New CD Release! 2011 Kicks off

2011 is here and it’s time to kick off the new year, get back to work with some crazy ass tutorials, make music, patches, refills and all other kinds of crazy things. To start the year off, I’ve released a new CD which you can check out at CD Baby.

New EP: Standing in a Hallway Staring at a Door2011 is here and it’s time to kick off the new year, get back to work with some crazy ass tutorials, make music, patches, refills and all other kinds of shenanigans. To start the year off, I’ve released a new CD which you can check out at CD Baby: Standing in a Hallway Staring at a Door.

This CD comes out of several more melancholy ambient tracks that I’ve been toying with all year and whittled down into a 37-minute EP carpet ride. It also was part of a challenge of mine to stick to the sounds that are found in my Generations refill. To that end, about 99% of the music on the CD is from that refill. A challenge to be sure; my fingers kept venturing into some of the other finer refills in my collection. But will power called me away and demanded I try creating something fully “mine” this time around. It was the first time I did and I’m pleased with the turnout.

I’ve also released a free download which is an alternate demo version of the last song on the CD (Locked), which you can find here in my trusty Soundcloud widget below. Feel free to have a listen, download, and share the tune. Just be sure to let them know where they can find the full CD if you do. Your help spreading the word is always greatly appreciated.

Locked (Demo) by Phi Sequence

Enough about that blatant self-promotion stuff. Now what tutorials do you want to see in the coming year? What types of sounds would you like to have in a refill? What general thoughts do you have about Reason and Record. Share your tips and tricks and fantastic creative voyages you’ve had with the software. I’m all ears.

The Musician’s Manifesto

The Musician’s manifesto. Or, subtitled: “The Reason Guide to getting Zen and Musical” — these are just some of the things I’ve learned throughout my life and more specifically being a musical-minded person working with Reason for the past 5 years

Or, subtitled: “The Reason Guide to getting Zen and Musical” — these are just some of the things I’ve learned throughout my life and more specifically being a musical-minded person working with Reason for the past 6 years.

I caution that you might find these points a bit preachy or moral or spiritual or whatever, or you might find it total bunk, but these are some of the rules by which I try to live, and they have served me pretty well over the past years. I keep coming back to them again and again because I realize nobody is perfect, and on a day where I find I’m slipping or feel like giving up, they are there to help me get out of that funk.

  1. Admit you know nothing and start from that vantage point. Everyone has something to teach us. Open yourself up to realizing that, humble yourself, and learn wherever and whenever you can from whomever you can.
  2. Ultimately be creative and make music! We all have the ability to be artistic and creative. We just have to find it inside ourselves and turn on the tap to let it out. Easier said than done, I know. But the journey is so worth it.
  3. Experiment, experiment, and then experiment some more. Devote as much time as you can each and every day to music. If you truly love it, then this will simply come naturally.
  4. Challenge Everything. Don’t be complacent. Question things. Come to your own conclusions. Think outside the box. Never sit still. Be your own person. Set artificial limits for yourself. Cherish the mistakes and the accidents. Be better than good. Music does not have to be formulaic, so don’t be satisfied with a formula. Challenge yourself to make things different.
  5. It’s all about the journey, not the destination. Be mindful of your past while looking forward to your future. As Winston Churchill wrote: “The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you will see.”
  6. If you are truly enjoying working in music, then count yourself lucky. You’ve found something that really does help fulfill you! And buddy, that means you’re ahead of about 90% of the population. Don’t believe me? Next time you’re on public transportation during morning rush hour, look around and see how many happy faces are in your vicinity.
  7. Never stop learning, because knowledge is truly power. Suck it up like a sponge. Be as curious as you can. Seek out the answers to all your questions. If you don’t know how a chord is created, go online and read about chords. Don’t know what an ADSR is? Look it up! Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know something. And don’t be afraid to make mistakes. They are just as important as your successes.
  8. Stop lamenting what you don’t have or don’t own, and focus on what you do have and what you can do with it. Specifically learn Reason and Record inside out. Believe me, you can spend a lifetime solely exploring the base Reason Package with Factory Sound Bank and still never know it all. In addition, Google is your friend. YouTube is your friend. Wikipedia is your friend. Bloggers are your friends. The 800+ page Reason/Record manual is also your friend. Get to know them all intimately.
  9. Stop blaming the tools. It’s not the guitar’s fault you don’t know how to play it. Just as it’s not Reason nor Record’s  fault you don’t know how to use them. The blame and responsibility are squarely on your shoulders. Put on your big girl panties and suck it up Rockstar!
  10. Check your ego at the door. Don’t step on those around you to get a leg up, or fall into the trap of trying to “be better than the next guy.” It’s stupid, petty, unnecessary, and worthless. There’s nothing competitive about music and art. It’s not a competition to get to the top. It’s a fundamental ability that all humans have to let their voice be heard. It’s the most free-spirited part of being human. Focus on honing your voice and market yourself with respect as you would expect others to market themselves to you. Don’t belittle others in the process. That’s just counterproductive.
  11. Stand up for your art!
  12. It’s not wrong to be a perfectionist, but it may as well be. 90% of tracks are completed in 10% of the time. Stop spending 90% of your time trying to perfect the last 10% of a track. Learn to let go at some point or stop if you find yourself struggling or getting nowhere. Nothing is more frustrating than going nowhere for a long period of time. Avoid getting stuck by stopping and/or focusing your attention on something else: another song, another device, a new genre or just stop completely and take a break. Also learn how to brainstorm and finish things at a quick pace. Try completing a song in an hour just for the hell of it. Creating these artificial deadlines can help your creativity, just as brainstorming can.
  13. Seek out help, discussions, collaborations, and healthy relationships in general. They might be able to help you  finish up that last 10% of a track in less time than you could. You just have to realize that no man or woman is an island. We all need the help of others from time to time. And you’ll find great friendships in the most unusual places, or partnerships that you never thought would come about. They can often inspire you by steering you in different directions. It’s a natural form of networking. And it’s important. Probably more important even than your music, your art, or anything else really. It’s our connections with each other that make us who we are and define us.
  14. Give back to your community in some way, shape, or form, and to the best of your own abilities. You’ll feel more positive, and you may provide the spark in someone else’s life which ignites their passion or sends their life on a careening course which fundamentally changes who they are for the better! Charity is important and fundamental. And you’ll feel good too.
  15. Ignore negative chatter. Pay close attention to positive criticism. It’s the same 90/10 rule all over again and in various respects. 90% of the internet is mere chatter. 10% of the internet is solid and where you should focus. Also, spend 90% of your time on this 10% which is important. Also, knowing the difference between negativity and positive criticism is crucial. We all need — no, we must have criticism in order to grow as artists. Be mindful and humble of that. Believe me, I’m humbled every day at some of the songs I hear, videos I watch, images I see, places I visit. I could go on and on.
  16. Never under any circumstances send out an email, post, Soundcloud message, YouTube comment, etc. which starts and ends with “yo check out my track” or any variation thereof. Guess what? No one will check out your track. And people will purposely ignore your track. Your time can be better spent by getting to know people and checking out THEIR tracks and their work, and talking to them about their work, not yours. This requires a fundamental shift away from what you are doing. This is just common sense.
  17. In opposition to the point above, if you are providing free resources, such as tutorials and refills, then do the opposite. Shout it from the rooftops. In this case you should let everyone know and open everyone up to discussion about it and make it available. Here there be free things!
  18. Understand the difference between “I really hate this” and “God this is difficult but worthwhile and enjoyable.” In the former, if you really hate what you’re doing, try to figure out what you really do enjoy and go out and do that instead. Give it your all, no matter what anyone says. If you find that working in music or with Reason is incredibly difficult, but you just spent 10 hours without realizing it in front of Thor, then hey, you’re on the right track. Keep at it. And don’t stop. You do enjoy it.
  19. Use your ears 90% of the time and your mouth 10% of the time. I know this goes right back to the 90/10 rule, but it’s vital. If you think I talk too much here on my blog, what you don’t see is the other 90% of the time when I’m reading posts, watching videos, seeking out the latest tips and tricks from everyone out there, digging through refills and song files for more ways I can abuse Reason. And now we’ve come full circle back to points #1-3.
  20. Finally, remember that there’s a life outside of Music and Reason and Record. And that all of this alone cannot fully sustain you. Make time for all the other people in your life, vacation, hobbies, work, breaks, taking your sweetheart out for a night on the town or a quiet evening in. We are all made up of many facets. Try to gain a deep understanding of all those facets in your own life.

