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Best Album of 2012! ……that was released by me


Image
Did I tell you about that time I released an album for ‘pay what you want’ download?  No?  Well, I’m about to tell you now!

Firstly, download it here: http://iamfg.bandcamp.com

It’s 13 tracks (at least…….) long and has some great guest appearances from Empty, G-box, Wisdom2th, Hallows and DJ Silence (and maybe even ASAP……..).

I finished this one in November last year and only just then realised that I never told you folks about it (mostly because I’m doing all my blogging at http://www.thecommunity.com.au/FG now).  Anyway, download it and enjoy!

Let me know what you think.

PEESHE
FG

P.S You can also buy a hardcopy on CD if you want.

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Posted by on January 4, 2013 in Album, Hip Hop, Making Space Album, Production

 

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Net-famous Triggy Bop.


Mr. Trials w/ Masta Ace...... that's just ACE!

Mr. Trials w/ Masta Ace...... that's just ACE!

Yesterday I blogged about beginning to plan for my new album.  Today I can update that (shit is moving too fast!).  My good friend, Mr. Trials of Funkoars fame, replied to my text with a big old “YAWWWWW” which is Drunkoar language for “Hell yes, I’ll make you a beat –  in fact, I’ll make you two!”.  That was mighty nice of him.

Also, my other good friend the mysterious and esoteric Ourobonic Plague has clearly become net-famous.  My stats (which are always dismal) indicated that a few people hit my site yesterday after searching for “Ourobonic Plague”.  I don’t know about you but I think that’s dope.

Anyway, catch some plague here:

And experience a few Trials here:

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2012 in Album, Hip Hop

 

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New album in the works…


I know, I know.  It’s premature to be blogging about my new album when my current album is still only in the mixing stage but don’t go raining on my parade.

I’ve decided for this next album (let’s call it Super Awesome Untitled Project of Death) that I’m not going to make any beats for it.  I’m making too many beats for other people to waste them on myself.  Also, I got into making hip hop music because I liked to rap.  These days I seem to be concentrating on everything except writing lyrics.  And that’s not cool.  So I decided to hit up a bunch of the talented folks that I have worked with in the past (and still work with in many cases) for a bit of beatage.  So far the response has been good.

This album will be altogether darker and more underground than the current album.  I had a vision for my current album that it would stay away from the dark and morbid style which I find most natural and look to achieve something a bit more organic and warm.  I think, for the most part, I’ve achieved that.  For the next album I would really like to say “Fuck you! This is me.”.  That should come a bit more easily.

My wishlist?

I’d like to get a beat from Mr. Trials. I produced two tunes for the Funkoars first LP (Who’s Your Step Daddy?) and I’ve known Trials forever so that should be doable.

I’ve got my eyes on this one tune by Archi.  If he’ll let me degrade it with vocals it should be a sweet cut.

Undoubtedly, I’ll harrass A.pt and Lenny Rudeberg for beats.  I love their shit.  Also they’re mates so it should be something I can make happen.

Dazastah.   I want a beat from him.  I’ve known Daz and Layla for a good long while but we’ve fallen out of touch in recent years.  Still, I’ve always loved Daz’s work.  If I could get Layzle Dayzle for a guest spot, too, that would be sweeeeeeet.

Ourobonic Plague makes dope shit.  I’ve known him for a long time, too.  In fact, we had a jam about a week ago which was good times.  I’m not sure how that would work since Ourobonic Plague makes noise/drone music, basically.  However, it’s my album so fuck you all.  I’ll make whatever the fuck I want.

Boost Hero Man makes dope beats.  His shit is all staggered and swingy.  If I can pressure him into making something dark and sinister I think it would be the balls.

Also, there’s this cat in Brisvegas that makes nice beats.  His name is Renz.  Again, I’ll see if I can prod him into darker territory and we’ll get something going.

The last, and least likely, would be a beat from Prowla.  I used to run into Prowla all the time when I was living in Melbourne.  I hung out with him a bunch of times and that shit meant a lot to me.  It probably didn’t mean squat to him, though, and I wonder if he remembers me at all.  If he does, it could happen.  If not, then I don’t like my chances.  Either way, he has always been one of the dopest producers in Australia and I’d love to get a joint from him.

