Artist Spotlight: Justin Lassen

Sometimes A Road Sings In the Mind of the Darkly Inclined
Composer, producer, remixer & musician Justin Lassen

By Randy Alberts

“For me it all started with Cakewalk, a keyboard, and a lot of free time,” laughs the globetrotting Justin Lassen, a one-of-a-kind visionary 27-year-old film, game and music soundtrack composer based in Southern California.

A designer, multi-instrumentalist and self-described “heavy Sonar guy,” to boot, Lassen is also one of the most creative composers, remixers and producers in the film, game and music industries today. He’s a talented film soundtrack remixer who recently reworked the score of Clive Barker’s Midnight Meat Train, a dark film take on the producer’s 1984 short story of a photographer tracking a serial killer, into a full length companion album to the movie. Lassen has also produced music remixes for Nine Inch Nails, Madonna, Garbage, Linkin Park, Lenny Kravitz and Blue Man Group and he’s consulted on numerous game and technology projects for companies like Interplay, Novus Delta, Intel and, of course, Cakewalk.

Interviewed by Playboy, Mix, EQ, GearWire, PC Gamer and other arts and trade mags and sites, Lassen’s a darling of the computer-generated graphics art world, as well. A rare musical subject for numerous CGI trade magazines such as Post, It’s Art, The Escapist and CG Society Magazine, he literally can translate the inspiring, hauntingly beautiful visual art he sees into his own musical performances, arrangements and remixes. It’s a phenomenon of the senses called ‘synaesthesia’ he’s personally well acquainted with: Seeing sound, hearing scents, touching words, smelling colors. If the set and setting are just right, what Justin views through his irises can literally become real-time music from his fingertips.

“I’m a visual artist, designer and programmer,” he adds, “who just finds music much more fulfilling.”

Smells Like A Symphony, Tastes Like Sonar 7

Lassen, who happened to be Cakewalk’s Featured Artist of The Week for August 25, 2008, released his own CD, And Now We See But Through A Glass Darkly, in 2003 to acclaim from leading international CG artists, film, game and music professionals. This disc of his own uniquely composed and produced dark chamber symphonic suites has already reached 5.5 million copies in circulation. His debut CG release in 2006 of Synaesthesia then melded Justin’s two worlds of “beautiful dark symphonic” music and CG artwork again to critical peer praise, and earlier this year while in Europe he wrapped up the final release: Synaesthesia Encore, a new collection of pieces that musically addresses Justin’s own personal experiences with the phenomenon.

“Synaesthesia is something that has taken quite a hold of me over pretty much my entire musical career and life,” explains Lassen. “I have had some of my best compositional and performance moments in these types of situations, where I can actually feel an image playing the song right before my ears, completely and naturally. When I see visual work like this that really inspires me in this way, my fingers begin to play music very magically.“

Remarkable. Much to his liking, Justin’s successful role in creating the remixed soundtrack CD for Barker’s wide-released Midnight Meat Train is now attracting interest from other film, music and game audio producers, as well. An always-on, busy musician, remixer and symphonic arranger who travels for his music extensively and just returned from an exhaustive trip across the EU and back to his home studio in California, nothing would please the affable Lassen more than to score more symphonies and movie soundtracks for a living.

“I use Sonar 7’s notation features to clean up my arrangement ideas for orchestra, choir or other performers I might bring into a given session,” says Lassen about his go-to laptop DAW.

“I recall this one time in Paris when I was asked by Intel to do the soundtrack for a new high-tech game for a new platform. There was a pretty tight schedule of just three weeks, and I didn’t have a lot of gear to experiment with. So, I just used FL Studio on a laptop to jot down some ideas that later I would evolve and finish up back in L.A. and Phoenix. I then took those sketches and beats and brought them into Sonar and added many of the orchestral and electronic elements, as well as tracking all the guitars and vocals and doing the final mixing and mastering. I then cleaned it all up and converted the files over to OGG format, for the Unreal Engine 3 the game uses, all quite easily and well before my deadline.”

Continue reading Artist Spotlight: Justin Lassen

Composer Vivek Maddala uses SONAR

International, award-winning composer Vivek Maddala gives a tour of his home studio- featuring Cakewalk’s SONAR as the main DAW. Maddala also introduces the synth rack feature and included VST instruments in SONAR 7 Producer. If you’re wondering, “Why should I use SONAR?” Maddala’s interview should help answer your question.

On the Road with Cakewalk

Earlier this fall, Cakewalk’s Director of Public Relations Steve Thomas and Cakewalk’s Products Evangelist Brandon Ryan took SONAR V-Studio 700 and SONAR 8 on tour – debuting the new products to producers, engineers, recording artists, and recording studios abroad.

Brandon Ryan, Paul White of Sound On Sound Magazine, and Steve Thomas

The pair began impressing industry colleagues in Southern California only to end their tour a few weeks later in Europe- wowing ‘them’ yet again. Photos from the trip can be seen on Cakewalk’s Flickr PhotoStream. Just click on our Flickr widget in the sidebar or visit Flickr.com.

Soft-Synths: Rapture & Dimension Pro

soft-

Eddie King, Chief Engineer at Megatrax Production Music, in North Hollywood, California reveals a few production secrets using Cakewalk’s Rapture and Dimension Pro synthesizers.

