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Watch our Comprehensive Guide to Setting Up Your DJ Equipment

So you’ve bought your first set of decks, or maybe you’ve finally upgraded your equipment or even just added some CDJs for the first time… happy days! Of course, now you have to set them all up, and despite Pioneer’s continued commitment to making their tools as easy to use as possible, to get the most of out of your new toys you need to set them up properly. Luckily Point Blank’s lead DJ instructor Ben Bristow is on hand to show you both the basics and a few tricks to fully optimize your set-up. NB: Though Ben is using top-of-the-range equipment from Pioneer, much of this video applies to decks and mixers of all makes and models. If you fancy learning to spin tunes, Ben himself teaches many of our DJ Courses in London.

Check out the video above for a comprehensive guide to setting up your DJ equipment. As our lead DJ instructor, Ben Bristow has set up more than his fair share of DJ studios in his time, so you can be sure that if you follow his advice you won’t go far wrong. In the video we cover the basics of which inputs and outputs to use on your mixer, in this case a Pioneer DJM 900 Nexus, along with two Pioneer CDJ 2000 Nexus’. We plug everything into a separate LAN hub too so as to allow for perfectly quantised effects – meaning your mixer will automatically match the tempo of your effects to your tracks. Later we learn the slightly more fiddly trick of enabling the fader start function, allowing you to start and restart a track from its queue point using the crossfader – especially useful for scratch DJing. Another lesser-practised trick is to update the firmware on your CDJs, which will ensure there are no compatibility issues with Rekordbox.

We hope this is a useful tool for anyone setting up new equipment or those wanting to make sure everything is performing optimally. Get loads more advice, and comprehensive instruction in whatever style of DJing you’re interested in, with a DJ Course at Point Blank. We offer these in London, Los Angeles, Ibiza and Mumbai, and if you’re using virtual DJ software you can even study online. For more information or to speak with an admissions advisor, contact us using this form.

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 Watch our Comprehensive Guide to Setting Up Your DJ Equipment appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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Making a Synthwave track in Reason 10

Over the last few years, a new retro music genre has emerged, bloomed and taken on a life of its own. Synthwave, or Retrowave is an electronic music genre heavily influenced by the sounds and aestethics of 1980s movies and its soundtracks (think John Carpenter, Vangelis etc) and video games. This nostalgia-induced style of electronic music pays tribute to the style, feel and sound of the 80s. Musically, Synthwave often draws inspiration from bands that build their musical foundation on drum machines and (nowadays) classic synthesizers.

Emerging in the late 2000’s, Synthwave acts like Kavinsky, College and Com Truise were among the first to make the genre widely known and loved. Both Kavinsky and College were featured in the Synthwave-heavy soundtrack for the movie Drive, which definitely helped many discover the sounds of Synthwave and bring the genre into the mainstream. The Netflix hit show Stranger Things also features Synthwave in its soundtrack and the whole series could of course also be considered an homage to 80s movies.

Synthwave is often inspired by and based around 80s style components such as drum machines (such as the Linn Drum) and analogue synthesizers like the Roland Juno and Jupiter 8, mixed with more modern production techniques like creative use of sidechain compression.

With its rich plethora of drum machines and analogue inspired synthesizers, picking Reason to produce a Synthwave track is a perfect match. Here to show you how it’s done is producer and musician Paul Ortiz of Synthwave group ZETA.

Producer, musician and Reason producer Paul Ortiz (Chimp Spanner) is a member of synthwave group ZETA, along with Daniel Tompkins (TesseracT) and Katie Jackson. Together they fuse the retro synth heavy decade of the 80s with futuristic and breath-taking imagery, bringing past and future together in a Cyberpunk-esque package that is ZETA.

Follow ZETA on YouTube, Facebook, Spotify, Bandcamp.

Try Reason for free!

 

 

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Episode 053 – Track Breakdown with Elliot Berger

First entering the scene in early 2011, after receiving support from Coldplay on a bootleg of their hit single ‘Paradise, Elliot Berger has maintained a strong voice in the melodic side of bass music.

Elliot’s career gained momentum following the release of ‘Diamond Sky’ with Denver-based vocalist Laura Brehm, the first in a handful of collaborations.

It wasn’t long before he gained the support of some of the scenes strongest players, including Monstercat, NCS, Inspector Dubplate, Fox Stevenson, Koven and more.

Fast forward to 2018, and with over 11 million combined streams on Spotify, and many millions across Soundcloud and Youtube, he shows no sign of stopping, working with a multitude of the underground bass scene’s finest artists bringing his unique brand of chillout, glitch and future bass to the masses.

Listen to the Audio (MP3) version of the Interview here:

Or you can Download the Interview Audio file.

