If you haven’t infringed copyright you’re probably terrible at music

by Nikolozi Meladze

Peter Kirn on Robin Thicke judgment:

Hilarious. So, that makes essentially all music illegal.

If you make music, I would read this case to say you have almost certainly infringed copyright. In fact, if you haven’t, you’re probably terrible at music.

But see my comments above about Bridgeport. It’s such a stupid precedent, it’d be insane to ever apply it.

This is fucked. Read the whole article.

Taking Logic Pro X 10.1 for a Ride

by Nikolozi Meladze

Yesterday Apple released Logic Pro X 10.1, just in time for this year’s NAMM show. The last update (10.0.7) was over 8 months ago. The developers must have been working on new features during this time. This release doesn’t disappoint. Well, sort of.

I can safely say that my automation feature wish list for Logic Pro X is now complete. The Automation by Region has to be the new feature I'm most excited about. Automation can now be attached to a region. So, when you move a region all associated automaton will move with it. If you repeat a region the automation will do the same. The way I like to work is that all timeline events should belong to regions, whether it's automation, MIDI or audio. So, when you move a region all events in the region’s timeline range should move with it.

In addition to this, we now have Trim and Relative Automation modes. Trim mode lets you reshape previously recorded or drawn automation curves. But, personally, I find the Relative mode more useful for my needs. For instance, in this mode, you can have mixer faders automated and still be able to change the overall volume by moving the fader. There’s no need to adjust its automation curves, because they are relative to the fader's set position. I no longer need to insert the Gain plug-in to work around the problem. Note that Trim and Relative modes only work on Volume, Pan and Send levels and not on plug-in parameters. But that’s OK, as these modes are most useful for the mixer parameters.

The next new cool feature is the Drum Machine. I tested some of the presets and I have to admit, whoever did the sound design for it did a fantastic job. They sound amazing and ready to be used in your tracks. Though, I was hoping for an Ultrabeat facelift.

Speaking of facelifts, Compressor got a brand new retina ready interface. It’s beautifully skeuomorphic. It is an FX plug-in I use the most along with the Channel EQ. So, this is a very welcome update. The gain reduction history display looks great and is very useful. Unfortunately, this is the only Logic plug-in that got a retina display update. There are many more that require similar UI overhaul. But the Compressor update gives hope that they will all get their turn eventually.

If you love wavetable synthesis Retro Synth just became more attractive. It can now create wavetables from imported audio. Designed a great tone that you want to convert into an instrument and mangle with it more? You can simply render it in place and then drag and drop the rendered file from the file browser onto the synth. The Retro synth is not packed with features like the other complex plug-ins, but its simplicity is what makes it inviting.

Finally, you can now organise plug-ins in folders. Not a huge feature, but it will speed up your workflow. You don’t want your favourite plug-ins to be listed along the other 10 you don’t use. That’s just too much scrolling.

There are a lot more new features, including the Logic Remote update. You can learn more about them on Logic’s What’s New page. There you will also find feature demo videos. CDM has a nice overview. And if you have 2 hours to kill why not read the full release notes?

One last thing, the reason I said ‘sort of’ at the beginning of the post is because the bug I wanted to be fixed the most is still not squashed. The arrange view zooming is still terrible on retina display Macs. All you have to do is launch Logic in Low Resolution mode to see how fast and smooth zooming should be.

MIDI HD Protocol? It could finally happen!

by Nikolozi Meladze

KVR News:

The MIDI Manufacturer's Association (MMA) will host an open discussion about the trademark, licensing, and product certification options for the MMA's proposed new voluntary industry standard, code-named "HD Protocol" on Sunday, January 25. The session is part of the MMA's Annual General Membership (AGM) meeting during the NAMM show in Anaheim CA. […]

Developed by consensus of the MIDI experts in the MMA, some highlights of the proposed new protocol's many features and benefits include:

  • Backward compatibility with MIDI 1.0 to ensure wide-spread adoption.
  • Plug and Play network connectivity over USB and Ethernet for easy integration.
  • Thousands of Channels for handling large complex systems.
  • A massive number of high resolution Controllers and Parameters for channels, groups and even individual notes, for unrivaled precision and adaptability to new controller technologies.
  • Precise Pitch Control and Articulation messages for expanded expressiveness.
  • Time Stamped messaging for accurate timing and tight real-time performance.
  • Plenty of room for future expansion to eliminate obsolescence.

After 30 years, are we finally going to see some improvements in MIDI?

Counter Remix EP is Out Now

by Nikolozi Meladze

Last week, Newclear Music released remixes of my track Counter. This EP brings together talented artists from around the world. It consists of interesting and unique interpretations of the original. No two tracks are alike. Here's what Newclear music has to say about the release:

Our last release of 2014 finally sees Nikolozi join Newclear Music as the title artist, after several remix appearances.

Nikolozi kicks off the EP with the “Drinking Blood Mix” – a raw, organic electro rearrangement of the original Counter. NZ/Canada duo Absolute Value & bLazem finally join the Newclear roster with their melodic DNB take on the original. Juan Tellez is back and follows up with more foundation-shaking bottom-heavy techno. Nort returns the line-up with more slick techy house grooves. nsu rounds up the EP with a blend of deep dubstep and proggy breaks.

I have to admit, I love the promo video:

My remix, Drinking Blood Mix, was inspired by the Only Lovers Left Alive movie soundtrack. I highly recommend it. I just loved how over-humanised timing created constant tension and kept you engaged.

You can preview the rest of the tracks on SoundCloud or on Newclear Music’s Bandcamp page:

You can grab the EP from Beatport right now. It will also be available on iTunes and Spotify next week.

