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Thread: Tasty analogue synth prog: Bill Bressler "Normal Boy"

  1. #1
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    Tasty analogue synth prog: Bill Bressler "Normal Boy"

    Anyone check this out yet? Lots of analog synthy goodness reminiscent of Genesis and Spock's Beard.

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/b...ler/1446699854

  2. #2
    Hey man, thanks for the tip! I'm listening to this now and enjoying it a lot! It's synthy and catchy, but tongue-in-cheek at the same time. I like it.

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    Glad you like... hope others are checking it out too! It appears to be on all major platforms

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Impman View Post
    Anyone check this out yet? Lots of analog synthy goodness reminiscent of Genesis and Spock's Beard.

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/b...ler/1446699854
    Analog Synths sound great.
    Fake drums don't sound great.
    Genesis and Spock's had great human drummers with feel and depth.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Skullhead View Post
    Analog Synths sound great.
    Fake drums don't sound great.
    Genesis and Spock's had great human drummers with feel and depth.
    Suit yourself. Not everyone can afford a human drummer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aith01 View Post
    Suit yourself. Not everyone can afford a human drummer.
    Didn't bug me in the slightest- in fact hardly noticed under all that ARP-y Moog-ness

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Impman View Post
    Didn't bug me in the slightest- in fact hardly noticed under all that ARP-y Moog-ness
    Same here. It's just part of the style, and that's absolutely fine. Not all music needs to be made in a rock band format.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by aith01 View Post
    Suit yourself. Not everyone can afford a human drummer.
    I am sure there are plenty of quality drummers who would have loved to track something like this... yes for free. At this point, it's just a demo.
    I assume when people post things like this here, they are open to critic? Get a real drummer, then you might have something good. What music needs more than anything at this point in time is "authentic". There is plenty of fake everything going on these days.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Skullhead View Post
    I am sure there are plenty of quality drummers who would have loved to track something like this... yes for free. At this point, it's just a demo.
    I assume when people post things like this here, they are open to critic? Get a real drummer, then you might have something good. What music needs more than anything at this point in time is "authentic". There is plenty of fake everything going on these days.
    You don't like it, that's fine. Can't say I'm surprised by your opinion on this.

    That doesn't mean this guy's music is somehow inauthentic. Quite the opposite in fact, if he made all of it by himself.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skullhead View Post
    Analog Synths sound great.
    Fake drums don't sound great.
    Genesis and Spock's had great human drummers with feel and depth.
    Quote Originally Posted by Skullhead View Post
    I am sure there are plenty of quality drummers who would have loved to track something like this... yes for free. At this point, it's just a demo.
    I assume when people post things like this here, they are open to critic? Get a real drummer, then you might have something good. What music needs more than anything at this point in time is "authentic". There is plenty of fake everything going on these days.
    I think it sounds great, and yes you are welcome to your opinion, but our opinion is we like it, the drums are fine and we disagree with your opinion.
    I understand criticism and as musicians we open ourselves to the negative which is fine.

    Btw, I use Addictive Drum software and there is nothing "fake" about it. All the drum patterns are played by a real drummer on real drums. The drums are meticulously recorded with studio grade microphones, and many of the drum samples/patterns are played by world class drummers(some famous).
    The recording musician can then fill their tracks with multiple instances of real drums, patterns, etc.
    There is nothing fake about any of it.
    We pay good money for quality software which allows home studio musicians the luxury of having a real drummer play in our songs.
    Here is a link that explains in detail how real drumming software is, it's not a drum machine.

    https://www.xlnaudio.com/products/addictive_drums_2

    and don't forget, Santa still hands out coal in stockings.
    Last edited by Top Cat; 12-21-2018 at 04:23 PM.
    Soundcloud page: Open Window, musical meanderings https://soundcloud.com/precipice

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    I think it sounds great, and yes you are welcome to your opinion, but our opinion is we like it, the drums are fine and we disagree with your opinion.
    I understand criticism and as musicians we open ourselves to the negative which is fine.

