Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day 317: VJ loops - The best visual loops on the internet

A coupla days back we reviewed some audio loops from the kind people at Prime Loops. Well it's not just the audio guys that get to have all the fun.

VJ's have been around since year dot and, to us DJ's are a strange and curious breed. DJ's are show-boaters who like to rock parties etc, VJ's however are more visual artists, than "Video Jockey". These guys have dark and secret ceremonies, laws, and rituals.

Don't confuse VJs with people like Yoda, who uses video in his routines, but as an extension of music, rather than for the joy of the visuals themselves.

Tho more and more DJs are including a visual element into their sets, these die hard dudes that work all night, and often in the background really do deserve a bunch of credit.

So where might a wannabe VJ go to get his loops? Look no further than VJ . I know these guys personally, and whole heartedly endorse their merchandise. These guys live loops, and practice what they preach. Kyle, one of the guys behind VJ Loops recently came back from an Indonesian tour working with the Black Eyed Peas, and Paul Van Dyke.

The whole subject of VJing is way too broad for me to cover here, but feel free to shoot on over to VJ loops and hassle them for info on kit, and how to get started. Tell em Bang the DJ sent you.





Friday, November 13, 2009

Day 316: Free online Synthesizer

Back on day 158 we told you about the free online sequencer, now we present to you, the free online synthesizer from Grape solutions.

It's built using Microsoft's Silverlight technology, which you may already have seen web-sites using for smooth maps and similar such uses, basically it's like a thinking man's version of Flash.

This thing is pretty CPU intensive, but quite good fun once you start having a play around. There are demo songs and what looks like a rudimentary sequencer too.

We haven't had time to play around properly, but certainly will over the next few days. If anyone comes up with anything interesting be sure to let us know.

Check it out here.




Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 315: Product Review - Bassline 4x4 UK Garage by Prime Loops

Our friends at Prime Loops have been kind enough to provide us with some review copies of their loop packages. Loops are an essential tool in any music producers arsenal.

We will be reviewing various different genre 'construction packs' every fortnight, and on this occasion we kick off with "Bassline 4x4" Vol 1 + 2.

The first important thing with loops is naturally the audio quality. You're not even going to get started if the audio is poor. ALL Prime Loops samples are recorded at full wav capacity/44Khz in a professional studio.

The packs generally come in a well organised set of folders sorted by type, BPM and or Key depending on the nature of the loop.

When you think of loops, you might instantly think of pre-recorded 'riffs' or melodies, and of course drum loops. While you do get a whole bunch of great usable loops, you also get stacks of pads and hits, which allow you all the creativity you might get from any regular synth patch.

The loops are also available in a ton of formats to suit almost any software you might want to use. For example pre made rex files are available, giving you extra flexibility with the loops beyond just the raw sound file.

In the 4x4 Bassline pack, not only do we have Bass sounds as you might expect, but also Chords, Stabs, percussion and even Vocals.

The sounds in this pack vary from the dark and grimey bass patches, through to quite ravey stabs. All very UK club sounding, and ideal for Garage, D&B, Dub-Step, Grime, Electro and more.

People have a tendency to assume that to use loops you must forfeit some creativity. I don't think anything can be further from the truth. This isn't eJay remember ;).

Sometimes when you've been carving away at a sound on you favorite synth, you can hit a block. Firing up one of these sample packs allows you to explore ideas you might otherwise have never thought of. This can lead to a sudden regeneration of the creative process, opening the flood gates.

With some clever use of the samples, you can actually come up with something that is a million miles from the original sound, and miles away from where you were going before, it really is quite a tonic.

There are some free samples for this pack on the prime loops web-site, but here is an 8 bar demo I knocked up using a mix of sounds available (most are hits dropped into a sampler with an original arrangement).




Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day 314: Good collection of online audio resources.

I stumbled upon this site pretty much by accident, I don't even remember what it was that I was looking for at the time.

Simple as the page may seem, if you actually look at the amount of audio and related links there it's quite impressive.

Effectively some sort of (apparently) human maintained audio directory, you really can find some darn useful nuggets of info (ie resources) there. So much so that, like me, you could end up wasting an hour there trawling all sorts of various sites!

Check it out here...




Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day 313: Let's Mix - Pacemaker's 'Youtube for DJ mixes'

Wonder DJ gadget manufacturer Pacemaker have been running a site where you can upload your Pacemaker mixes pretty much since they launched the product. Lately however it seems that it is gaining more and more popularity with non Pacemaker owners as a place to upload your mixes.

Due to this rise in popularity, and slight departure from its original intended use, the guys at Pacemaker are set to launch a new site called "Let's Mix" in a month or so. This will be dedicated to hosting DJ mixes of all varieties, and promises to boast a whole bunch of excellent features, that simply don't fit on the existing site.

So what can we expect? Well for starters we can be sure the emphasis will simply be on finding and sharing music, which is what you want from a DJ mix site naturally. Also we can expect good quality stats to see how well your mixes are doing, and embedded player that plays seamlessly while you browse the site, also allowing for the play listing of mixes, enabling you to keep the stream going all day!

Last of all, the now ubiquitous Social networking share options. Allowing for those handy one click postings to your favourite sites.

Pacemaker have always been innovative and upfront, so I am really looking forward to this. Whilst there are other sites such as Sound Cloud, and Mix Cloud that do similar things, you can be sure those clever Swedes will come up with something clean and effective that could well change the game.




Monday, November 9, 2009

Day 312: Beat Juggle on the iPhone

Just days after we wrote this article about the first full bodied DJ application for iPhone, along comes this:

Awesome fun by the looks of it.

OK So it's not going to replace any serious software, but again it certainly looks like something that could be great fun for playing with ideas etc while on the move. Maybe even good for messing about at parties, or the odd exclusive show.

made by the wonderfully named The Strange Agency and with a delicious user interface, and an almost laughably cheap 99c price tag, it's a total no brainer.




Sunday, November 8, 2009

Day 311: Your city's sound...

Recently we explored the wonder that is Imagine my delight then when I found a sweet site the other day that is the Yang, to Globals Yin.

Where Global Soundtracks celebrates the wondrous complexity of world music, this site, is all about keeping it local.

It's basically a site that reads off the location data from songs on Sound Cloud, and then groups them into cities. You can then vote for your own city by twittering it etc. This forms some sort of league.

When you go into a city, it offers you up the latest racks to be uploaded to soundcloud from that location, in a nifty little on-the fly local radio style thing.

I don't know if they are affiliated with Sound Cloud, or are merely using the API, either way I like the simplicity and cleverness of the idea a lot.

Oh, by the way, lookie who's there on the Bristol page (well at time of writing anyway).