Other than that, I’m open to offers.

I have a good feeling about this joint.

I know so many dope emcees but I really want to keep guest vocals to a minimum.  That will be hard.  I’ll definitely get something from ASAP, Fatty Phew and Trials if they’re willing.  I’d love to do more tracks with The Empty Cup (his verse kills it on my current album).  Also, I’d love to work with Mathas on something.  However, there is also Stats, Syde FX, Wisdom2th, G-box, Muphin, Headlock (and the list goes on) that I’d love to work with.  I’m only looking at 10 tracks.  I don’t want more than 4 tracks with guest emcees.  That will be hard.  Did I already say that?

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted.

 

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2012 in Album, Hip Hop, Production, Recording

 

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Crazy people on my album recording session.


It’s been a long time, I shouldn’t have left you… 10 points if your brain read that in Timbaland’s voice. But, yeah, I’ve been away from the blog for a while.  I had a good reason (or more than one, actually).

I’ve been trying to pull together a bunch of loose ends for my album.  As of yesterday, the final guest vocal had been recorded and the first four tracks had entered the mixing stage.  I have a few minor adjustments to make for the remaining tracks to bring them up to mix readiness and then it’s on like Donkey Kong.  And Donkey Kong was one on arse monkey fucker.

In addition to getting the album together I’ve been constructing an interactive Flash animation for some promo materials.  That has slowly been doing my head in but it’s damn near ready now.  Which brings me to the topic of crazy people – no, really.  You see, if you’re anything like me then you won’t be able to resist reading the comments on various blog posts that you happen across.  Sometimes I skim the post and meticulously read the comments.  It’s a glaring fault in my character. However, you can’t really blame me when it’s possible to stumble across intellectual gems such as the comment below (I was looking for some random shit to do with ActionScript 2):

m polson Dec 10, 2009 at 7:05 pm

a university and or others thought they could use the flash cordinate and ora carttession cordinate systems and by using vowifi and bluetooth cell phones manipulate sound and to stream imiages with cell phones by actionscript and flash cordinate systems by pointing a cell phone at ur headf will u sleep and using angles and xyz from base puter could stream imiages back to cell phone and stream it at ur head is it possable hell yes it is and by accessing directorys and altering the sound onfourier transform actionscripts and using symmetrics of cell phones could stream dangerous radio waves to streaming the same way

I’m betting that the “m” in this dude’s name stands for “mind”.  Or maybe “machine” because I think this was generated by a bot.  But that just makes it even more stupid.

Seriously though, these sorts of barely literate, paranoid and borderline psychotic ramblings are EVERYWHERE on the internet.  People are seriously fucked in the head.

On a side note, here’s a flick from a recent show in Perth. Image

Odette Mercy belts it out @ The Bakery.  This girl can sing soooo nice.

PEESHE

FG

 

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News Flash! Doing Hip Hop Reminds You Why You’re Doing Hip Hop.


Breakdance oldschool

Nice shades.

Hi folks,

There’s a track on my upcoming album called “Whatever Happened” in which I tell a story of my experience of hip hop and how it has changed over time.  As you can expect from the title, I generally propose that things have changed but not necessarily for the better.  My adventures last night got me thinking about the track and whether or not it’s me that has changed rather than hip hop.

The story goes like this…

At about 2pm I got a call from The Empty Cup (who, incidentally, dropped a killer verse for one of the other songs on my album).  It was a brief convo in which he informed me that he was having a gathering at his place and folks were going to be having a bit of a cypher.  Naturally, I was like “Hell yeah.”

So, I rock up at his place to find a bunch of folks who, as it turned out, were into the punk scene sitting around strumming guitars and having a laugh.  That’s pretty old school.  The hip hop and punk scenes were pretty close-knit back in the day but have since drifted apart.  After an hour or so a bunch of other folks started drifting in and the cypher kicked off in Brian’s (that’s The Empty Cup) back room studio.

And it was really cool.

The folks that were rhyming were a mixture of well known and less well known cats from the local scene (Diger Rokwell, Mathas, Coin from the Stoops, Lewis Galaga to name just a few).  Yet despite the substantial respect these guys have earned over years of putting in hard work, there was no trace of ego.  Less experienced emcees and folks who just wanted to have a shot were given just as much time, respect and props as any of the more established rhymers.  The vibe was upbeat and far from serious with all jokes being made in a positive fashion and no one was out to break anyone else down or show up anyone else.

