Wavesfactory releases W-Glockenspiel for Kontakt (and watch the YouTube demo video)


In the last 24 hours, Wavesfactory released a new instrument called W-Glockenspiel for Kontakt 4.2.4 and above for €9.95 (currently that’s $13.64 is USD, if you were wondering). Here’s a video demo:

Great sounds with a beautifully simplistic interface make this plugin incredibly appealing. On the product’s purchase page, you can hear the instrument played in a variety of compositions. The Glockenspiel (or, as we beginner percussionists in the 6th grade use to call them, a “bell kit”) is used largely in orchestral settings, but has become increasingly more trendy as of late in pop music and happy, corporate commercials (often accompanied by ukulele’s and hand claps). This particular instrument includes a wide range of styles and speeds of glissando’s, which I find rather intriguing.

Here’s some info from the purchase page about this instrument:

Recorded in a completely dry recording studio with up to 12x selectable round robins, up to4 velocity layersSampled chromatically with no pitch shifting.
Attack/release controls. Playing with the attack you can get very different results.
Recorded with 2 microphone positions, close and room, controllable directly on the interface using a slider that crossfades between the two signals.
Round robin reset keyswitch (green) and a dampen keyswitch (red) to stop all voices applying a fade out.

What do you think, composers: Will you buy it? What glockenspiels do you currently use? Are glockenspiels overused?

(fun fact: the opening song on the demo video is composed by an AudioJungle author who goes by the name alkis. I have emailed with alkis on numerous occasions. He has become a dear friend and audio mentor to me.)

‘Hans Zimmer Wants You’ Competition – 5 days left (and why I’m not competing)

zimmer wants you

In January, a competition was launched by Hans Zimmer‘s production company, Bleeding Fingers. The competition, appropriately titled Hans Zimmer Wants You, boasts that the company is “searching for extraordinary recruits to join the ranks of our elite composer force.”

Let’s face it, these composers are elite: Inception, Transformers, Batman, Survivor… to name a a few.

Under “About Competition”, we read:

Calling all composers! This original theme called “Destiny’s Door” created exclusively for this contest by Mr. Zimmer himself is yours to reimagine, replay, recompose or revise to your heart’s content. Below you’ll find a link to the theme plus everything you need to get the creative juices flowing. We’re looking for originality, curveballs and adventurous amphonics.

The description gets any composer’s adrenaline pumping. Now, try reading it with the Inception theme on in the background. The competition lasts until February 19 – only 5 more days!

However, things aren’t always what they seem. I’m a part of a wonderful community of composers on AudioJungle.net and as soon as the competition popped up, this thread appeared in the forum. A couple of tidbits about this competition that was discovered in the fine print:

1. Only composers from United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada (excluding Quebec), Germany and Sweden only are qualified to participate.

2. Noted by a top AudioJungle composer, Gareth Coker: “You give over 100% of your arrangement to ‘Bleeding Fingers’ music. Yes, 100%.” The fine print reads, You shall have a non-exclusive limited license within the Competition Period to use the Stem files solely for the purpose of entry of this Competition only. And… Bleeding Fingers being deemed the SOLE author and owner thereof.

3. And finally, the kicker: For the sake of clarity, the Winner(s) are not guaranteed to receive an offer of employment with Bleeding Fingers, rather, the Winner(s) shall solely be guaranteed an interview with Bleeding Fingers, which may or may not result in an offer of employment.

4. In an interview, someone had noted that the community voting counts for a lot of the weeding out. Granted, Bleeding Fingers will pick the winner(s), it is the votes in the meantime that help define “the finalists.” So, a popularity vote. If you have a large online support for you to abuse, it doesn’t matter if your composition is inferior, you have a better chance to get noticed. Therefore, it is better for you to have submitted a song within the first 2 weeks of competition than the last 2 weeks. Five days are left. I would say it is too late.

Finally, the competition requires me to take a good look at my strengths, listen to what is already submitted and determine if this is the best use of my time. I have come to the conclusion it is not. Below are some entries from AudioJungle composers. My favorites are near the top. There are a few of those that are incredibly greater than anything I could ever compose for the cinematic / dramatic category and I’ve only listened to a handful of entries. There are thousands of entered songs. Composing for this competition would not be the best use of my time. But I’m excited to see the outcome.

Good luck to all involved!

The Guy That Will Change The Way You See Music Forever. In One Simple Video.

Mark Applebaum

Is it music? This is the question composer Dr. Mark Applebaum keeps coming back to. Here’s a modern day composer who is not afraid to test the boundaries and limitations of music. From composing a piece for a florist, to constructing an instrument out of household junk, Mark is an music pioneer. He may not go down in history as the next Beethoven, but the guy is extremely talented. What may be even more extreme is his quirkiness. Take a journey in this humorously entertaining, yet outlandishly genius presentation of his at TEDx Stanford and dare to expand your view of music.

Piano Exercise by Jordan Rudess

If you are a piano player, I would recommend following Jordan Rudess’ Facebook page or his very active YouTube channel. The keyboardist of Dream Theater entered the prestigious Juilliard School of Music at age 9.

On his Facebook page, he often presents exercises and challenges for those who are wanting to perfect their craft of playing the piano.

Here in this video titled, “Jordan Finger Exercises. Give you fingers some brains,” he shows a very simple but effective challenge to work your finger coordination:

The Beginning of ‘The Modern Composer’

While recovering from the pain and confusion of being laid-off as a full-time youth pastor in November 2011, I worked for my friend’s marketing company for a week. While there, I learned about the world of stock royalty-free music through the hottest-selling royalty-free music marketplace, AudioJungle.net.

My dad has been a composer my whole life. However, his realm is church choral and piano music, and writes with notes and staves. I had been creating music with MIDI since the early days of FruityLoops, but, only until recently, had no outlet for my music.

MIDI allowed music to be “created” on a computer, as opposed to “written.” And with the quickly developing MIDI technology over the last decade especially, music created on a computer began to not sound so fake. In fact, it began to sound very real. A grand orchestral production that involved days in an expensive studio, requiring the hiring of professional musicians that could cost thousands of dollars, could now be emulated by a kid with a good ear in his basement.

I began uploading my music on AudioJungle and saw some success. Around the same time, my wife and I began regularly attending a new church. My first Sunday morning of playing drums at this church, the sound engineer spoke into my in-ear monitors saying, “Phil, you don’t know me but I’ve bought some of your music on AudioJungle.” I was excited to meet Dave, who co-owned a video production company that, after a few meetings, I moved in with and started working along-side. They invested in better MIDI sound libraries, and, along with my own music, I began composing for them and their clients as well.

I’m excited to say I’ve found a way to compose full-time and earn enough to justify to continue to pursue it. I’m living my dream as a modern composer and am learning how to evolve with the changing face of music composition. However, I’m still relatively new at this. Though royalty-free stock audio industry is still pretty new, there are composers who have been a part of this industry for the last six years or so. I still have a lot to learn. I hope you’ll join me on this journey as I try to uncover and highlight this ever-changing face of modern-day music composition. Subscribe on the right and join the journey!

Phil Larson