So there you have it. My views on what it takes to succeed and more importantly, what it takes to live up to your full potential as a creative and artistic human being.

And for some further reading, I would recommend the following:

Any other thoughts?

Organizing your Files

I would diverge a bit and talk about a subject that everyone needs to understand: organizing your files. Hopefully this will shed a little light on how Reason files operate, and at the same time provide some ideas with a safe method of organization.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about how to best organize Reason and Record refills and files and such, so I thought I would diverge a bit and talk about this, since it’s important for everyone. It’s also tied closely with another subject: how does Reason handle files. In my opinion, everyone needs to have a basic understanding of this subject, as understanding this will help you put together a foolproof file structure on your hard drive or external drive. In the process, I’ll provide my own method for file organization, which I think has some pretty good benefits.

First and Foremost: How the heck do these files work?

First, what must be understood is the idea that samples in Reason and Record are not automatically part of the song files. Note that wav files loaded into a track in Record is a different story. Any wav files loaded on their own channels are saved along with the song. When it comes to samples, the only thing saved with the song file is a link to the sample location. This means that each time a sample is loaded into a song, the location and name of the sample is noted and stored. When the song is saved, the sample’s file name and location are saved along with the song. When the song is reopened, the program performs a check to see that all the saved sample links are still valid. If not, you get a warning telling you that the sample is missing. UH OH. Now you’re in trouble.

But what causes a sample to go missing. If you’ve understood the above paragraph, it’s not a great leap to figure out that if you change the sample’s location or file name (or both), Reason’s sample check will fail. So why am I telling you this? Because once you understand how samples are treated in Reason, you’ll understand how best to organize them. Knowledge is power after all.

Second, we must also understand the difference between a sample and a patch. A sample is a .wav or .aiff file which can be loaded into any of Reason’s sample players (the NN19, NN-XT, Redrum, Kong, or Dr. Rex). A patch is completely different. Patches do not rely on any outside files, and instead are built wholly inside Reason. This means that you can rename and relocate patches anywhere you like. They will still load fine within Reason or Record. Patches can be loaded into any of Reason’s Synthesizers (Subtractor, Malstrom, and Thor), as well as the advanced FX devices (Scream and the RV7000).

A special case exists with the Combinator, NN19, NN-XT, Redrum, and possibly Kong, which can make things a little confusing. All three of these devices can load both samples and patches. While the Combinator does not have the ability to load a sample per se, it can contain instruments which do load samples, therefore it has the possibility of containing samples. The NN19, NN-XT, and Redrum can all load both samples and patches (Kits = Patches in the case of Redrum). Lastly, if you use the NurseRex or Nano-XT in Kong, you’ll realize that Kong can also hold samples. Point is this: if you have a sample contained inside a Reason device, be it Kong, Combinator or NN-XT, etc. then you’ll have to be extra careful to ensure that those samples are not changed. No renaming, and no moving around from folder to folder. If you change sample file names or move them to another folder, the link is broken and you get the dreaded “Sample not found” dialog.

Truth be told, moving them from folder to folder is really not a huge issue if you follow my advice for file organization below (in other words, if you keep all the Samples in a single parent folder — create as many subfolders under this as you like, and move the samples around freely under this main parent folder). The more dangerous culprit is renaming the sample file, as this will make it almost impossible to find later, especially if you have thousands of samples on your hard drive or if you do some massive renaming of a bunch of sample files. Just don’t do it. Force yourself to think of a naming convention that makes sense to you (and it doesn’t hurt to make it somewhat logical in the event you’ll be collaborating with others).

Note also that if you trade files between others that don’t have your samples or the same refills you do, you’ll also get the dreaded “File not found” message. In this case there are two easy solutions: 1. If the samples are your own creations, self-contain the song (from the file menu) and send the song to your colleague. When the song is opened on the other end, all the samples are contained and will open up properly. 2. If you are using samples from a refill which your colleague does not have, tell your colleague to download the refill if it’s free or pay for it if it’s commercial. Problem solved.

In conclusion, you have to simply be cognizant of the fact that if samples are used anywhere in your Reason devices, Reason is only storing a link to those samples. Now let’s look at things from the other side of the coin. Let’s see how we can best optimize the samples and other Reason files so that we never lose any samples, songs or other files ever again.