Pomplamoose: ‘We are the mom and pop corner store version of “the dream.”’

by Nikolozi Meladze

Jack Conte:

We’re entering a new era in history: the space between “starving artist” and “rich and famous” is beginning to collapse. YouTube has signed up over a million partners (people who agree to run ads over their videos to make money from their content). The “creative class” is no longer emerging: it’s here, now.

Great perspective.

Notes on Creativity

by Nikolozi Meladze

I highly recommend checking out a great essay on creativity by Isaac Asimov. Here are some excerpts that ring true:

My feeling is that as far as creativity is concerned, isolation is required. The creative person is, in any case, continually working at it. His mind is shuffling his information at all times, even when he is not conscious of it. (The famous example of Kekule working out the structure of benzene in his sleep is well-known.)

The presence of others can only inhibit this process, since creation is embarrassing. For every new good idea you have, there are a hundred, ten thousand foolish ones, which you naturally do not care to display.

Probably more inhibiting than anything else is a feeling of responsibility. The great ideas of the ages have come from people who weren’t paid to have great ideas, but were paid to be teachers or patent clerks or petty officials, or were not paid at all. The great ideas came as side issues.

Cycling '74 CEO on Max 7

by Nikolozi Meladze

David Zicarelli:

One of the biggest challenges in designing software is dealing with what is known as the first user experience. We’ve been looking at this problem for the last four or five years, and I have to say, observing someone else try to use what you’ve designed is a devastating experience. Everything you assumed to be true is exposed as wrong. You can retreat into your shell and declare your work is art and simply misunderstood, or you can try to figure out why your assumptions are wrong. It is an endless process, with well-meaning attempts to be “more user-friendly” usually falling flat for reasons that suddenly seem obvious and make you feel like an idiot. And that’s putting it mildly.

This is very true. Read the whole post to find out the effort the C74 team put in to make Max fun to use.

‘Taylor Swift is intentionally adding inefficiency back into the market’

by Nikolozi Meladze

Philip Kaplan:

When record stores were a thing, there were exactly sixty musicians who figured out how to work within the system to become wildly successful (in that case, selling 100 million copies each).

Specifically, they took advantage of inefficiencies in the market.

How many of those millions of people only wanted one track but had to buy the entire album? iTunes fixed that by decoupling the tracks from albums.

How many of those millions put the album on a shelf and never listened to it? Spotify fixed that—artists only get paid for plays.

By removing herself from streaming services, Taylor Swift is intentionally adding inefficiency back into the market. Like Comcast, her product is popular enough that people will put up with it. And while I believe an artist gets to choose what happens to her art, I still think it’s a dick move to her fans.

Twitter Audio Card

by Nikolozi Meladze

Twitter Blog:

With a single tap, the Twitter Audio Card lets you discover and listen to audio directly in your timeline on both iOS and Android devices. Throughout your listening experience, you can dock the Audio Card and keep listening as you continue to browse inside the Twitter app. We’re launching this new audio card in partnership with third-party streaming services. The first partner for streaming on Twitter is SoundCloud.

Twitter’s dedicated music app didn’t take off, but this sounds like a cool idea. Tried it and it works very well. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to work if the Twitter app is in a background mode. Hopefully, that will change in the future versions.

‘Eventually, you’ll figure it all out’

by Nikolozi Meladze

Jason Fried:

During the development of most any product, there are always times when things aren’t quite right. Times when you feel like you may be going backwards a bit. Times where it’s almost there, but you can’t yet figure out why it isn’t. Times when you hate the thing today that you loved yesterday. Times when what you had in your head isn’t quite what you’re seeing in front of you. Yet. That’s when you need to have faith.

MIDI Editor Updated to v1.5, MIDI Import Support Added

by Nikolozi Meladze

Here is what's new in MIDI Editor v1.5:

  • Import MIDI files from the other apps via Open in...
  • If a MIDI file consists of multiple tracks they will be imported as separate clips.
  • Triplets grid support added.
  • It's now possible to create notes in edit mode via a pop-up menu.
  • Edit mode is a default mode now.
  • Bug fixes.

At the moment maximum imported MIDI clip length is 32 bars. This will change in the future versions.

The Best EQ Plug-in Just Got Better

by Nikolozi Meladze

Out of nowhere, yesterday, FabFilter posted Pro-Q 2 overview tutorial delivered by Dan Worrall (as expected).

Just when I thought Pro-Q couldn’t get any better. New features include:

  • Natural Phase Processing mode
  • Automatic makeup gain
  • Slope control
  • Spectrum graph
  • Full screen mode
  • Tilt shelf curve
  • Gain-Q interaction
  • Snap band to exact musical notes
  • Improved DSPs

FabFilter Pro-Q 2 will be available this Thursday.

‘I don’t work for free’

by Nikolozi Meladze


When Showtime invited Dan Cassaro to join a design "contest" he felt amounted to milking professionals for free work, he let the network—and the world—know how he felt about it. The offer, made to a number of designers, involved promoting the Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana boxing match on Sept. 13. Those who submitted designs for Showtime's use "could be eligible for a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas and have your artwork displayed in the MGM Grand during fight week!," the network told Cassaro in an email. After sending an email response slathered in sarcasm ("I know that boxing matches in Las Vegas are extremely low-budget affairs"), Cassaro then posted the exchange to Twitter.

This is so great. It reminds me of remix competitions run by electronic dance music labels, which became very popular a few years ago. They promised winners a release on the label and a few pieces of cheap studio gear. I have yet to hear of an artist who became big after participating in such competition. These little contests are ultimately designed to promote the original artist, no one cares about the remixers.