    Btw, I use Addictive Drum software and there is nothing "fake" about it. All the drum patterns are played by a real drummer on real drums. The drums are meticulously recorded with studio grade microphones, and many of the drum samples/patterns are played by world class drummers(some famous).
    The recording musician can then fill their tracks with multiple instances of real drums, patterns, etc.
    There is nothing fake about any of it.
    We pay good money for quality software which allows home studio musicians the luxury of having a real drummer play in our songs.
    Here is a link that explains in detail how real drumming software is, it's not a drum machine.

    https://www.xlnaudio.com/products/addictive_drums_2

    and don't forget, Santa still hands out coal in stockings.
    Well, if the software was so great, I wouldn't know it was programmed, correct? Your argument fails for anyone with a proper ear for music.

    You're posting for feedback and critic, correct? You should appreciate this from someone who cares about music. Your songs and playing is good.

    Get a drummer, it will do wonders for your music. You'll also be able to play out live and bring the great sounding keys to a wonderfully appreciative audience and you'll gain traction quickly. It's much needed in today's world of fake music, loops, samples and other nonsense that keeps music dumbed down. Just say no.
    Last edited by Skullhead; 12-22-2018 at 07:02 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skullhead View Post
    Well, if the software was so great, I wouldn't know it was programmed, correct? Your argument fails for anyone with a proper ear for music.

    You're posting for feedback and critic, correct? You should appreciate this from someone who cares about music. Your songs and playing is good.

    Get a drummer, it will do wonders for your music. You'll also be able to play out live and bring the great sounding keys to a wonderfully appreciative audience and you'll gain traction quickly. It's much needed in today's world of fake music, loops, samples and other nonsense that keeps music dumbed down. Just say no.
    Thank you for taking time to listen and for your suggestions.
    Of course anyone would love to have the live feel and interaction of a real drummer. But for many home studio musicians it's just not an option. And at my age, my days of collaborating are pretty much over. Just want to have fun and work at my own speed without the work involved of collaborating, and sense I'm not charging anything, it is what it is.

    I can't argue that having a real drummer isn't better than using software, of course there is nothing like having the feel, inflection and general vibe of having a real musician interact with one's music.
    I'm just saying, for a myriad of reasons people with home studios, hobbyists, etc, choose not to.
    Soundcloud page: Open Window, musical meanderings https://soundcloud.com/precipice

  13. #13
    I have to say, that there is way more advanced drum programming software than Addictive Drums, which has a relatively limited sample-pool and therefore number of variations in sound in comparison to others like FXPansion BFD and Toontrack Superior, to name but a few. In addition to that it's also heavily pre-processed, so it kinda sounds like a modern record to start with, involving quite some EQ and compression, which of course makes it easy for the inexperienced to time-restricted producer to get a 'polished' or 'pop-compatible' sound, for instance.

    Other products require much more work to obtain results that are definitely more musical, and 'humane' to the ear. There's also specialized libraries that have a puristic acoustic/folk/jazz aesthetic.
    A raison d'Ítre for these things lies also in the actualities of media composition and also commercials, where a studio has to reproduce a given sound on a recording that can not be licensed for various reasons for the backdrop of an advertising clip. In this scenario not only are deadlines insane (e.g. sometimes fully producing 40 seconds of music in an afternoon), but constant last-minute changes and modifications are requested by clients and agencies, so they have to be done in mockup style to be changed around in the proverbial moment's notice.(these films are usually re-cut several times, before they are on air)

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    Quote Originally Posted by sphinx View Post
    I have to say, that there is way more advanced drum programming software than Addictive Drums, which has a relatively limited sample-pool and therefore number of variations in sound in comparison to others like FXPansion BFD and Toontrack Superior, to name but a few. In addition to that it's also heavily pre-processed, so it kinda sounds like a modern record to start with, involving quite some EQ and compression, which of course makes it easy for the inexperienced to time-restricted producer to get a 'polished' or 'pop-compatible' sound, for instance.