The Simple File Organization Method for Reason or Record

One of the simplest solutions to file organization is to create a directory outside the “C:\Program Files\Reason” directory entirely (I put mine under the C:\ drive directly and I call it “Reason” for lack of a better term — call this folder anything that makes sense to you like “Audio” or “AudioWork” but I would stay away from “Music” because Windows creates a “My Music” folder automatically — looking back I probably would have chosen a name other than “Reason” so as not to confuse it with the Reason directory under the Program Files on my hard drive, but I’ve never been tripped up by this).

Then under this folder I created the following sub-folders:

  • Main Refills (where I place all 3rd party refills)
  • Working Refill (where I place my own patches for my own refill development)
  • Samples (Where I place all my sample wav or aiff files)
  • Songs (all .rns, .rps, and .record files go here)
  • Output (all .wav or .mp3 output goes here)
  • Miscellaneous (files others provide me, documentation, charts, etc)
  • Scratchpad (any stupid experiments or playful fun stuff goes here – usually in .rns or .record file format).

You can create any number of sub-folders under the above folders as you wish. The idea though, is to keep the samples in their own folder and keep some basic top level organization.

I personally have the whole above “Reason” folder backed up on 2 different hard drives and I do a DVD backup twice a year. This takes care of ensuring I sleep like a baby each and every night, and even if my computer explodes or gets accidentally hurled off the balcony after receiving that final blue screen of death straw during the best jam session I’ve had in a decade, it’s unlikely all 3 hard drives will crash at the same time. And even if they do, I have everything stored on hard media (DVD). At the absolute very least, and if you only do one of the above, back up your stuff onto a DVD! Hard Drives fail. DVDs seldom do. But even with that recommendation, I still would highly suggest in backing it up in at least 2 other places above and beyond your main computer (a secondary hard drive and DVD).

Some of the benefits of the above organizational approach:

  1. Easy to find what you want quickly
  2. You can always uninstall/install reason without ever worrying you’ll overwrite something or having to move something outside the main reason folder every time you uninstall/install
  3. Saving all my scratchpad stuff in .rns or .record format means that I can go directly into windows explorer and double-click on the file to open the Reason or Record program with my song loaded in one shot, which saves time.
  4. Separating the output (.wav) from the songs (.rns or .record) means that I can organize my output in whatever way I want without touching the main song files — which is nice when trying out different track listings. Note that all the output files are further organized into sub-folders for different full CDs or genre, etc. Whatever works for you.
  5. Keeping all the samples in one folder means that you’ll never lose the samples or the link to the sample from a song. You could also subgroup samples underneath in sub-folders based on sample type: drums, nature sounds, urban sounds, etc. As long as they stay in this folder, you can subgroup them any way you like and you can even change the samples from one location to another under this folder — if the song ends up losing the connection with the sample, just point to the “Samples” folder, and let Reason/Record find the samples for you. Since they will always be in this folder. Only thing you can’t do is rename a sample. That’s always unwise.
  6. Finally, this type of system means I have one folder to backup. Not a bunch of folders and files all over the place on my hard drive.

I know some people advocate the opposite approach of saving everything related to a song in a single folder and creating separate folders for each song. But this approach means you end up with several copies of the same samples and patches all over the place, and I think it can become a mess very quickly. Also, with the “self-contained” settings in Reason and Record, the program can do this for you on the fly.

Here’s another idea if you really want to keep all the patch and sample files with your songs. Try using the “favorites” feature in the Reason song browser to create a “favorite list” for each song you create. This way you have all the files and patches for each song stored in a favorites list. And you can duplicate patch listings in multiple favorite lists without duplicating the patches themselves.

The other added benefit is that it can help you when you’re looking for a specific patch from a specific song. You don’t need to open up the song file. Instead, open the song browser, click on the “favorite list” for the song that contains the patch, and there it is.

Building a Refill: How do I organize that?

Well you’re on your own for that one jack. Mainly because I’m way too tired from writing this long post. But here is an example on how I would probably try setting things up. Usually I create several folders for each instrument or device at the top level, then the sub-folder would contain the various instruments. If I don’t have any patches for a specific instrument, I omit that folder entirely (no need to have an empty folder). Here’s an example:

  • Instrument Device (for instance, Thor)
    • Bass
      • Acoustic
      • Synth
    • Bells & Mallets
    • Drums
      • Kits
      • Hits
        • Bass Drum
        • Snare
        • Toms
        • Rimshots
        • Assorted
    • Horns & Woodwinds
      • Sax
      • Oboe
      • Flute
    • Pads
      • Upbeat
      • Downbeat
      • Neutral
    • Piano
    • Strings
      • Guitar
      • Violin
    • Synths
      • Mono
      • Polyphonic

For the FX devices, I usually just list the device at the top level, and put all the patches directly under that folder. If it gets out of hand though, I might try separating even that into sub-folders based on sound types. For example, you could set up the RV7000 as according to it’s algorithms (Room, Arena, Spring, Echo, etc.). Or you could set up the Scream according to its damage types (Tape, Tube, Fuzz, etc.)

For Rex loops, I would probably list them based on purpose and then Tempo. For example:

  • Dr.OctoRex Loops
    • Drum Loops
      • 90 BPM
      • 100 BPM
      • 110 BPM
      • 120 BPM
    • Music Loops
      • 90 BPM
      • 100 BPM
    • Experimental Loops
      • 90 BPM
      • 100 BPM
    • Assorted Loops
      • 100 BPM
      • 110 BPM

In conclusion, when you’re dealing with file structures on your hard drive the idea is to make it as easy as possible for you to find what you’re looking for. When creating file structures for refills, the idea is to make it as easy as possible for the end user.

As an update, Vitor posted the following on EditEd4TV’s forum in this post. I wanted to reprint this, because it’s also good advice:

I already do what you say, I just don’t agree with the use of optical media to store backups. It’s slow and it’s destined to fail in less than 10 years, even if you store it carefully. And a 1TB HDD costs 50-60 bucks, how much would it cost to get that on DVDs? That’s almost 250 DVDs.

I prefer to keep buying new and bigger HDDs and keep rotating the old drives to become OS drives (my OS HDDs and work HDDs are distinct). Right now I have 320GB and 500GB for OS duties and 2x1TB for work and backups. Next year, I’ll just reassign the oldest 1TB to OS duties and buy a new HDD to become a new backup drive.
I also use an external USB 2.5 250GB to store the most important stuff and keep it in a different location.

