Mixdown’s top jobs in the Australian music industry (this week)
Whether you’re looking for a casual job to keep the lights on between gigs or you’re on the hunt for a major career change, the music industry is a tough place to crack into.
To help you on your journey, we’ve compiled a list of the best jobs in the industry this week in Australia, including gigs with Samsung, Dolby, Australian Radio Network and Spotify. Have a look!
This week’s top jobs:
- Head of Audio Visual – Samsung Australia (Sydney)
- Audio Engineer – Australian Radio Network (Melbourne)
- Senior DSP Engineer – Dolby Laboratories (Sydney)
- Account Manager (Ad Studio) – Spotify (Sydney)
Catch up on all the latest industry news stories here.
Head of Audio Visual – Samsung Australia (Sydney)
Samsung Australia is currently seeking a Head of Audio Visual to join their Consumer Electronics division. This role is based in Homebush.
Tasks / Responsibilities Include:
- Manage the sales activities of the AV division
- Develop and implement strategic sales plans to accommodate corporate goals
- Direct sales forecasting activities and set performance goals
- Review market analysis to determine customer needs, price schedules and discount rates
- Direct staffing, training and performance evaluations to develop and control sales program
- Direct channel development activity and co-ordinate sales distribution by establishing sales territories, quotas and goals
- Advises dealers, distributors and clients concerning sales and advertising techniques
- Analyse sales statistics to formulate policy and assist dealers in promoting sales
- Direct product simplification and standardisation to eliminate unprofitable items from sales line
- Represents company at trade association meeting s to promote products
- Deliver sales presentations to key clients in co-ordination with National Account Managers
- Meet with key clients, assisting National Account Managers with maintaining relationships and negotiating and closing deals
- Co-ordinate liaison between sales department and other sales related units
- Analyse and control expenditures of division to conform to budgetary requirements
- Assists other departments within organisation to prepare manuals and technical publications
- Prepare periodic sales report showing sales volume, potential sales and areas of proposed client expansion
- Direct product research and development
- Monitor and evaluate the activities and products of the competition
- Recommend or approve budget, expenditures and appropriations for research and development work.
- Other additional duties and responsibilities as directed by management
Up for the challenge? Apply here.
Audio Engineer – Australian Radio Network (Melbourne)
ARN (Australian Radio Network) is ‘Defining Audio’ as one of the leading broadcasters in the country with ownership or investments in 12 radio stations nationwide. Offering Australia’s most complete audio offering, their brands include KIIS and Pure Gold, iHeartRadio and The Edge. They’re on the hunt for an audio engineer who’s passionate about immersive story telling with sound.
Skills / Experience Required:
- 3+ years’ experience working in podcasting/audio or a related field
- High proficiency in Pro Tools and Adobe Audition
- Excellent technical problem-solving ability
- Experience working collaboratively with hosts, guests, and producers
- A positive and personable team player who has with clear and timely communication and is capable of working to deadlines
- Ability to work to direction and deliver on constructive feedback
- Willing to take creative risks to create industry-leading audio stories
- Proven skills in managing multiple projects and stakeholders with a solution-oriented mindset.
Tasks / Responsibilities Include:
- Work to direction and collaboratively with editorial producers to deliver on their creative vision for an episode or series
- Openly receive and action feedback in a timely manner while working in a fast-paced environment.
- Make editorial decisions to ensure listeners only hear the best content
- Create soundscapes to compliment the storytelling using atmosphere, music, archival material, and sound effects
- Lead the sourcing of appropriate sound elements for projects, whether it means looking through sound libraries, archives or recording the audio yourself.
- Continually stay updated on the latest podcast audio trends and technology
Keen? Apply on the ARN website.
Senior DSP Engineer – Dolby Laboratories (Sydney)
Join the leader in entertainment innovation and help design the future. At Dolby, science meets art, and high tech means more than computer code. This role at Dolby is development, prototyping, and refining of new algorithms that enable an amazing variety of experiences in Music, Dialog/Speech and by intelligently understanding the audio world around us.
Skills / Experience Required:
- Bachelor’s degree or higher in electrical engineering or computer science or equivalent.
- Solid background in the theory and application of digital audio signal processing.
- 4+ years’ experience designing and implementing digital signal processing software using C/C++ or Python
- Experience/exposure writing DSP software for file based and real-time systems
- Experience in objective testing of DSP algorithms
- English written and verbal communication]
- Standard audio algorithms such as filtering, dynamics processing, noise reduction, etc.
- Time/ Frequency domain processing of Audio
- Adaptive and statistical signal processing
- Deep learning
- Critical listening skills
- Background in music
Tasks / Responsibilities Include:
- Collaborate with product research teams to conceptualise, refine and test algorithms in real environments.
- Analyse and model audio signal processing implementations for products.
- Create and experiment to develop solutions to signal processing problems in C/C++/Python
- Understand and work with audio interfaces (recording and playback) on various mobile and embedded platforms.
- Integrate algorithms into a larger complex interconnected system
- Implement machine learning DSP algorithms on digital platforms (Mobile / Cloud computing)
- Write real-time signal processing applications with an understanding of product requirements.
- Write and maintain detailed technical documentation
Want to place your mark on the future of audio? Head to the Dolby website to apply.
Account Manager (Ad Studio) – Spotify (Sydney)
Spotify is one of the leading audio streaming platforms available. For this role, they’re seek an outstanding Advertising Account Manager to join our Advertising Sales team supporting their self-serve advertising business.
Skills / Experience Required:
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English
- A minimum of 2 – 3 years of professional experience, driving revenue in a client-facing sales position
- Familiarity with the Spotify product, ideally as a Spotify user would be an advantage
- Team player who enjoys cultivating both internal and external relationships
- Knowledge of Excel, PowerPoint and Salesforce will be a plus
Tasks / Responsibilities Include:
- Provide front line support for Spotify’s self-serve advertising clients
- Manage assigned Spotify advertising prospects from lead qualification, engage leads through a sales cadence of proactive emails and calls
- Lead sales calls, business reviews, and recurring check-ins. Build custom sales presentations by preparing key data, historical findings and relevant research
- Meet or exceed revenue and customer acquisition targets. Contribute to inside sales lead generation, qualification and sales funnel processes
- Monitor and execute potential upsell opportunities
- Command & convey key Ad Studio product knowledge to clients with accurate detail. Be a champion for client needs with internal stakeholders
- Enjoy technical work that helps keep our platform up & running efficiently
- Monitor campaign performance, recommend optimisations, and ensure campaign delivery including post campaign service
Want to work for Spotify? To apply, visit here.
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KRK unveil Classic series 7 and 8 monitors
KRK are one of the most well known names in studio monitors nowadays. It’s no surprise that their Rokit range is consistently pushing the envelope with regards to affordable and quality audio representation. Now, in comes the Classic series, after the success of the Classic 5, KRK have released two more offerings in the range, the 7 & 8.
Read all the latest product news here.
The Classic series from KRK takes design and functional cues from third generation Rokit speakers while boasting a flatter frequency response. Knobs on the back allow you to engage a 2dB bass boost to bring it more in line with the KRK sound or tweak them to the sound of your room.
These monitors uses their tried and tested 1″ soft dome tweeters with glass aramid woofers of whichever size you choose. The 7 and 8 Classic monitors can produce a frequency response of 47.5Hz-34.5kHz and 42.5Hz-28kHz respectively.
These 2-way monitors can deliver over 100dB of SPL, and feature a front firing bass port for close placement to walls and other surfaces.
Utilising class A/B amps, these speakers provide high headroom with minimal distortion. They come shipped with a foam pad that covers the entire bottom surface of the speaker, it’s not going to do much but it’s better than not having anything there!