    Other products require much more work to obtain results that are definitely more musical, and 'humane' to the ear. There's also specialized libraries that have a puristic acoustic/folk/jazz aesthetic.
    A raison d'Ítre for these things lies also in the actualities of media composition and also commercials, where a studio has to reproduce a given sound on a recording that can not be licensed for various reasons for the backdrop of an advertising clip. In this scenario not only are deadlines insane (e.g. sometimes fully producing 40 seconds of music in an afternoon), but constant last-minute changes and modifications are requested by clients and agencies, so they have to be done in mockup style to be changed around in the proverbial moment's notice.(these films are usually re-cut several times, before they are on air)
    I kind of have to disagree with you in regards to the limitation of Addictive Drums, and believe as in many things it comes down to personal preference.
    Both BFD and Toontrack are excellent drum software. Before deciding on what I wanted I auditioned both of them and finally settled on Addictive Drums 1 & 2.
    I like the AD packs and have 4 or 5 of them which have different sampled drum kits, such as FairFax Vol 2 samples of a 1960's Gretsch kit, Vol 1 Farifax, Prog AD pack, Retro AD pack.
    I don't think they're overprocessed unless you want them to be.

    From your comments, you sound like you know what you're talking about, and I would assume you have a background in drumming. So I can only say from my personal experience as a home studio musician and not being a drummer by any means, I like the sound and the selection of drum kits, samples and patterns available for me.
    But I appreciate your comments, and as I said, I'd be happy using any of the other software had I not chosen Addictive Drums first.
    Soundcloud page: Open Window, musical meanderings https://soundcloud.com/precipice

  15. #15
    I was just reacting to the other commenter who is kinda known for his puristic stance on these matters, and wanted to state that there are also various products, that can produce a broad spectrum of results.(I also realize that this is in all probability a completely futile endeavor )
    And as far as limitations go, Addictive Drums used to have a core sample set around 3 GB, at least that's what I have on my computer. And while I have seen that they have expanded their palette somewhat, which is a natural development in this very contested market, my current BFD folder, that has various expansion libraries has around 180 GB, to put this into perspective. Of course, this is not to be measured in a linear fashion, but the amount of detail that can be captured is of course connected to the size of the actual recordings.

    And I wasn't about to slag AD off as a product family, but just voiced our team's impressions when the studio I worked at bought them initially. They appeared to be more polished 'out of the box' (of course you can switch the processing off later) than other libraries, which can be good or bad, depending on the music creation process and other parameters.

    Personally, I don't have a drumming background per se, but have programmed music (including drum tracks) since the mid nineties, so there is a familiarity with the evolution of modern music production involved.

    <sorry for taking this off-topic into gear minutiae, btw>

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by sphinx View Post
    I was just reacting to the other commenter who is kinda known for his puristic stance on these matters, and wanted to state that there are also various products, that can produce a broad spectrum of results.(I also realize that this is in all probability a completely futile endeavor )
    And as far as limitations go, Addictive Drums used to have a core sample set around 3 GB, at least that's what I have on my computer. And while I have seen that they have expanded their palette somewhat, which is a natural development in this very contested market, my current BFD folder, that has various expansion libraries has around 180 GB, to put this into perspective. Of course, this is not to be measured in a linear fashion, but the amount of detail that can be captured is of course connected to the size of the actual recordings.

    And I wasn't about to slag AD off as a product family, but just voiced our team's impressions when the studio I worked at bought them initially. They appeared to be more polished 'out of the box' (of course you can switch the processing off later) than other libraries, which can be good or bad, depending on the music creation process and other parameters.

    Personally, I don't have a drumming background per se, but have programmed music (including drum tracks) since the mid nineties, so there is a familiarity with the evolution of modern music production involved.

