We're happy to announce that Reason 9.2 and a new version of the Rack Extension toolkit is now available!
When we created Rack Extensions we wanted to build a plug-in format that truly felt like Reason, with all the great workflow you guys expect. CV and audio connections, full automation, undo, integration with the Reason browser and much more.
Now, we've taken the next step! With Reason 9.2 and the new Rack Extension toolkit, developers can create devices with Reason's unique sampling feature and create much better, more user friendly interfaces with hideable widgets and panels, improved displays and more. We believe this will lead to even more exciting instruments, effects and utilities to help Reason users everywhere make more and better music. To show you just how great the new features are, Blamsoft and LoveOne have created two amazing synths.
Blamsoft's best-selling synth Expanse has been updated to version 2. The most exciting feature is that you can now load your own samples to create custom wavetables! It's also fully compatible with the Serum wavetable format, bringing an unfathomable number of new synth sounds to the Reason rack. I've personally had a lot of fun using Reason's sample feature to sample my guitar to create my own wavetables. Try it out and check the video below to see it in action.
Proton, developed by LoveOne in collaboration with Selig Audio, is a brand new synth and the first granular synth Rack Extension, which is exciting in itself. Based on the Neutron plug-in, Proton can load up any sample and synthesize new sound by throwing "particles" on the waveform to play parts of it. It sounds a bit like science fiction, but it's extremely fun and easy to use. Endless experimentation and interesting soundscapes awaits by simply dropping a sample on Proton and tweaking some parameters.
To update to Reason 9.2, simply launch Reason 9 or 9.1 and download your free update. And if you're on an earlier version or don't own Reason yet, there's never been a better time to get started. I'm really looking forward to see what new, exciting Rack Extensions that will be released. The only thing I know for sure is that there are now even more ways to get creative in the Reason rack.
The age-old adage, “be in the right place at the right time” leaves out the most important third element. “Be ready.” AnonXmous did what he had to do to make sure he put himself in the right place, ready for the right time. But long before that he invested countless hours honing his skills so that when those did converge serendipitously he would also be ready. And now he’s got three Grammy nominations and a Universal publishing deal to show for it.
AnonXmous is the creative mind behind Nicki Minaj’s biggest single to date (Anaconda), as well as records with Chris Brown, Timbaland, Fergie, and work on the best selling Empire soundtrack. To hear him speak of his accomplishments however, he’s just getting started. We sat down to hear his inspiring story and learn some clever techniques he has to stay creative and inspired himself when approaching new writing sessions.
Dunderpatrullen is a four-man electro-collaboration with roots ranging from the wild, untamed forests of northern Sweden to the flower covered fields of southern Scandinavia. The quartet makes music and visual entertainment in a category of its own. Behind the powerful music-making machines, the band members Jim, Stefan, Patrik and Erik fill the musical void left behind by now obsolete retro-consoles you once grew up with and still love. Dunderpatrullen takes you on a musical adventure through a full-color shower during which they make you feel like riding a mental roller coaster of nostalgia.
We had the chance to speak with them about what role Reason plays in their musical production. They've also been so kind to make two video tutorials showing a couple of their secret tips and tricks! Check it out!
What's your favorite new Reason 9 feature?
The new Player devices, hands down. They are amazing for creating new
ideas you probably wouldn't think of otherwise. The new Pitch Edit is
pretty neat as well.
How do you get started with a new song? What sparks your creativity?
The way of getting started with a new song varies. Jamming along to a loop
with drums and a bass line might do the trick. Sometimes it could be more
specific like "I feel like making a really fast and explosive track", or
"let's try out this mellow vibe I've been thinking of".
Inspiration comes from all types of sources. It could be a really great
video game or movie soundtrack, a random song or sometimes an idea just
pops up in your head out of the blue. For some reason the bathroom has
become this holy place for melodies to pop up in the head while taking a
Scales & Chords is also a great way to mess around with unusual scales
or keys you perhaps don't use that often.
What do you do when inspiration just isn't there?
We do something else! You can't force inspiration, so chilling out with a
gnarly video game or watching a movie does the trick sometimes. Hanging out with friends is another neat
way to replenish your inspirational resources. Forcing creativity just tend
to get you frustrated, and creativity and frustration doesn't match that
Do you have any special Reason production trick that you always use?
Not that we ALWAYS do this, but we work with sampling stuff from our own
video clips and turn them into "audiovisual experiments", as we like to put
it. We chop up the audio sample and put it into Recycle to turn it into a
rex file. Then we just mess around with it on the keyboard to find some
catchy phrases and sometimes match it to the respective video.
A great thing with Reason is that it’s really easy to come up with some of
the strangest ideas and actually make them work.
The three most used devices in your Reason rack?
Erik: It has to be Thor, Synapse GQ-7 Graphic Equalizer and Kong.
Jim: It's probably the good old Subtractor, NN-XT and Thor.
Jim: Funny thing - I had also wrote down Sigur Rós before we combined our
answers. I choose their untitled album with untitled songs and made up
language. I think they are really good at creating instrumental music that moves you
without the need of explanation with lyrics and titles, and to me that's a
really important part of music.
Since 2010 Fare Soldi are a household name for everyone who loves modern disco stuff. Their obsession about looking for the perfect groove let their remixes (for Duck Sauce, Beyoncé, Congorock, Toro Y Moi among others) rise to reach dancefloors all around the world, released on quality labels like Southern Fried, Ministry of Sound, Kitsuné. We caught up with the Italian duo to find out more about how they use Reason and ReCycle in their music making.
Could you tell us a little bit about how you use Reason and ReCycle when making your tracks? Usually we start with browsing samples in our library, then, using ReCycle, we find the peaks in the wav file, and chop it as we please: it might be a drum, or a bass, a voice, even some keys, anything. A little work on the right knobs, and the chops are ready to be played on Reason on a lovely blue Octo Rex.
Then starts the fun part: getting inspired by little samples and starting playing them on a keyboard can take you anywhere, so focusing on pitch, rhythm, and beat, can often bring up a new groove and of course the proper bpm of the track. So now the puzzle has started, and we just need to finish it with the proper pieces: a bass (whether a real one, a sample, or a Thor patch), drums, and all the magic up above like vocals, pads, amusement park sounds, whatever.
Your sound incorporates a lot of sampling, where do you hunt for samples? Most of the ideas comes from weird vinyls we have been collecting throughout the years, visiting flea markets all around the world; of course we know how to spot symptoms of good samples, certain labels, years, producers, world areas, but mostly, it is about mustaches, so the more on the cover, the better.
Sampling for us is not just taking “a sound” but is rather a matter of being inspired by the vibe in it, which comes from a sum of details like who’s playing, what is playing and last but not least some analog quality mixer, compressor and FX.
Do you have any production trick that you always use? Often we use 2 audio splitters on the kick signal, (taken from the Redrum separate exit in the back) to feed every compressor in the rack and fine tune some different levels of side chain for every audio element in the track. We use also a lot of layering in the samples, duplicating Octo Rex and playing different pitches at the same time, but with different balance, EQ, compression and side chain of course.
What do you do when writer's block strikes? To get the wheels back in motion we usually try to start with something very weird, or very far from our usual musical routes, and start playing with it without thinking about following steps like arrangement, mixing, automations etc. Oh and a lot of moka coffee, of course.
Any words of wisdom for aspiring producers and musicians? Listen to as much music as you can, all genres, all eras, everything can bring inspiration. Work on your own style and peculiarities, at the and of the day is all that matters.
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.