There are three input options, XLR, balanced 6.5mm TRS and unbalanced RCA, allowing you to hook up basically any system.
Behringer release multi-engine Eurorack synth module BRAINS
After teasing an ambiguous video a few days ago, Behringer have released BRAINS, a multi-engine oscillator Eurorack module with 20 synth engines and an oscilloscope.
Read all the latest product news here.
Taking design cues from Mutable Instruments’ Plaits, BRAINS is a flexible and functional Eurorack synth module. It features four knobs to change timbre, harmonics, frequency and depth, and two buttons for selecting the synth Bank and Model.
With it’s 20 modes, there are 10 for creating pitched notes, with standouts being the Additive, Karplus Strong and Supersaw modes. The other 10 are percussive and noise based, with modes including Rain, Dust, Modal Strings and a few FM drum engines.
As is standard with Eurorack modules, BRAINS needs something to trigger it, and a mixer to send its output to. You can trigger all of the knobs and more with 3.5mm input jacks, allowing for a vast range of results. For example, you could add an LFO to the Morph parameter to create a continuously moving sound patch.
The OLED Oscilloscope that adorns the top of this device is a cool way to see what you’re playing. In this age, people are used to getting strong visual feedback from synths and music making in general, and this allows just that.
Interestingly, Behringer have added a USB port on top of the device for future firmware updates.
Check out a demo of the sounds this machine can make below.
Apogee announce Duet 3; their stylish new portable audio interface
Apogee changed the game in 2007 with the release of the Duet. 14 years later, the portable audio interface market has huge competition, with it seems almost every brand releasing one. Building upon their past work in digital audio recording, Apogee have announced the Duet 3, a sleek, small footprint audio interface that packs a punch.
Read all the latest product news here.
Use of a breakout cable allows the Duet 3 to be low profile and functional. Made from a combination of aluminium and glass, this interface can be used as a 4 in/2 out device or as a high quality audio listening device via the headphone jack. Using the 2 mic inputs, the high-quality preamps allow for 60dB of gain, suitable for basically all applications.
On-board DSP (Digital Signal Processing), allows for zero latency processing of input signals and the Duet 3 can be used with Symphony ECS Channel Strip, tuned by Bob Clearmountain. This combination EQ, compressor and saturator can be applied to your input signals to record like you’re recording the audio through a real channel strip, at zero latency.
The Apogee Duet 3 is a bus powered device, but can also be powered by the second USB-C port. This is great for stability as most small-form audio interfaces don’t offer the option to power them separately.
For those who love the look of the Duet 3, but don’t particularly like the break-out cables, there’s an option for you too. Sold separately, the Duet Dock slots right into the Duet 3, allowing for a more traditional audio interface design.
As this interface is designed for portability, the Duet 3 comes with a travel case and both USB-C and USB-A cables for accessibility.
The Nothing: MCP release new single inspired by iconic ’80s fantasy films
Sydney based Progressive electronica three-piece MCP (Master Control Project) just premiered a brand new music video for their latest single ‘The Nothing’.
Created by Arron Millikin, the film is a trippy roller coaster through psychedelic reinterpretations of classic music tech that includes a cd-player starship enterprise launching airpod space fighters to lay siege to a shrine to the amplifier that rests atop a giant speaker. MCP has always chased the sound of cinematic retrofuturism, inspired by the likes of Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of War of the Worlds, and their new video matches that aesthetic perfectly.
The idea was originally conceived by a chance run-in with a conspicuous jar of “free weed” in the back alleys of Sydney’s Newtown. The sheer strangeness of the discovery inspired the band’s direction for the video. Surely the jar isn’t what it says it is? What if it was something else?
“As soon as we saw the jar, and realized what it was, we immediately started thinking about how the hell we can turn this into a music video. About a month later Arron molded the ideas into an animation and the end result is the video for The Nothing” explains synth player James McKenna.
That ‘end result’ leads to the amusing recreation of the weed jar discovery that opens the clip, sending “Big Von (AKA Major Asshole)” into the world of the jar and the trippy visuals that saturate every corner of the ensuing film.
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The track has a melancholic tone, underpinned with an almost hip-hop style beat and arpeggiated synths that filter in and out. It meanders, but not without intention as momentum slowly builds.
The camera seems to match this, beginning with long lingering takes before increasing the number of cuts as the track ramps up, giving them a great sense of pace. The music video is broken up into three acts, neatly aligning with the distinct sections of the track, bookended with sampled quotes from the book of genesis and The Lieutenant, giving ‘The Nothing’ the aesthetics of something more philosophical.
According to MCP, the sense of longing and loneliness in the track was directly inspired by feelings during the height of the pandemic, which is captured wonderfully with the droning pads and spacy guitar.
MCP is currently deep into production on two more singles that they plan to release in a ‘sextuplet’ limited release record alongside their four current singles.
You can watch ‘The Nothing’s new music video below.
Rob OReilly’s Expressiv MIDI Pro 2 can read every note you play
In 2014, Rob OReilly Guitars used a Kickstarter campaign to bring to life their Expressiv MIDI guitar. Fast forward a few years and striving for innovation, they release their newest model for guitar playing synth lovers.
Read all the latest product news here.
First and foremost, this guitar still functions like a guitar. There are magnetic and piezo pickups for acquiring both electric and acoustic style guitar tones. You can have both at the same time as well with the use of its stereo 1/4″ jack output.
The Expressiv MIDI Pro 2 has new technology which can read exactly what note you’re going to play before you play it. Dubbed the ‘Fretboard Scanner’, this feature allows for over 144 unique MIDI notes to be triggered while still being velocity sensitive.
This guitar/controller features many different ways to interact with it, all routing through both USB and MIDI connection ports. There’s an XY pad which can be used for changing parameters of synths and while holding notes on the fretboard, trigger a ‘strum’ of your guitar.
There’s a joystick, which comes standard routed to pitch bend, an octave shift button, 30 performance bank selection, MIDI volume knob and the regular pickup selector and volume knobs.
An ability to change settings with the flick of a button is impressive, as live performers can setup presets and change them between songs and not fiddle with the computer between songs.
New in this instalment is the Tap Mode, allowing you to shred ‘Through the Fire and the Flames’ and route it through your DAW or synthesiser of choice.
Interestingly, you can set each string to send via a different MIDI channel, allowing for 6 different synths to be played at once… Wild.
Most importantly for this guitar based MIDI controller, the latency is a shockingly low 2ms. This allows for actual use live with other musicians and over backing tracks as the perceptible delay is basically unnoticeable.
Have a look at this guitar in action below.
Visit ROR Guitars for more information on this release.
Tkay Maidza and King Gizzard nominated for AIM awards + all the biggest industry headlines from the week
Been out of the loop with everything that’s been going on in the music industry recently? We don’t blame you. Here’s a wrap-up of all the biggest Aussie music industry news stories from the past fortnight.
The top headlines:
- Tkay Maidza and King Gizzard nominated for AIM awards.
- QMusic is pitching the government to match NSW’s live music grants for Queensland.
- Study outlines diversity in the arts sector.
Keep your eyes peeled on our Industry News page to stay updated on all the latest headlines.
Is Fremantle, Not Perth, WA’s Creative Capital?
A study by researchers from the Queensland University of Technology’s Digital Media Research Centre and the University of Newcastle states that Fremantle, and not Perth, is the creative capital of WA.
The small port city less than 20km south-west of Perth with a population of 360,000 has the greatest concentration of performance and visual artists, making up 0.62% of its full-time workforce, compared with 0.29% for Perth and 0.16% for the rest of WA.
