Note Echo: Explore and Expand Your Music in Reason 9
When it comes to Players in Reason 9, Note Echo is perhaps the simplest Player to learn and the deepest to explore in your own music making. That's because the seemingly simplistic rule-set that governs how Note Echo operates belies the complex musical result that comes from it.
In this tutorial we'll quickly learn the basic layout of Note Echo and dive into some musical examples for how it can be used. But the end of this tutorial is just the beginning. Note Echo is all about personal exploration and experimentation.
Scales & Chords: Capture Ideas, Discover New Ones!
The new Players introduced in Reason 9 have the power to change the way you make music, helping you work faster, smarter, and imagine more than you once could. If you're new to music theory or a begrudging keyboard player in the age of MIDI controllers, you'll love Scales & Chords for its ability to assist you in the real task: realizing your musical vision, and maybe even exploring new things you didn't think were possible.
In this tutorial we'll walk through the fairly simple controls that make Scales & Chords work but then dive into the beautifully complex music you can make with it by building up a song together. If you think you might want Scales & Chords in your music, you should check this out. However, if you think you don't need Scales & Chords because you already know music theory then you REALLY have to check this out!
Jordi Moonen and Laurens Van Steenbergen, also known as Aerotronic, met each other at the age of seven and discovered at this very young age to share the same taste of music. A couple of years later, they decided to start experimenting with dj-ing and producing, leading to developing a passion that has been growing ever since.
Aerotronic has released their music on labels such as Teenage Riot Records, Sex Cult and Boxon Records, and gained support from many artists including Mr Oizo, Zombie Nation, Fake Blood and Mixhell.
We had the pleasure of chatting with Jordi and Laurens about their relation to Reason and their thoughts on our latest release, Reason 9. Be sure to download and check out their top 5 custom Combinator patches below!
What's your favorite new Reason 9 feature?
The Dual Arpeggio is definitely a game changer. It’s so easy to program polyphonic sequences now. I like it that you can make it as simple or complex as you want. It feels like a fusion of the Matrix Pattern Sequencer and the RPG-8, but even bigger. And you can perfect your loops with the ease of clicking the send to track button, which transfers the arpeggio sequence into midi data. Super useful. I also found myself to be using the ‘Bounce in place’ function quite a lot. It allows for quick loop creations. Overall, R9 is a superb update, from the players to the pitch edit. It’s all really solid.
How do you get started with a new song? What usually sparks your creativity?
We just listen to a lot of different music. It does help a lot that we have a very similar taste in music, that makes it easy for us to agree on production decisions. Then, when we start to make music, it all really depends on what new sound design we come up with. Sometimes it’s a melody hook. Sometimes it’s some percussion loops we’ve made. Then we try to build a theme around it. Sound design is a big part of what we do. Mostly we come up with some new sounds in seperate sessions, later we record the results and manipulate them. Building the full track happens later. Once we’ve established a couple of decent loops, we try building them up and down into a structure that makes the most sense to us.
What do you do if writer's block hits? Any tips to break out of it?
When we don’t have any ideas with the material we made, we just let it sit in our computer folder for a couple of weeks. So you fully forget about the progress you made. When you come back later with a fresh mind, you can easily spot what you like or dislike. We recently finished a project that was over 3 years old (see the song ZYX below!). So anything can happen really. I also noticed that once you run out of ideas, the best thing is to go do something completely different. Otherwise you’re wasting time. It also helps to take risks, do things to your track that you wouldn’t normally do, if you’re lucky, that kind of experimentation can pay off.
Do you have any special Reason production trick that you always use?
It’s standard for us to cut the frequency of our kick drums below 60hz with the Main Mixer EQ. The spectrum analyzer has a highpass filter which you can move to cut some of that useless low end. Another one, is to use Thor’s low pass filer on other audio sources. It’s simply a great filter, and our songs have a lot of filter automations going on. The new bounce in place feature from Reason 9 is also a clever trick to save some DSP on your overall project.
The three most used devices in your Reason rack?
