Tag Archives: christmas

House of the Rising CD

Originally, I was going to keep House of the Rising Sun a digital-only product, since I’m continuously told that that’s the future. We’ve sold a few copies that way, sure, but something was just nagging me about it. I finally just admitted that I’m a bit of a curmudgeon and went ahead and put together a physical CD package. Here you go.

These puppies are printed up by CreateSpace, the same company that now handles all of the copies of Results Not Typical. I was pretty happy with how Results came out and decided to give them another go.  (Side note: those of you that picked up the first edition of Results now have something very, very rare, since I’m not planning on printing any more of those myself, probably ever. Wait 30 years before you put it on eBay to really drive up the value.)

Honestly, the print quality isn’t as nice or consistent as a pressed CD, but it is darned close, and there’s no minimum order. In fact, there’s no warehouse of these anywhere! CreateSpace just cranks them out as people place their orders.

So what are you waiting for? Go put them to work! You can even get it in time for Christmas if you order soon.

Speaking of Christmas, work still continues on this year’s free Christmas track, and I’m hoping that it’ll be all put together by the end of the week. It’s turning out to be quite interesting so far. I may have spilled some dubstep on it, too.

Still Alive, Approaching the Holidays

I still function! Though with the month I’ve had, that’s somewhat surprising. I did manage to get into the studio long enough to lay down some ideas on a couple of songs for the next album. I like where things are going so far, and there’s still a lot of potential to be had. I haven’t really begun recording in earnest yet, and with the holiday season soon upon us I won’t likely dive into full production mode until the new year has landed. With that in mind, I’m currently thinking I’ll be able to have the new full album in your hands sometime mid to late next year. If you want to be among the first to hear about it, sign up for the newsletter mailing list! I’ll announce behind-the-scenes plans there before anywhere else.

Speaking of the holidays, this means that it’s time to pick out this year’s Christmas song. For those of you just joining us, for the past few years I’ve taken some time away from regular music production to put my own personal touch on a Christmas classic and released it for free on the site here. I’ve already covered “Angels We Have Heard On High,” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” and last year’s “In The Bleak Midwinter.” That leaves quite a lot to choose from, and I need your help to decide what to do this year. Frontrunners are:

  • Winter Wonderland
  • Away In A Manger
  • I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day
  • Little Drummer Boy

Although I am definitely open to suggestions. Want to vote? Comment here or on Facebook, tweet at us, send an email, or dispatch a courier pigeon to a predetermined set of coordinates with your desires inscribed upon it. But however you do it, let us know what you want for Christmas from Psycliq, and we’ll do what we can to get it to you!

I Have Kontrol

Update: For those wandering in looking how to use a nanoKontrol with ProTools 8, I’ve since updated to a nanoKontrol2 and ProTools 9, and the two work seamlessly out of the box with each other.  On the chance that you’re still shopping around for stuff, I highly recommend going with the nanoKontrol2. Original post below...

I hope that everyone had and/or is having a wonderful holiday season! Have you downloaded Light The Tree yet? It’s only going to be up for another week, and it’s completely free! My holiday has been filled with a lot of driving around to family events, but now I think we’re finally settled into the house for a bit.

Exhausting, yes, but lots of fun, with a brand new year that’s almost begun. And what did I find under the tree this year? Why, nothing short of a new piece of gear! OK, this rhyming has to stop. (Anybody got a mop?) Seriously.

What you’re looking at in the product shot (courtesy of a fine review from SKRATCHWORX) is a Korg NanoKontrol. This lovely (and tiny) piece of hardware is really just a USB MIDI controller with a bunch of sliders and knobs and buttons on it. Nothing fancy on its own, but when you pair it with the right software you’ve got a pretty powerful setup on your hands. The obvious use case for me is for a mixing board, controlling track volumes and plugin controls in ProTools. With nine independent sliders, each with a knob and pair of buttons, you’ve got some really nice physical control over the mixing process. Since ProTools is notoriously picky about non-Avid-owned hardware, it sadly didn’t work out of the box. However, there is hope! You see, with its included editor software, this little guy can spit out pretty much whatever MIDI control codes you want it to, thereby pretending to be basically any kind of control surface out there. I used a great little tutorial to wire it up into ProTools, and I was very quickly in business. The first eight sliders map to the volume control on the first eight channels, and the last slider maps to the volume control of the last master fader. In other words, it does exactly what you’d expect it to do. In fact, I was a bit amazed at how smoothly everything worked. I will likely be tweaking the control mappings going forward, but this is a fantastic starting point, and I’d like to thank the folks at Trikome for their setup.

