April 11, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Guest blogger Steven Williams got to look at the MPC Fly at Musikmesse and sent us his thoughts:
The new Akai MPC Fly combines two of the most iconic musical production tools of the last few decades, the MPC controller and the iPad. As you’ve probably noticed by the images, the two devices seamlessly combine to create a laptop style case that securely protects you’re iPad. But the Fly is much more than just a case; it has 16 genuine MPC velocity-sensitive pads in the familiar 4×4 layout and a four-track sequencer for beats on the go. The MPC Fly is built with the same quality as the rest of the MPC series but as it costs just £170, it needs to be integrated into a DAW or higher-end MPC unit to be used to its full potential. Ideally you make you’re beats on the go and then take you’re results back to the studio and optimise them. (Author’s note – its important that I stress it isn’t compatible with the 1st generation iPads so don’t make that mistake.)
With the introduction of the iPad you get the obvious benefit of a well-designed and integrated app and it looks like Akai have taken great time and effort in creating the application side of the Fly. Like I’ve mentioned, you can sequence 4 tracks at the same time and there’s an existing library of various drum sounds and samples that were at a higher quality than I was expecting. You can also adjust each sample’s velocity, length and tuning through what Akai’s renowned the 16 level mode.
I really like the Akai MPC Fly because it is targeted a larger audience but for various purposes. It could be a producer’s best friend and be used to fine-tune songs on the way to the studio or by you’re average guy in his room making tunes. You also get guaranteed quality with MPC and for £170 you can’t really go wrong.
March 15, 2012 § Leave a Comment
What is Swing?
In music terms, the word “swing” refers to a bouncing groove that can be created in the rhythm of music. This can be achieved with any instrument but usually happens in the bass and drum parts of a music arrangement. A primary example of this sound would be the swing style of jazz music that was popular in the 1930s. This style of rhythm has maintained popularity throughout the decades, from swing dancing to big beat bands and more recently making a resurgence in house music around the early 2000’s. In fact, much house music derives its groove from this sort of rhythm which was popularized by the swing functions of early samplers and drum machines. In the following example, Chicago house music producer James Curd samples a 1930’s guitar groove from Django Reinhardt and applies modern day swing quantization to his drums to create a swinging house groove inspired by Woody Allen’s 1999 film, Sweet and Lowdown.
Swing Quantization with Akai and E-Mu Machines
With the advent of drum machines and samplers (namely the E-Mu SP1200 and Akai MPC 60), the function of “swing” was introduced into music production workflow and began to have a massive impact on hip hop and electronic music in the early 1980’s. While the swing function on drum machines and samplers was initially designed to emulate a human feel when using quantized beats, pioneering musicians found that these swing settings could create a groove that perfectly suited the street-wise attitude of early hip hop and dance music. The quintessential head-nod that spread throughout the evolution of electronic music came from E-Mu’s SP1200 and more prominently from Roger Linn’s involvement with the Akai MPC series. While some producers (such as J Dilla) are known for creating free-form, un-quantized beats, most early hip hop used the new swing quantization functions of these machines to create the sound we’ve come to know as American hip hop and house music.
Swing in Modern Day Application
Today you can find a swing parameter on almost every DAW and on most drum-related electronic instruments. Swing is a function that applies most easily to a quantized beat. The percentage of swing that you apply moves certain hits of your rhythm “off the grid” just enough to create a swinging movement in the drums. Most devices offer very subtle to very extreme settings. It’s worth noting that swing functions apply differently on different instruments and programs. For MPC-style swing, Akai’s hardware is hard to beat. But Propellerhead’s Reason does come loaded with groove templates that emulate the Akai MPC 60 (as well as numerous other machines.) Ableton Live also offers groove quantization that can read imported audio, MIDI, and groove template files. Native Instruments’ Maschine platform offers extensive swing settings that can be applied to groups in your project as well as individual sounds. (read more)
September 1, 2009 § Leave a Comment
In his Myspace blog, Flying Lotus dishes on a new album on Warp for 2010 and a DJ Kicks Series release in November. Quite a line-up after releasing last year’s genre-bending Los Angeles album touring extensively and running his own Brainfeeder label. Read more below.
