Monthly Archives: October 2014

Navigating the Seasons

Well it’s Official. The furnace is on and I’m extracting leaves from our property quite frequently. Before we know it, Thanksgiving, Christmas and a New Year will be upon us. I already miss Summer!

Living in Northeast Ohio all of my life has taught me the firm attributes of anticipating and navigating through predictable weather patterns. But I became a wiser EntreMusician once I learned how to traverse the creative seasons of my musical journey.

This lesson has nothing to do with age, although the older I get, the more capable I am at recognizing what doesn’t work for me faster than when I was younger. I am speaking here about how creative methods formulate and how you can learn to embrace your seasons for greater effectiveness.

Once I was of the mindset that the level of energy I saw in others should dictate my own workload and output. Or worse, that my level of energy should be the absolute model for musicians in my camp. This brings nothing but frustration, confusion and shall we say, interesting, relational issues! While there are clear advantages to the “Work, Work, Work” & “Write a Song a Day” philosophies – if they don’t Work for you, they shouldn’t be employed. Conversely, there are methods and strategies that I would not adopt, which work very well for other artists. It really is about finding your own groove. Transformation happens when you can work well with others who are comfortable in their unique seasons of innovations.

I have learned how to be in the season I’m in. When I’m the Songwriter (Winter into Spring), knowing my methods take several weeks, I don’t push. I allow the juices to flow and bloom into the process! As the Performer (generally Summer & Fall), becoming a solid player and engaging with audiences both on and off the platform, take center stage. When I am the Producer, (Fall and Winter) I revel in the recording, editing, overdubbing & mixing. Although I still must dawn the business hat during each of these seasons, My Entrepreneur truly awakens in the dead of Winter; planning, plotting, reviewing and setting goals. Thankfully, my Incredible Team keeps business on target year round, freeing me to be the best EM I can and should be.

I would love to hear how you navigate your various seasons and what works for you. Feel Free to Comment!

While writing this, I am replaying the remix of “Izidreal” coming to a groove near you early next year…

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8 Reasons Why I Did Not Upgrade to Reason 8

As You may know, I am pretty much an Insane PropHead Fanatic!

I have incredible respect for their genius and imagination. I’ve blogged on their latest app “Take” and I thoroughly enjoy “Thor” and “Figure” on my iPad. Propellerheads‘ Reason software IS the core of my studio environment. I’ve been utilizing Reason since v3 and cannot see myself using anything else. Ever. In previous posts, I’ve shared about my longstanding feud with Producing/Engineering partner, Jerry Thompson, who stands by Sonar X3 which I also own so that we stay on the same page while working through various projects. I also employ Sony Creative’s Acid, Soundforge and Vegas where applicable. But, I must reiterate, that my first, fifth and twelfth choice is always Reason. I have produced two major projects in Reason and the one I am currently working thru is in the Reason domain entirely, from conception to final master.

Additionally, I’ve only experienced one (1) crash on an older computer with Reason 5 and once when the ignition key did not retain the entire download, their support staff was prompt, courteous and extremely helpful. I can tell you horror stories about Cakewalk! So what I write below is absolutely in no way a slam or a show of disrespect to the PropHeads team.

When I first received the email on Reason 8 (R8), I was curious as to how they would improve and amazing system. They steadily listen to forum comments and tweak accordingly. So what could be next? But after watching the promo video, I’d decided eight seconds into it that there was no reason for me to upgrade. Added to my well worn upgrade checklist, I’m listing 8 Reasons why I’m not moving to R8.

Before I do, please note that this is not a technical review of this software of how it performs, because I obviously don’t know. My explanations here are personal and philosophical for the EntreMusician who may be on the upgrade fence if he/she already uses Reason.

1) Never Upgrade for the sake of Upgrading. EntreMusicians know that Cashflow is King. If what you have works for you, whatever it is, keep it working for you. I have an engineering friend who always said, if you want to upgrade, learn a new feature on your current software! I remember going to New York to work with a major label artist who has dinosaur gear and is producing chart topping stuff. I’ve only read the charts…

2) No True Feature Upgrades.
The New R8 is all about workflow, but adding a new browser to support drag and drop, in my humble opinion, could have been a 7.5 offering for a lot less money. Most musicians develop their own shortcuts while working to find their groove.

3) No New Instruments.
This is tricky, but true. Using the Combinator & Spider while being able to rewire everything in Reason brings unlimited benefits of creating your own signature sounds, so perhaps by NOT offering anything new wouldn’t have helped…but it might’ve.

4) Rack Extensions
The addition of RE into the Reason Platform kinda takes care of #3 above. I see that the new Softube Amps are included in R8, but are also for sale separately, which means if I only needed one or the other, I could grab it. Furthermore, the plethora of choices in RE means that for the $129 I would otherwise spend upgrading, I could buy and build some cool additions in 7.1

5) No Real Improvements
The promo video did not mention a faster engine or improved CPU usage. I could see that the GUI is a sleeker design, but you would expect that. Merging Reason & Record was an answer to prayer and in 7.1, having the ability to marry Reason to my old hardware gear was a game changer. I was expecting “The Next Big Thing” which does not seem to be here.

6) Need a Faster Computer
What’s hardly ever mentioned in any software requirement list is that you may need to purchase a faster computer to accommodate the program. While you may not need it to operate the software alone, when you begin to employ all of the new features or rewire it to another software (such as Reason & Sonar) they may not play nicely together and the reason (no pun) is generally that your computer needs more Ram or is outdated…

7) New Suggestions
One of the things I was hoping the PropHeads would tweak would be the screen environment. I am cool with the Blocks they added, but in my opinion, there needs to be Editable Markers for Verse/Chorus/Bridge that you can fly to in a session. The Need to to add New Note Lanes in the Audio Tracks would greatly improve auditioning takes while editing and since we are all on two screens now, resizing the windows to edit wave files in full screen mode is a valuable asset. An added bonus is being able to add an effect in real time to a clip is very useful. I must admit that these are places where Sonar X3 has it right.

8) New Library System
Finally, the ability to email reason files across the world and work with various producers not only broadens the community, but strengthens the musical output. The setback becomes when the collaborators due not have the same instruments. It would seem a step ahead that if both were online within a given session, as long as one of them owned what was in the session rack, they could “share” while working. Obviously, after the session ended, the door would close. Furthermore, when I take my project to another studio where Reason is employed, I should have access to all of my Refills & RE gear without having to comb the studio’s library for my exact sounds. When I save a project and put it on my hard drive for transport, I’d like everything to remain intact for further editing and mixing.

Well fellow PropHeads, I would LOVE to get Your Feedback on this. This weekend, I will be loading up on a few new RE’s that I’ve been trying out, which I’ll share with you later.

Let’s talk. If You Agree/Disagree or have any tips or suggestions as to why You Chose to / or not to Upgrade, let me know!

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