances of the same synth to create a huge-sounding polyphonic glide that resolves to the chord of your choice over a set period of time:

 

 

So, if you fancy creating your own version of ‘Deep Note’ (the original THX glide), give it a go. You can find the rest of the videos that accompany the other tutorials in the article on the cover DVD of the print edition, or downloadable via the CM vault for digital editions.

Computer Music 205 – Easy Guide: Rests

Computer Music 205 – Easy Guide: Rests

CM205 Cover WideWhen writing music, getting the right notes in the right places is obviously important. But have you ever considered how equally crucial it is to nail the placement of the spaces in between the notes? Often, what you don’t play can be as important as what you do play, so in this month’s music theory Easy Guide, featured on page 74 of the July 2014 issue of Computer Music magazine, I take a look at how to use rests to change up rhythmic parts in your productions. As usual, there’s a 12-step walkthrough packed with info and real-world examples, all accompanied by a video. So if you fancy a decent rest, don’t sit around, pick up CM205 today!

Computer Music 204 – Easy Guide: Key Changes

Computer Music 204 – Easy Guide: Key Changes

CM204 Cover Wide Like really tight jeans, key changes can be quite difficult things to pull off if you’re not sure what you’re doing. While it won’t do anything to help you get your trousers off, my 12-step Easy Guide with accompanying video, found on page 74 of the June 2014 issue of Computer Music, does explain the basic theory behind key changes. I then go on to show some real-world examples, breaking them down to illustrate how they’re constructed.
So if you’ve ever wondered how to achieve the leap from one key to another without making virtual question marks appear above your listeners’ heads, check out Computer Music 204. It’s also got a lot of other good stuff, written by other people, in it too.

Computer Music 203 – Easy Guide: Cadences

Computer Music 203 – Easy Guide: Cadences

CM203 Cover Wide Cadences? What might those be? I hear you ask. Well, I reply, if you really want to know, you need to check out my Easy Guide to Cadences found on page 74 of the May 2014 issue of Computer Music magazine, out this week! Find out the four different types of cadence, what they are, how they’re used and behold some practical examples of their usage in modern music production. Aside from the usual 12-step walkthrough, there is, of course, an accompanying video. Oh, and there’s also a lot of other great stuff in there from the CM team, that I didn’t write! Check it out!

Computer Music 202 – Easy Guide: Augmented & Diminished Chords

Computer Music 202 – Easy Guide: Augmented & Diminished Chords

CM202 Cover Wide Another month, another issue of Computer Music and another Easy Guide from me! This month, the music theory adventure continues with an introduction to augmented and diminished chords. What are they? Why are they here? What can you do with them? These and other equally baffling questions are all answered across the double page spread (with accompanying video of course) starting on page 74 of the April 2014 issue.
Get it while it’s hot (or even when it’s not!)

Computer Music 201 – Easy Guide: Arpeggios

Computer Music 201 – Easy Guide: Arpeggios

CM201 Cover Small My self-imposed long Xmas break means that, while I’m now much more rested, I have fewer pieces around on the shelves at the moment. Most notably, my regular Easy Guide music theory column focusses on Arpeggios in the March 2014 issue of Computer Music. They may have had their ups and downs in the past (see what I did there?), but arpeggios are still a well-established and valid musical tool when it comes to modern productions. My 12-step guide with accompanying video takes you through the basic principles and showcases several examples of arpeggios in use. You can find it on page 74.

Computer Music 200 – Easy Guide: Extensions, Vocal Production Tips, Review: MVintage Rotary

Computer Music 200 – Easy Guide: Extensions, Vocal Production Tips, Review: MVintage Rotary

CM200 Cover In an issue that marks an important milestone for the mag, Computer Music’s 200th issue hits the shelves this week. To mark the occasion, the guys at CM have put together a huge guide made up of 200 production tips in all kinds of categories, from Ableton programming to Mastering. As part of this enormous and incredibly useful feature, you’ll find my 10 vocal production tips on page 44.
Elsewhere in the issue, this month’s music theory Easy Guide is concerned with Extensions, and not the kind you put in your hair either. No, this double-page walkthrough with accompanying video takes you through the process of constructing and using extended chords, breaking out from the limits of triads and cutting loose with more complex and ‘grown-up’ chords, such as 7ths, 9ths, 11ths and 13ths. You’ll find it in its more-or-less normal spot on page 76.
Meanwhile, MeldaProductions’ MVintage Rotary Leslie speaker emulation plug-in gets a thorough workout on page 94. Why not get hold of a copy of this milestone mag to find out whether it got me in a spin or not?

