Why Trance Chart-Topper iLan Bluestone Uses SONAR Platinum to Craft His Unique Sound

There is a new breed of DJ’s emerging, and U.K. native iLan Bluestone is leading the pack. This new insurgence is fueled more by raw talent rather than the button-pushing antics for which some DJ’s have been scrutinized.  Musicianship, song-structure, production, arrangement and mixing are now all part of the game with these super-DJ’s who have the skills to bring it all together. SONAR has been at the heart of iLan’s career for over 10 years now.  Hailing from the town of Borehamwood just north of London, he taught himself guitar and piano at a young age and took his time developing his sound. “I think it takes a while to figure out your sound and what you’re good at,” iLan told us while visiting his home studio in the U.K. “A lot of artists get really close to finding their own sound, but then for one reason or another things don’t seem to connect.  It takes a lot of dedication and patience to really develop as an artists these days, especially in the EDM world.” These words of wisdom seem to have a lot of weight behind them considering iLan’s sonic-trajectory in the last 18 months. On Beatport alone, he has seen the Top Ten Trance chart over 12 times including eight #1 tracks. He has also graced Billboard Charts and is literally the only U.K. artist to go from his bedroom production suite to a recent sold out show at Madison Square Garden Continue reading Why Trance Chart-Topper iLan Bluestone Uses SONAR Platinum to Craft His Unique Sound

Approaching the Remix With Cakewalk Synths – Norman Matthew [MURDER FM]

PUTTING MY FACE ON YOUR NAME:

Remixing is one of my favorite things to do in the studio for many reasons. For one thing the song has been written, so the pressure of writing a masterpiece is off my shoulders. I’m also able to listen to a song from beginning to end; a completed thought, if you will. I get creatively juiced immediately if I connect to it. That’s where the magical third thing kicks in – I get to put my musical stamp on another artist and pay tribute to their work by recreating their art through my eyes. It’s an opportunity to let the world crawl inside my head (scary as that may be) and hear it the way I do. Continue reading Approaching the Remix With Cakewalk Synths – Norman Matthew [MURDER FM]

Remixing in SONAR: An MGMT inspired remix using SONAR X2 Producer and Z3TA+ 2

While working as a Quality Assurance Engineer for Cakewalk I have the privilege and duty to test the latest builds before they are available to the public. While testing SONAR X2a and the CA-2A T-Type Leveling Amplifier I decided to work on an MGMT inspired remix of new song written by Cakewalk Graphic Designer Dan Kaplan.  Dan gave me the stems from his studio sessions and from there I remixed the song using SONAR X2 Producer, the CA-2A, and Z3TA+ 2.

 

When I first listened to Dan Kaplan’s song Sink or Swim one of my favorite things about the song was the dynamic between the male and female vocals. I thought it would be interesting to try and approach the song more as a duet or at least feature the female vocal more than in the original. I started by putting the original stems in one folder in SONAR and began setting up tracks for the remix in another. I created some instrument tracks for Session Drummer 3, Studio Instruments Electric Piano, and Z3TA+ 2. I then brought in sections of the bass and piano stems and began working on the first chorus trying to get the vocal dynamic working. I added Kick samples and built a pad to fade between chords using Z3TA+ 2. The Bass needed to be a lot more aggressive and the saturation knob in combination with some EQ got the sound I wanted. I used a synth sample from the original stems for the instrumental sections that reminded me of a MGMT riff and layered some different snares and claps to add more energy. Things were already moving well towards the end of the song but I needed to figure out how to get to the first chorus. I found a great background vocal sample from the end of the original track that reminded me of something the band FUN might do and thought that it would be a cool way to start the song. Using 4 different instances of SD3 I built the giant drum circle intro and added some of my own guitars using TH2. I put some rhodes and strings in the intro as well which to me kept the space that was there but left some nice texture. The strings also really helped the transition into the first chorus when the pad comes in and takes over.

 

I’ve always liked well planned vocal arrangements in pop music and wanted to build a 3 or 4 part vocal section for the end. I copied and moved the original chorus to the end and began playing around with other vocal samples to see where other phrases could come in without hurting the melody. It started with the female sample “There’s one more step” which besides adding to the context of the song helped setup the lead vocal when Dan repeats the same lyrics. I then used it for the bridge as well. I cut up the lyrics “Sink or Swim” that Dan sings and also layered that in a few choice spots.

 

I added some splashy electronic cymbal hits for added effect throughout the song and chopped some of the kick and snare samples to give it some life and not be too repetitive. I found a great long kick hit in the included sample library that I reversed for the sub swells along with reversing some other samples and sections of the guitar. Each track went through the A-Type console emulator which I think adds more air to the track and used a lot of the BREVERB SONAR plug-in for reverb on tracks and busses. To get the weird watery effect on the female vocals in the bridge I pulled out the original Z3TA+ which can be used as an audio plug-in also and found a preset to start with and tweaked it so the words were still understandable.

 

Listen to Dan Kaplan’s original version of Sink or Swim.

