Have a listen to my latest release, Continuum.

My latest album, Continuum, has been released!

(This is just one of the eight tracks on the release. Click through to listen to more.)

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Deconstructing the Boards of Canada (BoC) Sound and Music

 

Boards of Canada are a personal favorite band of mine and I have studied their music with the aim of learning how they achieved their distinctive sound.

Here are what I have learned so far (I will continue to add to this page as I learn more).

 

Continue reading

Musical Modes Characteristics

Here are how I characterize the different musical modes:

Ionian or Major – Bright and joyful.

Aeolian or Minor – Sad and oppressive.

Dorian – Sad but hopeful. Like the minor scale but with a slight difference that is the raised 6th note (the Dorian 6th).

Phrygian – Dark and tension-filled. Great for heavy metal, flamenco and jazz. It has an oriental and Spanish feel to it.

Lydian – Mystical and mainly used in jazz. It is a major scale with a raised 4th.

Mixolydian – Blues, rock, jazz, and funk use this one. Similar to the major scale in feel, but with a bit of a difference.

Locrian – Unstable and tense is the Locrian scale’s forte. It has a dissonance to it.

U-he Satin Preset for Simulating Dolby HX Pro

Dolby HX Pro Headroom Expansion was a method used in tape recordings in the 80’s to give an improved signal-to-noise ratio. As a result, the recordings were much more powerful-sounding with clarity and presence as well as low-end strength. It did this by introducing a bias signal at the high frequency to push the recording out of the inherent non-linearities of tape.

I had one of the tape decks that could record in HX Pro and it made every recording just shine. I wanted to achieve this with today’s vst plugins and I believe I finally have with the U-he Satin tape simulating plugin.

Satin is an incredibly versatile product with many settings to emulate vintage tape decks. To get the HX Pro sound, I had to be a bit creative with the settings.

Instead of going into detail about it here, I thought I would just give you the preset I made that works for me. Continue reading

Creating the Xfer Records Dimension Expander in FL Studio

Xfer Records Dimension Expander is a free vst plugin effect that makes any synth or instrument sound much “wider.” This means more presence and stereo effect.

I wanted to create this in FL Studio using the stock plugins, so first I had to understand what the Dimension Expander plugin was doing. It seems to be modeled on an old trick where the incoming signal is split and the split-half is phase inverted and then fed back into the main signal that is not. Then there is some delay added. This is what powered the Roland Dimension D, a piece of hardware from the 80’s.

Fortunately, you can get something that sounds quite similar, and maybe even better, from FL Studio. I used the Fruity Stereo Shaper plugin. Continue reading

Sonic Charge’s Synplant Synth (vst) Presets: “Vintage”

Sonic Charge’s Synplant soft synth plugin is remarkably versatile in the number of sounds it can create as well as the unusual way they can be created. Sounds are grown like plants right on the screen and if that is not weird enough, you can go in and modify the DNA of the plants as well!

It comes as a vst file type of plugin that works in your DAW (digital audio workstation). I use it in FL Studio.

It is extremely addicting to “grow” different sounds right in front of your eyes and I’ve spent hours noodling around with it.

I have come up with some unique vintage synth and lo-fi sounds from it that I’ve bundled into a set of presets. I call them “Vintage” because they have that “Boards of Canada” sound. They are available here: https://gum.co/synplantvintage

Below is a preview video on YouTube of all of the sounds included in my sound bank “Vintage”:

You must own Synplant in order for my presets to work for you. You can get Synplant at Sonic Charge’s web site: https://soniccharge.com/synplant

Creating the Xfer Records OTT in Fabfilter Pro-MB

Xfer Records gives away a free plugin effect called OTT that is a three band compressor. It performs upward and downward compression and is a recreation of the Ableton Live OTT setting  (Over the Top) in their compressor.

I like it because it gives a bright and vibrant sound quality to any track it is applied. Also, it is free.

But, I wanted more control like I can get from Fabfilter’s Pro-MB multi-band compressor. So, I set out to replicate it. I found it quite easy once you know what the OTT is doing: Continue reading