An Exclusive Holiday Gift from Ostraka

Here’s a set I recorded live to Ableton during a performance at Nick and Eddie Thursday Funhouse hosted by Jon Davis, December 16, 2010. This is all new material that I’ve been working on, except for the last track, which is a remix of Illuminator Console from Precambrian Resonance (Unearthed Music 2009). Here’s the download link for the 37:28 minute set hosted on Unearthed Music. Expect to hear lots of Grain Machine, as well as synth sounds from the Casio CZ-1000, the Korg MS2000, the Roland D-50, my Sequential Circuits Pro-One, some old Hammond rhythm programs, and even a little bit of Rhodes electric piano.

Download Live Ostraka Set at Nick and Eddie Thursday Funhouse (89.9 MB)

André Michelle at Flashbelt 2010

Yesterday I had the distinct pleasure of introducing André Michelle at the Flashbelt conference in Minneapolis. André is the lead developer of Audiotool. If you’re not familiar with Audiotool it is, in my view, the best web based audio production application I have ever seen. The bulk of André’s presentation involved showing Flash built demos of advanced audio functionality, like granular synthesis, guitar modeling, and using physical modeling to influence sounds and sequences.

Toward the end of his presentation he brought Audiotool into the mix. Audiotool is an application built in Flash. The nearest thing I could compare it to is Reason. The biggest difference is that it runs on the web. This allows for social media opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. Instruments built into Audiotool, include very convincing emulation of several popular Roland devices, like the TR-808 and the TB-303. It also includes a modular synth called Pulverisateur and a number of effect processors.

Finally, there is an audio track module that allows you to bring in samples stored within a pretty big library provided by Loopmasters. You can’t bring in your own samples yet, but André assured us it was in the works.

André played me a few examples of some of his favorite user generated tracks from Audiotool and I was very impressed with the sound quality and scope. It’s easy to dismiss a web based audio application as a novelty, but the community around it is creating some totally professional sounding stuff that can’t be ignored.

Leafcutter John Remix Competition

ACB contributor, recording artist, educator, one-man-software-house, installation artist, and luthier, Leafcutter John is having a remix competition. Click the image for more details on how to enter the competition. I’d love to be involved, but am too busy with my GMS and other projects at the moment. Hopefully some ACB readers will take this on so I can live vicariously through them. There’s lots of really good remixes already, so get cracking!

Colors Shifting Remix by ten72

A few years back I decided to enter a remix contest presented by ccMixter and XLR8R Magazine. The track to be remixed was “Colors Shifting” by Ghostly International recording artist Christopher Willits. Of course the contest was almost over when I started so I was really just doing it for shear creativity. I used only a small amount of samples that were available which included a string section, voice and guitar sound I think. One of my favorite sections of this remix was created by sampling my own bass harmonics and then programing them into a pretty melodic pattern. I had a couple email conversations with Chris himself letting him know that I couldn’t finish it in time. He was nice enough to let me know he would consider a late submission but I ended up working on it for another month and kept it to myself until now. 


Listen to the original version of Colors Shifting.

Video Game Music Remixes: Tetris

As I have mentioned in previous entries I give an assignment in my audio production class on importing MIDI files and producing music using Propellerheads Reason. The goal of the assignment is to learn about MIDI as an interface, protocol, and file format, and to learn some of the basics of Reason.

Usually I demonstrate how to do this with a MIDI file from Classical Archives, but I also use popular music examples from, and I always get an enthusiastic response when using a MIDI file from a video game. A great site for video game MIDI files is

Consequently, many of the projects turned in are remixes of video game music. This quarter I have a student who is planning on submitting his work to Overclocked Remix, a site dedicated entirely to remixes of video game music. Another talented student named Ben Siegel produced this excellent version of the theme from Tetris that starts out with piano and then builds into a disco classic.

Tetris Remix by Ben Siegel