Sometimes you get so caught up in “making music” that you lose sight of the fact that hip hop is something you do, not something you make.  Given that my album is entitled “Making Space” and focusses on metaphorically clearing out the bullshit in my life as well as metaphorically developing an area of my own, the whole tone of the night gave me a brand new perspective on the music that I’m trying to bring to life.

Throwing out ideas in a cypher is something I used to do a lot but over the last few years I guess I’ve drifted away from it (my limited freestyle skills last night are probably a reflection of that fact).  I can blame moving from Victoria to Western Australia, falling out of the scene, mixing myself up in bad relationships, focussing on recording or many other reasons but the truth is – I just lost touch with the reality: Hip Hop is something you have to be actively involved in.

This was not a show.  It was not a studio session.  It was a bunch of mates just bouncing ideas off each other and having a good time.  But perhaps the best indication that it was a good night is the fact that I came home with myriad ideas zooming around my skull and I woke up this morning with more inspiration to put myself into a song than I have in a long time.

PEESHE

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2011 in Album, Hip Hop, Making Space Album

 

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Album update… FG “Making Space”.


A CD Video Disc (playing side) produced in 1987.

Will it ever reach CD?

 

Hi folks,

It’s kind of strange to be calling this post an album update since it’s the first post I’ll putting up about the album that I’m currently working on.  However, I have mentioned it in passing a few times, I’m sure.

At the moment, the album stands at about 80% complete in terms of production and recording.  All the beats are done (with the exception of one that Gbox is producing, which is about 60% done – we just need to sit down together and work on the arrangement).  A few tracks (probably four or five) are completely produced, recorded and pre-mixed.  For the other tracks, I’m just waiting on other artists to record some instrumental or vocal sections.

Of course, there’s still the final mix stage, mastering, artwork etc to worry about but I’m well on my way to getting these things done as well.

Lenny Rudeberg (a friend of mine and a very very good producer/emcee) will be co-mixing the album with me in the final stage.  He produces great mixes generally, though we’ll be going for a slightly different tone to the mixes on my album compared to the mixes he does for his own and other artists work.  The aim is to try to capture some of the dynamics and tone that are found on old soul records (yes, the vinyl).  That will be hard to replicate in digital formats plus the hip hop arrangement structure can sometimes undermine the tonal qualities but I’m confident that the end product will sound warm and dynamic.

As it stands now, I’m looking to have the songs mastered by Sibilance (check the Community link to your right).  He’s been doing a bit of work with some good local producers lately and I think he has a healthy respect for dynamics in his masters and also for hip hop in general.  I’ll make a final decision on that further down the track.  The important thing is to achieve a master which doesn’t crush the dynamic range too much.  A healthy balance between “loudness” and “dynamic movement” would be ideal.  A lot of that will depend on the final mix.

In a few weeks I’ll put up some pre-release samples for you to check out and also get your opinion on artwork – I’d like to hear what you have to say.

Until then…

PEESHE

 
 

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Gear review… Logic 9 continued and ended.


Hi folks,

It’s been a few days since I posted the last instalment of this three part review of Logic 9.  This time I’m going to be looking at Software Instruments and Logic’s native plugins.   Creating Software instrument tracks follows the same process as creating audio tracks (see last blog).  In most instances, you’re only going to be able to make effective use of them if you have a MIDI controller keyboard of some sort (if you’re strapped for cash, try the Korg NanoKey 2 – it won’t make you weep with joy but it works).  Alternatively, you can use the Piano Roll window to enter MIDI notes manually.  This can be a good way of using the samplers to arrange a chopped sample but is a bit counter-intuitive if you’re looking create, for example, a piano progression.

An instance of Ultrabeat

Software Instruments

Logic includes a number of core plugins to provide virtual instruments.  For those that don’t know, a software or virtual instrument is a digital-based tool that allows you to play “instrument” sounds within your PC.  They generally have three formats: synthesised, which operates as a software version of what you would find in your normal hardware synthesisers; sampler style, which allows actual sounds to be recorded and played back over a ranged of notes (pitch shifting sounds to fill in the gaps); and ROMpler style, which is based on recorded sounds like a sampler but which provides you with specific sounds to use rather than letting you provided your own recorded sounds – they sometimes combine ROMplers and synthesis elements in one instrument.  An example of a ROMpler would be something like Native Instruments Kontakt.