Just don’t forget that you should not trust a new HDD, at least not until a week has passed and you’ve been able to test it all. Sometimes they fail on the first week. Remember this to prevent disaster.

I hope some of this helps to demystify how files work in Reason and Record, and provides a helpful and simple approach to file organization on your computer. If you have any other advice in this area, please don’t hesitate to share it with us.

A Word of Thanks. . .

With the latest release of my “Generations” refill, there’s been a flurry of activity on other boards to help me promote it and showcase it to the world. I just wanted to take a moment to say thanks to everyone for putting all of this together. Thumbnail and picture credit: Cristóbal Vila (

Thanks for all the Flowers!
Image credit: Cristóbal Vila

With the latest release of my “Generations” refill, there’s been a flurry of activity on other boards to help me promote it and showcase it to the world. I just wanted to take a moment to say thanks to everyone for putting all of this together. I am always humbled when people come together to help out. And you guys have certainly helped me out.

First, a word of thanks to Hydlide. Not only did you do an amazing job on the demo songs for the refill, but you put together a great series of videos to help show off some of the sounds inside the refill. If you missed it, you can find the full article here:

Another word of thanks goes out to Lewis for his great interview of yours truly. You did a wonderful job pulling all the elements together for this posting, and even shocked me to see some pictures up there that I thought had long been forgotten. So thanks for that. Those that missed out on the interview can find it here:

Another great thank you goes out to Robbneu from his Patch-a-day blog. He put together a wonderful testimonial. And his help along the way with some of my constructions was also a huge part of the whole refill process. Here’s what he had to say:

Without all of you guys, this project would never have been completed on time and I want you to know that your help was invaluable. And thanks to everyone else out there who helped me out in one way or another. It does not go unnoticed.

And a word of thanks to everyone out there on all the forum boards that ask so many interesting questions. Without those questions, I wouldn’t have such a great source of inspiration for these tutorials and patches. So thanks to all of you as well. Keep all the questions coming!

What’s in a Name?

Now another thing I’d like to bring up since we’re chatting. Some people have asked me where the moniker “Phi Sequence” comes from. In case you didn’t know, that’s the name under which I do most of my recording and CD/mp3 distribution at The name actually comes from the golden rule of proportion, otherwise known as the Fibonacci sequence of numbers: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, and so on. More info about it can be found at the Wikipedia article for the Golden Ratio. The Golden ratio is expressed mathematically as 1.6180339887 (approximately).

There’s also another resource online which shows just how important this concept is, not only for mathematics, but also for music, science, the stock market, life, and nature. This number is a fundamental idea that permeates almost all aspects of physics and life as we know it. Read more about it here when you get a minute:

Also, my thanks to Guidosh at the Sound of Reason community for pointing out this amazing video. It’s a very short introduction to ways in which the Fibonacci sequence of numbers works in our world:

Nature by Numbers from Cristóbal Vila on Vimeo.

Reason 5 / Record 1.5 Overview

Reason 5 and Record 1.5: An overall 6 out of 10. Bottom line: The updates improve workflow, but there is nothing here which is earth-shattering, and very little that you can’t already do with Reason 4 and Record 1.0.1. Still, I’ll end up buying the upgrade because I’ve already invested $850 in the software. So what’s another $129 right?

DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece. This is an editorial. This is my view of the software while it is in the beta testing stages. The software is not yet finished or finalized. I take full responsibility for my opinion. But please let’s be crystal clear on this: Your rating and thoughts on the subject of the software may be completely different than mine. You may see this software as the second coming of Christ and it may bring you to the heights of orgasm. You may run out into the street totally naked yelling “This is it! Finally. It’s here! It’s here!” If that’s your thing, great. Send me a postcard from jail. I’ll be working on Reason & Record at home, as I usually am.

This is my view on the software as it stands right now with what information I have about it currently. This is based entirely on public knowledge of said software. If you agree with me, then great. If you disagree that’s ok too. Once this software is released, more than likely no one’s going to care about our opinions anyway. The time is now June 17th, 2010. All names have been changed to protect the innocent.

So here’s the talk of the town lately: Reason 5 / Record 1.5. And in case you don’t want to read through my rant, let me give you the lowdown right upfront:

Dr. Rufus Rex, the 8-legged animal: 5 out of 10

Bricks: 4 out of 10

That Roman Sea God (there’s always a deity involved): 6 out of 10

That live audio import thingamajig: 6 out of 10

King…. well you know.: 7.5 out of 10

. . . and more (secondary features): 7.5 out of 10

Overall: 6 out of 10

*(you did read that bit about names being changed in the disclaimer right?)*

To be fair, if you are a musician who cares nothing about Sound design or if you’re brand new to the program or you care more about making your workflow faster, then these ratings may be somewhat higher than mine. But for me, that’s it in a nutshell. Now will I purchase the upgrade. Sure. Why? Because I’ve already invested $850 in Propellerhead products and an extra $129 — even for the lackluster features — is not going to kill me. When you’ve run 14 km in a 15 km race, what’s one more mile?

I’d rather not be so nonchalant. I’d much rather be jumping for joy and bursting at the seams like I was for Thor. I’d rather be itching to get my hands on the new Kong features, but somehow that’s just not happening. We’ve seen Kong before in Live’s new drum setup. We’ve seen blocks in the form of scenes. And what is Octorex really trying to do? It feels like they took out your Grandfather’s car and are busily polishing it up to be sold as a fresh new idea. Sure, I love the vintage look of the thing, and I love how it rides. But can we kick-start it into the year 2010? To be fair, blocks is starting to grow on me. And Kong is definitely better than I expected, and it’s a very welcome addition to the software.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Reason. I even love Record. I love that I don’t even need to open up Reason anymore. Just launch Record and everything is there for me. Great. But where is the “wow”? I sure didn’t see it come to me in 5 days of anticipation when they were unveiling. It just kind of left me scratching my head.

Where is Recycle integration? I had to go out and buy it separately because I want to put some rex files together. And where are all those wonderful ideas turned into reality that we’ve all been adding to the Propellerhead feature suggestion forum? The ideas keep piling up. And this is the best they’ve got? Perhaps I have more faith in their programming skills. After all, they haven’t disappointed in the past. They did give us Thor after all. So maybe they’ve set the bar too high in the past that now they just can’t live up to their reputation? I don’t know for sure. I just know I expected so much more. And if I’m reading all the forums correctly, so did you.

