I finally have had the time to make a new album worth of tracks! Below is a preview of this album. Admittedly dark in nature, the main source of inspiration was all the things I find wrong about the way things are going in our lives.
The album will likely be sold exclusively by Future 80s Records on their Bandcamp. Will update listeners when it's available.
Two important updates. First, Lightsen-Naysu has made another animated short about the new Mega Pokemon in Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. Music by yours truly.
Second, I have reluctantly turned back to crowdfunding methods, this time, for collecting more Linndrum sound chips. The campaign is available to read and donate to here:
I realize it's a high goal, but the good news is that there is no deadline: I don't expect to finish this personal project of mine any time soon even if I already had the money.
Remade my last post into an official review of this VST.
It's hard to get anywhere in making 80s music without at least hearing about the Linn series of drum machines, the most successful of these being the Linndrum. Aly James Lab has taken this nostalgia and made an extremely accurate recreation of the first of these machines: the LM-1.
Sadly, there is no official video I made showcasing the VST or its sounds yet, though expect this post to be updated later with that. In the meantime, here is an mp3 of a few rhythms using mostly custom sounds sampled from the output of the VST.
The LM-1 was the first ever sample-based drum machine. For the first time, electronic musicians could make percussive sounds that were fairly convincing without needing to learn how to drum. The sounds of all the Linn machines were stored on EPROM chips, usually sets of 2732's (4 KB each).
The VLinn recreates the grittiness of this drum machine, going as far as to emulate the variable bit-rate interpolation representative of early samplers and sample-based drum machines. This becomes particularly obvious when your drum sounds are tuned very low in pitch, a lo-fi quality that cannot easily be recreated even in Kontakt, the standard among modern software samplers. The sounds are also processed in real time, meaning that it's almost guaranteed a single drum sound will not sound exactly identical to the last time it was played.
In addition, unlike traditional vintage emulations, the VLinn has kept the EPROM storage factor in mind by utilizing binary dumps of these EPROM's. While they couldn't provide all of the sounds made for the Linn machines with the VLinn due to legal restrictions, they were granted permission by Roger Linn himself to include the stock LM-1 sounds, including a looped hihat and some drum sounds with unique lowpass filters.
Earlier today I confirmed that it's possible to legally use other Linn sounds. Using a bass drum chip provided by Forat (the current copyright holder of the Linndrum and Linn 9000 sounds) and an EPROM programmer, I managed to dump the sound into my computer and then load the .bin file into VLinn without any problems! While an expensive route (the programmer I have cost nearly $200, and the smallest chips offered by Forat are $25 each), this is definitely the best way to go legally if you want to use sounds from the Linndrum as well as the LM-1, though you'll still need to look hard for .bin files of the ride and crash cymbals, which were a whopping 8 chips per sound!
As for the VLinn, there's only one major feature of the LM-1 and its successors omitted from the VST: a sequencer. Thankfully, this software is meant to be used in Digital Audio Workstations with sequencers built into them, so an internal sequencer wasn't absolutely necessary to recreate, anyway.
My only gripe about it, personally: the only reason I was able to mess around with it at this time is because I also have VMWare Fusion: it's currently only Windows-exclusive and 32-bit. The good news is that Aly James Lab plans to make both 64-bit builds and Mac-compatible versions of the VST, though neither of these will be until next year.
Overall, definitely recommended, especially if you have a 32-bit DAW for Windows, though you can sample the output of the standalone version if you don't.
Well, this evening proved pretty interesting in the context of retro technology.
First, my EPROM programmer arrived. Haven't messed with it yet, though, simply because the test Linndrum chip from Forat hasn't arrived yet.
Second, I finally acquired Aly James Lab's "VLinn" VST for myself. It proved a bit frustrating at this point in time, however, the big thing being the fact that it's Windows-exclusive until some time next year.
Thanks to VMWare Fusion, however, I was able to mess around with the standalone version of the instrument for a bit. Definitely has that lo-fi sound reminiscent of early samplers, and what makes it even more unique is that, unlike the Waldorf PPG Wave 3.V which can also recreate the lofi quality, it appears to recreate the engine of the LM-1 as well. This proves particularly useful when DC offsets and unnaturally low frequencies come into play, a persistent problem I've noticed with several Universe of Sounds samples for the Emulator II.
Sadly, again, there is no Mac version at this time, so the best I can do is sample any drum sounds I want to use at the exact frequency/pitch I want to hear them at. Which isn't too big of a deal except that it's mildly time-consuming. I look forward to when the Mac version comes out, though, especially once I manage the finances of having a large library of Linndrum-formatted sounds.
Well, may as well give an update of some sort.
First, finished my tracks for a collaborate EP with Jupiter-8. Further details will be revealed later.
The main reason I write this, though, is for synthesizer-related purposes. I've recently grown a strong interest in the Linndrum. This was a famous drum machine in the 80s; however, one relatively-unpublicized fact about it is that it had a large variety of sounds made for it by Linn Electronics themselves, a fact that may seem too good to be true what with most sample libraries on the net dedicated to this machines.
At one point, electrongate.com allowed others a taste of these other sounds (and still do for other drum machines), but the samples were since pulled by the current copyright owner, Forat Electronics. Problem is, I don't have the budget for a Linndrum, nor am I interested in using technology with so few processing features on a regular basis.
Therefore, I do have plans to purchase an EPROM programmer to dump the EPROM chips the sounds are stored on, which I'd purchase directly from Forat. Sadly, even this route will be expensive: while I did manage to find an ideal programmer under $200 in retail price, the smallest sounds (such as bassdrums) offered by Forat are a whopping $25 each!
Therefore, I ask my fans and followers: how should I go about financing this? I would prefer a route other than crowdfunding: other than lacking results with it in the past, all I can legally offer that's relevant to this project is some music that uses these drum sounds, unless the slim chance arrives that I get explicit permission from Forat to distribute the sounds.
Feel free to give input regarding how to fundraise.
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