Northeastern University Recognizes Young Composers

northeasternuniversityFor a 7th year, the Music Technology program at Northeastern University held an electronic music composition contest for high school composers. Students from across the Northeast US compete to receive a cash reward, music production software including Cakewalk’s SONAR Producer and the opportunity to perform their work at a public concert held on the university’s campus in Boston. Along with recognizing local talent, this contest gives Northeastern a great way to promote their Music Tech program, which educates students on the techniques of MIDI sequencing, sound design, audio for video, digital audio mixing and mastering, and the latest methods of delivering music over the Internet.

Congratulations to this year’s budding composers:

Kanki Suzuki
Class of 2012
Greenwich High School, Greenwich, CT
Composition: Rainy Day

Michelle Garcia
Class of 2011
Bay Shore High School, Bay Shore, NY
Composition: Ambient Snow Fall

The Basic Guidelines of EQ

What is Equalization or ‘EQ’? How can I use it to enhance the sound of my tracks?

Read the following guide to learn the basic terms, settings and tips associated with EQ. Adjusting the frequency levels while recording your instruments and vocals is just the beginning.

Also, watch the video below on how to adjust EQ in the console view of your Cakewalk software:

‘Making Electronic Music’ Gets A Whole New Meaning

We came across this video on Youtube posted by BD594 in Toronto, Canada and thought we’d pass it along. It’s a fantastic representation of how difficult creating music with the computer once was.

Although, there are times when you’d rather throw the computer out the window than lay down one more track, using software has become much easier than making the old hardware sing.

Complete Your Projects Quickly & Efficiently with SONAR 8

T. Michael Testi, author of ‘The RAM Review’ column at BlogCritics.org, shared his thoughts about SONAR 8 in a recent software review. For those of you who are on the fence about upgrading your DAW to the latest version of SONAR, Testi lays it all out on the line. He skillfully dissects the new tools, effects, and instruments added to latest version of SONAR. Here’s a few quotes from the article we thought you might want to read:

“Keep in mind that SONAR 8 is an incredibly complete and complex software package that is aimed at the professional and the sophisticated enthusiast who wants a product that is powerful, flexible, and very configurable.”

“With all of this, SONAR 8 is a must have upgrade. If you truly want the ultimate in DAW software, then you need SONAR 8.”

Read the full SONAR 8 Producer Software Review by T. Michael Testi of BlogCritics.org.

Stokes Audio: Mixing & Post Production for Film

Stokes Audio, Recording & Post mixed the soundtrack to BET’s latest TV-to-film release, Nite Tales (as seen on BET Halloween) with SONAR. Hosted by Flavor Flav, it’s a ‘shockingly twisted’ double feature horror flick, reminiscent of the Tales from the Crypt series. Nite Tales is now available on DVD.

Stokes Audio is currently working on remixing the soundtrack for the documentary, Why We Laugh, shows at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Why We Laugh, directed by Robert Townsend, is a ‘sweeping account’ of the ebb and flow of black comedy in America.

Stokes Audio: The Independent Filmmakers Best Friend

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: Baron

For prolific D&B Producer Baron, It’s all about getting the right sound:

“Dimension Pro and Rapture are just essential tools for me…”

By Oz Owen

Even just a cursory glance at Baron’s discography reveals how he’s quickly established himself as a major player on the Drum & Bass scene. Producing jump-up tracks since 2001, Baron – aka Piers Bailey – has since gone on to work with some of the biggest names in D&B. Pendulum, Roni Size, DJ Fresh, DJ Craze, Stanton Warriors…

But it was 2003 that really saw Baron come into his own as a remixer, stamping his authority on Total Science’s Nosher, and in the process turned it into an instant classic.

But just how does one of the most respected and consistent producers in the genre keep on banging out a steady stream of dancefloor bombs? Having the ideas is one thing, but then you also need the right tools to turn those ideas into reality …

“For me, Dimension Pro and Rapture are essential tools in the studio – without them I would be missing a little something. Dimension is my absolute ‘go to’ synth for any string or percussion sound.”

“To explain how best I use them you just have to listen to some of my biggest releases of the last few years – Endless Summer, Turn Up The Sun, Drive In Drive By… most of the string, percussion and effect sounds on those tracks have come from Dimension Pro or Rapture.”

“Rapture has so many different modulation and effects options, and these set it apart from most of the other synths on the market. There are a lot of people obsessing about making stuff sound like older synths, whereas with Rapture, Cakewalk have made something that sounds pretty original. It has a low impact on the processor and the sound quality alone makes it one of the first synths I reach for when I’m in the studio.”

“Why did I get into Cakewalk’s synths? First off, it was because of their reputation. And then I tried them – ultimately it all came down to the sound quality and the ease of use. I wouldn’t say that the Cakewalk plugs have changed the way I work, but they’ve certainly bolstered my sound.”

“I’ve been pretty busy for the last 18 months, mostly working on a soundtrack for the next Flip Skateboards DVD, Extremely Sorry, which should be out around now [Nov ’08]. Keep you eyes peeled for that one as there are some interesting collaborations on there. And, of course, I’ve been busy making lots of Drum & Bass, and my debut album will be out on Breakbeat Kaos soon – check my myspace for more on that!”

www.myspace.com/baronproductions

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

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.

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.