June 15, 2014

I Downloaded This Amazing Free Plug-in, And You Won't Believe What Happens Next...

by Chris Randall

I'm experimenting with clickbait-style post titles. Other audio blogs appear to be testing the waters with this information abortion, so I figure "hey, why not join the crowd?" How am I doing?

Anyhow, this is just a general info-dump of goings-on in my little corner of the world.

1. Unless you live under a rock, you know about the Eventide freebie, UltraChannel. I actually wouldn't normally bring it up here at all, as even though the Eventide guys are BFFs of ours and make stupifyingly good plug-ins (and even better hardware), their plugs are iLok only. However, as a result of a UI contract I'm currently doing, I had to install and tame an iLok. (And, god forbid, PT11.) Since I have one now, I was all "fuck it" and furthermore "whatevs." And got myself an UltraChannel. (And all the other Eventide native plugs while I was at it.) I'll say this much: UltraChannel is almost worth sucking it up for iLok. A fantastic, creative channel plug that is light on the CPU, yet extremely capable. If you have an iLok, or are thinking about buying one of those little buttplugs, here's where you get the Ultrachannel; use coupon code 0F736710. It'll be like $249 or something in a month or two, so if you're gonna do it, do it now.

2. Just in case you think I might have changed my mind or am in any way endorsing it, fuck PACE and fuck iLok.

3. I'm pleased to report that my schedule, which was a bit hairy there for a while, is returning, slowly and surely, to its normal lazy, meandering ways, which means I'll be able to finish off the Audio Damage DRM Removal Event, and also bring the next Audio Damage plug-in to the finish line while Adam flails about in his Code Hole whipping Sequencer 1 in to shape. It was a little ridiculous there for a while, but I've cleared a majority of the nonsense now, and am back to being my usual self.

4. And finally, a question: what constitutes an "album" these days? Throughout my (first) career, I was all 10 SONGS OR BUST but the idea of a complete record seems to be slipping through the cracks in favor of a burst mode kind of release system. I tried this out a couple years ago, by pooping out 4 of what our oldsters call "EPs" in a row, and it was somehow... uh... unsatisfying? Even without physical media, there's just something about a cohesive chunk of music that is more visceral, at least to the maker. So my general takeaway: it is far easier to come up with 5 cohesive songs than 10, and the consumer seems to be indifferent. My forthcoming release that I'm just finishing up now is 10 tracks, but I'm left with the lingering impression that I should strip it to a pair of 5-track releases. Thoughts?


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Jun.15.2014 @ 9:58 AM
0. 6 Plug-ins That Will Make You Want to Buy an ILok
1. Alas, no amount of Eventide could make me install anything Pace ever again. Given that Pace drivers once wiped out a complete Windows install on me, fool me once...
2. Aye, fuck Pace and iLok
3. Yay!
4. I'm a fan of approaching it as a work rather than album, as big/small as needed to feel completed. If it feels better as 10 tracks, that's what it should be, consumer indifference be damned.

Jun.15.2014 @ 10:36 AM
You do not need an iLok dongle for UltraChannel, just a free iLok account and the iLok software.

From the link above: "UltraChannel does not require you to own or use an iLok dongle, but the iLok License Manager and an ilok.com account are required to use the plugin."

Jun.15.2014 @ 11:18 AM
Releasing less songs more often certainly serves to keep the consumer more interested.

Looking back at 6.6 and 6.5, I think of them as albums just as much as 6.0 is, regardless of the number of tracks present. In each case there was a common theme or sound throughout the release that signified it as a work. Length didn't matter. Release what you think is a good set of tracks.

Jun.15.2014 @ 11:23 AM
I'm not sure the consumer is indifferent, even though that seems to have become general wisdom. 6 or 8 years ago some friends had this same thought with a project we were doing and decided to just release singles and EP's. Turned out the public cared even less than usual, and they went back to albums. Maybe it's changed since then.

It may be a weird time, when people don't necessarily want to listen to whole albums, say they don't want whole albums, but don't take anything less seriously. But I'm not really sure it's changed as much as people think. When I was a kid we didn't listen to whole albums all the time either (despite kids today insisting that we did), we just had to buy them that way. If we could have bought every song as individual singles we would have bought a lot more singles.

Jun.15.2014 @ 11:29 AM
i don't know if less songs more often does anything to keep anyone more interested. it can have the opposite affect. "oh, that guy is releasing something again? he just put out a thing and i've barely had time to get into it"

but i guess it's 6 of one, half dozen of the other.. or however that saying goes.

the problem i get into is when i want to release an album and i'm working on tracks and they come slowly.. and over the course of the process all the tracks don't sound right in context because i've taken 2 forevers to get them done that the sound/fingerprint etc seems varied.. enough to the point of them not sounding like an album when they're all together.. and instead sounding more like a collection of tracks.

so, if i can't get the album together quickly enough i either release an EP or just wait until i write more songs then pick the ones that fit together and the ones that are left over become an EP that gets released a month or two after the album.. or something..

fuck iloks.. and pace.. and their stupid software which is just a horrible interface.. that being said.. i still have an ilok account leftover from the ilok plugs i no longer own so it seemed stupid not to download the super duper ultra channel blah blah.. i have it installed and auth'd but haven't checked it out yet. it seems to have a lot going on.. i'm sure it's great..

i'd have bought all the eventide plugs if they were not ilok/pace-ified. i've pretty much found more than enough amazing shit that is of a more sane and friendly copy protection scheme..so.. who the fuck needs that shit.. i'm living just fine even w/o soundtoys plugs which imo are fanfuckingtastic.

so, i agree.. "those guys are awesome! but.. fuck those guys"

as for EP vs Album. you can always release 2 eps a week apart and marry them together w/some kind of artwork or title

Jun.15.2014 @ 12:45 PM
As far as EP or Album goes, I have a strong tendency to prefer albums. I don't know why, but all my favorite releases are albums. Note, this may make me an old fart, which would be fine.

Jun.15.2014 @ 5:35 PM
ILok.com is broken. So no Eventide plugin for me.

Jun.15.2014 @ 10:16 PM
Those Micronaut EP's are the fukn shiz...

Jun.16.2014 @ 12:08 AM
I was pondering the EP vs. album thing a while back myself. As far as I can tell, historically the terms EP and LP were mainly marketing terms used to describe the approximate length of a release based on the kind of media it was released on. I guess those terms just stuck, and they still carry the same general meaning. But with digital media we're not really bound by a finite amount of timecode to squeeze our tracks into like folks were with vinyl. So why bother calling it one or the other? My take is the same as a few of the others: release as many or as few tracks as are needed for the work to feel "complete" as a package.

That said, the frugal consumer in me always prefers getting more for less. I'm more likely to purchase an "album" than an "EP". There are a few artists out there I'm aware of that currently only release new material as singles on iTunes, and it actually irritates me to think that in order to collect their new works I have to find and purchase every single track one-by-one on itunes.

Jun.16.2014 @ 1:01 AM
I'd really like to use Eventides native plugins. Blackhole was a freebie with my Space pedal.

But I'm not installing iLok. Even their license manager! SoundToys Echoboy couldn't even pull me into that hell hole.

Used to prefer albums, but now a days most of the artist I enjoy, produce a steady stream of EP's.

I know from my own writing process, that I tend to make songs in groups of 4-8. These songs fit together... and then I'm off on another idea.

I'd rather have 2 EP's that work as separate entities, than one disjointed album.

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