Revisiting the Wishlist

So I went back to my old post (here it is if you need a refresher: My Reason/Record wishlist) and I looked to see how much of my dreams will actually come true in September. Green shows features implemented in Reason 5, Purple shows features partially implemented, and Red indicates those things which have not been implemented.

First, Record:

  1. Automatic Routing of the Reason mixer channels to the Record Main Mixer. Somewhat there with Record 1.0.1, however this could still be improved because routings through spiders/mergers and Redrum / NN-XT individual outs are not handled correctly.
  2. Comping for Midi as well. Nope. No improvements here.
  3. Split Performance Controller Data into Separate Lanes. Nope. No improvements here.
  4. Record Performance Controllers as automation. I think we got this with Record 1.0.1, so kudos!
  5. Tempo automation/changes on a per-track basis. Well, you can timestretch audio clips. So I’ll say this is halfway there.
  6. Display Masked Audio portion in the Audio Clip. Nope. No improvements here. Right now, there’s no visual indicator to show how far and wide the masked area is. It’s worthwhile to note that this is already pretty much implemented in the audio comp tracks. Now if we could bring that into the main arrange view, we’d be golden.
  7. Synch Reason / Record Favorites. Nope. No improvements here.
  8. Cut Note Events in the Clips. Nope. No improvements. Sometimes you DO want to split the notes, and sometimes you don’t. Provide us with the option to split the notes or not when splitting clips apart.
  9. Scale Transposition of Notes. Nope. And this one is not difficult to do. This is imminently more useful than chromatic transposition of the notes.
  10. Multiple Left and Right locators. Nope. No improvements here.
  11. More Training/Tutorials and videos included in the user documentation. Documentation is starting to improve. Microtutorials, James Bernard video series. Glad to see this getting better! Green light on this one.

And now for Reason:

  1. Adding some new Effects, especially a glitch box such as “Glitch“ Nope. Not there.
  2. Having the ability to Randomize the entire Matrix or Redrum device with one click of a button. Nope. And for this one, I’m truly saddened. Especially since almost all their changes for Reason 5 are simply workflow improvements. To miss out on this one is nuts frankly.
  3. Combinator updates: More CV connections and a better subdivided menu system get a big thumbs up from me. I would still like to be able to switch the rotaries from “pot” mode to “step” mode. But that’s a minor nit-pick. Kudos again!
  4. Integrate ReCycle into Reason (or Record). Come on guys. Seriously! Big thumbs down! When is this going to happen already? Give us sampling without the ability to slice stuff up makes you look money-hungry; holding onto Recycle like an old dog clutching a tattered bone.
  5. The ability to reverse midi and audio for backward playback. Yes. Beautiful!
  6. Tap Tempo. Thank you!
  7. When in edit mode in the sequencer, providing the ability to move notes from one clip into another. Yup. This one is added in Record 1.0. Sweet. However, I’m only giving half points here because it’s not currently available in Reason. If this makes it into Reason 5, I’ll give it the green light.

So 4 out of 18 of my original requests made it in, and 3 are halfway there. A little over 1/3 of my features made it in. I don’t think that’s too bad. You be the judge. To be fair, there may be more to remove from my list once Record graduates to 2.0, and I will say that a few things which made it into this update I’m very glad to see and would have had on my list if I had given it more thought. To name a few:

  • Neptune. I really can’t wait to get my hands on this and seeing what can be done with it from a sound design perspective. Routing Thor through it and using it in an experimental way should be really interesting.
  • Kong. Although I’m less than thrilled with the implementation — It feels cluttered with all the mini-fx machines and just doesn’t look very intuitive — I’m eager to explore some routing possibilities on the back of the device. Perhaps that’s just my nature. And I am glad to see some modeling synthesis introduced. But a Guitar modeler is really what I’d like to see more than anything. Perhaps the Props are testing the waters and we’ll see this in Reason 6.0?
  • As said before, the Combinator update with new CV and easier menu system. Yes. Thank you lord. Finally.
  • Sampling. Sure. Great. But I have a field recorder, so is this really adding to my toolbox? Not really. Sure it’s handy. But I’ve already got a workflow for this. Still, it’s a feature that’s been wanted by many, so I’ll add it to the “glad to have it” pile.

In case you didn’t know. . .

And for those that didn’t know, don’t forget to read the fine print. There’s lots of little additions to the program that you may have missed when you were enthralled with the Big 5. Some of these surprised me in that they are not hyped more. The extra CVs in the Combinator are a huge deal and should be up there in lights. However, these are the features that are relegated “second class citizen” status. You should read them nonetheless: Secondary updates to Reason/Record.

Of course, don’t forget to check out the videos from the Props home page below, and  judge for yourself if these new updates are worth your money. Most of the updates are helpful to improve workflow. But bottom line is that there is nothing here which is earth-shattering, and very little that you can’t already do with Reason 4 and Record 1.0.1. My overall take is that there are three camps:

If you are a sound engineer and have invested in purchasing both Reason and Record, then it’s probably worthwhile to upgrade.

If you are a new hobbyist or musician who has only invested in Record and/or Reason, you may not need the update at all and might be better off sticking with what you have (which is already a very powerful system).

For people working on Live recording only and who only own Record, then the only advantage is Neptune. And honestly if you’re in this boat it’s probably not worthwhile.

What’s your take on the Record 1.5 and Reason 5 package?

Kevin Parks, Remembered

Kevin Parks (aka: “Liquid Silver,” “Wyatt,” or “Ambient Synthesis”): June 8, 1949 – April 28, 2010. It’s hard for me to find the right words, but I lost a great internet friend recently, and I wanted to pay homage to his memory. He was talented, kind-hearted and was always there to lend a musical hand. He will be missed.

Kevin Parks (aka: “Liquid Silver,” “Wyatt,” or “Ambient Synthesis”)

June 8, 1949 – April 28, 2010

I am writing for Kevin to let you know his trip to Mexico was unsuccessful.  He died April 28, 2010.  Your friendship and sharing with him added so much to his life these past two years.  He enjoyed his friends in music to such a degree that he hardly had time to notice how ill he was.  Thank you, thank you.
– Louise Parks

Kevin Parks
Kevin Parks (1949-2010)

That was the email that hit my inbox last week and though I never met Kevin, we had some wonderful online conversations, discussions about music, discussions about Reason. He sent me a song whenever he could; usually more than I had the time to really get into and play with. And we shared in some wonderful one-on-one collaborations. I kept telling myself if only there were more time and if only I was less busy. But in the end honestly we make our choices in how we spend our time, and I regret not having more time to devote to our friendship and nurturing our collaborations. You see, we never finished anything together. We had a lot of back and forth musically, and we lended each other a lot of ideas over the past 2 years, but everything we did was unfinished. Such is the way life can be.

