Cakewalk’s Session Stories: 2008-2009

In an effort to simplify our blog and make it more accessible to our RSS subscribers, we are moving our ‘Sessions & Stories’ page as well as our “NAMM 2009 Page” to this main page of the site. Please excuse any discrepancies in code. From now on, all of Cakewalk’s artist stories and event content will be featured here on the main page. If you have not yet subscribed to our blog, grab our RSS feed now. New content is posted on a regular basis!

Jon Lee, an accomplished composer for feature film and tv, has been hard at work in Santa Monica, California scoring MyNetworkTV’s reality series’ Street Patrol and Jail. From the producers of the hit-series Cops, Street Patrol (airs Tuesday, 8-9pm) follows police officers on duty, responding to calls across the country. While, Jail (airs Tuesday, 9-10pm) shadows the lives of prison inmates incarcerated for serious crimes, across the USA. Lee is also credited for his work on the video game, Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (Sonic Fuel Music) and producing records for hip-hop artists across the country. Take a listen to the Street Patrol theme song and visit JonLeeMusic.net for more information.

Seasoned composer, Doyle Donehoo, has produced music for a variety of award-winning computer games. Currently, he’s scoring Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II (Relic Entertainment) with his DAW of choice, SONAR. A Cakewalk user since the DOS age, Donehoo’s PC-based studio has a master DAW rig, seven slave computers, and an endless array of sample-based instruments – his “Frankenstein” virtual orchestra. In a recent interview with Music4Games.com, Donehoo states that his musical influences range from the classical composers to today’s feature film and video game scores, including Marco Beltrami (Resident Evil, Max Payne, 3:10 to Yuma) and Bill Brown (Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, CSI:NY). Their dark, dramatic motifs are reflected in Donehoo’s latest score. Due out in early 2009, Dawn of War II shows what it’s like to “lead an elite strike force on a mission to save the galaxy.” Visit the Dawn of War II website to hear Donehoo in action and watch the game trailer.

Concert pianist, composer, and recording artist, Kevin Kern captures emotion with his warm, entrancing compositions. Born legally blind, Kern is aided in studio by SONAR’s accessibility and Dancing Dots’ assistive music technologies for the vision impaired. In conjunction with SONAR, Kern uses Cake Talking Scripts by the Academy of Music for the Blind’s Executive Director David Pinto and Freedom Scientific’s JAWS screen reader to produce his music. Kern uses SONAR’s Drum Map Manager to create special keyboard scripts for piano, strings, and other instruments, so he can hear his melodic ideas through the sounds of a live ensemble. Currently, Kern is celebrating the release of his new songbook entitled Imagination’s Light which contains all original compositions from his last album. Kern’s new album, Endless Blue Sky, will be available as a download and for purchase in stores on January 27, 2009.

DJ Russ Harris – remixer and owner of the Illinois-based mobile DJ company Show on the Road Productions – incorporates SONAR into the remixing classes and seminars he gives at DJ Expos across the country.  Each year, Harris attends Mobile Beat in Las Vegas (February) and DJ Times in Atlantic City (August).  Harris also uses SONAR on solo projects and is signed to the dance music label, EsNtion Silver.  Check out Harris’ MySpace for current projects and tracks.

Drum & Bass dynamic duo, Urban Assault, announce a new 12″ album featuring a remix of the dance-floor hit Crank with MC Skibadee and an original bonus track Easy Run Tingz (Easy Records). Urban Assault, better known as Scratch DJs / Producers Faust and Shortee, kept very busy in 2008. Visit their official website for details.

Stokes Audio, Recording & Post of Tarzana, CA.used SONAR 8 Producer to mix several feature-length films for CodeBlack Entertainment. The first in the series of films is set to release on December 23, 2008. Starring Master P and Katt Williams, ‘Internet Dating’ is about- you guessed it -a date setup by internet gone wrong! The second film, ‘Nite Tales’ (as seen on BET Halloween) will be released in January 2009. Hosted by Flavor Flav, it’s a ‘shockingly twisted’ double feature horror flick. More information on these films can be found here. Stokes Audio specializes in post production sound and video editing.

