Molten Music Monthly – January 2016

Molten Music Monthly

It’s an exciting time because this is the year of virtual reality, self driving cars, the end of cash, fridges that order your food and a load of other awesome things that are never going to work properly. If only everyone was a white, 30 something male with loads of disposable income living in a highly connected metropolitan area then technology would be easy!

Anyway, there’s not a lot to report for this months round up. I know that CES is underway in Las Vegas and all the tech streams are fawning over 4k tellys and grocery ordering fridge phones but the world of music technology is still hanging onto what remains of the rock and roll lifestyle. It’s just been New Year and if you haven’t got a four day hang over then you have no right to work in the music industry. The new year alarm clock is always set to NAMM, the annual musical instrument and technology trade show which occurs in Annaheim California around the end of Jan or early feb – this year it’s from 21st – 24th January. And so any music tech companies waking up this week will be completely silent on any new products or ideas until the show while they steady their nerves with perhaps a slurp of Bourbon before flapping around trying to secure a booth and accommodation that they should have sorted out months ago.

So is there anything at all?

Yes – sort of. In the absence of anything new to talk about everyone is publishing their lists of the best stuff in 2015 and digging out their archive of tips for everything from how to beatbox through making weird noises on a guitar to the top 5 mistakes top producers make because we all know how to criticise. So here’s my top five things of 2015 followed by my top five music production tips.

Here’s the video version, skip below to continue reading:

Let’s go!

Top Five Things of 2015:

  1. Bitwig Studio – perfect on the desktop, perfect on the Surface, it stole my heart from Ableton Live.
  2. Windows 10 – futuristic and fabulous. It feels like Windows is actually getting somewhere and giving you what you want and then fades to the background and let’s you get on with stuff.
  3. Microsoft Surface evolution – the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book appear to be awesome platforms for music making and performance with Windows. I still dont have either but they raised the bar and lead the industry forward into a new era of classy computers. The Microsoft party in October also introduced me to quality Bourbon – my life will never be the same.
  4. Presonus Studio One version 3 has given me a whole stack of reasons to move on from Cubase as my default music making environment. Ok so the touch editing side is a bit ropey but on a desktop running as a DAW and music production suite it’s awesome.
  5. Board games. This past year has really consolidated our love of tabletop gaming – not Monopoly or Scrabble but King of Tokyo, Game of Thrones, 7 Wonders, Exploding Kittens and Epic Spells Wars of the Battle Wizards of mount Skullzfyre. It’s simply the best and most fun form of social interaction on the planet.

Top Five Music Making Tips:

  1. To appropriate Nikes catch phrase – Just do it! The internet is full of talentless idiots getting their music and performances out there via YouTube, SoundCloud, TwitchTV and social media. There is no entry requirement on quality, all that’s required is that you actually produce some tunes. So stop fussing over the mix, stop tweaking or thinking it’s not good enough and get it out there.
  2. Stop waiting for the record deal. Similar to the first one really. Don’t assume anyone is ever going to sign you up, give you money or do it all for you, then you can relax, give your music away and start thinking about new and innovative ways to make music for a living. Becoming a pop star has always been nearly impossible to achieve but these days you have loads of alternatives that you can actually control and invent.
  3. Perform – nothing makes you a better player or writer than standing in front of people and sensing their disinterest as you play your heart out. If you can’t get gigs or they are impractical (no friends to form a band) then get into personal broadcasting like TwitchTV and Periscope. There’s loads of karaoke crap out there that could be replaced by you and your awesome original content – create a channel, makes some tunes and perform to your web cam.
  4. Presets are cool. Don’t feel you have to spend your time creating the perfect original sound – unless that’s something you love doing. A piano has one preset with a soft and sustained variation and yet it turns up a lot. Sometimes preset loops match the groove you’re after – don’t be afraid to use it. That Moog bass sound will always work, those pads are great, that general MIDI pan flute never did Enigma any harm. The personality of your music is not defined by having a sound no one has ever used before. But don’t get stuck in a preset auditioning loop – pick a sound and get on with it.
  5. Don’t splurge on gear. Be content with the tools you have – or – if you need to kickstart yourself with something new then decide on one thing, one thing that will make your music life easier or more creative and then learn the fuck out of that device – play with it, explore it, read the manual if you have to and milk it for everything it has.

Yeah, so, i believe this is going to be a great year for music technology. I’m excited by what could be coming round the corner. I think that in Windows 10 and Intel desktop technology we have an amazing amount of power at our creative fingertips. And if you’re getting in music making or thinking that it’s time for a new computer then we’ve just released our new entry level Molten Music PC using cutting edge dual core Intel performance, quiet running and complete music software compatibility, it’s a ready to go home studio from only £599. For our whole range of entry level, silent and professional music production PC’s then come and check us out.

Next months music monthly will be all about the NAMM show and what delights we might find there. But stay with us as coming up before then we have reviews of Editors Keys Studio One illuminated keyboard, The Remofinger G tablet foot controller plus the first of our videos on the new Surface Pro 4. So there’s loads of reasons to subscribe and follow us for the best angle on the world of computer music technology.