According to QUT’s associate professor Mark Ryan, “Established in 1829, Fremantle was once a lower socio-economic locality.
“It offered affordable living which attracted migrants and artists in the 1960s and 70s, becoming a multicultural, creative hotspot for live music and visual artists’ studios.
“Its creative scene is vibrant and diverse. Fremantle has a kind of New Orleans vibe about it.”
He added: “Fremantle’s rich seam of protected, historic buildings, like the World Heritage-listed Fremantle Prison and the Fremantle Arts Centre, have become cultural amenities for artists and other creatives.
“They provide spaces for studios, galleries, venues, filmmakers, and other arts practices.”
Fremantle was part of a nation-wide study of 17 ‘hotspots’ for creative industries funded by the Australian Research Council. The 17 were chosen from 2016 Census data and feedback from music and arts associations.
Also to be reviewed are:
Queensland – Cairns, Sunshine Coast + Noosa, Gold Coast, Central West Queensland
NSW – Coffs Harbour, Marrickville, Wollongong, Albury
Victoria – Geelong + Surf Coast, Ballarat, Bendigo, Wodonga
WA – Geraldton, Fremantle, Busselton, Albany + Denmark
SA – to be confirmed shortly
Podcast Downloads Hit Record 52.2m
Podcast downloads in Australia hit a new record in May, jumping up to 52.2 million, according to Triton’s Podcast Metrics measurement service. The figure was 50 million in March.
The four most downloaded shows were Audioboom’s Casefile True Crime at #1, then ARN/iHeartPodcast Network Australia’s Stuff You Should Know, Hamish & Andy and The Kyle & Jackie O Show.
More Bullying And Harassment Claims At Sony Music Australia
Two months after the sacking of Sony Music Australia executive Tony Glover over bullying and harassment of other staff, other allegations have been made. Half a dozen current and former staff contacted The Sun-Herald /The Sunday Age, which reported that Sony’s New York HQ is investigating the complaints.
Allegations include a senior exec who was doing a performance review on a staffer next day. “He leaned in and looked down my top and said ‘if your review was based on your physique you’d get top marks’.” When she complained, she was offered a promotion, which never materialised.
Perth’s Hen House Adds New Facilities
Hen House Rehearsal Studios in Perth threw a 10th birthday bash on the weekend— which also served as the unveiling of its new studio.
It has 17 studios across two warehouses (seven in the new Studio 2), with 24/7 facilities that allow recordings, livestreams of band and DJ sets, a studio where locals can collaborate online with those in other countries and one space where podcasts can be recorded.
Hen House was set up by then-Gyroscope drummer Rob Nassif, with general manager duties conducted by Tom Wilson, guitarist with Furball and Flossy.
Tkay Maidza, King Gizzard Take Aim
Tkay Maidza and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are increasing their profile in the UK, as evident in their nominations for the 2021 Association of Independent Music (AIM) Independent Music Awards set to livestream from London on August 25.
Maidza’s ‘Shook’ (4AD) is up for Best Independent Track while she also scrubs down for International Breakthrough against Bicep, Fontaines D.C., Jayda G and Park Hye Jin.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s Eco Wax Editions (Heavenly Recordings / Flightless Records) is up for Best Creative Packaging.
Dominating the nominations with four was Brit singer-songwriter and poet Arlo Parks, who took out the One To Watch category last year.
Meanwhile Music Week reported that new figures from AIM and the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) show indie acts had 26% of album equivalent sales consumed in the UK in 2020. Indies’ share of streaming equivalent albums (SEAs) grew in each of the past five years.
The physical format is where UK indies shine. In 2020, they had 35% share of vinyl albums while four in every four vinyl albums in the first three months of 2021 were by an indie act.
Indie acts cornered 30% of all CD sales in 2020.
QMusic Calls For Bail-Out, 100% Capacity For Qld Live Music
Peak Queensland music association QMusic had an interesting pitch when approaching the state government for funding for live music. The two states met at the first state of origin in Townsville the night before, where the cornstalks stomped mercilessly over their banana-bending cousins up north 50-6.
Let’s get even, QMusic put forward, by equalling or bettering NSW’s $24 million live music package to help venues stay open whilst operating under capacity restrictions.
“Through our close work with venues across the state since the initial lockdown, we know all of these small business owners are at an absolute breaking point. They need a lifeline and they need it now,” QMusic’s outgoing CEO Angela Samut said.
Last week Samut, QMusic president Natalie Strijland and committee member John Collins (co-owner of Brisbane’s The Triffid and Fortitude Music Hall) again met with chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young to discuss increasing the capacity of the state’s music venues. It’s currently 30%.Break-even point is 80% to 90%.
“Along with capacity restrictions, the end of JobKeeper, international borders closed until at least 2022, interstate lockdowns, hotspots and quarantine requirements, has seen our live music venues brought to their knees and without a big financial commitment now from the state government, we may lose an industry which has long been the envy of the other states,” QMusic stated.
Rapper On Trial Over Big Kash Shooting
Sydney rapper Masi Rooc will stand trial next month over the August 2020 shooting of rapper Big Kash in the driveway of an apartment block in the southwest suburb of Warwick Farm.
Police allege Masi Rooc (born Thomas Karras Vandermade, 29) followed Big Kash (born John Lavulo, 33) down the driveway as he sat in his Mercedes with his 22-year old girlfriend and shot him in the forearm and elbow. Kash drove himself to hospital. His friend was not hurt.
Masi Rooc pleading not guilty to a charge of attempted murder, discharge firearm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and possess unauthorised firearm. He and an associate face Parramatta District Court for arraignment July 9.
How Far Are The Arts In Equity And Diversity Representation?
Australia’s diversity is its richest asset but that is not reflected in the arts and creativity sectors. So says the Australia Council’s 2019 National Arts Participation Survey, released in June 2021.
First Nations people are more likely to be involved in arts than non-FN. Their attendance at arts events is 91% vs 66%; their creative participation is 78% vs 42%; and engagement online is 75% vs 40%.
But while they make up 3% of the population, they only make up 1% of the creative workforce and only 4.2% make income from FN arts (8.8% in remote Australia). Only 12% have leadership roles in associations that get funding from Australia Council, only get 7% of Arts Council grants to individuals and 12% of associations.
CALD (cultural and linguistic diversity) people make up 39% of the population and 44% of the creative workforce. 82% are likely to attend an arts event vs 64% non-CALDs; 66% creatively participate vs 38%; and 16% have leadership positions vs 55%.
18% of the Australian population live with disability. 9% of artists identify with disability or impairment, or view another way, 57% of the disability community actively makes and creates vs.69% of those without a disability.
Only 3% have leadership roles in organisations funded long term (multi- years) by the Australia Council. Artists with disability earn 42% less and are more likely to be unemployed. Only 5% of individuals get AC grants and 3% of associations with people with disability as their demographic.
11% of people who identify themselves as LGBTIQ+ make up the Australian population. They only account for 13% of applicants who successfully get AC grants.
51% of Australians are women, and there are more women artists: 46% than men 44%. Attendance of arts and culture has reached gender parity at 68%.
48% of people employed in the cultural and creative workforce are women compared to 47% of the Australian workforce overall.
55% have leadership positions in organisations funded multi-year by the AC. But less than 1% are held by people who identify as either gender non-binary/fluid or a gender different from sex recorded at birth.
Women artists earn 30% less for creative work and 25% less overall.
14% of the cultural and creative workforce live in regional or remote Australia compared to 27% of the Australian workforce overall. 27% of artists live outside of capital cities and 22% of leadership roles are held by people who live in regional or remote areas.
