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!

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!

Computer Music 192 – Pentatonic Scales, Modulation Cover Piece, Dune CM, WaveShaper CM

Computer Music 192 – Pentatonic Scales, Modulation Cover Piece, Dune CM, WaveShaper CM

CM192 Cover 500Big news today here at – I’m really happy to announce that I’m now officially a columnist! Yes, the July 2013 issue of Computer Music magazine is finally here, and it contains the first instalment of my regular monthly ‘Dave Clews’ Easy Guide’ music theory column. This first one is about the power of the pentatonic scale, and it spans two pages with two six-step walkthroughs that outline how to construct and use pentatonic scales within a practical production context, accompanied by a video that you can find on the covermount DVD (or download from the CM vault if you have the digital edition). I even get a photo byline, a small bio and a link to this page, so if you’ve come here via CM193, welcome!
Elsewhere in the mag, I’ve contributed quite a bit of other stuff to this issue too. Apart from my column on page 70, I’ve written the first five pages (33-38) of the cover feature, a massive guide to modulation. Looking in-depth at the way different kinds of modulation are used in synth sound design, and featuring lots of practical examples, with video, of how they can be applied in  real world music-making scenarios, the feature covers:

LFO’s – what they are and how to use them

ADSR Envelopes and how they can be used to modulate a sound

Complex, multipoint envelopes – now these are very cool!

… and lots more besides.

I also have the DVD tutorial this month, found on page 6 and detailing the features of the rather marvellous Cableguys WaveShaper CM plug-in, a combination of a digital oscilloscope and waveshaper that you can’t get anywhere else – it’s only available from CM, either on the cover DVD or as a download with the digital edition!

As if that wasn’t enough, starting on page 16 I’ve also done the CM Plug-ins Quick Guide, which this month is a four-page guide to the ins an outs of the fantastic Dune CM soft synth that’s also given away free (along with about 30 other plug-ins) every month.
Quite a landmark issue for me this, and I’m proud to say that I take up a total of 14 pages in this one. And with the second instalment of my column already written and the video already shot and edited, I can confidently say that you’ll be seeing at least two pages of me in the mag every month from now on!

Computer Music 191 – Classic Keys Cover Feature (with Video) plus KR-Delay CM & VPS Philta CM

Computer Music 191 – Classic Keys Cover Feature (with Video) plus KR-Delay CM & VPS Philta CM

CM191 Cover 500

Huge excitement today as my massive, 13-page ‘Classic Keys’ cover feature hits the shelves at last on the front of Computer Music’s June 2013 issue. Beginning on page 32, it’s all about how to get the best from today’s finest virtual keyboard instruments and create convincing piano, electric piano and organ parts using your computer.

• How real pianos, electric pianos and tonewheel organs work.
• How to recreate certain playing styles in a MIDI sequencer
• Programming dance piano chords
• Programming convincing sustain pedal performance data
• Using drawbars on a virtual Hammond B3
• How to choose the best virtual piano, Rhodes & organ plug-ins
And much more besides.

Every walkthrough guide also has an accompanying video on the cover DVD (or downloadable from the website via the digital editions). I’ve been dying to see this in print since I wrote it back in January, so if you want to get sounds like the likes of Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Smith, Billy Joel, Supertramp and other classic keyboard wizards into your tunes, grab a copy and check it out!

As a bonus, elsewhere in the issue, starting on page 16 I also take the helm of the regular ‘cm plug-ins Quick Guide‘ slot. Two pages each cover how to navigate your way around the front panels of KResearch’s KR-Delay CM stereo delay unit and Vengeance-Sound’s Philta CM superb dual filter plug-in. Both these special edition plug-ins are only available with the magazine, along with an ever-growing stable of other high-quality virtual instruments and effects.

17 pages in one issue – I think that might be a new personal best…… at least until next month’s issue!

MacUser Vol. 28 No. 18 – OS X’s Hidden Helpers.  I made the front cover!!

MacUser Vol. 28 No. 18 – OS X’s Hidden Helpers. I made the front cover!!

Excuse my excitement (and the accompanying double exclamation marks), but it’s not every day that a feature you’ve conceived, written and illustrated becomes the main cover feature of one of the UK’s most eminent computer magazines.

Shining the spotlight on the hidden apps lurking in your Mac’s Utilities folder, this eight-page feature is the latest, and hopefully not the last, in a slow-yet-steady stream of pieces I’ve had published in MacUser over the last year or so, but this is the first time one of my articles has been featured so prominently. Hopefully people will find it useful, as I know that I for one, prior to researching the piece, had no clue what the majority of the apps in this folder were for, and there is some really quite useful stuff in there. It goes without saying that all the information in the piece is bang up to date and Mountain-Lion savvy, outlining any major changes implemented with the new operating system in any of the applications covered.

To discover the secrets that lie within, pick up a copy from Smiths or download it to your iDevice, Mac or PC via Zinio. Be quick though – MacUser is published every two weeks, so this issue will only be around for another few days! The article begins on p.56, and I have to take this opportunity to say a huge thanks to Adam and the MacUser team for making it look so good.

Massive Delay Feature Makes the Cover of Computer Music 179

They say that as you get older, your features get bigger. Well, that definitely seems to be true in my case at the moment, as hitting the shelves today is issue 179 of Computer Music, which contains my truly enormous, 12-page guide to using delay effects. Bristling with techniques and walkthroughs, many of which are backed up by video tutorial files on the cover disc, this comprehensive guide to one of the most useful effects in music follows hot on the heels of my recent 11-page GarageBand feature for iCreate, setting a new personal best for me in terms of page quantity. I’m really excited to see this in print, as it took almost two weeks to produce and is my biggest commission yet. So don’t delay – get down to the newsagents and pick up a copy, or order the digital edition online today!

More MacUser Column Inches

Happy New Year everyone!

After a hugely enjoyable Christmas break for both me and my trusty MacBook, I’ve hit the ground running with a short contribution to the cover feature in the current issue of MacUser magazine. The feature deals with broadening your creative horizons by expanding your Mac skillset into other areas, such as video, CGI, photography, web design or app development. I was chuffed to be asked to contribute to the Music section, and you’ll find the results on page 48 of the 6th January 2012 issue.
The first working week of this year has also been taken up with work on an exciting 6-page feature for another upcoming MacUser issue – watch this space for more details later this month!