In terms of synthesisers, Logic has eleven options ranging from old style and traditional synthesis through to synthesisers that emulate particular instruments.  Here’s a run-down of the various synths:

EFM1

This is an FM synthesiser.  In short, that means that it generates sound through the esoteric process of frequency modulation.  It’s a decent synth and a fair emulation of your generic FM synth but I find it a bit harsh and tiring to listen to for extended periods.  This is, for me, a little characteristic of FM synthesis in general.

ES E

This is an ensemble synth that aims to provide a one stop shop for synthesis of “synthy” strings.  Some people love strings.  Some people love synthesised strings even more.  If you’re one of these people, then you’re sure to be happy with the ES E.  For me, this is probably my second least used synth.  It’s decent for providing a little body to organic, sampled or recorded strings but (like synthesised horns) I think synth strings just sound bad – even when they’re good.

ES M

This is a really simple little synth that takes on the world of Monophonic synthesis.  In other words, it only allows you to play one note at a time – just like a MiniMoog.  Whilst it bears no resemblance to the Moog, the aim with this synth is to allow users to make Moog-ish basslines.  It’s not too bad either but it has pretty limited options and the oscillators always sound a little to “squelchy” (when the resonance is lifted a little) or otherwise to “flat” (when the resonance is off) for the music I make.  Nevertheless, with some creative effects you can often get a decent sound out of this synth.

The ES Monophonic synth

ES P

Another simple synth, this time taking on the world of Polyphonic synthesis.  Again the emphasis here is on basslines but you can get some good sounds out of this for melodic elements or sound effects.  It allows you to mix together a variety of wave forms before running them through frequency cutoff, resonance, envelope generator, chorus and distortion.  You can also put the sound through vibrato or wah to varying degrees and at varying speeds – when combined with the resonance knob, you are able to drive the synth in to self-oscillation territory.

ES1

This is the first of the generic, all-purpose synths.  Rather than emulating particular types of synthesis or particular eras of synthesiser the ES1 just tries to provide a useful tool.  And it does.  It has a fair few features (and LFO, Modulation routing etc) but is pretty straight-forward to use and has a lot of potential for producing good basic synth sounds (and some more complex ones).  My only minor gripe is that it can sound a little too simple – it doesn’t quite have the flair that one looks for in a good synth.

ES2

The ES2 is by far my most loved “synthy” synth in Logic 9.  It is similar in concept to the ES1 (an all around work horse) but it is much, much nicer to use and to listen to.  There’s too many features to list but it is still relatively intuitive to use.  The ability to run Oscillators 1 and 2 in series or parallel is a probably my favourite thing about this synth.  Very, very good.

EVB3

The EVB3 is a tone-wheel organ emulation and a damn good one at that.  I love this synth.  Easy to use, with some great options for creating a more natural organ sound (drawbars, key click emulation on press and release, cabinet control, rotary speaker emulation etc).  Whilst it lacks the temperamental nature of a real Hammond B3 (or such like) you can still create a pleasant character and tone with this plugin.

The EVB3 Tonewheel Organ

EVD6

The EVD6 is a clavinet emulation.  And it is very, very funky.  If I could play “Superstitious” by Stevie Wonder I would lose many hours of my life on this synth.  However, much like the clavinet itself, this synth is a bit limited in usefulness.  A great and flexible emulation of a clav but, really, how many songs do you really need to put clav in?

EVOC 20 PS

Okay.  Let me be honest.  I’ve never used this synth.  It’s a vocoder and, since I have a MicroKorg, I don’t need it.  Additionally, I really don’t like vocoded sounds very much.  So…

EVP88

This one is an absolute gem.  It’s always my starting synth when I’m putting together ideas (and not just because it’s the default synth when you add a new software instrument track).  It’s an electric piano emulation and it is just plain beautiful.  With a little coaxing and some careful manipulation of the various parameters you can produce anything from thin melodic tinkling to rich warm Rhodesy chords.  Of all the synths, this has the most useful and well made presets, too, which will always give you a decent starting point to work from.