We first met due to a mutual interest in Photoshop and graphic design. From there it was a short leap to find our mutual interest in music. He was mainly using Adobe Audition for his audio, and I helped teach him some of the fundamentals of using Reason and midi. He taught me some of the finer points of audio processing. He was also the first to contribute an article to my blog all about panning and getting your mix right. A good read which I highly recommend:

I am very fortunate we had the friendship we did. Without him, you wouldn’t be reading this blog at all. This site would never have existed. It was in part his prodding and the fact that he was my first beta tester for a lot of my combinators. Without him, I probably never would have started this at all. So I owe him a great debt of gratitude. He was such a good musical friend. And when I got too deep into making combinators or designing sounds, he was always there to help out and he would always tell me to never forget about actually making music. That’s the kind of guy I knew him to be. Practical, honest, and always trying to improve himself through his music.

Letting the Work speak for the Man

It’s hard for me to find the right words. Usually most people will say the usual: he was kind. He was a great guy. He was always there when you needed help. With Kevin that was all true. Any question I would ask, he would always be there to respond. Anytime you needed help he was the guy you wanted helping you. In truth I can’t say enough good things about him.

It’s with great sorrow that I have to inform everyone of his passing. I hate letting go of the good people in life; the selfless souls that are kind to the core. I can only hope that he’s up there teaching a few angels how to play some really great music on his Fender Strat!

The following is an unfinished piece which Kevin sent to me. I’d like to share it with everyone as it is. It is 100% Kevin’s, and completely unaltered. It was the last piece of music he sent me. At the time, he was trying his hand at something atmospheric and ambient. I think this work is simple understated brilliance:

Symbionic: [ti_audio media=”486″]

And this is a piece he put together last July which shows a glimpse of his guitar work:

Blue July: [ti_audio media=”487″]

This is a video he put together for one of my songs. As I said, he was a great guy and was always there when you needed a helping hand. Since we both had a love for Photography and Photoshop, he wanted to try his hand putting together a video for me. I was so grateful when he did:

Here are a few links to some of Kevin’s work and online locations, if you are interested and would like to learn more about him:

And here is a quote from Kevin which can be found on :

Music means more to me now than ever before. I started music lessons in 1957 …first performed at the Worlds Fair, NYC, 1960. Did get tired of playing Debussy on clarinet, though. Then I discovered guitar!

Guitar was my constant companion through the 60’s and 70’s …playing in numerous acoustic groups, played a lot of parties, lots of late night jam sessions, and sidewalk-guitar. In the 80’s I played regularly for my church and taught guitar and songwriting.

I once had the privilege of knowing Broadway Musical Director, Stanley Lebowski, who many years ago said that he thought I had a germ of talent. I wish he were still around to see what I did with it.

Currently, I spend enormous amounts of time in my studio, searching out elusive sounds on guitars, harmonicas, keyboard, and congas. Retirement just doesn’t get better than this.

Rest in peace my friend. We’ll all miss you greatly.

Is the New Apple iPad Worth it?

Here’s the lowdown: I own an iPod Touch, and so I have a scaled down version of the iPad. Do I produce music on it? Nope. Do I want to? Maybe. Why don’t I? Because it’s finicky, toyish and still doesn’t have the feel of working in a real DAW or control of working in a real DAW. And worst of all, it doesn’t have any Propellerhead software on it.

“Magical” and “Revolutionary” is the way Apple is describing their new 9.56 x 7.47 inch iPad to the public. But does this device really deliver for Musicians like you and me, who use Propellerhead Reason and Record?

Here’s the lowdown: I own an iPod Touch, and so I have a scaled down version of the iPad. Do I produce music on it? Nope. Do I want to? Maybe. Why don’t I? Because it’s finicky, toyish and still doesn’t have the feel of working in a real DAW or control of working in a real DAW. And worst of all, it doesn’t have any Propellerhead software on it.

On the positive side, I love the flat surface touch control. There’s no doubt that this is the most intuitive and tactile way to control any software. Give me touch, and give me more of it. Let me glide the faders and knobs with a single finger. Let me zoom in and out of areas by pinching and prying apart with my thumb and forefinger. Yeah! I love that.

I was reading in the latest issue of CM (Computer Music magazine) — issue 150, that the App developers were saying this would be a really great product. No offense, but that doesn’t tell me anything. Of course the App developers are going to start promoting the iPad. It gives them a platform to build more and better Apps for which they will make more and better money. Then I read how a certain person from a certain controller company thought the iPad wouldn’t be good for live performance (I share his belief, btw). But again, of course he’s going to dismiss the iPad because it will mean less sales for his company. Everything points to the fact that nobody really knows the impact the iPad will have. And it’s just too early to tell. And way too early to buy IMHO.

And then I read in the CM article that a certain head of Propellerhead software gave the iPad cautious praise. Does this perhaps hint at the possibility of the Props putting together an App of their own, specifically for the iPad? Perhaps. If that happens, I would most definitely give it a great deal more consideration. But this is all rumors and heresay for now. Nobody really knows. So save your money and put the $500 iPad cost to better use by getting an audio interface or nice set of monitors (ok, maybe just 1 monitor, but it’s a start).

Here’s what keeps nagging at me:

  1. Playing “Live” might be a problem due to the fact that the sensor technology is such that when you get all sweaty, the touching might not respond. And even if you’re not all sweaty, the touch system on my iPod Touch can be finicky and non-responsive at times. This still needs to be worked on.
  2. If you’re in the studio, it’s just an overgrown iPod (for now). It’s got the same apps, and the same OS running it. This means that you still can’t multitask, and existing apps don’t take advantage of the additional space.
  3. Did you hear me? It can’t MULTITASK. You can run one app at a time, no more. Which means you can’t run two plug-ins at once, or control a DAW and a synth at the same time.
  4. If it’s one thing I’ve learned from Apple, it’s never to buy the first product release. Why? Because they save all their goodies for v.2 and v.3 product launches. Right now this is nothing more than a larger iPod Touch. Wait 6 months for the iPad v.2 when Apple has had a chance to a) sort out the bugs, b) add new and improved functionality and c) app developers have had a chance to catch up.