In the 15-24 year age group (20% of the population), 83% attend art events (vs general population at 68%); 91% recognise the positive impacts of arts and creativity in our lives and communities; 66% creatively participate in the arts; and 40% give time or money to the arts.
Older Australians have less time for the arts. Only 8% of the cultural and creative workforce are aged 60 years. Only one in five of artists (18%) are aged 65 and over.
51% of those aged over 65 attend the arts; only 32% creatively participate; and 66% visit cultural venues or events.
Read the biggest headlines from last fortnight here.
Gear Rundown: Kraftwerk’s Autobahn
Electronic music has changed a lot since the mid ’70s. Nowadays anyone can jump onto a DAW and have a world full of possibilities in front of them. There has been over 45 years of technological expansion since Kraftwerk released this album, and back then it wasn’t so easy. In the mid ’70s, synthesisers were few and far between, and with the exception of a couple, you couldn’t just head to a music store and buy one.
Autobahn marked a change for Kraftwerk. This album showcases their experimentation with electronic instruments, drum machines and custom made pieces, diving deeper into that world than ever before. In retrospect you could see this as them finding their sound, and from this point, opting to use an almost exclusively electronic sound.
Today we take a look back at the equipment Kraftwerk used to create their inspiring sound on Autobahn, which still holds true as an incredible album.
- Moog Minimoog
- ARP Odyssey
- Farfisa Rhythm Unit 10 & Vox Percussion King (customised)
- Farfisa Professional Piano
- Schulte Compact Phasing A
- Mutron Biphase
Read all the latest features, columns and more here.
The Minimoog represents Moog’s first non-modular outing into the synthesiser world. This synth is actually the first synthesiser to sell in retail music stores, probably because it didn’t require the intense care and patience of a modular synth and one could quite easily turn it on and play it.
This subtractive, monophonic beast has three oscillators, filter and volume envelopes. Being monophonic, this synth was mainly used for lead and bass lines where only one note is required to be played at a time.
You can hear it in use on the title track from this album as one of the plucky melody lines and as a bass.
ARP Odyssey Mk 1
Utilising this first edition of the ARP Odyssey, Kraftwerk were able to create leads, FX and sweeping sounds found across the Autobahn album.
A direct competitor to the Minimoog, the ARP Odyssey which arrived in 1972 had some notable features that made it different. Firstly it could play two notes at once (duophony) and it also featured a high pass filter, nice for not muddying up the low end.
This synth was used for a bass line in the live performance of ‘Autobahn’.
Farfisa Rhythm Unit 10 & Vox Percussion King (customised)
On this album Kraftwerk utilised the Farfisa Rhythm Unit 10 and Vox Percussion King which were extremely customised. Creating unique electronic pads, their drummers would play the drum machines in real time on these pads.
Both drum machines featured pre recorded patterns and small, relatively unplayable buttons which Kraftwerk circumvented by creating these custom machines.
Quite common now, but almost completely unheard of back then. This was just one of many innovative things Kraftwerk did during their electrifying embrace of new electronic gear.
Farfisa Professional Piano
Dubbed the “Krautrock Piano” by many, the Farfisa Professional is capable of full polyphony, but sounds not much like an actual piano.
The keyboard can be split so that the lower register can be voiced separately from the upper register. Essentially making two different sounds available from the one keyboard.
Utilising the flick switches on the keyboard, Kraftwerk created an otherworldly sound, especially when paired with the phasing units they used to create depth and movement on this album.
Schulte Compact Phasing ‘A’
This phaser was created in Germany in the early ’70s and was a Krautrock favourite.
Utilised on their synths and keyboards, the Schulte Compact Phasing ‘A’ is a depth machine! With very simple controls and layout, the ‘A’ can create wild tones when cranked up to full, something Kraftwerk used on this record.
A more complex synth with defining qualities is the Mu-tron Bi-phase. Notably, there are two inputs with separate controls for feedback and depth and there are 6-stage phaser circuits, for both flexibility and functionality.
Also used over their synthesisers, this phasing beast is capable of running two separate synths at once!
Now that you are across some of the gear they used, check out Kraftwerk performing ‘Autobahn’ with the aforementioned synths and effects below.
Check out a long-form interview with Kraftwerk here.
Review: Paul Reed Smith SE P20E Parlour Acoustic
Is there anything much greater than the concept of the couch guitar? Personally, I’m a sucker for conveniently sized acoustics that are well-constructed and have a big, beautiful voice.
Parlour guitars, which were all the rage back in the early days of the acoustic (as we know it, anyway) in the late 19th and early 20th century, yet fell out of favour with players some time in the ‘40s as the need for ‘parlour’ performances was nullified by the invention of the guitar amplifier.
Read more reviews here.
Fast forward to now, however, and the idea of the parlour guitar is once again piping hot – particularly as the world returns to normal after the pandemic.
After bunkering down with their first-ever guitars to learn the instrument during quarantine, there’s a whole bunch of new players out there looking to bust out their skills in public arenas, and when you’re looking to get out on the road and enjoy the world again, there’s nothing like a parlour guitar to accompany you on your journey.
For applications like these – yet so much more – The Paul Reed Smith SE P20E Acoustic Guitar does not disappoint. The SE P20E is an all-mahogany, pro-grade parlour-sized acoustic that delivers gorgeous tones thanks to its clever hybrid bracing and intuitive design.
If that’s not enough, the PRS P20E even comes fitted with Fishman GT1 electronics to transform it to a performance-ready guitar, making it an absolute acoustic powerhouse that’s perfect for any application.
You can take it on stage, the campfire, or busking on the streets with its classy Antique White top, herringbone binding, and teardrop tortoiseshell pickguard against its uniquely PRS headstock. It’s visually suited for just about any performance to my eyes, and that’s not to mention the sturdy and comfortable padded travel bag it comes with, making this compact instrument easily transportable.
The guitar’s classy Antique White finish is contrasted by a beautiful ebony bridge and matching fingerboard that displays classic Paul Reed Smith bird inlays to boast that the SE P20E is proudly part of the family.
This is complemented with its genuine bone nut and saddles, that are fitted for optimal tonal support and resonance: whether you’re playing flat-picked chords or delicate finger-plucked passages, the fretboard will bounce alive with character, and makes for a gorgeous playing experience.
This resonance is supported and sustained by its solid mahogany top, joined to laminated and reflective mahogany back and sides through an X-brace/classical hybrid bracing method which blends a collection of legendary acoustic luthier techniques. The tone created is beautifully rich but crystal-clear, allowing for all the intricacies of your guitar playing to shine through.
The neck is deceiving and doesn’t feel like you’re playing a particularly small guitar thanks to its Paul Reed Smith Wide Fat neck shape, carved from choice mahogany. I’m of smaller stature, so larger acoustic guitars can be quite cumbersome. Plus, for as long as the dreadnought shape is the standard, you can easily be fooled into thinking that you’re too small to play acoustic guitar – however, it’s models like this that really prove you wrong.
On that note, if you’ve struggled to find a guitar that works well with your hand or body size, you should definitely try this one! It’s ultra comfortable ,and has a really large and loud presence, easily competing with other acoustics without compromising in any field. Straight out of the box you can already tell that it’s ready to take on whatever you throw at it. The tension feels just right, and almost buttery to play while the construction feels sturdy, and its intricate reflections of notes and tones makes it an excellent studio partner.
Moving onto the live performance aspect of the guitar, and we have the PRS SE P20E’s Fishman GT1 pickup system, which is found under the saddle and naturally senses all kinds of acoustic vibrations.
