I recently sat down (over zoom) with James Jennings to do this interview about my new “Cinematic Rhythms” course for Melodics, as well as a little about my musical past and things that have shaped my musical path.
If you’re unfamiliar with Melodics, it’s a Music training app for Keys, Pads and Drums. Available for both computer and iOS.
Well, to round off a pretty crazy year, I recently became an Ableton Certified Trainer. I’ve been using Live since 2004, and this has been a pretty big milestone for me to achieve as a music and music tech educator. There are just shy of 300 Ableton Certified Trainers in the world, and it’s an exciting international community to be a part of.
Hi all, Recently I was asked to contribute some Chord Sets to the wonderful Scaler Plugin. It’s a remarkable plugin, which allows you to create harmonic material easily.
I sat down at the piano and played a bunch of chord progressions that I regularly gravitate towards, and then provided them to Davide Carbone who is one of the brains behind it.
A week or so later with Scaler’s release, there I am, listed next to a bunch of amazing artists.
The idea of a plugin that provides you with chord progressions of various artists may seem a bit like *borrowing* someone else’s ideas. But once you get the hang of what it can offer, it’s actually not like that at all.
I’m finding that using my own presets as a starting point, and then using the variations feature allows me to discover chords that I may not have normally gone for, but adds those occasional harmonic variations that keep things interesting.
I have recently been working some material up for the Melodics App, which is an app that aims to make learning how to play finger drum pads and piano fun and engaging.
The aim of my course was to get users to understand some of the techniques used in creating cinematic-styled music.
There are six compositions you can play along with; Space Between that helps you explore the idea of less is often more, and to listen to the space between notes. Character & Theme works on the idea that a simple musical theme can be synonymous with a character in a film. Drama & Rhythm builds tension through the use of dramatic deep strings and tense percussive elements. Tension & Dissonance works with closely clustered notes to create something melancholic and tense. Deep Melody puts everything together to create a deep cinematic world, and Chords Uplifting resolves the whole course as an epic uplifting grand finale!
To celebrate the release of my new EP Streamers, I’m giving away a set of Instrument Racks that are compatible with Ableton Live 10. These instruments use many of the new features and FX available in Live 10, including Echo, Drum Bus and Pedal.
Each instrument uses original audio files from each track on the EP, but they are more of a ‘re-imagining’ of the sonic landscape of each track, and are designed to be immensely playable using the pre-mapped 8 Macros, and hopefully creatively inspiring to you.
I used similar techniques for many of the instruments that I utilised in the commercial Analogue Sequences Pack that I created for School of Synthesis, which is available at Loopmasters. This technique involves using the Slice feature in Simpler in conjunction with carefully mapped Arpeggiator settings to create ‘playable’ sequences. It is particularly fun to play with using an Ableton Push controller in it’s 64 Pad drum rack mode, though can be played with any midi controller.
These are freely available to you to use as you wish, but if you find them racks inspiring consider donating a dollar. or downloading the Streamers EP via Bandcamp for a couple of dollars!
Download the instrument racks in .alp format here.