Current mood: anxious
Hey hey folks..
Now that the ‘Los Angeles’ series is finally finished, I think the time is right to start letting everyone know what’s happening…
1. Doing this ‘Dj Kicks’ thing..
I have no idea what’s gonna happen honestly but I’m gonna try and make sure to put on some of those myspace tunes that never came out and some other b-sides and new new, who knows..
hopefully it gets done in the next couple weeks
we’ll see.. Really want to get this out for y’all around November.
2. Just finished up a remix for Shafiq’s upcoming Plug Research LP. Got a couple more remixes to do..
3. Brainfeeder is doing some prettttty fun stuff I have to say, we are starting our ‘Brainfeeder Sessions’ at the Downtown Independent theater in LA every 1st Sunday of the month. Starting Sept 6th.
It’s our platform to bring you some amazing audio and visual experiments . I love going to clubs, but I’ve always wanted to see this music with a strong visual presentation.. So there it is, you can see what it was like when I played there months ago…
for the first one we got Dorian Concept and Dr. Strangeloop doing a special experimental set with visual madness…we’ll also be showing the film ‘Le Planete Sauvage’ on the big screen.
There’s also upcoming releases from Daedelus, Lorn, FLYamSAM, for Brainfeeder soon..(VINYL..wooooo!)
4. Last but not least, im pretty excited to tell you all, the new LP is shaping up nicely.
Being totally honest, I know without a doubt this album IS my best creative work thus far.
I’ve been working with a lot of really incredible people to make this thing the best it can be.
It’s coming out on Warp early next year.
Thank you ALL so so so so much who continue to support my efforts
April 2, 2009 § Leave a Comment
Akai unveiled it’s latest synth to the masses yesterday at the Messe trade show in Frankfurt. The Alesis Miniak uses the Alesis Micron synth in an Akai body, adding a boom mic and a 40-band vocoder. Akai-lovers will like the onboard sequencer (step and phrase) and a drum machine/rhythm sequencer. Nice looks on this synth and sounds like lots of goodies under the hood. Not as many knobs and buttons as the MicroKorg XL but it seems that Akai is banking on the general consensus that the Micron sounded better than the MicroKorg. This is, of course, personal taste. I can’t wait to take them both for a test-drive. Read more on the new Akai HERE.
March 2, 2009 § Leave a Comment
Found this gem online recently and wanted to share with you other warp-nuts out there: UNRELEASED Prefuse 73 material! This was a handmade CD-R sold at his 2003 tour.
Prefuse 73 is the alias of Guillermo Scott Herren, a post-modern beat deconstructor and poster-child for the glitch-hop movement. His (usually short and concise) audio constructions border on hip hop, noise, techno, drum and bass but seem to fit in his own pocket of micro-edited compositions. He’s known as a wizard with an MPC2000 and having used that machine he’s got my nod of approval and always has me going “HOW the F*..?”
All albums on Warp come highly recommended and you can find Prefuse remixes on many 12′s coming out of the underground hip hop and IDM scenes. Information below from Discogs. Enjoy and GO BUY HIS ALBUMS (and see the show!)
Guillermo Scott Herren
Sleeping on Saturday and Sunday Afternoons
Label: Not On Label
Genre: Electronic, Hip Hop, Rock
Style: Instrumental, Downtempo, Post Rock
Credits: Producer, Written-By – Guillermo Scott Herren
Notes: Tour CDR in regular CD jewel case with handmade artwork (front and back inlays) that was sold (for $25) on 2003 Prefuse 73 tour with Four Tet and Manitoba. No tracklisting available anywhere on the release. Credited on back tray inlay to Guillermo Scott Herren, not to any specific Herren moniker like Prefuse 73 or Savath & Savalas.