Go here to follow us on iTunes and catch all of our latest podcasts.

Watch the interview below:

Follow Elliot Berger on:

Soundcloud

Facebook

Youtube

Instagram

 

The post Episode 053 – Track Breakdown with Elliot Berger appeared first on BassGorilla.com.

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Student Opportunity: Bandcamp

Point Blank always keeps current students and graduates in the loop with all of the best music industry opportunities, so with that said here’s our latest student opportunity round-up. Student opportunities come exclusively via PB using our extensive network of contacts, so get stuck in! NB: this opportunity is for Point Blank students and graduates only. Want loads more opportunities like this? Find out all about our courses right here!

Bandcamp

Any budding musician or producer (or established ones for that matter) should know that Bandcamp are the good guys, giving artists and labels full control of their output and earnings. This is a great opportunity to work with a company that is affecting the industry as a force for good, not to mention a hub of incredible music and proper music people. Full job description here.

Please note: We are happy to advertise roles and work experience which help students obtain the sort of experience you may need to gain a job in the music industry or to further your career in the music industry.  We interpret this broadly. However, we are not an employment agency and we take no responsibility for the terms upon which positions are advertised, nor the conditions which apply to any such positions or opportunity.  As such you should satisfy yourself that the terms offered are acceptable when considering any role advertised.

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!

LONDON W OUTLINE

The post Student Opportunity: Bandcamp appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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We Talk to PB Music’s Latest Artist Stee-V-Lee on the Release of Low Fidelity

The latest EP out on Point Blank Music is by Stee-V-Lee (real name Steve Reightler), a producer from Bel Air, Maryland. Low Fidelity is his first release with us, and is the culmination of his personal exploration into the lo-fi house sound pioneered in the late 80s and more recently championed by the likes of Ross From Friends and DJ Boring. ‘Thank You’ is a classic example of the crunchy building blocks that define the sound, while ‘Base Line’ is a 303-led acid stomper. If you’d like to learn how to produce, check out our complete production course online here.

Low Fidelity is out now and available for purchase on iTunes and Beatport, and can be streamed on all major platforms including Spotify. We caught up with Steven for a little chat about his musical development.

Hi Steven, to start us off can you give me a little background? How did you get into music in the first place?

I started playing drums back in primary school but picked up the guitar in my teen years. I was into 70’s rock and I played rhythm guitar in a garage band with some friends. As more bands started incorporating synths into their music I decided to have a go at that, especially when midi became available. Computers and electronic music fascinated me. I bought a used Casio CX-101 from a friend, then added a Yamaha DX-100 and RX-21 to the mix. Later, the mighty Korg M1 joined the fleet. My musical interests began to be more “New Age” (although I wasn’t into that philosophy) and experimental. After a number of years, life’s busyness got in the way and I wound up selling most of my gear. About 7 or 8 years ago I was re-introduced to electronic music by my daughter. She was into Trance, Dubstep, and D&B. I thought to myself it’s time to have another go. So I downloaded Ableton Lite and began mucking about with the different plugins and free VSTs that I found on the internet. Eventually, I bought a microKorg and Korg Legacy M1 VST. I don’t currently have a proper studio. Most of my production is on my laptop with headphones.

What sort of music are you into, what are some of your biggest inspirations?

My current musical interests include jazz, swing, classic rock, and Underground House. I don’t have any specific inspirations but I always admired musicians that weren’t afraid to try something new … go beyond the status quo in other words.

Tell me about the EP, what went into making it?

For the past year or two, I’ve been experimenting with what has been dubbed “Lo-Fi” House music. I was looking to recreate some of the low fidelity sounds of the late 80s early 90s by using lower bit rates on samples and minimal production. But I also wanted to add my own “sauce” to the mix. That is the inspiration behind the EP, ‘Low Fidelity.’ Both of the tracks on this EP have an Acid House vibe going on but I’ve added kind of a chill melodic layer on top of that. But don’t worry, there is plenty of 303 action going on there. I especially like in “Base Line” where I used two 303 parts.

What have you got in store this year? Any gigs lined up or goals your working toward?

I’m not sure what 2018 has in store. I’ve taken a little break from my music to pursue a couple of other interests, one of those is writing a book. As far as the music goes, I’m sure I’ll be back at it before too long. I’m thinking about writing my own lyrics and adding my own vocals to some of my future projects. We’ll see. The past year was a very productive year as far as the number of tracks produced but also in the new things I learned about production. I hope to continue that trend this year.

Low Fidelity is out now and available for purchase on iTunes and Beatport, and can be streamed on all major platforms including Spotify. Check out the rest of the releases on Point Blank Music’s YouTube channel, and study with us to build your skills and have a chance of releasing with us. Check out production courses in London here, or if you live elsewhere, take a look at the online courses we offer. For more info head to our contact page and get in touch!

