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The Music Production News Feed

MJ Cole Makes a UK Garage Track on the Fly in Part 2 of our Style Guide

We’re back with Part 2 of our latest ‘UK Garage’ style guide, where we caught up with Mercury Prize winner and legendary producer MJ Cole at his London studio, showing how he creates a track using elements from his new Loopmasters sample pack. Check out Part 1 here, then watch the video below to gain some insight into his creative workflow as he makes a track, building drums using individuals hits from his sample pack before layering chords and adding some classic Rhodes melody. UK Garage and a range of other genres are covered in depth on the Production Analysis module of our BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree.

All sounds included in the pack have come straight from MJ’s studio and include bespoke samples from old DAT tapes from the mid 90’s, to deliver a polished collection of seminal UK Garage & House samples, exclusive to Loopmasters. Grab yourself a copy here.

For those that want to develop their musical skills, our BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree is one of the most comprehensive music courses out there, in which you can learn everything you need to know about music production including mixing, mastering, composition, and music business. We also offer an online alternative, in the form of our new online BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree. We are currently offering a huge 25% discount plus a free copy of Ableton Suite or Logic Pro X with a range of online courses until September 30th, so make sure you enrol soon to make the most of it! For more information, contact our course advisors on +44 20 7729 4884. If you are a resident of the USA, you can reach us on 323 282 7660.

 

The post MJ Cole Makes a UK Garage Track on the Fly in Part 2 of our Style Guide appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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Announcing Reason 10

We’re extremely happy to announce Reason 10!

Reason 10 is the biggest content upgrade we’ve ever done, and that’s saying something. For this upgrade we wanted to make sure music makers had a fantastic set of instruments and sounds right out of the box. I definitely think we delivered.

Europa is a feature-rich dynamic wavetable synth that picks up where Thor left off. I’m particularly fond of how many different types of sounds it can do well, from those ridiculously big and wide modern sounds to esoteric sound design and creamy analog emulations. Grain on the other hand take a different approach to synthesis. As the first true granular synth in Reason it breathes new life into your samples. I’ve already re-sampled tons of parts of my songs and twisted them into new sounds! Make sure you try and drop any and all samples you’ve got into it and see what comes out.

Klang, Pangea and Humana join Radical Piano in Reason 10 to make sure you have a great selection of realistic, acoustic instruments. Since I also dabble in video game soundtracks, these are very dear to my heart. Finally, Drum Supply and Loop Supply refreshes Reason’s drum sample collection in a big way. It’ll take quite a while to go through just all the kick drums.

Reason 10 is being beta tested now (sign up here!) and will be released October 25th. I can’t wait to hear all the fantastic music you’ll be making with it.

Mattias Häggström Gerdt
Reason Product Manager

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Watch ‘A History of UK Garage With MJ Cole’ In Our Latest Style Guide

Following the success of our House and Techno editions, we’re back with a brand new Style Guide – a video series where we explore the origins of a musical genre, delving into its history and exploring the production techniques and hardware that characterize it. For the latest in the series, we visited award-winning producer MJ Cole at his London studio to dive into UK Garage. Watch the video below in which he gives a concise history of the genre and keep a look out for part 2, where MJ Cole will be building a UK Garage track on the fly using sounds from his Loopmasters sample pack. UK Garage and a range of other genres are covered in depth on the Production Analysis module of our BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree.
There are few candidates with as solid credentials as MJ Cole to represent the UK garage scene, and he continues to tour regularly at the worlds biggest clubs and festivals as well as producing for a plethora of top artists. MJ Cole began his journey in music as a classical musician, receiving a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London. After falling in love with dance music at London’s infamous drum & bass raves of the 1990’s he began work as a studio engineer at D’n’B label SOUR and his time working there with some of garage’s earliest pioneers influenced him to start producing in the genre. MJ Cole’s 1998 release ‘Sincere’  was eventually picked up by Pete Tong, with the track being one of the earliest garage cuts to break the UK Top 40. Since then he has remixed for the likes of Jill Scott, Amy Winehouse and De La Soul, as well as beating Dr Dre to win MOBO’s ‘Best Producer’ award in 2001.

For those that want to develop their musical skills, our BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree is one of the most comprehensive music courses out there, in which you can learn everything you need to know about music production including mixing, mastering, composition, and music business. We also offer an online alternative, in the form of our new online BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree. We are currently offering a huge 25% discount plus a free copy of Ableton Suite or Logic Pro X with a range of online courses until September 30th, so make sure you enrol soon to make the most of it! For more information, contact our course advisors on +44 20 7729 4884. If you are a resident of the USA, you can reach us on 323 282 7660.

