Rhythmic Robot introduce Silencio

The genuises at Rhythmic Robot have released an amazing new virtual instrument called Silencio. I’ve already used it this morning to make a new track — in fact, you’re listening to it now.

Introducing Silencio
Fully-professional multimode 24-bit silence engine

In a world of loudness wars and over-crammed mixes, what our music sometimes needs is space to be; the individuation and clarity that come from the absence of sound; in other words, contrast. Silencio brings you that contrast in pristine 24-bit quality, whenever and wherever you need it.
Comprising eight meticulously-recorded silent environments (six analogue and two digital) plus hard bypass, Silencio gives you instant access to different tonalities of silence across a full 88-key range. A comprehensive control set allows further tailoring of the core silences. Its uses are limited only by your imagination, but there are some standout applications:

• Perfect for adding space to a mix. Today’s mixes easily become crowded, with frequency bands jostling for attention and fatiguing the listener. Use Silencio to bring air and space to your mix. Just one or two tracks of Silencio can make all the difference.

• Ideal for Jazz musicians. We often hear jazz aficionados saying of great musicians that we should ‘listen to the notes the guy isn’t playing’. This is central to classic jazz soloing. With Silencio, you can play these notes directly.

• Great for experimental musicians. Silencio can be at the heart of experimental music. It’s ideal for playing John Cage’s 4’33 (in fact it’s possible to play 4’33 in under three minutes using Silencio).

‘What we cannot speak about, we must pass over in silence’
– Ludwig Wittgenstein

Creative destruction, Moog-style

Moog have announced a limited re-release of three of their big modular synths from the 70s: the System 55, the System 35, and the Model 15. They’ve been lovingly re-created, conforming to the original product specifications, and using the original manufacturing processes (such as ye olde hand-wiring).

So what are you going to do about it? You’re going to buy me the System 55, that’s what. It’s only $35 000, so don’t be stingy, have a whip-around and get me one before some one-fingered investment banker who thinks he’s God’s gift to electronic music blows his bonus on it, before losing interest three days later.

In return I promise to take it on stage, play some amazing solos, and then stick knives in it so it makes funny noises and then blows up. Not even Keith Emerson stuck knives into his Moog modular (I think — or did he?)

If you can’t stretch to the System 55 then at least get me the Model 15 (a snip at at $10k), so as not to embarrass yourself and to prevent any funny looks at the club. Come on, 10k is just pocket money, so stop pulling that face.

If you really insist on spinning me some sob story about how money is tight and you’ve had to sell off another yacht then I’ll also settle for you just buying a CD, okay, spare me the details, just buy the CD, but bear in mind that Jake’s vintage guitar collection doesn’t grow on trees. (Made out of trees, sure, quite a lot of them in fact, but someone has to make them, preferably 50 years ago.)

Sound on Sound guest column

I had a guest spot in the ‘Sounding Off’ column in Sound on Sound magazine this month (June 2013), venting my spleen about bonus tracks, and the modern idea that CDs have to be long. It looks to be available even to non-subscribers.

And here’s a scan of it. Don’t suppose SoS will mind — anyway, they took out some of my terrible jokes which made it seem more serious than it originally was! It’s good advertising for the mag, which is all like this (only much better and about recording and gear rather than moans. So quite different, really).

Sound on Sound Sounding Off June 2013 Blake McQueen

Sound on Sound cover June 13

Update: I should add that it’s not like I have no interest in the sort of tracks you get as bonus tracks. Sometimes they’re good, and as a musician and “recordist” even poorly-recorded, early versions of tracks can provide a valuable insight into the creative and recording processes of a band you like. I just don’t want them stuck on the end of a great CD. Release them as a separate, inexpensive CD. Or make them available as downloads on your website. Put them on a second CD you include with the album if you must (although I’m not that keen on that either). Whatever you do, just don’t put them on the classic album itself.