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Messages - jkn

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Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Help me finishing my ambient setup :)
« on: January 30, 2014, 06:45:19 AM »
My best advice I can give is to just sit down and record with what you have...  start making the ambient music you're wanting to make.  You have the drive and the passion and the obsessiveness that drives me.  Once you dig in and start doing it you'll find those tools and processes that you're having the most struggles with and then it'll be easy to pinpoint what type of gear you need.

Forum Member Projects News and Promotion / Re: Relaxed Machinery News
« on: January 22, 2014, 07:00:08 AM »
Back cover art!

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Help me finishing my ambient setup :)
« on: January 20, 2014, 02:17:49 PM »
Wow, for just "jumping in" you've got quite the array of synths and gear!

Honestly -  you should be able to get just about every sound you can imagine out of what you have either by layering, or different combinations - you have a wealth of awesome sitting there.

DAW - you can do so much more in a computer than you can in hardware for recording audio or sequencing... I definitely encourage you to take previous advice and read up on the various ones for your platform (mac or win) - and try them out.  We all like different ones for different reasons.  Also how yuo like to work can be a big difference - you have a ton of hardware so I'm betting you want to record audio more than sequencing or more sample based. 

Soundcards / Mixers - tons of options - again - since so much hardware you likely want more inputs / outputs than a simple stereo unit. 

Monitors... it's all in the ears and learning how they sound in your room.  You can get almost any pair - and make them work and work well for you.  You just have to dive in and make a decision.  I bought a pair of Mackie 824's well over a decade ago and love them.  I have friends with just about every different brand name and they all love theirs.  If you like the Genelecs - get 'em. 

Seren said a good thing...  instead of more synths - look into effects.  You can process what you have and really change... everything about the sound.   

Welcome to ambient - the options are limitless - and this is a good forum to ask your questions and get good feedback. 

My best advice is to start recording!

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear: Studio shots by Deb
« on: January 20, 2014, 10:35:08 AM »
Hahahahahahahah!   Yeah!    It's for our dog...  14 yr old blind dachshund...  has her bed, a pee pad, and some water.  Big enough for her to walk around a bit.  there's also a paper shredder next to the piano - essential to recording...  ;-)

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear: Studio shots by Deb
« on: January 20, 2014, 07:29:05 AM »
Studio shots from this weekend - still a wreck - still a lot to do (including moving the modular down a shelf and general de-cluttering - but actually workable now.

Forum Member Projects News and Promotion / Re: Relaxed Machinery News
« on: January 20, 2014, 07:22:16 AM »
Album art! 

Forum Member Projects News and Promotion / Re: Relaxed Machinery News
« on: January 15, 2014, 09:02:55 AM »
Just confirmed "reBOOT" will be featured on 1/25 on Rebekkah Hilgraves' At Water's Edge show!

Looks awesome as always, APK.

Forum Member Projects News and Promotion / Re: Relaxed Machinery News
« on: January 14, 2014, 09:09:12 AM »
Earth Mantra is owned by Geoff / Apne Sinn - and yes - I know he was planning on launching it this month - release is all lined up - but his work got the better of him (lots of late nights and weekends) - so I'm sure it's delayed.  He hasn't asked me to update the website yet.

But - it is indeed coming very very soon and I know releases are in the pipeline.

Forum Member Projects News and Promotion / Re: Relaxed Machinery News
« on: January 13, 2014, 11:50:05 AM »
Loren has some amazing stuff coming soon... Projekt is doing a vinyl release of his first album... and Loren and Mark Seelig have an utterly jaw dropping fantastic collaboration (I believe this is also on Projekt) - seriously - if it doesn't make 'best of 2014' lists I'll be shocked.

I'm very excited Loren wants to release a live concert of his with us on rM.   

Arbee and Specta Ciera are releasing an ep with us.  Both of them have excellent work in various styles.

Also - Andrew Lahiff has taken a break from recording for a while - and he'll be back with a wonderful album I've listened to many times... probably this spring or summer.