Tough question. Malström is definitely among the most imporatant three. It has been a vital part of the Aerotronic sound. Especially the very glitchy synths. The RV7000 is also very important to us. Amazing sounding reverb/delay unit. It’s so easy to make it sound good too, adding a bit of wetness to the overall mix. Our last choice would be a tie between Redrum and Kong. We both used these so much. Redrum handles our sample-based drum sections and with Kong you can create some stellar drums from scratch with the built in drum synths.
This is the arpeggio you can hear throughout the song ‘ZYX’. It sounds best when you layer it with other analog sounding synths. Gives drive to the track.
The lead stab to our song ‘Revelation’. It’s so simple it works. The song has one of our favorite buildups from the entire Aerotronic discography.
There are numerous acid style synths you can spot in our songs. This is one of them. Build with a Malström, and it sounds so dope.
By automating the pitch and the free rate of the RPG-8, you get that glitchy type of sound that we made in the song “Gearshift”. Also build with a Malström.
Night Tales Bass
In one of the darker cuts of our album, we have this huge bassline going on that drives the track from beginning to end. The more you chop your notes the better it sounds. Listen here!
People have been requesting we show a method for creating currently trending version of a classic sound: the Reese Bass - namely, the "Dirty" Reese Bass, which is characterized by heavy distortion, compression, and filtration. When it comes to dirt, grit, and nasty sounds, Malström is a fantastic tool for the job. So in this tutorial I'll show you one of the many ways you can approach this type of sound, while thinking out loud along the way so you can gain some insight into custom patch creation in the Reason Rack.
Who or what is Reset Robot? The chances are, if you've been more than an occasional visitor to any of the world's more discerning dancefloors, you'll most likely have been exposed to the sound; you may have already given yourself up to the techno and house excursions that have become the Reset Robot blueprint.
The man behind the moniker is David Robertson, Portsmouth based DJ/producer of some repute. Influenced by clubs such as Fabric and Slinky, DJs such as Sasha, Digweed and the Wiggle boys, with time served behind the record store counter, he sculpted his sound meticulously over time, honing it until he was fully ready to deliver a newly crafted sonic signature. And since he uses Reason as his main production tool, we decided to ask him a few questions!
You work a lot with other artists, how do you approach that? Do you work remotely or in person? I always work in person. I have never engineered a track without the other person being there. Its not something I believe in. I would make minor changes to a track if needed like level changes or touching up some automation but the creative process needs to come from both engineer and producer being together. I always wonder what people who use a ghost writer are thinking when they play the tracks in a club. Do they persuade themselves that its their own?
Got any sound design secrets you'd like to share? If I'm using a synth I don't like to use presets. I'd rather start with 1 or 2 oscillators and build something up from scratch. I always find something interesting from a sine or sawtooth when I use the shaper on Thor. I add a Scream 4 to pretty much everything, it always improves a sound in my opinion. I also love using samples, turning one sound into something completely different can give great results for textures and fx.
How do you use Reason in your music making? Reason is my main production tool! I use it from start to finish on my tracks. I have tried logic and do use Ableton Live sometimes but never seem to get what I'm looking for as quickly. I really like the mastering in Reason, it always gives my tracks the extra 5-10% I'm looking for.
Do you have any favorite sound or patch? I made a sound in one of my tracks 'Snow Leap' about 2 years ago. Its featured in quite a few of my tracks since. It's a dirty little sawtooth/square combination which sounds fantastic with some echo or reverb on the sends.
What do you do when writer's block strikes? I cry! No, I tend to keep going. I'll start something but even if its not quite clicking I'll see it through to the end because sometimes that process can bring me out of it. If it's really bad I will start making little 1 or 2 bar loops or strange sounds and just keep making them until I have a groove or a sound which I could listen to for 6 minutes.
Any words of wisdom for aspiring producers and musicians? I always say the same for this. Be patient! I was way to eager to send out my music when I first started producing and always get sent music that isn't ready. You will do more damage than good if you send out music that isn't quite up to scratch, for example if someone hears something they don't like they are less likely to click play on the tracks that might be good enough.