    Case in point: my girlfriend bought me the first release of the iPod Touch and 4 months later the iPod Touch release came out with double the amount of space for the same price. I understand that technology keeps moving forward, but Apple just doesn’t take a breather. And as a result, I become a very jaded customer who will never buy the first release. Of course, Apple probably doesn’t care one bit about this situation. There are plenty of others who will jump on the bandwagon to buy this device and even — god forbid — PREORDER! But hey, to each their own. And if you preorder, I wish you the best of luck with your new iPad. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The additional screen real-estate is great, and there’s no question that there is some promise here. It’s also light-weight. But let’s see some Apps built for it first. Let’s see Reason and Record for the iPad. And let’s see how the iPad can be the next super DAW controller and music-making machine. Then, and only then can we assess whether or not this product really is “Magical” or “Revolutionary.” Right now it’s a lot of hype.

There used to be an expression when I was a debt collector talking to deadbeats and trying to get them to pay their bills. It went something like this: There’s a lot of smoke on the barbecue, but I don’t see any meat. Somehow the imminent Apple iPad release made me think of that expression. We’ll see how much “meat” is actually there in the coming months.

What are your thoughts on the new iPad from Apple?

Here’s an interesting article on the subject of iPads and Tablet PCs, which have been around for at least 6 years now. And I think this author is bang on right!,9929.html. Thanks Doinky for the link!

Mono, Poly and Stereo

This article will explore Monophonic versus Stereo and Monophonic versus Polyphonic. Two very different concepts, but both very important concepts. This is also a good opportunity to discuss the Effects devices and go over the suggested audio routing options for each.

This article will explore Monophonic versus Stereo and Monophonic versus Polyphonic. Two very different concepts, but both very important concepts with which everyone needs to get to grips. The reason I’m going to explain them both in one article is because they have similar terminology (they both share the term “Monophonic”). This can lead to some confusion. This is also a good opportunity to discuss the Effects devices and go over the suggested audio routing options for each. 

When I originally put together my Reason wishlist and posted it here on my blog, I made the fatal mistake of saying that I wanted the Matrix to be “Stereo.” I actually meant to say I wanted the matrix to be “Polyphonic.” Oh gasp! I know. The horror. So just in case anyone else is confused by these terms, let’s see if we can set the record straight. 

First, there are two concepts: 

  1. Monophonic versus Stereophonic: This refers to channels in an audio system. Monophonic is 1 channel (or any single-channel system). Stereophonic is a two-channel system (left and right audio channels) which are reproduced by 2 speakers (left and right).
  2. Monophonic versus Polyphonic: This refers to the number of voices that a Synthesizer can play at one time. Monophonic means the synth can play a single voice (single note). Polyphonic means the synthesizer can play multiple voices (2 or more notes). In Thor, you can have 32 voice polyphony, meaning you can have 32 notes playing simultaneously. In addition, Thor has Release Polyphony and can also have 32 notes sustain after you lift your finger off the key, or after the note’s end in the sequencer (in the case of midi).

There is also the term “Monophony” which refers to the melody line of the song. It is a song which contains only a melody line without an accompanying Harmony. So strictly speaking, if you have two notes played at once, each one octave apart, the song can still be considered “Monophonic.” Confused yet? I’ll let Wikipedia explain this concept of Monophony

A few other notes: 

  • In Reason, as in the real-world, CV relates to Monophonic and Polyphonic voices of a synthesizer. While Monophonic and Stereophonic channels in an audio system are audio-specific. The RPG-8 Arpeggiator and Matrix are termed “Monophonic” which means they can only control one voice of a synth at a time. If you want to create a “faux” Polyphony, you must first duplicate the RPG-8 or Matrix as well as the sound sources they are controlling, and then send the output of both these sound sources to their own audio channels; either mono or stereo, it doesn’t matter. You now have two-voice polyphony.
  • The above points out also that you can have a Monophonic synth that has a Stereophonic “audio” output OR you could have a Polyphonic synth with a Monophonic “audio” output. Plus, you can take a Stereophonic signal and make it Monophonic (panning both channels to center), but if you take a polyphonic CV and make it mono (sending it to a mono synth) you will just drop all the notes beyond the first or last one (just like playing a chord on a mono synth).

Effects Devices in Reason, and Reason’s Routing Suggestions

According to the literature in Reason and Record, there are specific ways in which the Effect devices should be connected. I’m going to plagiarize for a moment and take an excerpt directly from the help file. This excerpt explains the way Monophonic and Stereophonic signals are processed by the effects devices in Reason, and shed light on those little tiny diagrams on the back of the FX devices (come on, give me a show of hands. How many of you knew those diagrams were there to begin with? And how many knew what they meant?). 

FX Routing Legend and Descriptions
FX Routing Legend and Descriptions

 So looking at the diagrams, we can see the following connections can be made by the Reason devices: 

RV7000 Digital Reverb: 

Mono In / Stereo Out 

Stereo In / Stereo Out 

Scream 4 Distortion: 

Mono In / Mono Out 

Dual Mono In / Dual Mono Out 

BV512 Vocoder: 

Mono In / Mono Out 

Dual Mono In / Dual Mono Out 

RV7 Digital Reverb: 

Mono In / Stereo Out 

Stereo In / Summed Stereo Out 

DDL-1 Digital Delay: 

Mono In / Stereo Out 

Stereo In / Summed Stereo Out 

D-11 Foldback Distortion: 

Mono In / Mono Out 

Dual Mono In / Dual Mono Out 

ECF-42 Envelope Controlled Filter: 

Mono In / Mono Out 

Dual Mono In / Dual Mono Out 

CF-101 Chorus/Flanger: 

Mono In / Mono Out 

Dual Mono In / Dual Mono Out 

Mono In / Stereo Out 

PH-90 Phaser: 

Mono In / Mono Out 

Dual Mono In / Dual Mono Out 

Mono In / Stereo Out 

UN-16 Unison: 

Mono In / Mono Out 

Dual Mono In / Dual Mono Out 

Mono In / Stereo Out 

COMP-01 Compressor: 

Mono In / Mono Out 

Dual Mono In / Dual Mono Out 

PEQ-2 2-Band Parametric EQ: 

Mono In / Mono Out 

Dual Mono In / Dual Mono Out 

MClass Equilizer: 

Mono In / Mono Out 

Dual Mono In / Dual Mono Out 

MClass Stereo Imager: 