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

If you register with Point Blank, you can access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

The post Watch ‘A History of UK Garage With MJ Cole’ In Our Latest Style Guide appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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Behind the Scenes at Point Blank: Hart Thorson (Course Advisor)

At Point Blank, it isn’t just our expert instructors who are active in the music industry. Point Blank Course Advisor Hart Thorson has been DJing for 15 years and producing for 8, supporting a number of top DJs including Chris Liebing and Dieselboy. Joining Point Blank in 2015, Hart ensures that all of our prospective students get a well-rounded view of what Point Blank has to offer, helping to guide them through our admissions process, selecting which course is right for them in relation to what they want to gain out of our acclaimed tutelage. If you’re interested in studying with us at our London, Los Angeles, Ibiza or Mumbai institutions, check out the course pages on our website. With the assistance of staff like Hart,  we can help feed your passion for music.

What is your role at Point Blank?

I am the United States based course advisor for Point Blank.  I assist all of our prospective students who are looking to enroll at Point Blank Los Angeles, Point Blank Online, and work directly with those looking to make the trip to the London college.

What do you like about working at Point Blank?

I love working at Point Blank because it gives me the opportunity to live simultaneously in the music production/technology world but also in the education world.  It’s a treat being able to talk about music production and Djing every day while getting to help our instructors shape the minds of young musicians.

As a course advisor, I get the chance to speak to people who are just starting their journey with making and playing music day in and day out.  This keeps me young and invigorated because it reminds me of when I was just starting out.  At that time I wanted to learn everything I could about Djing and how to create dance music.  I know for a fact that if I were just starting now I would be one of these people watching our tutorials and looking into taking classes.

Do you have a background in music? What did you grow up listening to?

My background in music was singing and playing the saxophone.  Like a lot of kids, I played the saxophone when I was in middle school but found out that I enjoyed singing and performing.  Throughout high school, I was in various choirs and singing groups.

The music I grew up on was a range of punk rock, hardcore, and metal.  Some of my favorite artists were Bad Religion, NoFX, The Misfits, and many more.  I always enjoyed faster, aggressive music and still do to this day.

What first piqued your interest in DJing/Production?

There were two distinct times that I fell in love with electronic music.  The first was when I saw the movie Hackers and heard groups like Prodigy, Underworld, and Orbital for the first time.  I’d still say that one of my all-time most influential albums was Prodigy’s Fat of the Land.

After some time of exploring other genres of music and moving slightly away from electronica, it wasn’t until my senior year in high school until I discovered dance music.  I remember one of my buddies in my hometown playing Tiesto’s “Suburban Train” on vinyl and that was one of the moments where everything stood still and I realized that the rest of my life would revolve around this music.  Over the years my tastes in electronic music have changed but I will always have a soft spot for some good trance music.

Do you have any favourite studio tools/equipment/plugins?

As of right now, I’m slowly building up my hardware collection and until that gets a little further I’d have to say that my favorite tool would be Ableton Live.  Without Live I wouldn’t be able to construct the music that I’m making.  It is the most integral part of the setup for me.  I do really love the Soundtoys plugins and use them on every project.  I also really enjoy using my Boss RE-20 Space Echo pedal that is modeled after the iconic Roland RE-201 Space Echo.

How do you balance working full time and DJing/producing?

Thankfully working at a music production school allows me to constantly talk about and think about music production and performing.  Here, I’m able to talk about new ideas, gear, and more with not only my colleagues but our students as well.  Outside of work I typically carve out specific time for working on music either in the evenings or weekends.  I’ve found that if I schedule a specific time to work on music I tend to be more productive as opposed to just turning stuff on and meandering about.

What have been the highlights of your DJ and production career so far?

As for DJing, I’ve had the chance to open for a lot of DJs that at one time I would consider “heroes”.  Those are always fun gigs as you get the responsibility of setting things up for someone you look up to.  I’d have to say some of my favorite parties were the ones with local DJs who know how to throw down.  Having come up in a great scene in Minneapolis, MN I was able to watch and play alongside some special DJs/artists and some of those gigs will go down as my favorites.

With regards to producing I’d say that so far I’m most excited about the release I just had this summer on the mighty Lucidflow records.  They have been a leading name in the dub techno and techno scene for as long as I can remember.  Getting to work with Nadja Lind and the Lucidflow crew was an honor and has already lead to various projects for the future.

Who are your musical icons/influences?

This, of course, is not an easy question to answer.  Since I’ve been Djing for over 15 years now I’ve had many influences over the years.  As I mentioned previously, Tiesto is who originally turned me on to dance music.  Since then I’ve been a fan of Marco V, Chris Liebing, Steve Lawler, and so many more to mention.

What new music do you like? Who are you listening to right now?

When it comes to dance music I’ve been consuming as much dub techno, deep house, minimal, and house music that fits my Intent mix series’ aesthetic.  Some artists I’ve been listening to non-stop is the dub techno giant Kenneth Christiansen and his labels Echocord and Echocord Colour, Idealist, Voltmar and the Minimood label, the team behind the labels at Berg Audio and Sushitech records, as well as house artists like Molly, Cinthie, Dana Ruh, and Janeret.