    <sorry for taking this off-topic into gear minutiae, btw>
    Thanks, we're all good, in fact I'm going to revisit BFD and listen again. As far as drums go, I need all the help I can get..lol

    So, in order to get back on topic, did you give the Bill Bressler link album the OP posted a listen?
    Soundcloud page: Open Window, musical meanderings https://soundcloud.com/precipice

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by sphinx View Post
    I was just reacting to the other commenter who is kinda known for his puristic stance on these matters, and wanted to state that there are also various products, that can produce a broad spectrum of results.(I also realize that this is in all probability a completely futile endeavor )
    And as far as limitations go, Addictive Drums used to have a core sample set around 3 GB, at least that's what I have on my computer. And while I have seen that they have expanded their palette somewhat, which is a natural development in this very contested market, my current BFD folder, that has various expansion libraries has around 180 GB, to put this into perspective. Of course, this is not to be measured in a linear fashion, but the amount of detail that can be captured is of course connected to the size of the actual recordings.

    And I wasn't about to slag AD off as a product family, but just voiced our team's impressions when the studio I worked at bought them initially. They appeared to be more polished 'out of the box' (of course you can switch the processing off later) than other libraries, which can be good or bad, depending on the music creation process and other parameters.

    Personally, I don't have a drumming background per se, but have programmed music (including drum tracks) since the mid nineties, so there is a familiarity with the evolution of modern music production involved.

    <sorry for taking this off-topic into gear minutiae, btw>
    People spent incredible # of hours learning software, programming virtual drums and so forth.... along with spending lots of money. If you spent that much time and money on a real drum kit, you could have mastered the instruments in an equal amount of time. Then you could gig, play live, record your own stuff or record stuff for others. All these "virtual" programs etc are nothing more than pretending. Why any true music lover could trivialize the skills and efforts of a real drummer is beyond me.

    It's important also to understand that when you replace a drummer with software, it actually discourages young drummers from learning to play because the message you are sending is that they are not needed, outdated and obsolete. Is this really the world you want to live in?

    What instrument do you play? Are you ok with your instrument being obsoleted by software? How about the new virtual vocalists. You just pick the style, type in the words, program the melody and wha la! Perfect vocals for your virtual music. Coming soon.
    Last edited by Skullhead; 12-24-2018 at 12:50 AM.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Skullhead View Post
    People spent incredible # of hours learning software, programming virtual drums and so forth.... along with spending lots of money. If you spent that much time and money on a real drum kit, you could have mastered the instruments in an equal amount of time. Then you could gig, play live, record your own stuff or record stuff for others. All these "virtual" programs etc are nothing more than pretending. Why any true music lover could trivialize the skills and efforts of a real drummer is beyond me.

    It's important also to understand that when you replace a drummer with software, it actually discourages young drummers from learning to play because the message you are sending is that they are not needed, outdated and obsolete. Is this really the world you want to live in?
    No one here is trivializing real drummers. We just don't all buy into your idea of what all music "should" be like.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by aith01 View Post
    No one here is trivializing real drummers. We just don't all buy into your idea of what all music "should" be like.
    When you use a drum machine or program beats, you are trivializing drummers and sending a message that they are not needed, outdated and worthless. Everyone knows music is in a dire situation these days. Why be complicit to it's demise?

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Skullhead View Post
    When you use a drum machine or program beats, you are trivializing drummers and sending a message that they are not needed, outdated and worthless. Everyone knows music is in a dire situation these days. Why be complicit to it's demise?
    I disagree. There is some beautiful music out there that was made without any real live humans behind a drum kit. There are entire genres built around the concept of electronic instruments (i.e. no physical drums). Endorsing music made like this doesn't preclude appreciation or enjoyment of drummers, and it certainly doesn't mean people think they're worthless. There are still young, talented musicians out there playing real drums. Have you heard Ronald Bruner Jr. with Kamasi Washington's band on their album Heaven And Earth?

  21. #21
    Member Lebofsky's Avatar
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    I think we can and should agree on the following:

    1. Yes there's some wonderful techno music out there with fake drums. That's a befitting aesthetic preference for that genre.
    2. But if you're creating music in the classic/prog rock genre, real drums are almost always better than fake drums.
    3. However, depending on production and the listener, the musical spirit of the final results can transcend whatever artistic choices or arbitrarily perceived shortcomings.