We're working with Robert Scott Thompson on a release.

And of course our normal top notch rM artists have releases in the works. 

We're planning to continue our roughly every 6 week release process.

Forum Member Projects News and Promotion / Relaxed Machinery News
« on: January 13, 2014, 09:10:26 AM »
I'm working on our 2nd compilation to be released this month.  It's called "reBOOT" and celebrates our 4th year as a label.  Artists include:

* Broken Harbour
* Zero Ohms
* Ran Kirlian
* Loren Nerell
* Steve Brand
* Frore
* Chris Russell
* me... John Koch-Northrup
* arbee (Mathieu Lamontagne)
* Specta Ciera (Devin Underwood)
* Robert Scott Thompson
* Chronotope Project
* Ishq - in collab with Steve Brand
* Roy Mattson - in collab with Steve Brand
* eyes cast down - in collab with Chris Russell
* apne sinn

More details as they get ironed out. 

A great year coming for us...   we have lined up Loren Nerell and Andrew Lahiff for solo releases.  Several other artists in the works!  Thanks for all of your support over the years!


I use iTunes - and I have a flac player but at the moment I can't think of what it is.  I don't use it very often as I'm usually listening on my ipod.

Exploring and pushing what you've done before are always key elements...  the layering, time shifting, stretching...  all great things I've done also.   

Try experimenting with different effects on the different layers.  Try moving them slightly in the stereo field.   Try pitch shifting.   Try playing each drone live - so they truly aren't the same.   Try different instruments.   Try using anything in your house as an instrument - a microphone is all you need.   Mixed in low - or processed to oblivion - the strange and miraculous can pop out of nowhere.  Try reversing a track.   Try having areas in your track that are super dense - many layers - and then peel them away - and the pile them back on...  don't be afraid of dynamics.   Try eq'ing a layer - just a simple eq change can dramatically change the sound.   

The key is to play around.  Try it - and don't dwell on them too long.  Learn as you go!

Everything and Nothing / Re: The new age music 'scene' ?
« on: December 19, 2013, 07:41:42 AM »
Any topic that opens Bill's Box I'm all for...

I like to think of Ambient as a large umbrella term like Jazz, Rock and New Age... however... I think most people might consider Ambient a sub-set of New Age.   (although others will think of Ambient as a subset of Dark and Speed Metal players wanting to slow things down... but that's...  ummm ... another topic?  Maybe...)

Anyway...  New Age was huge.  Ambient was NEVER HUGE.    All of our "heroes" of Ambient Past were stocked in the New Age bins along with those giants of New Age.   

I there's a lot of cross polinization between the genres...  but then I like Ambient with a bit of Funk and Dub and Techno... so who am I?

Is there a scene?  Like all music scenes - they're smaller commercially and all the artists are getting to know each other.   

Unless we're talking about Wreckin' Ball Cyrus... she's much bigger than all of us combined (and has a deeper voice than I do.)


Everything and Nothing / Re: MP3 player widget?
« on: December 13, 2013, 02:56:32 PM »
We use jplayer over on

You can shape it into anything you want.  html5 jquery.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: My Music Studio in Progress!!!
« on: December 03, 2013, 06:40:26 AM »
Nice gear.

I just bought for ps3 after a long absence from playing:

  • Dead or Alive Ultimate
  • Need for Speed Hot Pursuit
  • Tekken Tag Team 2
  • Mortal Kombat Komplete

Everything and Nothing / Re: Show us your Smartphone/Cell Phone
« on: December 02, 2013, 02:30:59 PM »
I just bought a new case for my aging iphone 4.  :-)   Might upgrade next year - we'll see.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: 1st Annual Relaxed Machinery Awards
« on: December 02, 2013, 11:00:04 AM »
Nominations are starting to roll in.  Remember - this is open to everyone - I'd love to see people from Hypnos nominate their favorites!  Voting will be in January and then we'll announce the winners in February. 

I hear that Steve Roach pirated a copy of Windows on an iOS system.

that... is just brilliant.

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