The result? A clear and strong voice with good feedback rejection. Discreetly placed under the sound hole are the tone and volume controls so you can tweak your sound to suit you. Plug it in or mic it up, the Paul Reed Smith SE P20E is ready for the task.
It feels beautiful to play, the neck fits in hand extremely comfortably and allows for free movement through its satin-like finish on the back of the neck. Nimble movements across the fingerboard allow for more intricate playing and that’s exactly what the SE P20E is for, accentuating delicate notes while capturing bellowing chords.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the big but nuanced sound that was able to come from this compact guitar, but I was certainly not surprised by the astounding quality of its build.
I love an Antique White finish but especially paired with an ebony fingerboard and tortoiseshell pickguard, so this acoustic parlour-sized guitar really ticks all the boxes. Right down to the gig bag it comes with, the PRS SE P20E Acoustic Guitar is quality and class through and through.
Recording drums with Beyerdynamic
Looking to snag a set of mics to use with your drum-kit in the studio or on stage? Don’t fear – Beyerdynamic are here. To find out more about their TG microphone range, we chat with Kamal Mahtani (Sales and Marketing Director for APAC) to get the scoop on why the range is perfect for the needs of the modern drummer.
Read more features, columns and interviews here.
Beyerdynamic’s TG drum microphones are a tantalising offering for drummers, particularly when considering their pricing, compact design and tonal versatility. What was the primary design focus when the Beyer team went about creating these mics? Were there any particular influences or inspirations throughout this process?
The primary design focus was on the perfect sound and handling for their application; while giving them an updated look and feel to make them most appealing to users.
The influences and inspirations were from the users of our previous models. We had a long run with them and we inhaled everything our users had to say. The new models translate exceptional sound performance as per our previous microphones, while upgraded with sonic audio performance, materials and mounting features.
The appearance of units like the TGI51, TGD35D and TGD70 is quite different from that of most other microphones we’re used to seeing from Beyerdynamic. Why do these mics feature the aesthetic design that they do? Are there any sonic benefits from this?
The designs follow common shapes and form factors used in many other Beyerdynamic products. The lozenge-shaped opening is also found in products such as the FOX USB Microphone or the DT 1990 headphone. At the same time, the look and materials have been updated to match the microphones acoustic performance and the likings of modern music creators.
Expanding on the above, mics like the TG D57c and D58c both feature goosenecks and clip-on mounts, which really go the distance to make life easier for sound engineers or drummers setting up their own gear. Not many drum mic manufacturers opt for gooseneck designs today – why did Beyer choose to pursue this?
Well, if we couldn’t get it right, we would not have pursued this. We knew we had a great system to keep the mic in place. Gooseneck Designs can be challenging. Not every Gooseneck in the market provides optimal durability.
The mechanical design of the D57 and D58 proved to be very reliable over many years. The housing, capsules, and goosenecks are specifically designed for this application; hence delivering the best sound and performance from these microphones, recording after recording, saving studio time!
I noticed that the range consists of both dynamic and condenser transducer types. For those who mightn’t be familiar with these terms, can you explain what both transducer types are best suited for recording, and how that pertains to drumming in particular?
Dynamic microphones are more suited as a sturdier option for use on stage or for miking loud amplifiers or other loud instruments. You could drop it and it wouldn’t break. It would be best used for Snare, Kick and Toms in a live environment.
Condenser microphones on the other hand are sensitive microphones that require an additional 48v (Phantom Power) to power up. They are best suited for studio work where nuances need to be picked up easily and articulated in details. What’s interesting is our TG D71 which is Boundary Condenser Microphone for Kick Drums. It sounds crazy to shove a Condenser into a kick drum but this model clearly is a winner. Condensers on a drum kit would excel when placed on Hi-Hats, Toms, under a Snare, Beater and Over Heads. Our Snare/Tom mics TG D57c and 58c are condensers too. A real game changer.
Further to that, how do these microphones hold up when put to the test in a live setting? Are there any genres or applications that they really seem to shine in? What about when they’re used for other sound sources, like bass cabinets or horns?
Even though most of our drum mics are condenser microphones with the exception of the TG I51 and TG D70 which are dynamic, they hold up extremely well in a live setting.
The design of the capsule and cage aids in keeping the pick-up directional.
Our mics are versatile tools, some of these models are created with keeping in mind the utilitarian who would use them for bass, horns and other loud instruments. We keep them practical with multiple uses adding value to any microphone arsenal.
For a drummer who might be purchasing these microphones to record themselves with at home, what kind of tips or advice would you provide them with to make sure they achieve a quality sound within a less-than-ideal recording environment?
Putting microphones aside, the first thing I would suggest is to place the drum kit in the biggest room they have. Smaller rooms are harder to treat acoustically, bigger rooms are more forgiving. Get microphones that offer a clamp and a gooseneck, that gives you one less thing to worry about and neatens up the set up. It also offers consistency in sound with every recording.
Keep moving the mic around to get the optimum sound, but ensure its away from potential hits from sticks. Tune up the kit nicely and replace seasoned drum heads. Last but not least, a good pair of the trustworthy DT 770 M headphones, designed for drummers to monitor themselves with guide tracks.
Finally, what’s next up on the Beyerdynamic front? Do you have anything over the horizons you’re particularly excited about?
There sure is! We’ve got some exciting gear lined up, but I shall not spoil the surprise.
Apart from that I am most particularly excited about the “How-To Drums” Video we have put up recently for drummers to excel in their recording techniques at home.
Beyerdynamic is distributed in Australia via Synchronised Technologies.
No Gods No Masters: Garbage’s Butch Vig breaks down the new record
The veteran alt-rock act began working on their seventh studio album No Gods No Masters, all the way back in the summer of 2019 – some three years removed from the release of their last album, Strange Little Birds, and less than a year after a commemorative 20-year anniversary tour for their second album, Version 2.0 – heading to the scenic surrounds of Palm Springs in California, where guitarist Steve Marker’s family had a house for the band to take up residence in.
Read more features, columns and interviews here.
“We went there with nothing, with no songs, no templates, nothing,” recalls Butch Vig – primarily the band’s drummer, but also a producer, keyboardist and occasional guitarist. “For me, that’s sort of weird, because usually when we finish a tour I start tinkering in my home studio and I come up with sketches. That could be a chord progression, it could be a drum beat, it could be just a title. In this case, however, all four of us went in with a completely blank slate, and I was a little bit scared. Like, what if there’s nothing? What if we can’t come up with anything?”
Thankfully, as Vig continues, the opposite happened in those sessions. “In two weeks, we wound up with probably between 35 and 40 pieces of music,” he says.
This shifts the conversation into the band’s culling and deciding process – how to take the overwhelming amount of new music floating around in the Garbage camp and whittle it down to what we’re soon to hear on the record itself. According to Vig, it came down to chiselling and tightening the extensive jams that the band had accumulated over the two-week period.
“Most of the songs were up to 15 minutes long,” he says. “When we came back from those two weeks, for about several weeks back here in LA I went through all of the pieces. I’d pull out like 30 seconds here, a minute here, eight bars here… wherever I thought there was a focal point. You’d find them around [lead singer] Shirley [Manson]’s lyrics, around a riff that somebody played… they were everywhere. After about a month later, we went into our studio and we just started to work on the bits we had.”
It was during this fine-tuning and recording process that Garbage began to notice a considerable dynamic shift in what they were creating – and the looming shadow of 2020 was starting to shape No Gods No Masters more than they had initially thought it would.
