The Joy of Record Shopping

This weeks article is something a little different; a personal reflection titled ‘The Joy of Record Shopping’.

In many ways I think I have always been a collector. From an early age I remember queuing at a ’swap shop’ to complete my 1995 Premier League sticker album, and aiming to read all of the R.L. Stine ‘Goosebumps’ books.

As I got a little older this transferred into collecting records. I remember receiving ‘Oasis - Be Here Now’ for Christmas and saving pocket money for the subsequent album ‘The Masterplan’. Once I had my first Saturday job I would visit the local record shop ‘Circa Records’ every Monday to browse the latest releases to add to my collection having read about them in the previous weeks NME magazine.

While music is much more accessible now with streaming services offering huge catalogues of music, I still believe there is a place for physical releases. On recent trips to London and Manchester I spent time browsing independent record shops searching for hidden gems, artists recommended to me by friends and albums by seminal artists.

I know that I can find most of this music on streaming services, but I find the process of obtaining and listening to a physical record a much more immersive and rewarding process. It evokes memories of when I discovered the artist, who recommended it to me, where I bought the record and moments in my life associated with listening to a particular record. For me this deeper connection and experience of owning the physical item combines to enhance and enrich the listening experience.

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Music Production Toolkit 4: Sample Magic, Music Radar and Original Drum Hits

Welcome to the final part of the Music Production Toolkit series where I am looking at some of my favourite and most frequently used plugins, virtual instruments and samples libraries.

This week we are looking at drum hits, and when I am starting a new project one of the first things I consider is the drums and percussion needed. I begin this process by auditioning individual sounds and building my own palette of individual hits as a kit in Battery, Native Instruments drum sampler. Choosing the right sounds is important to me, particularly when working in ambient genres as the percussive elements are often exposed and pla
y a vital role in establishing the overall texture and aesthetic. While I utilise samples from a wide range of sources, lets take a look at 3 of my frequently used approaches.

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Music Production Toolkit 3: Native Instruments Komplete Ultimate

Welcome to the part 3 of the Music Production Toolkit series where I am looking at some of my favourite and most frequently used plugins, virtual instruments and samples libraries.

This week I am looking at Native Instruments Komplete Ultimate, a huge collection of 87 Native Instruments products including soft synths, effects, and sample libraries. While the contents of this pack can be overwhelming, there are a number of key tools within this collection which have become essential to my composition and production workflow. Here is an overview of 3 of my favourites, Kontakt, Battery and Massive.

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Music Production Toolkit 2: Spitfire Audio - Olafur Arnalds Felt Piano / LABS

Welcome to the part 2 of the Music Production Toolkit series where I am looking at some of my favourite and most frequently used plugins, virtual instruments and samples libraries.

The main focus this week in the centrepiece of the Spitfire Audio - Olafur Arnalds Composer Toolkit, the Felt Grand Piano. Over the last 10 years Spitfire Audio have become a huge name in the world of media composition and music production and have produced some beautiful libraries, my favourites being Chamber Strings Professional, Albion V Tundra and the LABS range (more on that later).

OA Felt SS Read More…

Music Production Toolkit 1: Logic Step FX

Welcome to the first part in a new series called Music Production Toolkit where I will be looking at some of my favourite and most frequently used plugins, virtual instruments and samples libraries.

First up is Step FX, a plugin added to Logic X version 10.4 earlier this year. Despite it being around 5 years since there was a full version update, Logic X still presents incredible value for money and alongside Step FX recent free incremental updates also include the powerful Alchemy synth, the exciting ChromaVerb plugin and updates to legacy features in the software including the user interface of popular instruments and effects.

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