If you are going to hear any of this stuff (that may or may not actually classify as "music"), then you might as well know why I made it. The reason is quite simple: it's just fun to do; quite addictive too though, which is a downside.
There was a time when my favorite thing to do was just play with Reason for around 10 hours at a time. Sometimes a session longer than 8 hours might produce a two minute piece that, with about two more such sessions, could be made into a real song . Unfortunately, it wasn't easy to find blocks of time like that, so stuff didn't get finished.
I wanted to get a job making music, thereby allowing me to do what I want and what I need at the same time. My favorite type of music to make has generally been video game theme music, which seemed like a probable job area back in the day. But now I am betting it will never happen even though there are probably more people getting jobs for video game, movie and TV music than any other type of music, there are still few jobs even in that area. That is why I am presently back in school to finish up my CS degree.
Now that I am back in school I try to play guitar more and use Reason less. Due to Reason's addictive nature, it is not conducive to the completion of school work and as such, is avoided. But if I ever get Reason 3.0 it's going to be "all over", as they say.
So anyway, that is why I made the stuff, but there are a million things other than music that I could choose to make if I were just in the mood to make something. The reason I love to make music is that it's just somehow a form of expression that comes naturally to me. That is not to say that I am a professional musician by any means; My little disorders (OCD, ADD and PA) make it hard for me to do things like play music (or even give speeches) in front of many people; so being in a band didn't work too well because I could never play out.
My musical training is only slightly formal, having passed Music Theory I in high school with a D+ and having only taken about 30 guitar lessons over the course of 4 years. I can't play music directly from classical notation either; probably because I always disliked the notation and was never motivated or forced to learn it well.
I think it would be neat to make a new musical notation system though; but it's hard to get people to change to new things, even if they are much better. E.G., The USA thinks it's so great but doesn't even use the metric system yet! The only music I can play on guitar is stuff that I can hum or improvise. In the latter case I normally need some other music to play along to, but there are times when I can get in a total groove and bust out with some crazy Baroque era sounding stuff.
The first instrument I tried was trumpet when I was 9 years old. I was really bad at that. Maybe I will try again someday though, but it's low on the list. Next I tried drums, which I still love to this day. I decided to stop taking music lessons at school because they insisted I play in front of the whole student body. After that I was left with only two drum sticks and a drum pad, which was quite boring. There was absolutely no chance of ever getting a real drum set, let alone a place to play it. Even now I couldn't have one where I live. And this was back when there was no cool digital alternative to a drum set; at least not one within my reach, financially. Now I am considering getting something like a DrumKat. I suppose I always had fun trying to play the piano, but actual mastery of it always seemed hopeless. But the first time I played a guitar, mastery of the device didn't seem like an issue. It was something that I could just plop on my lap and have fun making noises with. Somehow, shortly after I played a guitar for the first time, my uncle ended up giving me his guitar, which was and still is a decent Fender acoustic.
My next musical goal is to learn piano to the point where I don't make mistakes every five seconds. Once that happens, I can use my midi keyboard to jam out in Reason, but it would be even better if I could just get a midi guitar!
Most of these songs were done entirely with Reason (1.0, 2.0 and 2.5) by Propellerheads of Sweden. But some of the older ones were done with Rebirth (also by Propellerheads), Macromedia Sound Edit 2.0 and Player Pro (a shareware Mac OS only program).
Reason runs on Win32, Mac OS9 and OSX. I actually bought my copy the day it came out for $400 and I think it's the only software I have ever paid for. Of course I don't "pirate" software. No one should ever need to do that now that the free software revolution is upon us! Anyway, When I used the Reason demo I instantly decided it would be the only music program I would ever want to use, which has been true since I got it in Dec. 2000.
CoolEdit Pro, which is a multi-layer, raw sound editing program, may have also been used somehow for some pieces, but I can't keep track of that sort of thing.. I definitely use it to convert my uncompressed Reason audio files to MP3 though.
Computer Hardware Info:
All the older songs were done on a G4 400mhz and Mac OS9 (yes, this was before OSX). All other songs were done on a homemade dual P3 800.
Musical Hardware Info:
I have a decent midi keyboard but it was not used for any of these songs. I plotted all the notes out one by one in a grid based sequencer. I can read classical notation to some extent but find the sequencer that Reason uses to be the most intuitive. Some of the songs were partially written on guitar before being sequenced note by note.
I have, what I consider the best guitar ever made. It's an Ibanez RG-470 circa 1997 with DiMarzio pickups. It even has a single coil pickup with no 60hz buzz (due to the fact that its actually a double coil pickup that fits in the space of a single). I also use a device that does certain real time sound processing. It takes the electric guitar as direct input and then outputs the sound of the guitar as if it was played through a real amp with distortion and has effects to make it sound like the amp is in a room. The main advantage is that this device can then be directly recorded with the computer whereas my real guitar amp (Fender Stage 112) would need to be recorded with a microphone and that is a pain and my mic was broken by some mean person so it's not even an option anymore.
By the way, I have another one of these DiMarzio no-buzz single coil pickups, brand-new, factory-sealed box. If anyone wants to buy it, email me. It would be great as the bridge pick-up on a Fender Strat, or even the neck pickup because it would allow for the awesome sound of the Strat with distortion but no crappy buzz in the background. One other neat thing about this, which should be true for any double coil pickup, is that each coil is, in effect a separate pickup. So you could wire it so you can select coil 1, coil 2 or both like normal.
Music in alpha development is essentially a first draft or sample. Music in Beta may be considered a whole song but is not a final draft. The ones that are not labeled are in alpha. Please note, some of these end abruptly. Ending songs seems to be a problem for me ;-)
Please send comments to RatJed by clicking here. Feel free to say "this music sucks" but at least tell me either why it sucks, or what would make it not suck.
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The Audio Files
click to listen (files in mp3 and wav format):
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