EVP88......... I love you.

Sculpture

When Logic 9 was released there was a great hoo-hah about Sculpture.  The hoo-hah was probably justified because this is a powerful, stringed instrument modelling synth (i.e. it uses synthesis to replicate what occurs when you play plucked, bowed or strummed stringed instruments).  However, I just never use this.  Partly it’s because I rarely need stringed instruments for my music.  Partly it’s because, like horns, violins and pianos – synthesised guitars always sound second-rate.  And lastly, if I do need some small guitar part I’ll (clumsily and with an excruciating lack of skill) play it myself.  Oh, and this is an insanely complex synth to use well.

 

Whilst the above synthesisers all have their uses, they probably only make up a small percentage of the sounds I use in Logic (except the EVP88 which I use all the time).  Most sounds that I reach for are delivered by Logic’s two excellent samplers, Ultrabeat and the EXS24.

Ultrabeat

This is a drum sequencer and sampler.  It is set up as a ROMpler at first glance, with a bunch of different drum kits that can be used in its sequencer window.  However, one of those kits is called “Drag and drop samples” and this one allows you to import your own drum sounds and save your own kits.  So it is, in fact, a sampler.  And it’s a great sampler, too, though it has some niggling limitations.  On the plus side, it has a bunch of options for treating, pitching, EQing, LFOing, envelope shaping etc each individual drum sound that you import – an excellent range of useful options but I wish they were laid out better.  On the minus side, it has a 16 part step sequencer that allows you to arrange drum patterns and apply swing but there is no way to push or pull individual hits (IF YOU KNOW HOW TO DO THIS, PLEASE COMMENT!!!!!!!).  The minus is only a niggling problem though as you can always copy the pattern into your arrange window as a MIDI region and then push or pull individual drum hits in there.

Probably the best thing about Ultrabeat is the ability to load it as Multi Outputs (8 x Stereo, 8 x mono).  You can then route the individual hits to their own channel in the mixer window and EQ, compress etc each of them separately.  Before I figured that out, I pretty much thought that Ultrabeat was useless, now I use it on probably 40 to 50% of my tracks.

EXS24

This is your traditional software sampler.  Again, it acts as a ROMpler with a big range of pre-made sampled sounds.  However, you can create an EXS sampler instrument from any number of regions in the arrange window (actually it’s a maximum of 128 regions I think), and thus it is in fact a sampler.  The limitations of this tool are found only in your imagination.  That said, it is not always the most intuitive thing to use.  Creating loop points for multisample instruments is a pain in the ass, and the routing options are fiddly.  Since I have a couple of MPC’s I rarely use it as a sampler (though I have done so before and it is quite useful).  Mostly I use it as a ROMpler based on the packaged sounds or multi-samples that I’ve acquired myself over the years.  Make note – this thing eats RAM.  If you have less than 4gb RAM and an i5 processor (or top of the line Core 2 Duo) you may as well give up before you begin.

 

EFFECTS PLUGINS

As for effects, Logic 9 comes with a full range of delay, modulation, dynamics control, EQ, utility, filtering, stereo imaging, pitch-based and reverberation effects.  The beautiful thing is, with the exception of one or two, they are all excellent quality and highly useful.  I’ll just mention a few of my favourites in passing.

Compressor

This is a well-featured plugin that allows you to control all the normal features of a compressor – attack, release, threshold, ratio, knee etc.  It also has a limiter on the output which can be turned on or off.  Interestingly, it also models popular compressor types such as Opto, FET, Class A_U and Class A_R – these all have distinct characteristics (though I’m not really convinced that they are faithful emulations).  Generally, you’ll find one type that best suits your style of music and then you’ll stick it it.  I leave it on Platinum mode which I find to be perfect for most sound sources.  Compressors are so necessary for producing music that I had to include this on the list simply because it just works.

Channel EQ

By far the effect that I use the most.  This is a 4 band parametric EQ with additional, adjustable high and low band shelving as well as adjustible high and low band roll-off.  It is extremely flexible and can do anything from gentle boost or cut a broad range of frequencies to brutally or surgically obliterate the frequencies in a sound.  It’s rare that you won’t find this on a channel that I am mixing.  Like most digital EQ’s, it can sound a bit artificial when you start boosting things in narrow bandwidths at high levels (though even analogue EQ’s start sounding dodgey then) but if you are reasonable in its use then it performs well.