Continue reading Cakewalk’s Session Stories: 2008-2009

A Weekend at NAMM: In Pictures

As the Cakewalk team slowly settles back to earth after an epic weekend, we’ll be posting more and more footage from our weekend in Anaheim, California. Here are a few images from the conference that say it all:’Come together’ to educate and create great music!

More photos will be posted to our FlickR account in the coming days.

The NAMM Show 09′: Coverage by Cakewalk

For those of you off to Anaheim Convention Center, stop by Booth #6800 to see Cakewalk live in action. If you’ve chosen to stay at home this year, get everything you need to now right here on the Cakewalk Blog. We’ve made a dedicated NAMM Page featuring posts from the exhibition floor, new product information, and media to keep you informed! Check back throughout the weekend to see it all.

To learn about our new products, view the official press releases here.

Here’s a quick overview of the artists stopping by to say hello at NAMM 2009:

Top TV and Video Game music producer, Shawn Clement, best known for scoring Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Batman: Vengeance, hosts a live demo on Video scoring.

World-renowned composer, engineer, & producer Craig Anderton will demo his brand new Electronic Guitars  Expansion Pack for Rapture and Rapture LE. Watch preview here.

Legendary turntablists, DJs Faust & Shortee, will be mixing it up at the booth.

Cakewalk’s Brandon Ryan hosts a live panel discussion on “Music For Video Games” featuring these four industry professionals:

Chuck Carr is the music supervisor for SONY Computer Entertainment (PAIN, Gran Turismo 4, and Twisted Metal: Head On)

Doyle W. Donehoo, the video game extraordinaire, is best known for his work in (America’s Army, Savage, Savage II, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II)

Timothy Michael Wynn is an award-winning television, film, and video game music producer and his company, Sonic Fuel, has provided cutting edge music for clients including BMW, Energizer, Gatorade, Mazda, Nike, and others.

Rob King has won numerous awards for his work as sound designer, music composer, and dialogue director (Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam, Reservoir Dogs, Heroes of Might & Magic V, Scarface: The World is Yours, Jade Empire).

Artist Spotlight: Paul Russell & Calamity Studios

The Adventures of a “Displaced Englishman”, 1950s Bollywood samples and the Singapore-based studio with SONAR at its core.

By Oz Owen

Make no mistake – the unusually monikered Calamity Studio is far from living up to its name. Quite the opposite, in fact. Singapore-based Calamity bills itself as the A/V production arm of composer and producer Paul Russell’s Pi2 Creative Services, a successful ‘boutique’ marketing agency.

Paul’s passion for music and production translates into a full studio diary, keeping him busy on a wide range of projects – whether creating original music and soundtracks with the help of an impressive roster of songwriters and musicians from as far afield as the UK, Australia and the USA, or – as his latest project ably demonstrates – weaving vintage Bollywood samples into contemporary compositions.

At Calamity, Paul specialises in creating original compositions in a variety of genres – from ambient through dance to straight-ahead rock/pop. What’s more, he’s making a fine living doing exactly what he loves.

Paul first got hooked when he picked up a bass guitar back in 1976 – the time when musical anarchy was running riot across the UK thanks to the Punk explosion, but it was some years before Paul set about creating his first recording studio, trading in his trusty four-track Portastudio in favour of a more upmarket eight-track setup in what was fast turning into a life-changing quest.

Fast-forward to 1999 and we find Paul living in Singapore, running his own creative agency and building his first digital recording studio replete with Cakewalk Pro Audio 9 to capture every nuance of his compositional ideas. Within a year, SONAR arrived on the scene, and life would never be the same again… Calamity Studio was becoming unstoppable!

Continue reading Artist Spotlight: Paul Russell & Calamity Studios

View SONAR 8 Clinic Today

If you missed our Inaugural Webinar on SONAR 8, here’s your chance to catch up! Watch the footage below and be sure to make our Justin.tv page a ‘favorite’ for future Live Broadcasts!