 

Computer Music 199 – Easy Guide: Triplets

Computer Music 199 – Easy Guide: Triplets

CM199 Cover The January 2014 issue of Computer Music, out this week, not only highlights a new year, but also a new music theory Easy Guide from me!
Found on page 74, this month’s Easy Guide is all about triplets. Restraining myself here from making any number of possible jokes about multiple births, my 12-step walkthrough and accompanying video explain exactly what triplets are and how they can be used in a modern musical production context. So if you fancy learning how to effectively squeeze three notes in where there used to be two, give CM199 a whirl!

Computer Music 198 – Easy Guide: Melodic Minor Scale, Automation Masterclass

Computer Music 198 – Easy Guide: Melodic Minor Scale, Automation Masterclass


CM198 Cover
In the December 2013 issue of Computer Music, which is hot off the press and available now, you’ll find two contributions from me. Starting on page 63, my 5-page CM Guide to Automation highlights some of the more interesting things you can do with parameter automation in your DAW. From programming basic linear ramps and parabolic curves to sending ‘spot’ FX and crafting evolving synth sounds, automation is the key to a dynamic mix, and this piece walks you through exactly how to use it in your productions.

Elsewhere, on page 76, you’ll find my regular music theory Easy Guide, and this month we’re all about how to construct and use the Melodic Minor scale. Of course, as well as the usual audio examples and MIDI files, you’ll find video walkthroughs for both pieces on the cover DVD or downloadable from the CM vault if you’ve gone for the digital edition of the mag.

Computer Music 197 – Easy Guide to Ornaments, Clean Up Your Recordings Cover Feature, KMI QuNexus Review

Computer Music 197 – Easy Guide to Ornaments, Clean Up Your Recordings Cover Feature, KMI QuNexus Review

CM197 Cover 500The November 2013 issue of Computer Music is now with us, and in a bumper issue for me this month, I have a total contribution of 10 pages in there. Starting with the huge ‘Clean Up Your Recordings’ cover feature beginning on page 34, it’s an info-packed guide dedicated to rescue remedies; procedures to turn to when things haven’t gone so well at the recording stage and you find yourself needing to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, so to speak. I contributed six pages to this feature, complete with video, detailing how to smooth out harsh guitars with EQ, create double-tracked parts from a single take, fix snare resonance and hi-hat bleed on drum tracks, and replace dodgy drum sounds with high-quality samples.
Elsewhere in the issue, my regular music theory Easy Guide deals with ornaments this month, and we’re not talking about the antique Belgian ceramic cats on your mantelpiece either. To find out what I’m on about, turn to page 74 or watch the accompanying video (on the cover DVD or downloadable from the CM vault), in which all is explained.
Finally, I round off the issue with a double-page review of the remarkable KMI QuNexus USB MIDI controller. An intriguing, rubbery keyboard with all manner of tricks up its tiny sleeves, you can read what I thought of it on page 90.
Loads of other good stuff this issue as always, so check it out today!

Electro Legends: Gary Numan – Cars, Love Hurt Bleed Video Tutorials

Electro Legends: Gary Numan – Cars, Love Hurt Bleed Video Tutorials

Numan ELS CoverThe third, and as it turns out final, instalment of Future Publishing’s Electro Legends Series of digital magazines is now available to download. This time around the focus is on Gary Numan, looking both at his earlier iconic works and also featuring a sneak peek or two at his latest album of new studio material, Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind). My contribution to this edition takes the form of separate video tutorials on how to program synth sounds from two Numan tunes, old and new. Firstly, I demonstrate how to recreate the famous Polymoog lead sound from Gary’s 1979 hit ‘Cars’, swiftly followed by a breakdown of one of the main synth sounds from one of the new album tracks entitled ‘Love Hurt Bleed’.

The digimag also features a four-part video exclusive with the man himself, as well as a 3D video exploration of classic album Replicas and a look at Gary’s synths. It’s available through the free Computer Music and Future Music iPad or iPhone apps at a very reasonable £1.99. Go get it!

Video Tutorial – Create a Basic Trap Build & Drop

Video Tutorial – Create a Basic Trap Build & Drop

You would have to have been living under a rock during February of 2013 to avoid the global internet phenomenon that was Baauer’s Harlem Shake. In this video, taken from my ‘Beats’ cover feature that appeared in issue 194 of Computer Music magazine, I demonstrate the basics of how to assemble your own trap beat from classic 808 drum samples, even throwing in an automated, pitch-shifted snare roll for good measure. If this doesn’t get a bunch of randomly-costumed people throwing themselves around the room, I don’t know what will. Happy trapping!