One of the main reasons for loving it so much has got to be the hardware transport controls. The ability to start, stop, rewind, and record from dedicated buttons cannot be beat. This way, I don’t have to fumble over to my computer keyboard to mash the right arcane button combination just to get things to start and stop when I want them to.

Mind you, the NanoKontrol doesn’t do any recording or mixing on its own — it is nothing more than a simple MIDI device. But like all good tools, it’s in exactly the form factor it needs to be in to make it useful. I’m going to need to rearrange my desk a bit to accommodate it, but I really needed to rework the studio space anyway. Maybe that’s something we can look forward to in the new year.

Epic Epicness

I wanted to give you all a taste of what the folks on the Electric Goodies Newsletter get from time to time, so I’ve put up the EPIC REMIX of “every morning orange and blue” off of halt:

Clocking in at over 28 minutes long, this is an ethereal soundscape unlike any other.Well, maybe it’s a little like sigur ros. This song was created quite simply by using an audio stretching program on the original mix of “every morning”. I played around with it on a few of my tracks and really liked the results on this one. I actually liked the audio-wash effect on this so much that I’m going to be using this on a song called “The Chaos” that’s due to be on the next Psycliq album. Members of the newsletter have already gotten several clips of that track, too, so there’s some further incentive to join up. This also marks the first native Psycliq remix to be put onto Mergers & Acquisitions, but I think it still loosely fits the definition of the collection.

And don’t forget, download Light The Tree for Some Holiday Cheer for free today! It will only be available through the holiday season, then it goes in the vault for another year.

We Are in the Amazon Now

I’m very happy to say that Results Not Typical is finally available from Amazon.com as a physical CD! I didn’t think this was going to happen after CDBaby’s snafu with it. But in the end, this has been a good thing as it’s made me re-evaluate how I handle CD building and distribution entirely.

One of the biggest problems in being a smalltime independent artist is the upfront cost of the production of physical media. This is especially a pain to me because I really like physical media, and I really want to make it available to people who also like it. For both The Mathemagician’s Riddle and halt, I did absolutely everything from my home. I burned the CDs, printed the labels using lightscribe, printed the insert cards, packaged them all up into cases, and sent them off to CDBaby for sale. For Results Not Typical, I tried something a bit different: instead of printing my own cards, I got a small batch printed by a poster/cd printing place. I still printed the CDs on my own and packaged it all up by myself, but I was overall pretty happy with the quality.

CDBaby, it turns out, wasn’t quite so happy. They claimed that their distributor wouldn’t distribute a CDr, which was odd to me since my first two albums were also CDrs and went through fine, but who’s counting. Upon further pushing and digging with the aid of a very cool and friendly customer service rep from them, I found out that if I bought duplicated CDrs from CDBaby’s parent company, they’d be happy to sell them. Handy, that. :)

After moping and despairing for a bit, I set out to find a real solution to the problem and came across CreateSpace. These guys are a little print-on-demand service that has the added benefit of being owned by Amazon.com directly, so anything that you produce through them is made available through that storefront without further hassle. I also tried another print-on-demand service, which had decent results as well, but I liked the interface, packaging options, and integration with Amazon available through CreateSpace a bit better.

Roll this all up to say that as of right now, you can buy all three Psycliq albums almost anywhere you’d want to. And you know, it’s never too early to start your Christmas shopping…

Incoming Christmas Music

I know, I know — it’s still much too early to be thinking about the Christmas season for most people. But the truth is, if I don’t get to recording a Christmas song early, it just won’t happen before the holidays are upon us. Thus, I’ve been fighting with ProTools and Renoise today to begin tracking this year’s song, “In The Bleak Midwinter”. I’ve even got the sheet music printed out on my desk in front of me, both as a reference for when I’m recording and to remind me to finish the blasted thing. I’ve got a basic arrangement mapped out, with basic chords and drum beats, but I still have a very long way to go here. I’m hoping to be able to throw some time at it over the weekend.

Unfortunately, as implied above, my studio software has been giving me headaches over this, not wanting to sync up and throwing all kinds of cranky errors at me. I’m trying to update and patch everything that I can find, but so far I’ve only been able to get it to run in fits and starts. Funny how all of this starts happening just after the new version of Pro Tools is announced. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks that there’s got to be some kind of out-of-warranty timer going on here, plotting against me.

My goal is to have it all wrapped up by December, at which point I’ll put the Christmas album back up on the music site for download. Members of the Electric Goodies Newsletter will be getting sneak peeks and will be the first to know when the album is available again, so if you want to be in on the latest word, that’s the place to be.