I have been experimenting with Propellerhead music software. I’ve had it lying about for some time now, but I never bothered to dig into it – probably because I’d heard that it was mostly being used by techno, dance, dub and rap composers. Frankly the breadth of names and styles in popular music today kind of overwhelms me and I feel like I can’t keep up with each new variant… but that’s beside the point. What is relevant is that whenever I heard someone mention Reason in an interview, their music would – more often than not – turn out to be groove based, with heavy emphasis on loops, synths and arppegiated sounds. I have a couple musician friends who rarely go off the acoustic path and they refer to that groove based sound with a generalist’s sweep of the hand as “ “Electronica” or “Techno”… I guess it’s easier to try and define yourself by what you’re not as opposed to what you are… whatever.. .. But since I don’t really work in those styles I figured – wrongly it turns out – that the Propellerhead software and other sequencer based composition tools such as Ableton Live weren’t going to float my boat. So I was pleasantly surprised when I finally loaded up the Reason/Record combo and started playing around with them. The first thing I noticed was how user friendly and “tactile” much of the interface felt. The second was how good the software sounded. The third was how little power (CPU, RAM and Disk access throughput) the software required. And the fourth was the seamless rewiring into Protools. Lastly, I realized that I could easily integrate the software into the style of music I tend to write without significantly changing what I was doing. Check out both “Leukemia” and “Don’t want what you need”. For Leukemia, I used synths and resamples of existing instruments to help build emotion in specific sections of the song. “Don’t want what you need” was written and recorded entirely in Reason/Record and then rewired into Protools for vocals and mixing. The vocoder like bit at the end was done by taking a bit of the lead vocal, sampling and tweaking in Reason and then flying it back into Ptools during the mix. That Vocal effect is by no means new or groundbreaking.. But up till now it was really hard for me to pull it off, and I can use that same technique in a much less heavy handed way that will really enhance a vocal and instrument blend without sounding “effected”. This first attempt was really just an experiment to see how over top I could take it..
So, yeah, I’m pretty excited about integrating Propellerhead software into my writing. I’m working on another piece that’s about 50/50 between Ptools and Reason/Record. It’s coming along nicely and I can’t wait to share it with you.