Jorge Corante — producer, composer and owner of Urban Authentic, a music publishing and licensing company — shares his production techniques for using Cakewalk’s Rapture synthesizer.

Cakewalk’s Music Production 08′ Tour

Cakewalk is coming to a city near you, starting Tuesday October 14, 2008! Join us to explore the latest in digital audio workstation technology- with SONAR 8 (and complimentary products) plus a sneak preview of the new SONAR V-Studio 700 Production System.

Cakewalk’s Product Specialists will be on hand to demo many of the new features in SONAR 8 including:

Newly-added instruments– including Beatscape, Dimension Pro, and TruePianos Amber VSTi

New features– such as Loop Explorer 2.0, higher track counts with lower latency, single instrument tracks, Anytime Recording, and more

New plug-ins– including the TS-64 transient shaper, TL-64 Tube Leveler, Channel Tools, and more

New creative content– Maximize your creative potential with SONAR’s massive collection of loops, samples, and presets

Also, get a first glimpse of the new SONAR V-Studio 700, the groundbreaking new hardware/software solution from Cakewalk by Roland. Visit www.sonarvstudio.com to watch exclusive videos and get in-depth product information.

These events are FREE and open to EVERYONE, from new users to long-time Cakewalk customers.

For a complete listing of Tour locations and information, check out the Music Production 08′ Tour Page!

For dates, times, and locations of all Cakewalk Events please visit the Cakewalk Events Page Or call 888-CAKEWALK and choose Option #2 to speak with a customer service representative.

A Weekend At AES: In Pictures

One week after the colossal launch of the SONAR V-Studio 700 package, Cakewalk takes a look back at the weekend in San Francisco. Below you will find pictures and articles chronicling Cakewalk’s involvement in the 2008 AES Conference. Be sure to check the links for updated information.

  • Cakewalk's CEO Greg Hendershott at Cakewalk Booth
  • Cakewalk's Brandon Ryan giving a V-Studio Demo
  • Cakewalk's Alex Westner and Music Expert Craig Anderton

For More AES Pictures, Visit Cakewalk’s Flickr Page!

AES 2008 Wrap-Up: SONAR in the Media

With the release of three major products: SONAR Home Studio 7 & 7XL, SONAR 8 Producer & Studio, and SONAR V-Studio 700, Cakewalk’s SONAR product line has been spotted all over the internet. Various media outlets have posted literature and video interviews to introduce the world to the latest SONAR products. Here’s a brief listing of the latest clips:

SONAR V-Studio 700

Articles: *New* Pro Recording Magazine

Create Digital Music & CakewalkNet & Pro Sound News

Premier Guitar – Featuring Cakewalk’s George Persiantsev

Gearwire – Cakewalk presents the ‘unveiling’ of SONAR V-Studio 700

        Gearwire – Featuring Cakewalk’s Brandon Ryan

        Mix Magazine

        Music Radar

        Sound On Sound

SONAR 8 Producer & Studio

         Remix Magazine

         Gearwire – Featuring Cakewalk’s Product Manager Alex Westner

         Sonic State

         Digital Music Doctor – Demonstration on Transient Shaper tool

         *NEW* Daily Motion Channel – Tutorials on SONAR 8/V-Studio 700

          YouTube Channel

SONAR Home Studio 7 / 7XL

           Gearwire – Featuring Cakewalk’s Product Manager Samara Krugman

Enjoy! There’s more to come shortly!

Live from AES: V-Studio 700 Debut

Live from AES 2008: SONAR V-Studio 700 Unveiling
Uploaded by CakewalkInc

Cakewalk’s founder and CEO Greg Hendershott, Executive VP of Products Michael Hoover, and Director of Product Evangelism Brandon Ryan give a product presentation in the unveiling of SONAR V-Studio 700 at the 125th AES Conference in San Francisco, California.


Cakewalk’s Executive VP of Products Michael Hoover gives TechBreakfast an early morning product demonstration at the Cakewalk Booth on SONAR V-Studio 700.

Take Control with V-Studio 700

Cakewalk announces the release of SONAR V-Studio 700: The Ultimate Solution for Music Production.

SONAR V-Studio 700 provides the “ultimate solution for creative music production” through a complete offering of finelyy-tuned and tightly-integrated hardware and software.

– Sonar 8 Producer
– VS-700C Control Console
– Vs-700R 1/0 Module
– Onboard Roland Fantom VS Hardware Synthesizer
– V-Link Support for editing and control of EDIROL video hardware

It will be today at the Cakewalk demonstration booth at the 125th AES Conference in San Francisco, CA.

For more information, check out our SONAR V-Studio 700 Website, available in 6 different languages.

Getting Technical: Optimizing SONAR 8 for Vista

With the help of Cakewalk’s Engineering Department, Create Digital Music’s Peter Kirn delves inside the mechanics of SONAR 8. Visit Create Digital Music to learn how SONAR 8 will hold its own in Windows Vista.

Cakewalk’s Noel Borthwick explains, “SONAR 8 introduces several, crucial enhancements for communications with audio devices in Windows Vista, including support for WASAPI (a new audio standard in Windows Vista and future OS), MMCSS task profile support, and WaveRT streaming.”

To view the complete list of enhancements made to the latest version of SONAR, take a look at the posting below.