Computer Music 196 – Easy Guide to Minor Scales, Arturia MiniLab review

Computer Music 196 – Easy Guide to Minor Scales, Arturia MiniLab review

CM196 Cover 500This week marks the launch of issue 196 of Computer Music magazine, and I was on light duties for this one, owing to my having had a well-earned two-weeks’ holiday in August – right after Apple chose to launch Logic Pro X! So sadly I didn’t get to contribute to the massive Logic guide that dominates this issue, although I did get to play with the impressive Arturia MiniLab compact USB keyboard controller, my review of which starts on page 96.
Of course, these days, no issue of CM would be complete without my regular Easy Guide column, and this month I delve into the mysteries of the natural and harmonic minor scales. Twelve steps over two pages, complete with an accompanying video, explain how to construct and use these two forms of the minor scale, so if you’ve ever had a minor interest in the subject, why not have a look?

Electro Legends: Prodigy – “Invaders Must Die” Synth Sound Tutorial

Electro Legends: Prodigy – “Invaders Must Die” Synth Sound Tutorial

Electro Legends ProdigyThe second instalment of Future Publishing’s Electro Legends Series of digital magazines is now available to download via the Computer Music or Future Music iOS apps. Focussing on the work of The Prodigy, my contribution to this edition is a four-step video tutorial demonstrating exactly how to reproduce the kind of grungy, fuzzy dirt-fest that is the lead/bass synth sound from ‘Invaders Must Die‘.
Also included is a classic interview with Liam Howlett, the inside story of the band’s rise to fame by the founder of XL Recordings, a look at the band’s live drum setup, a load of free samples and much more besides, all for a paltry £1.99.

So if you’re a fan of Liam, Keith et al (Al? who’s he?), get your iPad out and download the Prodigy Special today!

Computer Music 195 – DAW to DAW, Syncopation, Logic Pro X Review

Computer Music 195 – DAW to DAW, Syncopation, Logic Pro X Review

CM195 Cover 500Computer Music Issue 195 is now available, and this month I’ve contributed three items – my  regular Easy Guide column, a feature tutorial and a review.
First up, if you’ve ever tried to export a project from one system on one computer and open it successfully on another, you’ll know how tricky it can be. So, on page 55 you’ll find my DAW to DAW feature, a handy five-page guide to transferring projects between different platforms. Encompassing MIDI files, effect and instrument presets, project files and the creation of stems, it takes in file transfer options like Dropbox before showing how to import a set of stems originating from Logic Pro X into a Cubase project.
Elsewhere, Apple’s announcement of Logic Pro X was one of July’s big news items, sending magazine editors and freelancers alike scurrying to shoehorn coverage of the app in before their deadlines. I was lucky enough to snag the official CM review, which starts on page 88 and continues for 3 pages of in-depth examination and honest critique.
Meanwhile, my regular Easy Guide column takes a more rhythmic approach this month, examining the basics of syncopation and what it means to today’s electronic musician. You can find the column in its regular slot on page 70, and the accompanying video can be found on the cover DVD for the print edition, or downloaded from the CM vault for digital editions.
So, with the usual shedload of other good stuff to be found in this issue, it makes for a cracking holiday read. Speaking of which, I’m just off on mine, so have a great summer everyone!

Electro Legends: Kraftwerk – Create the Perfect Robot Vocal

Electro Legends: Kraftwerk – Create the Perfect Robot Vocal

Electro Legends KraftwerkNow, this is an interesting one. Future Publishing have embarked on a new, digital-only venture focussing on legendary synth-pop pioneers. The Electro Legends Series kicks off with a study of German legends Kraftwerk, in the form of a digital magazine, which is available now from within the iOS apps of Computer Music and Future Music magazines.

It’s the first in a new range of digital specials, which is also due to profile artists such as The Prodigy, Hot Chip, Depeche Mode and Gary Numan.

The unofficial app contains interactive features that will appeal to both music makers and regular fans of the artists. The Kraftwerk edition contains a classic interview with founder Ralf Hütter, a contemporary live report, Autobahn revisited, exclusive analysis by OMD’s Andy McCluskey and Ultravox founder John Foxx, plus videos, tutorials, samples and more.

I was honoured to be asked to provide a four-step video tutorial for this pioneering publication, in which I demonstrate how to get the perfect Kraftwerk-style robot vocoder vocal sound.

The Electro Legends Series: Kraftwerk is available now for £1.99. To buy it, simply download the apps of either Computer Music or Future Music.

