Magical Learning Fun Zone! Splatinum’s top 5 free pieces of music software.

Life is good here at the Splat Ranch. Making beats and raising our little Splatlings right is what we’re all about. Good wholesome fun. Adam decided to take a break from his long walks in the forest communing with the spirit of the trees and making his own beef jerky to do a roundup of our most used FREE pieces of software. Keith Emerson would have murdered a baby to get his hands on the kind of power we can get these days for zero cash.

5. TAL U-NO-60
Category: VST/Synth

This is a great little Roland Juno 106 Clone. We use it quite a bit for woozy detuned leads and chunky pads. It’s got a cute interface and while its a bit processor heavy (which always seems to be the case with the free stuff) it’s a pretty faithful reproduction of a venerated work horse. Plus this way you don’t have to watch craigslist like a hawk waiting for a bearded synth wizard to overcharge you by $500 despite the 5 missing keys and dodgy power. “But hey man it was totally in a smoke-free studio!”

4. Paulstretch
Category: Standalone Application

Paulstretch is an extreme timestretching application. Meaning that it increases the duration of a sound but not it’s pitch. You can bust out a 35 Minute Brian Eno style ambient opus with a New Kids on The Block song with a few buttons clicks. Its pretty addicting. We use it  to make ambient swells and atmospheric textures. Find a song in the same key as the one you are writing and have at it! I even use it as a meditation tool. One time I spent an hour and a half lying on my back in the studio and rhythmically chanting and throat singing along  to Elton John’s Rocket Man stretched to  3000%. 45 Minutes in I swear my throat chakra opened up and absorbed the essence of the Tiny Dancer himself.

3. Any BPM counter App for your smartphone
Category: App

Seriously just get one of these. There’s a ton of free ones out there. None of them are any better than any other really. Find one and make it happen. Settle arguments at bars about whether Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ would really mix well into Darude – Sandstorm. Debate the subtle tempo differences between juke and footwork or squarepusher and someone being pushed down a flight of stairs.

2. Your MIDI/Performance Controller’s Software Editor
Category: Standalone Application

Knowing what makes your controllers tick and how to get under the hood will save your ass someday when you are 5 minutes from your set time and none of your gear is working. Figure out what kind of data its sending when you hit a button. Is it a note on/off message? CC Data? What channel is it on? Backup your presets onto the cloud just in case someone steals your equipment. All of these things can often be accessed with an editor provided from your gear manufacturer’s website. Learn your gear. Does a marine know how to field strip his rifle? You bet your ass he does! As should you know as much about whats going on behind the scenes in all your little black boxes.

1. Spotify
Category: Content Licensing Magic

It kills me that I still see people signing up for this service. Why isn’t every single person in the world on this yet? You have nearly every piece of music in recordered history available to you AT ANY TIME. I just made an hour long playlist of struggling disco and funk bands who tried (Mostly) unsuccessfully to make the jump to rap and electro in the early 80′s. Every single one of them released a song with some variation of “computer boner” as the title. Hahahahaha! Do you realize how many garage sales and ex-coke heads I would have had to endure to do that a few years ago? You have to become a music historian. Why steal from your contemporaries when you can steal from people everyone has forgotten! Seriously! No one will ever know and you’ll look like some sort of hipster rain man who knows the titles of every track on Whodini’s 1984 “Escape”! Oh Whodini, the freaks really do come out at night don’t they.

Look out for more pimps and tricks from your pals Splatinum in the future.

Peace, love, and Computer Boners.


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