How did you get into the music industry?

I originally stepped into the music industry by moving to the nearest city to where I grew up.  Having grown up in a small town in northern Minnesota in the United States not too many people had heard of or were even fans of electronic dance music.  In 2002 after graduating high school I moved to Minneapolis where I dedicated pretty much all my time to learning how to DJ, networking, and setting up a foundation within the scene.  I worked on the bar staff at a concert venue/nightclub, worked at a record store, went to a music college, started throwing shows, and made a ridiculous amount of hand stamped mix CDs.  From there, things just kept building and building until I was able to work with the premier booking/promotion group in the city and after a run of a few different weekly club nights I was off to the races!

What advice would you give to up and coming producers/DJs

Nowadays there is so much content and an endless amount of resources for aspiring DJs and producers.  While this is a great thing and something I wish I had when I was coming up I realize it can often be quite daunting as well.  The two things that I always tell our prospective students or those who are just getting into making and playing music are:

  1. Don’t get bogged down in having to achieve everything right away.  Just follow the passion you have and don’t worry about the little details in the beginning.  There isn’t any rush to get a release out or start playing gigs.  It’s better to take things step by step rather than try to attempt to climb the mountain in a day.
  2. As one of my good friends  told me, “The medium isn’t the message.”  What this means is that it doesn’t matter what you are using to create your music or to mix tracks with.  As long as you are able to convey your message through your music or get a dance floor shaking it doesn’t matter what equipment you use.  While I recommend learning how to beat match by ear with vinyl, to learn how to make music with hardware gear, and so on, at the end of the day it just doesn’t matter what you use.  Do not get caught up in anyone telling you what your set up should be.  Over time you will find the gear that allows you to express yourself and the key is to always be open to learning.

What has been your most embarrassing DJ experience?

I can say from experience, always always always have a back up of a backup of a backup of your music when going to a gig.  If your MIDI controller doesn’t work for your Traktor or Serato set up then have a flash drive (or two) to plug in to a CDJ.  If the turntables at a club don’t have needles make sure to have some with you.  If the CDJs aren’t linking properly at the gig have multiple flash drives with the same folders on them.  I’d rather not go into the gory details but it is a lesson that I learned early on and you don’t want to be the person who can’t play a gig that they were booked for due to something not going right!

Are you working on any upcoming projects?

Over the past year or so I’ve been working a lot on a new sound.  Expect a string of releases over the coming months that is inline with this new direction.  Until then make sure to pick up my latest EP here.

You can find the rest of Hart’s original music and mixes on his Beatport page.

If you’d like to learn music business, music production, composition, mixing, mastering and more, our BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree is one of the most comprehensive music courses available. We also offer an online alternative, in the form of our new online BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree. We are currently offering a 25% discount plus a free copy of Logic Pro X/Ableton Suite with online courses until September 30th. For more information, contact our course advisors on +44 20 7729 4884. If you are a resident of the USA, you can reach us on 323 282 7660.

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

When you register with Point Blank, you access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples, access to our social network Plugged In and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

 

 

The post Behind the Scenes at Point Blank: Hart Thorson (Course Advisor) appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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Point Blank Recommends #44: Minor Science, Special Request & More

Point Blank Recommends is your handy digest of our essential new music recommendations, whether it’s box-fresh material or tracks that may have slipped under the radar. If you’re seeking fresh inspiration from unusual places, PBR#44 has got you covered. As always, this one covers a broad spectrum of electronic music, so open your mind, your ears and a fresh tab on your browser of choice and get refreshing those listening habits with our handy Soundcloud playlist.
Unfortunately, the summer is coming to its end. However, this doesn’t mean that the party has to stop. We’ve done the rounds and put together a selection of tracks, old and new, to keep you moving through September and into October. Featuring new releases from the likes of Minor Science and God Colony, as well as cuts from imprints Hessle Audio, Lobster Theremin, and The Trilogy Tapes this Point Blank Recommends playlist is the perfect listening companion. Check out the playlist above and stay tuned for next month when we will present a whole new batch of tracks for your listening pleasure. Don’t forget to check out our SoundCloud page for previous PB Recommends playlists and the latest PB Music releases.

Still hungry for new music? Get on over to the Point Blank Music YouTube channel to discover what’s going down on our label, and be sure to subscribe to keep ahead of the curve. If all this is inspiring you and you can see yourself on the Point Blank Recommends playlist one day, you should join us. Our online BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree can take your music to the next level. It covers everything from mixing your tracks, composition skills and mastering too. We are currently offering a 25% discount plus a free copy of Ableton/Logic Pro X with our online courses until September 30th. Spaces are limited so don’t delay!

