Terry Bozzio is one amazing drummer. He’s played with countless musicians and constellations, including Frank Zappa, Missing Persons, Mick Jagger and Jeff Beck. Terry doesn’t only play the drums though! For his own compositions he often turns to Reason.
How do you approach music making in Reason?
I use reason in so many different ways. Sometimes I just search through sounds until I find something I like & then create around that sound. When I use a keyboard I always like to try the sounds at the lowest & highest registers (where the sounds were not designed to be played) to find unique effects I can compose with. I like using the keyboard to get human or loose phrasing without quantization. On the other hand, I have used no keyboard & just use the MIDI sequencer to punch in notes one at a time. I’ve composed many classical pieces this way. I find it much like working a crossword puzzle! It has to make sense vertically & horizontally!
In this exclusive article, Matt Piper will highlight his 7 favorite new features in Reason 7. To learn more, join lynda.com and get access to his Up and Running with Reason 7 video course as well as over 100 other classes on recording, mixing, mastering, acoustics and software.
1.) Use Hi-Pass and Low-Pass filters to define your mix
Before ever touching any other EQ controls, once you have set comfortable relative signal levels for each channel in your mix, you can define the sonic space of each channel with the Hi-Pass and Low-Pass filters. For instance, set the low pass filter on the kick so that the highest frequencies of the kick do not overlap with the core frequencies of the snare. Then use the high-pass filter on the snare to filter out unnecessary low frequencies. For visual feedback on what you are doing, press F2 on your computer keyboard to see the Spectrum EQ display.
Join producer Justen Williams behind the scenes in his studio as he creates a track in Reason 7. Learn about his approach to track building, get some useful tips & tricks and see Parsec‘s vocoder feature in action!
You can try out Parsec yourself in the Propellerhead Shop.
The Parsec Spectral Synthesizer is a sound designers dream. With two independent sound engines, up to 1024 oscillators per voice, a wide range of sound sculpting tools, built-in effects and free modulation routing, Parsec is capable of an incredibly wide range of sounds.
In this tutorial, product specialist Mattias shows you how to create a beautiful bell sound from scratch. If you want to go deeper with Parsec, this video is for you. Also, make sure you download the Reason 7 song file (below) to hear Parsec in action!
When you come across a video where someone samples percussion and snoring (!) together with an older gentleman covered in tattoos, it’s hard not to be curious. Therefore we had a quick chat with New York-based mad audio experimentalist Hot Sugar to find out more about his approach to music production.
Your music is full of unique sounds, could you tell us a bit about how you create them?
I record a lot of sounds on portable recorders then import them to the NN-XT to make patches. I make everything from basses to keys or sustained organ type patches. I’ll compose a melody and add instrumentation surrounding it. After that I import drum samples i’ve recorded into Redrum or Kong and make a beat to accompany the riffs I created. Between the drum machines and the samplers you can make a whole song.
My favorite patches are the ones I’ve made using recordings I couldn’t hear at the time (usually because they were too quiet or even silent). Just because we don’t hear something doesn’t mean there isn’t a sound, tone or texture to present. I love recording “silence” and cranking up the volume afterwards to hear the intricacies our ears cant. I’ve made number of patches from roomtones that at first seemed silent but once distorted and compressed sounded like eerie whistles or even basses. I usually throw them into the NN-XT too.
When I travel to a place I haven’t been to before I turn on my recorder and capture it (whether a new place a couple blocks from my apartment or another country entirely). Sometimes I like to scroll through my folders of recordings and press play without reading the filename. Some are recognizable but most are confusing and disorienting. I try to picture the spot and by then my imagination gets the best of me. Once I’m lost in that world I can hear other melodies and things going on so the songs start writing themselves.
Any Words of Wisdom for aspiring producers and musicians?
There are plenty of stock sounds offered by a program like Reason but there are an infinite number of other ones outside that are just waiting to be recorded and brought back to your computer. The sounds that come with the program are incredibly impressive but the real gift Reason offers is the ability to transform whatever you want on your own.