“The interesting thing is the songs started out being sort of more expansive and beautiful,” Vig says. “It had sort of almost an orchestral feel, a kind of openness to it. As Shirley worked on her lyrics, we realised the record was going to be a lot sharper sounding and more in-your-face. It just had a lot more attitude. The last song, ‘The City Will Kill You,’ is kind of like a film noir soundtrack, but the rest of the record is much more of a reflection of the psychotic world that we live in.”
No Gods No Masters is the latest instalment in a career than spans over 25 years, a dozen top 40 singles across the globe and endless multi-platinum accolades. To think that it’s come from a band that has never had a lineup change in that entire time is a testament to the connection that the four members – Manson, Vig, Marker and Duke Erikson – have maintained over the years.
When the band were first creating together in the mid-90s, however, none of this chemistry had been established. If anything, the four of them working together was somewhat of a risk – and none of them knew if it would ultimately pay off.
“Creating this album and creating our first record were two completely different experiences,” says Vig when queried on the contrasts between No Gods No Masters and 1995’s Garbage.
“When Shirley joined us to make the first record, we didn’t really know her and she didn’t really know us. The four of us co-wrote a lot of the lyrics on the first record, whereas she has tonnes of confidence now. Shirley’s our MVP. We write the songs around what she’s gonna say. On the first record, though, we almost approached the songs like remixes.
“A lot of the tracks had beats and things that we were taken from samplers, even the guitar riffs. It was a real experiment – we never even intended to play live. Shirley was the rookie and the newcomer in the band, and it took her a while It took us a while to sort of feel like we really had got a rapport together.”
Vig goes onto recall the shows that Garbage played in support of their self-titled debut were the breakthrough moment in which they truly blossomed from being a project into a fully-fledged band.
“We thought we would go on tour for six weeks,” he says. “We ended up on tour for 16 months. That’s what it really gelled. Honestly, one of the reasons that we’re still here is that we really like each other. We’re friends, and we also respect each other’s opinions. We share a lot of similar sensibilities. That’s not to say that we don’t have days where we get in each other’s faces and scream at each other. We’re like a dysfunctional family – or like a weird democracy. It works, man. We’re still here after 25 years.”
Vig closes out his call with Mixdown to pay tribute to the late Michael Gudinski, who brought the band out to Australia several times over the years – most recently in late 2016 on the Strange Little Birds tour.
“He was our champion for 25 years,” says Vig. “He was a mentor and a friend. It’s hard to imagine that he’s not here anymore. We want to come back down to Australia and put the hammer down for him.”
No Gods No Masters is out on Friday June 11 through Liberator Music.
Review: Rock-N-Roller Multi Cart
If you’ve ever had the (dis)pleasure of having to move a full drum kit from your jam room, to your bandmates’ sedan, then on to the venue (and the backstage labyrinth of loading bays, side doors and narrow hallways that lie between you and your natural habitat-the stage), then you’ve probably found yourself occasionally daydreaming about Roadies.
Read more reviews here.
Nothing to be embarrassed about. Perfectly normal. Especially considering the backbreaking logistics and immense physical toll that comes with even the most perfunctory of pub gigs. It’s no surprise that for most gigging musicians (but especially for drummers, who undoubtedly have it the worst), the dream of having actual road crew-employees who specialise in the bump-in/bump procedure-is the kind of practical luxury that most would probably trade the Bass player for.
Suffice to say, bass players can now breathe a little easier thanks to the the awesome new Multi-cart by American cargo experts, Rock-n-Roller-a clever little product designed to alleviate some of the stresses of the itinerant drummer, touring muso, mobile DJ or any musical undertaking requiring load in/load out, and the dreaded carting of gear.
Rock-N-Roller are award winning designers of small scale porter solutions and transformable utility carts, with an eye clearly on the music and events industries. They are the leading innovator and manufacturer in the field, combining flexible design with road-ready efficiency and durability as well as a bunch of handy, muso-adjacent features that (quite literally) take the weight off your shoulders.
Portability and functionality are at the forefront of the Rock-n-Roller design brief and it shows, with eight different shapes you can create by folding and expanding different parts of the cart. Boasting an ant like ability to support up to 226kg from its diminutive 9kg frame, the Rock-n-Roller Multi-Cart is sure to impress in its ability of overdeliver in the strength department. Honestly, you’ll have a hard time getting your head around how such a lightweight, foldable unit is performing this kind of trickery. With ease, the Rock-n-Roller can carry a band’s worth of gear, including the full drum kit.
The frame itself can also fold flat for easy transportation between gigs, or for easy storage when not in use. With it’s clever ability to change its dimensions and layout, providing everything from basic dolly’s, right through to semi enclosed, high stacker style setups and platform/luggage options, the Rock-n-Roller covers plenty of ground in terms of application. Like anything with this many options, you will likely fall into a couple of regular modes, but in all honesty to find the limits of it’s handiness would probably take a lot longer than we have time for in this review.
There are also a whole host of other thoughtful features included on the Rock-n Roller, designed to make your life a little safer/easier. If you get stuck on an incline, the caster brakes can be engaged to make sure your gear stays in the right place. Couple this with the built in stair-climbers and you’ll save your time and energy to perform where it really matters.
Rock-N-Roller say it’s used by ‘major TV networks, news crews, pro-sports teams and Fortune 500 companies’ and it’s easy to see why. There is something very ‘road crew’ about its design and execution. You could easily envision it being a perfect addition to an outside broadcast rig or being pushed around by a lanyard wielding soundie on set or backstage at a music festival.
In practice, the Rock-n-Roller is one of those products that might not always be front of mind, but after exactly five minutes of using it, you will be wondering how you ever got by without it. Guitarists and bass players have been expounding the virtues of casters on cabinets for years. The Rock-n-Roller is that concept cranked up to 11 and the obvious upside is sure to put a smile on any musician’s face.
For people who busk, the Rock-n-Roller is an absolute no brainer. Having to transport your gear through the hustle and bustle of the city can be draining and challenging at the best of times using the traditional methods. A product like the Rock-n-Roller, makes light work of such a task, and the four wheel design ensures better stability and safer passage for your expensive equipment. Rock-n-Roller themselves say it reduces time and effort by 50% or more, which means 50% more time to focus on the task at hand (playing an awesome show.)
I can see this product being a big hit with the mobile DJ market as well. Having to relocate speakers and DJ gear between gigs can be time consuming and you might not want to ask your clients to help as it can look unprofessional. The Multi-Cart can easily hold all of your gear and even a subwoofer if the gig demands it.
The combination of the high quality components and the extremely intelligent design make for an extremely trustworthy transport solution. Designed with musicians in mind, the Rock-n-Roller proves an absolute natural when it comes to gig logistics and in terms of bump in/bump out procedure, you’d be hard pressed to find anything more suited to the task. An absolute back saver and a worthy addition to any mobile or touring rig.
Solar Guitars release stylish Type T1.6AN electric guitar
Ola Englund’s brand Solar Guitars aims to “design an absolutely killer line of guitars for the modern guitar player, no matter if you are a beginner or a professional.” From a metal background, Engund has designed a solid new guitar in the T1.6AN, that will be able to handle whatever you throw at it.
Read all the latest product news here.
“Created with the most demanding six-string guitarists in mind, this premium feature-loaded guitar belongs to the Solar Type T1 top of the line range, offering outstanding elegance and performance. ”
The Type T1.6AN is a gorgeous looking guitar due to its aged wood finish. This guitar features an alder body, maple neck, ebony fretboard and 24 stainless steel super-jumbo frets. There’s a distressed metal pick guard so you can thrash away and not worry about damaging the guitar.
Utilising Evertune’s constant-tension bridge, which is a fully-mechanical system designed to keep the guitar in tune, the Type T1.6AN is a road ready guitar. Duncan Solar pickups allow for a wide variety of tonal options while the blade switch allows for five different pickup selections.