Dual Mono In / Dual Mono Out 

MClass Compressor: 

Mono In / Mono Out 

Dual Mono In / Dual Mono Out 

MClass Maximizer: 

Mono In / Mono Out 

Dual Mono In / Dual Mono Out 

Phew! Now that’s quite a lot of information to take in. However, when you look at it, you can pretty much break it down into a few key points which are easier to remember: 

  • All devices can be connected in Mono In/Mono Out except the MClass Stereo Imager (makes sense right? Because you can’t separate a mono signal or make it wider/narrower. It’s already mono, so you can’t make it more mono. You also can’t magically turn a mono signal into a true stereo signal). So forget using it for anything other than Dual Mono In/Dual Mono Out.
  • Every FX device except the Delay and Reverb devices can be connected in Dual Mono In / Dual Mono Out.
  • The RV7000 device is the ONLY device in Reason which is true stereo (Stereo In / Stereo Out). The RV7 and DDL-1 are the next best thing with a Stereo In / Summed Stereo Out.
  • The Devices that can be used as Mono In / Stereo Out are: RV 7000, RV-7, DDL-1, CF-101, PH-90, and UN-16.
  • Every device can be used as an Insert effect, however not every device should be used as a Send effect. Effects that should not be used as Sends fall under 2 categories: 1. Dynamics Processors (all MClass devices, COMP-01 and PEQ-2), and 2. Distortion Units (the Scream 4, and D-11).

This last point is not really related to the issue of Mono/Stereo, but is an important consideration when connecting devices in your tracks and is another point that shouldn’t be overlooked. 

One other thing I wanted to point out. If you get a chance, you really should check out Hydlide24’s great video on different ways to create Stereo separation in Reason. There’s so much great information in this video, I thought this would be a relevant place for it. He tends to move a little fast through the video, but you can always pause and go over it a few times to follow along. Check out some of his other videos if you get a chance as well. 

Hopefully this information is accurate. I’m human and prone to many mistakes. If there is an error, please help me point it out and make sure it’s accurate. I’ll ensure I get it corrected. And if you have anything to add, I welcome your advice and opinions.

Dream Sequences EP / Video

I was just way too excited not to post this here. I just released my new Dream Sequences EP with 5 tracks. 3 are remixes of tracks found on my Qxotc Slp CD and 2 are brand new tracks that have not been released yet. You can find both the CD or MP3 downloads at CD Baby. As the description says on there, these tracks are “Sonic sequences that came from a series of ambient glitch dreams I once had.” That sums it up nicely! Leave some love here or out there if you order or listen to the tunes. All comments and feedback are welcome and very much appreciated!

Dream Sequences CoverI was just way too excited not to post this here. I just released my new Dream Sequences EP with 5 tracks. 3 are remixes of tracks found on my Qxotc Slp CD and 2 are brand new tracks that have not been released yet. You can find both the CD or MP3 downloads at CD Baby. As the description says on there, these tracks are “Sonic sequences that came from a series of ambient glitch dreams I once had.” That sums it up nicely! Leave some love here or out there if you order or listen to the tunes. All comments and feedback are welcome and very much appreciated!

In my opinion, it’s one of my best CD/mp3 offerings yet and my favorite by far because it incorporates not only some of my favorite Ambient Glitch tracks, but also because my good friend Matt Pearson from zenbullets helped to collaborate on it. He provided the artwork for the cover and the CD itself, and he’s such a talented guy that I was really truly priviledged to work with him. If you have some time, you should also check out his Abandoned Art site, which is devoted to his generative art.

You can see what Matt has to say about the music in his Phi Sequence post on his site. Again, I can’t thank him enough for working with me.

To kick off the release of this EP, Matt has also kindly put together this video. Note that the video is a much better quality than this, and Youtube tends to squash the actual quality to make it fit for internet consumption. But still, I think he did a stunning job on the video.

Let me know what you think, and as always, thanks for looking and listening!

What Makes Ambient?

According to Wikipedia, Ambient Music is a musical genre that focuses largely on the timbral characteristics of sounds, often organized or performed to evoke an “atmospheric”, “visual” or “unobtrusive” quality. But what makes Ambient?

Ambient Music is defined by Wikepedia as:

Ambient music is a musical genre that focuses largely on the timbral characteristics of sounds, often organized or performed to evoke an “atmospheric”, “visual” or “unobtrusive” quality.

From Deepintense:

Atmospheric – Environmental – Mood Inducing – Music. This style of music is characteristically undefinable because it incorporates so many different styles, sounds, and moods. However it can be recognized as being atmospheric in nature. The sounds work together to create a space where sound becomes the encompassing theme, mood and character of the immediate environment. According to many sources: the term ambient music was first used by the ambient music legend Brian Eno.

I would also highly recommend reading the Wikepedia article and perusing the Deepintense site, as they go through the History of Ambient music from the early 20th Century to the present, and provide several examples along the way, as well as further reading.

Aside from that, there are a few characteristics with Ambient music that I have found:

  1. Heavy usage of Pad sounds and progressive modulation.
  2. Ambient attempts to create a mood, rather than create something purely pumping or hard or even rhythmic.
  3. Ambient encourages experimenting with sound, and in that, it is experimental.
  4. Ambient focusses the listener away from the music, instead of inward toward the music. The ideas behind ambient are to create a background, or create something that can be passively perceived. The focus is not squarely centered, but rather, it is diffuse and best listened to at the edges or periphery. Taking this thought into the visual. An image of a car crash will focus the viewer straight at the crash scene, while an image of a vast impressionist landscape will focus the viewer toward the edges on the visual periphery, without any focused location.
  5. Ambient music provides a texture, and is more concerned with melody than beat. Whereas Pop music is the opposite. It is more concerned with the beat of the music than the melody. Though both still do play a part in each genre.
  6. Ambient music is also not the same as muzak or elevator music. While elevator music attempts to rehash traditional songs into a mindless subtle background, I think Ambient tends to contain more exploration and depth. Elevator music tranquilizes you. Ambient music surrounds you and takes you in for a soft and subtle journey that can be admired and thought about. It’s intelligent and takes some thought. While muzak takes no thought at all.

And one other note about genres. If you’re interested in looking closer at various Electronic genres, there’s a great site with lots of sound examples which attempts to categorize all that is considered “Electronic.” Visit Ishkur’s Guide to Electronic Music if you’re interested.

What are your thoughts on Ambient Music?