Sink or Swim

Remix K’Naan’s New Single to Win $1000 and SONAR X1 Production Suite

Hopefully by now you have a version of the award winning SONAR X1 running on your machine, because A&M/Octone recording artist K’NAAN wants to hear from you; musically.  With this exclusive opportunity through Cakewalk, Roland, Indaba Music and A&M/Octone, you can sign up for this contest and download the actual stems to craft your own work of art.   If that work of art is chosen by K’Naan and his label, it will result in a nice chunk of cash or a Cakewalk/Roland gear package for you. Continue reading Remix K’Naan’s New Single to Win $1000 and SONAR X1 Production Suite

Hollywood Undead Invites You To Mix-it-up

Enter the Hollywood Undead remix contest today

SONAR X1 user Hollywood Undead is one of the few modern bands that continue to sell records and play to sold out crowds around the world.  This hard working band is considered as one of the biggest and most unique rock acts in the industry today, and now with the help of Indaba, Cakewalk and Roland, they want your help in remixing two of their original songs.  That’s right folks, you could end up with actual credits on a record that is being released on A&M/Octone through this exclusive Cakewalk opportunity; and you never know where it could go from there…  You can enter this contest and win great prizes including cash, recording gear from Cakewalk and Roland, and the opportunity to be on their new remix EP.  Hollywood Undead rely on SONAR X1 and Cakewalk to keep their music original and creative, now they are reaching out to all their fellow SONAR X1 users.  If this sounds interesting to you, please visit here on the Indaba music site to learn more on how to enter. Good luck!

FiXT Remix Community Looking For New Talent

Fixt RemixIf remixing is your thing, check out the latest contest at FiXT Remix! If you can put the best spin on Celldweller’s Louder Than Words, you could win a whole new arsenal of recording gear and sound effects!

Over $5,000 in prizes will be awarded to the top 3 remixers including Cakewalk’s SONAR 8 Producer and Rapture as well as sound effects by FabFilter and OhmForce. Sign up for the FiXT Community today as the contest opens for entries on September 28, 2009.

SONAR’s Snap to Grid Function Makes Editing Easier

Cakewalk_Tips-smEditing your tracks can be the most tedious and time consuming part of the whole music-making process. In almost every project, you’re going to need to do things like line up your Acapella track, line up your Loops and Groove Clips, syncopate your Drum clip, extend the intro or outro, add a break, etc.

DJ Serg, one of today’s hottest remix artists, makes editing much easier by giving you this in-depth look at the Snap Options in SONAR. Now, you can spend less time changing the settings and more time expressing your creativity.

SONAR Pro-User Justin Lassen Featured in Intel’s Visual Adrenaline Magazine

A master at his craft, Justin Lassen dominates a new realm of creativity, composing music to computer-generated graphic art. A one-of-a-kind producer, composer and re-mixer, Justin translates the inspiring yet hauntingly beautiful art he sees into his own musical masterpieces. With the help of his PCAudioLabs digital audio workstation with an Intel Core i7 processor, SONAR 8 and various media editing tools, Justin gives life to the one dimensional art forms.

Recently featured in Intel’s Visual Adrenaline Magazine for his work with computer technology, Justin states:

“Cakewalk’s SONAR 8 was one of the applications that were optimized and ready to take full advantage of the four cores and eight threads available with the Intel Core i7 processor.”

Among the many new features in SONAR 8 that Lassen appreciates are“the new compression, gating, and limiting as well as the tried-and-true Sonitus FX, which always find their way into all of my projects, since they don’t overload my CPU.”

Synaesthesia, a series of his latest works, has gained high acclaim throughout the fine art and technology industries. The series pairs his music with still images created by well-known graphic designers including Alex Ruiz (The Simpsons) and Nykolai Aleksander.

To view scenes from Synaesthesia and other works, visit Intel’s website and scroll through the August edition of Visual Adrenaline Magazine

Follow Justin through life in the digital world on his Live Journal

EM Magazine Hosts SONAR 8 Masterclass On Groove Tool, Beatscape

If you haven’t seen Electronic Musician’s master-class on SONAR 8’s new loop instrument, Beatscape, this would be a great time to check it out!

Via basic, easy to follow instructions, EM takes you through the process of importing and organizing audio files into Beatscape’s library and more. A brand new feature to the SONAR platform, Beatscape offers 16 pads to load and trigger your loops or samples for sequencing your music and beats. It also includes a massive 4GB REX library with preloaded material (beats, breaks, phrases in many genres). With drag and drop capabilities, Beatscape brings a new level of entertainment to remixing tracks!

Take a look at the masterclass in full at EMusician.com

Artist Impression: Justin Lassen on V-Studio 700

Cakewalk caught up with Darkly composer Justin Lassen at the NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA. Lassen was one of many who stopped by the Cakewalk booth to get a glimpse of the new SONAR V-Studio 700 system in action. When asked what he thought about the new VStudio 700 system, this was his reply:

For over ten years, Justin Lassen has remixed, composed and produced music for video games, TV, film and commercial projects. In fact, Cakewalk featured one of Lassen’s works in SONAR 8!