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 We Talk to PB Music’s Latest Artist Stee-V-Lee on the Release of Low Fidelity appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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Influence or Plagiarism? Legal Battles in Music (w/ Radiohead, Marvin Gaye, Zomby + more)

This week we learned that the experimental rock band Radiohead are suing Lana del Rey over similarities between her track ‘Get Free’ on her 2017 album ‘Lust For Life’ and their 1992 debut single ‘Creep’. People’s reactions have been mixed on the matter, with die-hard fans of both artists rushing to their defence. Western music is essentially based on 12 notes, so among the countless variations, there have been a good many similar tracks – Radiohead themselves had to credit The Hollies as writers of Creep, due to the similarity of their 1974 track ‘The Air That I Breathe’. In any case, we thought it a good time to have a look through famous instances of legal disputes and accusations of plagiarism in music. Read on for a rundown of some of the most notable cases.

The legal side of music is a convoluted business – if you’d like to get a proper grasp on it, as well as the many other intricacies of the industry, take a look at our Music Industry courses.

Radiohead vs Lana Del Rey

The most recent high-profile case of accused plagiarism (Ed Sheeran’s ongoing disputes over many songs notwithstanding). Radiohead are reportedly suing Lana Del Rey over the similarities between ‘Get Free’ and ‘Creep’. The songs share the same chord progression and, crucially, similarities in melody. Many commentators take issue with the fact the band are (again reportedly) asking for 100% of the publishing rights. Radiohead themselves were forced to add Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood of The Hollies as co-writers, and the pair own a percentage of the publishing rights to ‘Creep’.

Both artists have famously loyal sets of fans, which is a large part of the level of attention. Listen to Consequence of Sound’s comparison below to see what you make of the similarities.

Boddika & Joy O vs Hannah Wants

A big story in 2016 was the alleged similarity between Boddika’s VIP of his own track with joy Orbison ‘Mercy’ and Hannah Wants’ ‘Found The Ground’ from her then-forthcoming Rinse release and FabricLive Mix. The dispute took on another dimension when a number of notable artists (Eclair Fifi and The Black Madonna among them) argued that the accusations were indicative of an inherent sexism in dance music – a concern that continues to bubble to this day. This piece on Thump delved into this angle in detail.

‘Found The Ground’ has largely been removed from streaming services but you can listen to ‘Mercy VIP’ below.

Marvin Gaye’s Estate vs Robin Thicke and Pharrell

The most high-profile case in recent years, until the current Radiohead and Lana Del Ray dispute, was when the estate of the late, great Marvin Gaye sued Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over the similarities between their massive hit ‘Blurred Lines’ and Gaye’s 1977 track ‘Got To Give It Up’. The bassline and beat feel similar but ‘Blurred Lines’ actually followed a distinct melody. This was a landmark case though as the courts ruled in Gaye’s favour based on studio arrangement, which hitherto had not been possible. listen to the tracks’ intros below to hear for yourself.

Reark vs Zomby

In 2012 a relatively unknown producer called Reark uploaded a loop of a track called ‘Natalia’s Song’ to Soundcloud, claiming that he had written it in 2007. Minus a few changes, it is the same track as Zomby’s 2011 single of the same name. The story goes that Reark had been communicating with Zomby over Myspace, and the two agreed to collaborate on finishing the track. Zomby then took over on his own and ended up releasing it solo on 4AD. Zomby’s argument is that Reark was essentially only responsible for the vocal samples and that his changes had edited it sufficiently for him to fairly claim sole authorship.

The Rolling Stones vs The Verve

Perhaps the most famous of publishing disputes was when The Rolling Stones claimed 100% of the publishing rights to The Verve’s ‘Bittersweet Symphony’. The track is unarguably the band’s biggest and has gone on to be one of the most recognisable of the last three decades. The track samples an orchestral cover of The Rolling Stones’ ‘The Last Time’ by the Andrew Oldham Orchestra. Richard Ashcroft et al had actually cleared the sample with The Rolling Stones prior to the release, but the older band claimed that when it was released, they had used a much bigger chunk of the track than agreed. Whatever the case, giving up 100% of publishing for a sample of a cover, that sounds very little like the original song, seems quite severe. A good lesson for any artist that uses sampling to be aware of the law.

Listen to the two tracks below to see how similar they sound to your ears.

The Turtles vs De La Soul

No list looking at disputes over plagiarism can be complete without a case of straight-up sampling, especially from a time when Hip Hop was much younger and the now outdated view that sampling is devoid of creativity held greater sway. De La Soul are perhaps the best example to use as their early albums spent over a decade unavailable to buy or stream digitally. This led to them giving away their first six albums for free in 2014.