The Solar 18:1 locking tuners allow for precise tunings and a clever design gives you full access to the neck from the bottom side.
For gigging guitarists, or those who like playing in the night, there’s glow in the dark dots to easily identify which fret you’re playing.
Check out a demo of this guitar in action below.
Read more about the Type T1.6AN on Solar Guitars website.
Review: Ludwig Classic Oak Drum Series
It wouldn’t be a conversation about the GOATs of drum manufacturers without Ludwig’s name being thrown in the ring. In this regard, Ludwig are basically the Fender of drum kits, both being industry standards and producing consistently quality products time and time again. Hell, Ludwig themselves say they’re “The Most Famous Name on Drums” and with their legacy, how could you not??
Read more reviews here.
Dating back to 1909, Ludwig has produced some of the most iconic pieces of drum related equipment, including their Black Beauty Snare Drum, first released in the 1920s, which are still produced to this day.
By 1923 Ludwig were the biggest drum manufacturer in the world and they hit the masses in the ‘60s as The Beatles’ Ringo Starr performed on live TV bashing on a Black Oyster Pearl Ludwig kit. Ringo was so proud of owning this drum set that he left the Ludwig logo upon the skin of the bass drum (something not common at the time).
From this success Ludwig grew exponentially and bolstered their place at the top of the market with quality, durable drum sets that have stood the test of time.
Continuing this legacy, Ludwig have released the Classic Oak Series, a combination 5-ply 6.5mm cross-over shell with 3-ply maple core and American red oak inner and outer plies. A reasonably thin yet dense shell capable of handling a lot of stress and still leaving the drum sounding tight with an even decay over time.
This line of drums is made using Ludwig’s Radio Frequency Shell Technology, a unique bonding system which cures shells evenly and a historic bladder model from the ‘60s to create that ‘Ludwig Sound’: a sound most people will know all too well from famous drummers including Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham and Keith Moon from The Who.
Using a 6.5mm shell thickness places this drum set smack bang in the middle of kits out there. It has good resistance to energy transfer between shells and has a greater stiffness than ‘thin’ kits, which means it’s suited for all purposes including both studio recordings and gigging on the road.
These shells feature double-45 degree bearing edges, in which the skin will hit the aforementioned maple core. Maple is common among high quality kits for its boost in the low frequency range while remaining smooth on the mids and highs. The result of this is even head to edge contact which provides longer sustain and a wider tuning range than standard bearing edges.
When the sound waves travel through the drum, the oak outer core maximises attack while the maple inner adds more control and low end, with the result being a well rounded tone. Volume, attack and control were forefront to the design of this kit and upon hearing it, it sounds as you’d want the drums to sound from the other side of the recording studio glass.
This series ships as a shell pack without Snare which means you get a Kick Drum with Rack and Floor Toms, featuring all the hardware necessary to get you on your way. I could see this pairing well with a classic Ludwig snare like a Black Beauty or Acrolite, but when the general tone of the kit is this good, you’d have a hard time sabotaging the overall sound. Just no St. Anger snare sounds please.
The Rack toms feature ATLAS PM0048 hardware designed to reduce vibration loss and let the drum resonate all the way through. Floor tom’s have low-profile Triad brackets to decouple them from the floor resulting in a cleaner and deeper sound response. Both Toms give users the choice between Ludwig’s Large Classic Lugs which give an old school feel to embody the namesake and Mini-Classic Lugs for a more contemporary vibe.
Speaking of choice, there’s plenty of it with regards to sizing. Bass Drums are available in 20, 22 and 24 inch diameters with the 22 inch version featuring an option for extra depth, from 14 to 18 inches. Rack toms come in at 10, 12 and 13 inch diameters, again with more choices for depth available, while floor toms come in with 14, 16 and 18 inch diameters. For most drummers I’d say there’s a kit here to suit your style of playing, whatever it may be.
Drummers who like to keep it stylish, or match your Ludwig snare to the rest of the kit there are a tonne of variations. From the new Tennessee Whiskey finish, which has gorgeous deep brown streaks through a mahogany looking base, to the Blue Olive Oyster finish, which has teal and army green flowing graphics over a cream background which almost resembles a camouflage print. Overall there are 23 different finishes available and there’s enough here for just about everyone!
This kit would be perfect for hard rock and gospel drummers alike where more accentuation won’t affect the overall sound. Large, bold and punchy tones shine true here and drummers of many other genres will definitely feel right at home playing these both on stage and in the studio.
In most instances, you can’t go astray choosing a Ludwig kit, and this Classic Oak Series is no exception. With so much flexibility allowed to customers in diameter, depth and colourway, there’s something for everyone here and from the trusty hardware, stylish designs, combination wood shells and Ludwig proprietary design, this one’s surely a winner.
Hiatus Kaiyote, The Rolling Stones and more of the best Record Store Day 2021 releases dropping June 12
Record Store Day, usually once a year, comes twice in 2021 with two socially distanced drops on June 12 and July 17.
This idea of turning a record store into a social hub, is a fantastic tradition that allows vinyl enthusiasts to support their local record dealers and get one-off and limited run releases. A few stores will even have live bands and performances throughout the day.
If this sounds like something you dig, we’ve compiled five of the best new releases coming on June 12th for this iconic day.
- The Rolling Stones – Hot Rocks 50th Anniversary Edition
- KMD (MF DOOM) – Mr. Hood: 30th Anniversary Edition
- Ocean Alley – Lost Tropics Repress
- Various Artists – Soul Slabs Vol. 3
- Hiatus Kaiyote featuring Arthur Verocai – Get Sun 12″
Read all the latest music news here.
The Rolling Stones – Hot Rocks 50th Anniversary Edition
The Rolling Stones are arguably the world’s greatest rock and roll band. This record, Hot Rocks, was their first compilation album, originally released in 1971, spanning the first seven years of their mammoth career.
Featuring hits ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’, ‘Paint It, Black’ and ‘Gimme Shelter’, this 21-track collection is a must buy for stones fans.
This reissue has the original gatefold artwork, a set of embossed lithographs with photographs by Michael Joseph and is pressed on translucent blue and black ‘splatter’ vinyl. If that’s not enough, the whole compilation has been remastered by Bob Ludwig and the lacquer was cut at Abbey Road Studios.
Get in quick to release your inner Jagger.
KMD (MF DOOM) – Mr. Hood: 30th Anniversary Edition
This release is the late, great MF DOOM’s first release with group KMD, where he started honing his craft as a dense vocalist and one of the most enigmatic producers in hip-hop history. KMD (Kausing Much Damage) has a more approachable and comfortable feel than DOOM’s later productions, a sentiment of the time it was released.
Originally released in 1991, this repress ships with a full colour OBI and a tri-coloured record pressing, with the original cover art in tact.
This one’s for die hard Hip-Hop fans and chillers the world over!
Ocean Alley – Lost Tropics Repress
Five years after its original release, Ocean Alley have unveiled their repress of their debut LP, Lost Tropics. This album was a landmark moment for Ocean Alley, moving away from their early reggae style and into psychedelic and surf-rock territory.
Spawning singles including the introspective opener ‘Lemonworld’ and sun-soaked ‘Holiday’, one of Lost Tropics’ strengths is its eclectic nature, stemming from the band’s shared desire to push their own creative boundaries and continue improving their craft.
This essential repress comes in its original album jacket with an aquamarine and transparent orange vinyl finish.
Check out our interview with Ocean Alley here.
Various Artists – Soul Slabs Vol. 3
A collection of represses from the Colemine record label, Soul Slabs Vol. 3 showcases artists with both large and small success.