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

When you register with Point Blank, you access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples, access to our social network Plugged In and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

The post Point Blank Recommends #44: Minor Science, Special Request & More appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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Jlin & Holly Herndon: Comparing Notes

Though on the surface their music is quite different, Jerrilynn “Jlin” Patton and Holly Herndon have much in common when it comes to their approaches to making music. Both use very specific, precisely honed palettes of sounds and textures. Both construct tightly programmed rhythm structures that often relate back to…

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Remix Anthony Touma ‘Walk Away’ (Universal) & Win Prizes Worth £2,000+!

We have teamed up with Point Blank graduate Anthony Touma together with his label, Universal Music Mena, to create a very special remix competition for students, graduates and our wider online community. We’ll be looking for the very best remix submissions for Anthony’s new single, ‘Walk Away’, out now on Universal Music. the winner will have their music judged by the A&R team at Universal Music Mena with the potential of an official release. They’ll also receive a free Point Blank ‘Complete’ course, plus copies of Komplete 11 and Ableton Suite! All you need to do to get started is download the stems here – check out the track below, and read on for full details of how to enter.

Anthony Touma took our Singing & Songwriting Certificate last year and after completing his courses, he returned to his home country of Lebanon, teaming up with local producers. This led to his signing by Universal Music Mena, and subsequently the release of his first single, ‘Walk Away’ in April 2017. Having received a positive response for the single, Anthony and Universal Music Mena are now looking to make a commercial dance remix of the track for clubs, extending this challenge to the Point Blank community.

The track should be something commercial that would play in clubs and get people dancing. The label would prefer to stay away from techno, house, deep house etc. however a Trap-style remix could be an option. This is the perfect chance for you to have your music heard by Universal Music Mena and potentially have your remix published, launching it on a global stage. Not only that, but the winner of the competition will receive a free Point Blank ‘Complete’ online course, plus copies of both Komplete 11 and Ableton Suite.

How to enter

1. Download the stems – note, you must register with Point Blank in order to access the stems.
2. Create a remix, in the style of a commercial dance release – entries will be judged on their quality and originality!
3. Upload your track to SoundCloud and submit the track via the Tracks channel of Plugged In – Point Blank’s social network for producers and DJs – before midnight on 15th October. Please ensure the track title includes ‘Anthony Touma Remix Competition’.

Want to study at Point Blank? Our BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree is one of the most comprehensive music courses out there, on which you can also learn everything you need to know about music production including mixing & mastering, composition and music business. We also offer an online alternative, in the form of our new online BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree. We are currently offering a huge 25% discount plus a free copy of Ableton Suite or Logic Pro X with a range of online courses until September 30th, so make sure you enrol soon to make the most of it! For more information, contact our course advisors on +44 20 7729 4884. If you are a resident of the USA, you can reach us on 323 282 7660.

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

If you register with Point Blank, you can access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

The post Remix Anthony Touma ‘Walk Away’ (Universal) & Win Prizes Worth £2,000+! appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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Watch Live Point Blank Masterclasses From Sonopro in Barcelona

Earlier today, Point Blank Creative Director JC Concato kicked off the Future Music Forum (FMF) international music conference with two masterclasses, one in mixing and one in mastering. This series of masterclasses was free to attend for all Future Music Forum Delegates as a three way partnership between Point Blank, Sonopro and FMF.  This is just one of many events Point Blank has been a part of this year, with our instructors holding workshops and masterclasses all over the world at events including Sonar +D, Seazone, Palm Expo & IMS Colllege Malta.
For the first masterclass, JC discussed mixing, drawing on his extensive industry experience to share his essential tips and tricks. Using seminal Trip-Hop group Massive Attack’s ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ as an example, JC detailed how he uses effects and employs classic mixing techniques to ensure he gets the best blend out of the stems, which were recorded in an exclusive session at our London School as part of our BA (Hons) Music Production and Sound Engineering degree.
For the second masterclass, JC shifted the focus to mastering, using recent Point Blank Music release ‘Hold On’ by Revilo as the demo track. Discussing his typical approach to mastering and listing some his favourite plugins, JC answered questions from the audience as the masterclass progressed, giving them a 360 view of the mastering process.

Want to learn more about mixing, mastering and other production techniques? Our BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree is one of the most comprehensive music courses out there, on which you can also learn everything you need to know about music production. We also offer an online alternative, in the form of our new online BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree, on which we are offering a 25% discount plus a free copy of Ableton Suite/Logic Pro X until September 30th. For more information, contact our course advisors on +44 20 7729 4884. If you are a resident of the USA, you can reach us on 323 282 7660.

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

If you register with Point Blank, you can access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

The post Watch Live Point Blank Masterclasses From Sonopro in Barcelona appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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