Computer Music 194 – Beats Cover Feature, Easy Guide to Suspensions, eaReckon CM COMP-87 & CM-EQUA 87

Computer Music 194 – Beats Cover Feature, Easy Guide to Suspensions, eaReckon CM COMP-87 & CM-EQUA 87

CM194 Cover 500I’m very happy to announce that the September 2013 issue of Computer Music is now available, containing my humongous Beats cover feature. Starting on page 30, it’s a 14-page juggernaut covering the basics of how to program drums in a number of genres, including house, drum n bass, dubstep, trap, hip hop and RnB. It also delves into sourcing the right sounds for each genre, and I show you how to program beats using both MIDI and audio region-based techniques. It’s a proper mine of information, and on top of all this, there are no less than 10 videos to accompany the walkthroughs, and the usual array of audio examples and MIDI files too.
Elsewhere in the issue, on page 68 you’ll find the third instalment of my music theory Easy Guide column – this month you get two pages exploring suspensions and suspended chords, and there’s a video to accompany the 12-step walkthrough featured in this piece as well.
Continuing on the video theme (it’s small wonder that I got RSI last month – Repetitive Screencast Injury!) I got to contribute this month’s DVD tutorial feature on the marvellous free plug-in that’s being given away with the issue – the eaReckon CM-COMP 87 virtual analog compressor. Over 18 steps I take you through all the parameters and controls, demonstrating how to use the unit in a number of real-world scenarios, and you can see it all happening as there’s an accompanying video for this too!
Last but not least, in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of way, I’ve also managed to shoehorn in this month’s Quick Guide feature on pages 16 and 17. This month it’s all about eaReckon as I take you on a tour of the front panel of the CM-EQUA 87 parametric equalizer that comes free every month as part of the CM plug-ins collection.
So, as you can see, I’ve been a busy boy this month, with a total of 21 pages and 12 video tutorials in this one issue – my single largest contribution yet (I think)!

Computer Music 193 – Vocals Cover Feature, Harmonisation, Zebra CM and Nektar P1 Review

Computer Music 193 – Vocals Cover Feature, Harmonisation, Zebra CM and Nektar P1 Review

CM193 Cover 500The August 2013 issue of Computer Music is out now, and in a packed issue for me this month, I’ve written the cover feature guide about how to get great vocals by various different means, and what to do with them once you’ve got them to make them sound epic. Spanning a whopping total of 13 pages, it covers:

• Tweaking vocal samples to fit your track
• Recording vocalists
• Using online vocal session services
• Using vocal compression and effects for a professional sound
• Comping a perfect vocal from multiple takes
• Beefing up backing vocals
• Arranging ad-libs using a sampler
• And loads more…

All this is, of course, accompanied by the usual throng of videos, audio examples and step-by-step walkthroughs to guide you through the processes involved. The feature starts on page 32, and I’m really proud of it. A lot of work went into it, and the CM team have made it look fantastic, so many thanks to Lee, James and everybody involved.

This issue also marks the 2nd instalment of the ‘Dave Clews Easy Guide’ music theory column. This month I attempt to de-mystify basic harmonisation – in other words, I show you an easy way to find the chords that work best with any given melody, using a twelve-step guide and, of course, a video too. You’ll find the column on page 72.

Elsewhere in the issue, on page 102, you get to read what I thought of the Nektar Panorama P1 control surface with deep integration with Reason and Cubase. The verdict might not be what you’d think!

Finally, if you turn to page 16, you’ll find my 4-page, in-depth guide to all the features and controls of the brilliant u-He ZebraCM synth that comes free with the mag every month as part of the 30-strong CM Plug-ins suite. This synth really is amazing considering that it’s a giveaway – this alone is well worth picking up any single copy of the mag, packing a sonic punch that you would have had to shell out hundreds of pounds for not even five years ago.

So if all that isn’t reason enough to head into Smith’s for a copy, or download the digital version via Newsstand or Zinio, I don’t know what is!

Video Tutorial – How to Use a Compressor (CM190 HorNet Fat-Fet)

Video Tutorial – How to Use a Compressor (CM190 HorNet Fat-Fet)

Hornet Fat Fet Video StillHere’s a link to a recent video tutorial I did that appeared on the cover DVD of the May 2013 issue (CM190) of Computer Music magazine.

It gives you a guided tour of what all the knobs and buttons do on the HorNet Fat-Fet vintage analogue-style compressor plug-in, which is kind of cool and can be found given away free with each issue, print or digital. Aside from that though,  it also functions as a useful primer on how compressors work generally, and what it is that they do. So if you’ve ever wondered what a compressor really does, or you fancy bagging a free one for use in your own projects, why not check it out?