New Workflow, New Tracks

A few weeks ago I decided to kick some new life into my music workflow and bought myself Native Instruments’ Maschine. I had a lot of fun using the Roland MC-808 a few years ago, but eventually its lack of good software support and DAW integration caught up to me and it turned into a big paperweight. Turns out it was a good time to buy Maschine too, as NI just implemented VST support into the software, among a bunch of other cool new stuff.

So far I’ve been loving it. The software and hardware have both been exceptionally intuitive and well-integrated, with hardly any technical issues in the way (the one exception so far being audio routing, e.g. for sidechaining or vocoding). So my biggest problem with the MC-808 was arrangement, and I suspect this holds true with groovebox-style production in general. It’s great to just get in and start sequencing loops, but arranging those loops into an actual track always felt cumbersome or dry and boring. Maschine’s drag&drop audio (not to mention loop optimization) really bridges that gap for me.

Unfortunately Renoise, my DAW of choice, isn’t well-supported by the standalone Maschine software for drag&drop. Although I think it’s possible to integrate via Maschine’s VST through midi/program changes, that route really sounds like a workflow hindrance to me. Plus, with all the years I worked with creating loops on my XP-50 and arranging in Acid, I really got used to the multitracker layout. So I decided to give Ableton Live another shot. Live too has been extremely intuitive to learn and fun to use as an arrangement tool, and feels like the perfect complement to the ease of Maschine’s loop-based paradigm.

TL;DR: Using Maschine and Live now, though I’m always going to love Renoise =)

 

Whittles & Sticks

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Sporkii and I have been playing Super Mario Galaxy 2 and really liked these little characters we found in a couple of galaxies. Apparently they’re called Whittles! They looked really simple so I whipped up some quick models and slapped on some procedural wood textures. Also using Multiscatter for the grass, but had to go a funky route to get color variation in mental ray using the submap material and creating multiple copies of the same proxy in order to have it randomly distributed.

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More playing around with Multiscatter, using noise to modulate rotation on a bunch of boxes. Unfortunately I forgot to save out z-depth AND the max file (was just a temp thing to play around with) so no fancy DOF on this one. The close one is curved from lens distortion.

Live Drum&Bass Mix 024 2-28-11

Mostly chilled out D&B mix I did a few weeks ago with a bunch of tracks from the inspiring Mosaic Vol. 1 compilation. Near the end I decided to throw in a few oldschool 90s tracks for fun, and ultimately capped it off with Croms’ epic 80s synth track “Invisible Cities”.

Tracklist:

Consequence – A Man and a Woman
Nether – Dimensional Space Jazz
Rockwell – Aria
Synth Sense – After Dark
Sam KDC & Mr Smith – Before I Fall
Scuba – In 2
Razorpoint – Poison Kisses
Subwave – Ubik
Panic Girl – Blue Lights (dBridge remix)
They Live – Pure Palms
Alix Perez – Fade Away
Lenzman feat. Riya – Open Page
Dan Harbanham – Nu Este Roz
dBridge – Rendezvouz
Bop – Somnambula
Alix Perez – 1984
Stray – Pushed
Commix – City Section
Gerwin & Suree – Hide & Seek
Phaeleh & Soundmouse – Afterglow (dBridge’s faded light remix)
Dillinja – Promise
Seba – Move On (dub)
Alex Reece – Ibiza
Eugenix – 3 Days
Art of Noise – Opus 4 (PFM remix)
Omni Trio – Renegade Snares (Rob’s Reconstruction Mix)
Wilkinson – Hypnosis
Bungle & Index – Forgotten Souls
Croms – Invisible Cities

So I’m thinking I’ll rotate out a mix once a month to save minutes on my SoundCloud page. Downloads enabled so grab it if you like it =)

Pushing Boundaries

Testing out some new stuff:

* aa_stonePlacementTools, which creates some nice, procedural quad stone patterns I quite like.
* 3ds max’s native object paint to scatter leaves, grass, rocks and stuff. Had mixed luck with it actually placing objects on to the scene where I’d like them, but otherwise seemed responsive and flexible.
* mental ray displacement down to 1px, seeing how far it can be pushed without crashing. The patterned texture was an accident, but I continued with it because I liked the look. Reminds me of some tedious exacto-cut paper craft.
* Using Multiscattertexture to vary color of scattered leaves. Works wonders~

I ran them all through Photoshop Camera Raw for some extra color lovin’, though the tree test environment has too many ugly tiling/UV problems to deserve it.