I think, therefore I am. I am, therefore I sail

Category: Music

Beginnings of a song idea

I was practicing piano today and I suddenly had a possible idea for a song. I started messing around a bit and I did not want to forget, so I fired up Reason 4 and recorded some of my ideas. This is a loop that has a bunch of instruments thrown together all at once. Obviously it is highly unfinished. Hopefully I will have some time to flesh it out a bunch more and turn it into a real song. Take a listen

Old Timin

How to get the Korg nanoKontrol working with Reason 4

I recently picked up a copy of Propellerhead Reason 4. Reason is a software synth program, and it rocks my world. I am going to be away from my Korg Triton Extreme and my rack of sound modules for a while, but I still wanted to be able to make some sweet sounds. It took hours of playing with to find sounds that I like, and then I had to figure out how to mix them together like I do on my rack. With my rack, hitting a note on my keyboard triggers MIDI on all the sound modules. The audio output from the sound modules then goes into a mixer and I mix the sounds at whatever level I think sounds good. Reason has a cool 14 channel virtual mixer that I was able to run everything in to and mix perfectly, but it was not very friendly when it came to playing live and remixing sound per song, and sometimes in a single song. I began hunting around for a MIDI mixer and eventually ran across the Korg nanoKontrol.

The Korg nanoKontrol is a sweet little unit. Designed to be used with a laptop, it is slim and sleek looking. 9 sliders, 18 buttons, 9 knobs, and a transport section along with 4 programmable scenes. If you have not yet done so, hop on Google and check out some reviews. Stunning little unit. And super cheap too. I eagerly ordered mine, and impatiently checked for updates on the UPS website several times a day. When it finally arrived it joyously plugged it in and Reason 4 recognized it right off. Thinking I was going to be able to run with it I started messing around a bit. I could not get Reason to recognize any signal coming out of it. I scoured Google and could not find any info on getting it setup. I saw many people using it, but no tutorial on setting it up. I finally tried something I saw on a blog post’s comments about the nanoPad. Turns out that even though Reason 4 correctly recognizes the nanoKontrol, it cannot use the built in driver. Here is what I did after erasing it out of my list.

While in the Keyboards and Control Surfaces preferences:

  • Click Add to add a new MIDI device
  • Manufacturer: Korg
  • Model: Other MIDI Control Keyboard
  • Click the find button and wiggle a slider and Reason 4 should see the MIDI device
  • Click the OK button

Now Reason 4 should properly recognize your nanoKontrol MIDI device.

The fun part is assigning functions on the nanoKontrol to elements in Reason 4 to control. This turns out to actually be quite simple. As a demonstration, create a new Reason project and only add a 14:2 mixer. Hover your mouse cursor over the slider on channel 1. Right click the slider and select Remote Override. Check the Learn checkbox and wiggle slider 1 on the nanoKontrol. Save that and now you should have a happily moving slider in Reason whenever you move the slider on the nanoKontrol.

If you are like me and also want the buttons mapped to mute and solo you will need to download the Korg Kontrol Editor from Korg’s website. The Kontrol Editor allows you to change any parameters on the nanoKontrol that you would like. Change all the buttons to Toggle instead of Momentary and not only will they start working like real buttons, but they will also remain lit.

Have fun! If you have an questions feel free to leave a comment and I will try to answer it.

P.S. I assume above that you have the universal Korg MIDI driver installed already.

Edit Added on 01-13-2010:
Blinded Mice has made available a zip file containing everything you need to get rolling for Microsoft Windows. Blinded Mice Reason File
Blinded Mice also has an excellent video tutorial on assigning the nanoKontrol to your Reason elements. Blinded Mice Tutorial

Update 2012-01-04: It looks like the Blinded Mice site is no longer available 🙁

My Bass: Ibanez GSR200

My Bass: Ibanez GSR200
Over a month ago I ordered a Dean Edge 10a bass guitar from Musician’s Friend. It was back ordered until the end of that week, then it was back ordered till the next month. When that date came around I received ANOTHER back order notice! So I was appropriately irritated at the thought of having purchased a bass that would take months to get to me. Apparently it is a fairly popular bass to buy.

My friend, Andy, was heading up to Guitar Center to get some work done on his acoustic guitar so I figured I would tag along and see if they have my bass and cancel the order with Musician’s Friend if they did. Well they did not have any Dean basses at all. But they did have plenty of Ibanez basses. I like the Ibanez basses. I found the GSR200. It is a good quality bass with a wide range of sounds available to it. It also has an active pickup system, which is something I wanted. So I picked it up and now am canceling my, back ordered 3 times, Musician’s Friend bass.

I took a few pictures of it that you can find on my photo gallery

Music is in the air

Anybody who knows me personally will know that I love music. Not like most people love music. Most people who say they love music love listening to music. I love making music and showing it in events in Austin.

Even though I just moved to Nampa, I have already become involved in two separate music groups.