Overdrive

This one is extremely simple but absolutely useful.  It allows you to boost the gain of a sound below an adjustable cut-off point.  When used lightly it can give crucial body to digital instruments and push them that little bit closer to “real instrument” territory.  Great on kick drums, too, whether used as an insert on the kick drum channel or on a send buss as a parallel effect.

Space Designer

This one is a convolution reverb.  Convolution reverbs are all the rage at the moment and I have to admit that I like them more than traditional digital reverbs (which all sound a bit tinny with the exception of Hyperprism’s HyperVerb which was an incredible sounding reverb).  Basically, a convolution reverb recreates the reverb profile of an actual room through something called an Impulse Response.  Basically, they play a sound in a room and they record the sound as it is heard in the room.  They then deduct the original sound from the sound recorded in the room and what is left is a “template” of the reverb in that room.  They can then apply that template to any other sound and it will sound as if it is being heard in that room.  At least that’s the theory.  It doesn’t quite work as well as all that but it does have the potential to create very natural sounding reverbs and I use it a lot.  It’s best to set this one up on an auxillary buss and use it as a send because it tends to swallow a bit of RAM.

Stereo Delay

There are never really any bells and whistles when it comes to delays.  What you want is one that does what it’s supposed and does it quickly and easily.  Logic’s Stereo Delay does all that.  With the additional benefits of being able to adjust the push/pull of delayed sounds and narrow the frequency bands that the delay effects – this is a incredibly useful for giving life you your mix.  The only thing I would like which this plugin is missing, if the ability to adjust the degradation of the delayed signal (so that it becomes less bright as it decays/echos).  If I really need to have that happen I usually turn to a free third-party plugin called KingDubby (look for my old blog entitled Free Plugins for Mac if you want a link).

The following effects get honourable mentions: Stereo Spread, for widening the perceived sound very effectively; Noise Gate, simple and effective; Pedalboard, an awesome collection of digital guitar stomp boxes (which I use on keyboard sounds mostly); and Match EQ, which allows you to create a frequency profile from one sound source and then create that same EQ profile in a different sound source (rarely used but really useful whenever I need it).

 

Other things worth noting

You can automate any feature of any plugin in Logic 9 by hitting the Automate button at the top of the screen and then clicking the Volume button that automatically appears in the Channel Header of the channel that has that effect in it.  A list of plugins and instruments on that channel with appear – choice the feature that you want to automate from the relevant drop down menu and then draw the automation in on the channel in the Arrange window.  Easy, right?

You can copy and paste your settings in most of Logic’s native plugins.  Just look in the top right hand corner of the plugin’s interface.  If it’s not there, try making the interface larger (grab the bottom right corner and drag it) – the copy/paste buttons may just be hidden.

You can also automate any Aux Sends (busses) that you have created.  It works the same way as the automation I mentioned above, however, you will first need to go to the Mixer window (press ‘x’) and click on the Aux track you want to automate.  Then, still in the Mixer window, select Options –> Create Arrange Tracks for Selected Channel Strips… A new track will appear in the Arrange window which corresponds to the Aux track in the Mixer window.  Automate away!

 

Overall

Reviewing a DAW is like reviewing a 10000 head herd of cows.  You can start checking them one by one but in the end you’ve just got to say “Yeah, they’re good cows” or “I’ve seen too many horses here to feel confident that his is a legitimate herd of cattle”.  Confusing analogies aside, let me just say – Logic 9 is a wonderful DAW.  Sure, it has limitations and there are some things that other DAWs do better, but it is incredibly usable for very high end recording and production anyway.  Logic 9 will not blow you away with sleek styling and a sense of mysterious je nais se quoi – but it will always impress you with its limitless ability to get the job done and its conservatively guised grunt.

If Logic 9 was a car it would be a Volvo.  A bit dull but will drive 300,000 kms without breaking down and you know you will be safe in all but the worst accidents.

If Logic 9 was a cow it would not be a horse.

PEESHE

 

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