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Old 2003-11-04, 21:48
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Reason for experimental music

Hi all,

Sorry in advance for the long post.
As I mentioned in another post, I'm using Reason for free improvised/noise/experimental music. I have nothing against techo/dance styles, I just don't have any interest in them, except in how I can screw them up.
I started using Reason in July, after using Sonar for a year, and I'm very pleased with the workflow. Reason is ideal for improvised music because there is nothing to impede the flow of musical ideas. I've never met another experimental musician who uses Reason, but they should be. Mostly they use max/msp and such, which are extremely cumbersome--it's no wonder that so much glitch music sounds lifeless.
Since I suspect my method is different from others on this list, I thought I'd describe it. I work fast. I usually make about 4 tracks a day when I have days off. I do sometimes lay some beats down but I use 'user groove' and apply eccentric patterns to whatever beats I use. I chop beats in the middle of measures and copy and paste at random. I often delete random sections of the beats to leave a frayed and half missing beat. The "change events' process gets a lot of use. I lay down some noises, drones, or melody, improvising using Malstrom and Subtractor, with one hand on the controls and the other playing keyboard. I go back and put more automation in afterward.
Everything in Reason is suited to bringing out accidents and surprises. I leave most of these intact (unless they are really godawful) and try to build on them if possible. I do go back afterwards and vary levels to bring out features I like, but mostly I stick to the John Cage philosophy of 'love the sound you're with'. Since I like confusion and noise, I don't drop much :-)
I've never worked on a track for more than a few hours. When I'm done I start another one right away.
Obviously my tracks have zero commercial potential, but I don't care. I run a successful business and don't need the money. I make music bacause most of the music I hear bores me.
Anyway, I'd be very interested in hearing from people here who are doing experimental music with Reason.

Fred Epps

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