The first is at Nampa First Church where I am currently scheduled to play keyboard synth and bass guitar. This coming Sunday will be my first week playing. I am hoping I can get someone to loan me a car for a bit so I can get my keyboard down to the church. I own a Korg Triton Extreme, one of the nicest keyboards you will find. If I cannot get a car I will not be too put out. The church has a Korg Triton LE which is from the same line as my Korg, but levels lower so it should be easy to figure out.

The second is the campus chapel team. There is chapel every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and it is a requirement that students attend 2/3 of chapel sessions. ALL the students! So I will be playing drums in front of thousands of students, and hundreds of faculty. I am really excited about the opportunity because I want to join Covenant this summer. Covenant is a traveling music group sponsored by NNU. They travel all over the northwest doing concerts, leading music at camps, and tons of other things. I have dreamed about doing that for as many years as I have been playing.

It is interesting to look at my life and see there are 3 main points of interest: computers(programming), music, and youth ministry. I am interested to see how they will resolve themselves throughout my lifetime.


The new year is upon us (2007)

So I guess this will be the final blog entry for the year 2007. Not that I have blogged very much. I usually think of things to blog about while driving, but when I get home it has evaporated from my head.

2006 was not a bad year for me. I learned many new things about myself and human interaction. I finally broke into the career field that I want and got a really good job at that. You know how when you are put on the spot you can never think of things? That is how I feel now, cept I did it to myself :S

So what have I learned this year?
This world craves love. The more I study human interaction the more I find this to be the case. I am not talking about any form of physical love. I am talking about the straight up sort of love that embraces all people and all cultures regardless of personal feelings. I also believe that if there were more of this type of love many of the problems would be eliminated that face us today.

The jobs I have held until now have always been consumer based jobs dealing with the public. From my father I have inherited the drive to have things done right. Those two combined Have very much made me into a better leader of people. When I worked at Arbys I was made manager because of that drive but I did not really understand what managing people meant. I tried to be fair to each and that did lead my down the correct path. This year while I worked at Home Depot which is a very large company I was tutored by two of the assistant managers and groomed for a management position. Watching them has really cemented in me the ideas of leadership. Both are great people.

And this, well frankly this suprised me most of all. As most of you know I am a Christian. I try to be as frank about it as possible and am very upfront about almost everything. It seems however that my christian friends are starting to distance themselves from me while my non christian friends are becoming closer. Interesting. And why is that you ask? One of the biggest things I have come to realize this year is that we all have our own personal code of ethics and morals. What is true for one is not true for another. Unconsiously I have been following that for years but just this year have I known about it. What irritates the christians is that they are all under one code. God’s code. They know as well as I when they are doing something that goes against that code. When they do that I say something about it. Maybe that is one of my downfalls, cause I sure tick people off telling them when they broke their own moral code. However that is not really what suprised me. The non christians obviously do not hold to the christian values. They do not ascribe to that code in the slightest so why should I hold them to the same values as a christian? To do so would be pushing my beliefs on them in a way that would drive them all away. All of my non christian friends respect that about me, but when my christian friends see that I say nothing when a non christian does something that a christian should not do and I say nothing to that person they get irritated at me and call me two faced and double standarded(Is that a word :S). However this is not the case. Along with the great need for love there also is a great need to judge people by _their_ standards, not our own personal standard. And that is why I believe many people feel judged all the time.

One other thing that I have learned is that people don’t really care. Let me explain that a bit. We all have fears about getting in front of people, or what they would think if we acted a certain way. Many times this confines us to a very small box. Sometimes it makes us cowards when we are around a group of people. I was one of the cowards. I would sit in the back of rooms, and avoid eye contact and try to blend with the crowd. Thanks to my amazing music theory classmates I have worked my way through this fear. Being a complete noob to music I was terrified to be asked a question or have to go up to the board, but guess what. They did not dispise me for my lack of knowledge. They did not make fun of the way I write or draw the little black dots with stems called music notes. When I did something way wrong yeah they occasionally laughed but never in an insulting way. Soon I commenced to realize that all of them made mistakes too. Even though some had done music their entire lives. Then I began to examine myself and realized that when someone did something goofy I chuckled then promptly forgot about it. Then my fear was gone. And I believe a big portion of what I wrote before applies here. If they had judged me to their standards of music theory I would have been hopelessly lost and probably flunked out of the class, but rather they gathered around me and helped me learn. And that right there is the kind of love I talked about before. So thanks to them in the most part for all that I have learned this year. If not for my music class helping me get over my fear of people I would not have been freed to see the other things.

I have learned many more things through this last year but those are the major highlights. Now what am I going to do this next year with my new knowledge? For starters I am going to attempt to be more humble so that I can love others. God commands us to love all peoples, but sadly most christians fall short of that, I included. I am going to attempt to teach my fellow christians that as christians we cannot hold non christians to out value system but rather need to love them as they are. And I am going to try to be brave around new people knowing that even if I do do something stupid they do not hold it against me, and probably forget it five minutes after it happens.

I hope to get my thoughts and notes on these concepts up soon so stay tuned. Also I am going to make a more indepth new years resolutions list so look for that as well.

A big thanks goes out to my fellow music theory classmates. Without you and God none of this would have been possible!

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