Netbook orchestra!

Being a sick and twisted person I actually enjoy some amount of limitations in my musical tools. Limitations can be frustrating, no doubt about it, but they can also be inspiring and, for me, strangely liberating. I’m a tinkerer if there ever was one and anything that forces me to keep things simple and get things done — instead of spending hours and days exploring endless possibilites — is a good thing. I’m guessing this helps explain why I’m still using decades-old sample libraries on an ageing quad core machine and don’t even have the decency of apologizing for it.

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Posted in Music, Plugins, Samples, Technology | 3 Comments

Site theme updated

I have updated the site’s theme a bit. Hit Ctrl+F5 to clear the cache and reload if you can’t see any difference.

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The sample quality myth Pt 4: The human factor

Took a bit longer than anticipated, but the fourth and final installment of The sample quality myth article series is now up. It’s called The human factor and deals with both desirable and undesirable human elements in our sample-based compositions.

Enjoy, and let me know if you have any questions!

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Choosing a Reverb article updated

I have done a bit of housekeeping on the Choosing a Reverb article, adding Sanford Reverb to the list of recommended freeware reverbs and removing Ambience from it. I have also updated the description of Eos as I now own it and have some experience with using it.

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Talisman: The Horus Heresy is out!

Talisman: The Horus Heresy is now released! The soundtrack is also available for purchase via Steam.

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Hope you’ll enjoy it!

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Talisman: The Horus Heresy

It’s now official. The soundtrack project I’ve been working on the latest months is none other than a title set in Games Workshop’s classic Warhammer 40,000 universe, namely:

Talisman: The Horus Heresy

Developed by Nomad Games and using the Talisman ruleset, THH retells the tale of the pivotal galactic civil war that took place 10,000 years prior to the WH40k game setting.

The game is scheduled for release in February 2016.

Please note: the trailer music is not mine.

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Lego Heroica — Late to the party as usual

I’ve been a big fan of fantasy board games for ages, and I’ve been looking for some good way of getting my six year-old daughter interested in this magical pastime. Sure, there are plenty of board games for children but let’s face it: if you’ve been playing more advanced stuff for decades, even the “regular” board games for adults will bore you to tears in just a few turns (Monopoly? Seriously?). So, most of the stuff aimed at kids feels completely pointless. I’ve been looking for a game that we both can enjoy and get into.

Sadly, there aren’t a lot of fantasy games for younger kids. I’ve been recommended a few titles — Mice and Mystics, for example — which look like a lot of fun, but are maybe slightly too complex for a six year-old. In a couple of years, yeah, but not right now.

I have some old Lord of the Rings board game with pretty straightforward rules that we’ve been playing from time to time for over a year. Only problem is… it’s not really a lot of fun. The whole premise is somewhat odd and we’ve ended up having to alter so much of the rules that we might as well play some entirely different game instead.

Then a few weeks back I realized that the answer had been there right in front of me the entire time.

Heroica

My daughter’s crazy about Lego. And to be honest, so am I. During a visit to a local thrift shop I picked up a copy of Lego Heroica Draida Bay, and the first time we played it was a real eureka! moment. It’s a simplistic fantasy dungeon crawler, made with Lego. And we had a great time playing it. It instantly met every requirement I had!

Ironically, I’ve seen these games in various toy shops over the last years but I’ve always dismissed them because, well, they didn’t look that great and were kind of expensive. And now that we’ve discovered them… they’re not being sold anymore. Figures.

They’re still available on the used market, thankfully, and we’ve managed to get hold of Waldurk Forest as well. I’m keeping an eye out for the other titles. Castle Fortaan looks awesome!

To anyone else looking to introduce their kids to the wonders of fantasy board games — you should really give the Heroica games a try. Yes, the rules are dead simple but it’s easy to expand upon them. Battle Heroica — basically an RPG/strategy variant of the rules — is by far the most fun, where one player controls a party of heroes and the other the monsters. My daughter always wants to control the monsters, and usually kicks my butt with much glee. I think I see a GM in the making there…

Posted in Games, Miscellaneous | 2 Comments

Share knowledge, don’t hoard it

Considering that I’m a tiny tadpole in a huge pond and not even extremely experienced as far as virtual orchestrations go, I understand that writing lengthy articles about this subject might be perceived as hubris of the highest degree. Every posting of a new article comes with a sense of trepidation, thinking “oh shit, someone more knowledgable is going to step in here and whup my ass”. So far this hasn’t happened, probably because I’m mostly preaching to the choir here.

Anyway, my reasons for writing these articles aren’t what you might initially think. It’s not about showing off or being a know-it-all. I just happen to think that knowledge should be shared, not hoarded. My knowledge might be flawed and/or incomplete, but as it’s based on actual experience over a long period of time, I think it might just be of use to people.

Let me give you a bit of background.

When I started out doing “modern” virtual orchestrations (i.e. when I moved from MIDI hardware to software samplers and samples) around 2005, there was simply not a lot of helpful information available online. Or more correctly, there probably were, but mainly intermediate/advanced stuff I couldn’t make sense of because I was very green. There was nothing in the way of “orchestral arranging for dummies” or “what you’ve always wanted to know about working with instrument samples but were afraid to ask”.

Keep in mind that back then, everyone but the Gigastudio-wielding big shots (like Jeremy Soule) were all pretty new to the computer-based virtual orchestration thing. It was an emerging technology — GPO was still the new kid on the block, flaunting its sacrilegious notion of “putting orchestras within everyone’s reach” — and there was a lot of conflicting information around. Hardly anyone was experienced enough to be of any major help to anyone else, so it was a very confusing time.

For me it was basically a long process of trial and error, trawling through hundreds of forum threads and well-meaning but obtuse online articles, trying to separate the wheat from the chaff. In the end, I’m happy I spent the time reading and learning all the stuff that I did, but I’ve always felt that, you know, it shouldn’t be that difficult.

And today, ten years later, suddenly I have the opportunity of sharing my knowledge with a bigger audience. I would be ashamed to let people learn everything the hard way, like I did.

I stand by my words when presenting the Orchestral positioning articles, “If I’m going to wait until my knowledge is all-encompassing, I will go to my grave without having uttered a single word of advice to anyone.”

It’s as simple as that.

Posted in Articles, Miscellaneous, Music, Rants | 2 Comments

The sample quality myth Pt 3 is up!

Read it here.

Stand by for the fourth and final part later this week.

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The sample quality myth: New article series

A few weeks ago I happened across a completely lopsided discussion about virtual orchestration on a well known music forum (which shall remain unnamed and not-linked-to), and it struck me that I’ve seen this exact topic come up over and over again for years and yet to this day people are giving really unhelpful and/or misleading responses. This inspired me to write a quick blog post on the matter. But you know me — I can never make a long story short.

So, without further ado, I present to you an article series dubbed The sample quality myth. Part one and part two are up, the following parts will hopefully be published sometime next week.

Enjoy.

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