If you couldn’t make it to our 2008 Music Production Tour, you don’t want to miss this Tour Recap video hosted by Cakewalk’s Product Specialist Seth Perlstein!

Seth will show you 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, here’s a first glimpse of the new SONAR V-Studio 700, the groundbreaking new hardware/software solution from Cakewalk by Roland.

Visit the SONAR V-Studio 700 website to watch exclusive videos and get in-depth product information. More details will be unveiled at NAMM 09’ in January!

Artist Spotlight: Eddie King & Megatrax Productions

On Rapture, Dimension Pro & The Difference 64 Bits Make

Megatrax chief engineer, producer and composer Eddie King

By Randy Alberts

“I love the way SONAR sounds,” says producer, engineer and composer Eddie King. “Particularly in the bottom end which is tight, fat and well defined. It’s my subjective opinion that SONAR’s 64-bit processing makes a huge difference.”

Given his aural perspective comes from multiple vantage points, it can be said King’s subjective opinion distills closer to objectivity with every SONAR mix he finishes. A Mac-based Pro Tools engineer/producer by day at Megatrax-a premier production music library and recording studio for film, t.v., advertising and multimedia-and a talented home-based composer and arranger by night with SONAR on his screaming-fast PC server farm, Eddie’s bi-platform, dual DAW audio opinion carries just a bit more weight than most others’ do.

“Once I saw that SONAR runs solidly, has good functionality and then, the big one, that SONAR is the only DAW running at 64-bit,” says King, “that’s when I thought, ‘Well, hello!’ It makes sense that better resolution means things are going to sound better, too. Again, this is subjective, but I have to say that SONAR’s 64-bit resolution does, in fact, make a big difference. I know Cakewalk has done more objective, blind listening tests about this, but at least I know for sure that SONAR makes a big difference for my sound and my mixes.”

Both Sides of the Building: Mega Tracks & King’s Sound

Eddie King’s audio credentials began years before the founding of Megatrax. In 1980 he opened and for years seriously upgraded his old Neve 3 and vintage analog gear racks at Kingsound in North Hollywood, his own commercial studio wherein Megatrax-one of his clients there-first began building their respected, comprehensive music library. Fifteen years later, in 1995, he sold Kingsound to them, Megatrax made Eddie their chief engineer and the two have been a very busy team ever since.

Continue reading Artist Spotlight: Eddie King & Megatrax Productions

Cakewalk’s Holiday Bundles: Music to Your Ears

The holidays are just around the corner and to celebrate, we’re bringing back Cakewalk’s Holiday Bundles! This is your chance to upgrade to the software you want at prices we can only offer once a year.

We’ve put together a Cakewalk Holiday Bundle for everyone on your list, for every budget. Plus, we’re offerng free shipping through December 30th on orders of $99 or more! Browse our eStore to pick the perfect bundle!

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Music Brings Light to Blind Youth


Watch CBS Videos Online

Last night on 60 Minutes’ Lesley Stahl caught up with 13 year-old musical savant, Rex Lewis-Clack. Born blind and mentally-impaired, Rex is unable to perform everyday tasks like tying a shoe or fastening a button, yet he has overcome the odds using music as a stepping stone.

Enrolled in voice and piano lessons, Rex spends his free-time perfecting the classics – Debussy and Schubert for example. Featured in this video is a professor from The Academy of Music for the Blind – a school that uses SONAR for it’s accessibility for the vision-impaired.

Electronic Music Contest for High School-ers

Cakewalk will sponsor Northeastern University’s 6th Annual Electronic Music Composition Contest for high school composers. Students in grades 9-12 in the six New England states plus those in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are encouraged to apply.

First and Second Place winners will receive Cakewalk’s SONAR 8 Producer plus Garritan’s Personal Orchestra Sample Library, cash awards, and a public performance of their work at Northeastern in Bosotn this spring.

Applicants must submit original works that make use of either computer-generated or computer-processed sound as a major component or consist of sounds created by electronic musical instruments – synthesizers, samplers, etc. All works must be between 3 and 10 minutes long. All works must be submitted via audio CD.

Deadline for submission is February 9, 2009.

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