    ANYWAY... as it happens Bill and I played together back in high school! As a kid he would absorb prog like a sponge, learning things like the intro to Firth of Fifth by ear and performing them flawlessly. "Normal Boy" indeed.

    - Matt

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by aith01 View Post
    There are still young, talented musicians out there playing real drums.
    Yes there are.. and they are mostly broke, out of work, and are resorting to posting on youtube to get some kind of feeling of appreciation.
    The public's general view of quality live drummers is one of extreme apathy. This is due to lack of education in music and the arts. The people running
    the music industry are people who don't understand music, it's beauty and power.... they are not musicians and promote only what their limited musical scope
    can identify with. It's a sad state of affairs.

  23. #23
    As the source of all the commotion on this thread, I figured I should chime in. I wanted Phil Collins, Bill Bruford, Nick D'virgilio, or Marco Minnemann to play drums on my album. 2 are retired, and 2 I probably couldn't afford, even if I knew how to reach them. And that being said, why would they even want to play on some unknown guy's album, which was created completely in my attic studio, btw?

    So what I set out to do, by playing the drums on the keyboard, followed by meticulous, Donald Fagen level tweaking, was to try and create the feel of what (in my mind) those drummers might play, if they had actually played for me. Then I tuned them, mixed sampled room mics with sampled close mics and treated them as part of the 'band.'

    What I ended up with was something that sounded absolutely nothing like any one of those drummers might play, yet something that I absolutely loved and was proud of, and felt like they belonged with the music I had created.

    They serve the songs.

    So I hope you, Mr. Skullhead in particular, can have some appreciation for what I've done here. I didn't have a drummer play on my album, but I worked really, really hard on the drums. I think maybe with another listen, you might appreciate the depth and feel that actually exists in those tracks.

    Happy Holidays everyone!

    Bill Bressler

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Skullhead View Post
    Yes there are.. and they are mostly broke, out of work, and are resorting to posting on youtube to get some kind of feeling of appreciation.
    The public's general view of quality live drummers is one of extreme apathy. This is due to lack of education in music and the arts. The people running
    the music industry are people who don't understand music, it's beauty and power.... they are not musicians and promote only what their limited musical scope
    can identify with. It's a sad state of affairs.
    Tell that to Esperanza Spalding, Robert Glasper, Erykah Badu, etc. There are still real musicians out there who are garnering attention and praise, without having to use YouTube.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Bressler View Post
    As the source of all the commotion on this thread, I figured I should chime in. I wanted Phil Collins, Bill Bruford, Nick D'virgilio, or Marco Minnemann to play drums on my album. 2 are retired, and 2 I probably couldn't afford, even if I knew how to reach them. And that being said, why would they even want to play on some unknown guy's album, which was created completely in my attic studio, btw?

    So what I set out to do, by playing the drums on the keyboard, followed by meticulous, Donald Fagen level tweaking, was to try and create the feel of what (in my mind) those drummers might play, if they had actually played for me. Then I tuned them, mixed sampled room mics with sampled close mics and treated them as part of the 'band.'

    What I ended up with was something that sounded absolutely nothing like any one of those drummers might play, yet something that I absolutely loved and was proud of, and felt like they belonged with the music I had created.

    They serve the songs.

    So I hope you, Mr. Skullhead in particular, can have some appreciation for what I've done here. I didn't have a drummer play on my album, but I worked really, really hard on the drums. I think maybe with another listen, you might appreciate the depth and feel that actually exists in those tracks.

    Happy Holidays everyone!

    Bill Bressler
    Hey Bill! Thanks for joining in the discussion. Good to have you here!

    On first listen I didn't even notice that the drums weren't being played by an actual drummer behind a kit. They sounded absolutely fine to my ears, and never took me out of the moment. It's very interesting to learn how you did the drum parts though; I can't imagine how much work/time that must have taken.

    You should be proud. And I hope this gets a vinyl release, because I'd definitely want one for myself.

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