This compilation of 23 diverse 45’s from Colemine is usually one of the fastest selling releases come Record Store Day. Featuring tracks from Bubaza, The Winston Brothers, Monophonics and The Harlem Gospel Travelers, these old school soul jams will keep you feeling good through the winter months.
Soul Slabs Vol. 3 is pressed on red vinyl and limited to 5000 copies worldwide. Go support your local record store and grab a copy while stocks last.
Hiatus Kaiyote featuring Arthur Verocai – Get Sun 12″
Melbourne’s Neo-Soul superstars Hiatus Kaiyote release this twelve inch ahead of their first new LP in six years, dropping June 25th.
Gaining international acclaim and respect with their debut and second records, this highly anticipated release is set to be one of the best albums to come out of Australia this year. Hiatus Kaiyote received nods from Anderson .Paak, Drake, Jay-Z, Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar all sampling their music, further boosting their international appeal.
This release features the Get Sun track along with an instrumental, accapella and locked grooves for use in sampling/DJ sets. Pressed in their home town of Melbourne, Australia, this record also contains sheet music for playing along at home.
This one will be tough to find, especially in Australia. Good luck!
We hope you find the gems you’re searching for this Record Store Day. Make sure to support your local during these trying times.
For more information on what’s being released, check out Record Store Day Australia.
Tuner Fish Lug Locks Giveaway
Tuner Fish Lug Locks are a dynamic innovation in the world of drumming, ensuring that the tension rods of your drums don’t slip and put your drums our of tune.
They’re super tough, incredibly effective and will ensure that your drums sound great even after hours of punishment, and we’ve got a few to give away for this issue thanks to our friends at Dynamic Music.
To enter, simply enter your details into the form below and follow us on Instagram here, and then you’re all good to go!
Please note: all giveaways are only available to our Australian readers. By entering, you agree to receive marketing collateral from Mixdown and competition partners.
This competition will close on Friday July 9, and winners will be notified within two days of competition closure.
Blue Weekend: Ellie Rowsell details the process of creating their incredible new album
“Do you mind if my video’s off?” Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell would rather not have her webcam judging her in this Zoom meeting – and really, fair enough too. Besides, she’s got bigger fish to fry right now – namely, talking shop on her band’s third studio album, Blue Weekend.
Read more features, columns and interviews here.
Even without the accompaniment of facial expressions, Rowsell is excited to discuss the record – especially as her country slowly moves its way out of stage-four lockdown and the chance of getting to actually play these songs to a real-life audience grows increasingly prospective.
Needless to say, a lot has gone into the build for the new Wolf Alice record – years between releases and pandemic delays among them. What’s most curious, though, is how truly blank the canvas was when the London band began piecing together the follow-up to 2017’s Visions of a Life.
There were no grand directives to make an X-sounding record, or a song that sounds like Y – and even if there were, that notion was quickly abandoned by the four-piece.
“We often start with specific intentions and then just kind of drop them along the way,” Rowsell explains.
“We often find that they hinder us. We have so many influences, and we like a lot of different things musically. We tend to just do whatever’s best for that song individually.
“If you start out with big intentions for an album, then you’ll then have to lose certain songs if they don’t fit. The problem is, that might be your best song. With this album, we had these songs that were quite simple.
“We wanted to bring out the feeling and the emotion of the lyrics – regardless of what that meant for the music. Our sole intention was to capture how we felt playing these songs.”
Said servicing of said songs took many different forms over the course of Blue Weekend‘s creation, which the band undertook in the hallowed halls of a converted church. While some songs worked best with a pared back and refined arrangement, others truly took flight when they were allowed to be as exorbitant as the band pleased.
Rowsell points to the song “Delicious Things” as a key example of the latter.
“We’d gotten to a certain point in the studio, and something just didn’t seem right,” she recalls.
“I know people always emphasise the less-is-more approach – obviously, a song like Lorde’s ‘Royals’ does all these amazing things with basically just drums and vocals. For me, though, my first instinct is always to put loads and loads of stuff in the mix.
“When we were making that song, I was like, ‘Okay, I know it’s not the done thing, but just allow me for a second to throw everything into song that I want to.’ It ended up with a real string arrangement, synth pads, trumpets, brass, harp… just so much stuff.
“As soon as we did that, I just felt so much more confident. It’s a big song – there’s probably like 50 vocal tracks on it. I think that whole experience made me realise that maybe less is not more. Even if it is, it’s not how I like it.”
Joining the band in the studio was producer Markus Dravs, a 30-year veteran whose CV spans indie giants like Arcade Fire and Florence + The Machine as well as more obscure names like Coldplay and Kings Of Leon. Wolf Alice have never worked with the same producer twice – 2015’s My Love is Cool was helmed by UK producer and songwriter Mike Crossey, while Visions of a Life saw longtime Beck collaborator Justin Meldal-Johnsen behind the boards.
When queried about what a producer brings to the fold insofar as the band is concerned, Rowsell muses that it comes down to ostensibly finding a fifth member of Wolf Alice – even if it is on a part-time basis.
“It’s really valuable,” she says. “The four of us have lived and breathed those songs for so long by the time we’ve gone in to record them. You really need a fifth person so you can see the wood from trees.
“All the producers we’ve had on board have different ways of working. Someone like Justin, he’s first and foremost a musician. He’s been in bands his whole life, and you can really see that in the way he works.
“Markus, on the other hand, is a producer through and through – and you can see that as well. Both are really valuable, because it’s nice to have a pair of ears that’s coming from a completely different place to you.”
For an album that often expands upon the band’s already-widespread take on maximalist indie rock, Blue Weekend is curious in the sense that it was primarily crafted with the band’s go-to equipment and live set-up. There were no lavish experiments with new pedals or obscure guitars to be found – instead, Rowsell and co. found a lot within trusting what utensils were readily available to them.
“For the first time, we had a bit more confidence in the gear we always use,” she says.
“Often when you first go into the studio, you’re like, ‘Oh my god, there’s so much cool gear here – I’m gonna use this and this and this.’ You end up not sounding like yourself, because you haven’t even used the guitar that you use every day.
“We stuck to a lot of the stuff that we do know – my cheap Korean knockoff Telecaster, or our Line 6 DL4. They’re not expensive pieces of equipment, but they sound like us. We’ve definitely suffered in the past from doubting ourselves too much – always thinking ‘Well, if I can do it, then it mustn’t be very good.’ If you hear anything on this album, it’s us having more confidence.”
Wolf Alice’s new album Blue Weekend is out now via Liberator Music / Dirty Hit.
Watch: Andrew Huang breaks down the harmonic series with incredible detail
Did you know that the harmonic series is what allows instruments playing the same note to have completely different timbre?
Also known as an overtone series, the harmonic series is a sequence of integer multiple pure tones that exist above the base (fundamental) frequency. What makes these tones occur is based on the make-up and design of a musical instrument.
The harmonic series is seen as the base on which musical scales were birthed from. In this video, Andrew Huang breaks down all the complex terms used in describing the harmonic series, using numerous examples that allow you to better comprehend this phenomenon.
“The physical laws of the universe determined what these note relationships would be long before music existed” Huang explains adding “any resonant body vibrating at a consistent frequency would also include harmonics.”
As notes create standing waves, best illustrated by Huang’s use of a bass guitar, we can hear not only the fundamental frequency, but additional harmonics generated from the strings resonating at half, third and quarter the length of the string. This series theoretically goes on towards infinity but we as humans can only perceive the first handful.
Watch the full video below in which Huang goes deep into acoustic theory, providing helpful examples and educating in a digestible fashion.
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