This particular example involves the sample of ‘You Showed Me’ by The Turtles on ‘Transmitting from Mars’ by De La Soul. It was just one of many samples used on all of De La Soul’s early albums that led to their digital obscurity. The Turtles were one of the strongest critics of the use of sampling however, calling it “a longer term for theft”. Listen to the skit containing the sample below.

Chuck Berry vs The Beach Boys

One of the classic examples in Rock N Roll, which as a genre is rife with derivatives of blues. the Beach Boys’ ‘Surfin USA’ bears a lot of similarity to Chuck Berry’s ‘Sweet Sixteen’. Berry was eventually credited on ‘Surfin USA’ and himself once told Brian Wilson that he loved the Beach Boys track, proof that it can sometimes end amicably.

The one thing all of these examples have in common, is that the tracks are great, demonstrating that, regardless of influence, good songwriting will always win out. If thats something you’d like to learn, check out our Songwriting course in London, or even a combined Singing and Songwriting course. For more info on this or any of our courses, don’t hesitate to contact us via email or call us on +44 20 7729 4884.

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 Influence or Plagiarism? Legal Battles in Music (w/ Radiohead, Marvin Gaye, Zomby + more) appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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Sample our Brand New BA (Hons) Online Degree Programme | Week 4: The Art of Mixing

If you’re looking to get a taste of what it’s like to learn on our innovative online platform, here’s your chance! We’ve now updated our sample courses to include a taster of our new Online BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering degree course. The course consists of eight modules included in the full online degree programme, designed to give you a taste of what you can expect when you study online with us. This is the fourth week of eight in which we’ll be giving you a taste of what each module entails, as well as showing you one of the videos from the corresponding module’s course materials. Don’t forget, we also have a host of online courses besides our BA (Hons) degree programme covering music production, sound design and much more – head here for our full range of online courses.

In week four we take a look at one of the most important aspects of making music of any kind: the mix. At the end of the module, students will gain knowledge of balancing, panning, EQ, aural perception, compression, limiting, gates and effects, plus a myriad of tricks and hints from working industry professionals. For the free sample course, you can take a look at three pages from the module using both Ableton & Logic. The first looks at corrective compression, which smooths peaks in volume leaving a much smoother sound. The second looks at convolution reverb – essentially sampling real or virtual spaces, for a more roomy reverberation. The third looks at using a high-pass filter: cutting the low end from instruments and components that pick up baggage from the room or effect manipulation. Take a look at the video above for a video introduction to the high-pass filter in Logic Pro.

To take the sample course yourself, head here, and get a flavour of the quality, style and content you can expect when studying online with Point Blank. Remember though, this is only a taster – to get the full experience complete with live interaction with tutors, forum interaction with fellow students and assignment feedback, you’ll have to enrol on a live course!

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 Sample our Brand New BA (Hons) Online Degree Programme | Week 4: The Art of Mixing appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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PB Recommends #47: Heavy Lungs, Hudson Mohawke, Mor Elian and More

Point Blank Recommends is our regular round-up of the tunes being played around the office. PB Recommends 47 casts the net a little wider, given that the release schedule tends to slow around the end of the year. One of our favourite releases was the big advent drop from Lucky Me, which included a long-awaited cut from Hudson Mohawke – this one’s been knocking around in live sets since 2010 but it was well worth the wait. Learn how to join these dots and more with a DJ course with Point Blank.

Everyone here at Point Blank HQ has just about calmed down after the midwinter festivities, dry januay promises have started breaking, and everything feels like its getting back to normal. The downside of course is that, if your in the UK at least, all that’s left to look forward to for a little while is the long, cold, winter slog toward summer’s welcome return. As such, we’ve gathered this handsome list of heaters to warm those cockles. Some choice cuts include the deliciously deep and dubby Ron Trent remix of Nightmares on Wax’s Citizen Kane, an eighties indebted gem from Nabihah Iqbal (formerly Throwing Shade), a bonus Nicolas Jaar track from last year’s Sirens sessions, mad hype from Faze Miyake and a superb, wiggy roller from Mor Elian.

For more music and tutorials including our recent beginner’s guide to making a track in Ableton, head to the Point Blank YouTube channel. We hope these sounds inspire you to take the next step in your music making, and whatever that means to you, we can provide the guidance you need at Point Blank. Our most comprehensive course in production is our three-year degree programme in London: BA (Hons) in Music Production & Sound Engineering, and we also offer an online alternative. Perhaps making tracks isn’t your thing, in which case have a look at our radio and DJ courses to focus on selection. If you’d like to know more, you can find all the ways to contact us here.

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 PB Recommends #47: Heavy Lungs, Hudson Mohawke, Mor Elian and More appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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