Circle² Synthesis Tutorial Series, Vol. 2: Deep House / Hugh on August 27th

Following on from the release of our second free Circle² preset expansion pack this month, we would like to present the second volume of The Circle² Synthesis Tutorial Series on our YouTube channel. This time we are focussing on the typical sounds of modern deep house tracks, though these sounds will work within many different musical styles.

Over the course of these videos we guide you through the sound design process for each preset in the Future Deep House Vol. 1 expansion pack, and provide some extra tips and tricks along the way. The video series will give you all the tools required to sculpt your own unique, club ready deep house presets.

Check out the video series in the YouTube playlist below, and stay tuned for more tutorials! If you would like to request particular sound design tutorials let us know via Facebook or the comments section below.

6 Essential Sound Design Tips / Hugh on August 26th

Circle2 screen

We have collected some essential tips for creating amazing and professional sounds for your music! Follow these tutorials and take your sound design to the next level.

1. Deconstructing the lead synth from Wake Me Up by Avicii

2. Learn to program a versatile detuned square lead

3. Learn to program a powerful future house bass

4. Deconstructing the lead synth from Secrets by Tiesto

5. Deconstructing the lead synth from Animals by Martin Garrix

6. Learn to program a classic and versatile electronic pluck

Free Circle² Preset Expansion: Future Deep House / Hugh on August 26th

* All non percussive elements in this track are generated using the Circle² Future Deep House Vol. 1 Expansion presets.

Our new free preset expansion is here! This time we are focussing on the sounds of futuristic deep house, though these presets will work within many different musical styles. This powerful 6 preset expansion contains all the bass, lead, chord and pad sounds you need to create the next dancefloor smasher!

Future Deep House Vol. 1

1. 2015 Organ
2. Attack Bong Bass
3. Brass Lead
4. Flutter Pad
5. Long Bass
6. VPS Chord

Download the expansion here

To install the presets, just unzip and paste the folder “Future Deep House Vol.1″ in here:

OSX - Application Support > FAW > Circle-2 > Presets
Windows - Program Files > FAW > Circle2 > Presets

Artist Focus: Deadbeat UK / Hugh on August 25th

Deadbeat profile

For our readers who are not familiar with you yet, please can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

Hello Im Deadbeat UK and Im a music producer, DJ and sound engineer from Sheffield, UK.

What inspired you to get into making electronic music? Is it something you’ve always known you wanted to do?

I started getting really into music around age 14/15 when I used to listen to tape packs like Sidewinder, old jungle / drum and bass and speed garage / niche tapes, although I have been interested in music from a young age. I remember a point where I thought, “How do these tunes get made?” I pretty much knew i wanted to make music since then.

In terms of genre, how would you define your music?

I dont stick to one genre or sound in my opinion but my music is usually around 130 to 140 bpm with a range of influences from garage, grime, hiphop, dnb and more so its hard to say for me.

Some people say i make bassline some say bass or garage, I’ll leave it up to the listener to decide.

Your tracks often seem to contain strong references the style and energy of tracks from the older Northern UK based niche / bassline scene, what was your relationship with these movements as they were unfolding?

It was the music a lot of people my age where listening to when we were growing up, you could hear it everywhere coming from cars, houses, people’s phones etc, so I’ve always been familiar with the sound and have loved the vibe and energy of it from when I first heard it. The original Niche club closed down before I was old enough to go (legally).

Niche reopened in a different venue a few years later but was only open for a few months before it was shut down by the authorities. You still cant advertise a night as playing bassline in Sheffield even to this day because the police / council will shut it down, but you can still hear the sound in its different forms in the city. There is a lively scene although its a bit different from the old days. I hear a lot of people saying bassline is coming back, i hope so!

To what extent has growing up in Sheffield shaped your musical direction?

Probably a lot to be honest as you cant escape the 4×4/bassline sound if you live here, and also it’s a musical city in general, and very diverse. Music is ingrained in the culture of the city.

When writing a track, what is your creative process? (Do you program drums first? Do you sit down at a set time and say “Now Iím making a track”, or spontaneously rush to your studio?)

It always depends. Sometimes Ill start with drums just to get a groove going, sometimes a bassline or melody kind of pops into my head and i get it down straight away and build around it, although that seems to happen most when I’m away from the studio. Other times ill hear something i want to sample and start from there.

Can you tell us about your studio setup?

It’s very basic. I have a PC which needs upgrading asap because its geting old and slow. I use Ableton Live 9 and have loads of plugins/vsts but currently no hardware.

What were your initial thoughts on Circle2? Are there any certain features you like in particular?

I love the layout and it’s easy to get to grips with. You can make some sick sounds with it, I rate it a lot! I like how you can preview what changing different parameters will sound like, and the dual filter is cool.

Follow Deadbeat UK

Soundcloud

Twitter

Bandcamp

Circle² 2.0.2 (OS X 10.11 El Capitan Support) / Hugh on July 29th

After recieveing several support requests from users of the brand new OS X 10.11 El Capitan Beta, we’ve decided to roll out a Circle² update with full El Capitan support.

El Capitan

OS X users, grab the new installer from the link below if you plan on upgrading to 10.11!

Download Circle² 2.0.2

Circle² Synthesis Tutorial Series, Vol. 1: Future Pop / Hugh on July 28th

Following on from the release of our first free Circle² preset expansion pack last month, we would like to present the first volume of The Circle² Synthesis Tutorial Series on our YouTube channel.

Over the course of these 6 videos we guide you through the sound design process for each preset in the expansion pack, and provide some extra tips and tricks along the way. The video series will give you all the tools required to sculpt your own unique, club ready presets.

Check out the video series in the YouTube playlist below, and stay tuned for more tutorials!

Artist Focus: Tony Lionni / Hugh on July 28th

In continuation of our Artist Focus series, this month we spoke to the house hit maker Tony Lionni.

Tony Lionni

For our readers who are not familiar with you yet, please can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I am a producer of house music of various styles from techno to house to deep house. I also take street photographs in my free time. I’ve written music for many different labels during a time when only talent got you signed to a major house label, like Francois Kevorkians’ Wave Records for example.

What inspired you to get into making electronic music? Is it something you’ve always known you wanted to do?

I am of mixed parentage, a mixture of Black African and White European roots. Growing up I was educated musically by my fathers’ love of Black music and followed the history and trend in Black music, from the 1970s brass and acoustic days to the development of electronic drum machines and keyboards becoming more popular in Black music with the start of electro. My house was always full of electronic things; oscilloscopes, broken circuitry boards, soldering irons, hi-fi equipment, and Black music records / cassettes everywhere, in every cupboard, attic and living room. It was an evolutionary thing and music was always and is always around me. I was fortunate enough to have friends back in the day who had the money to buy bits of equipment. At the age of 18 I was working for a top guy who was white and was a similar age to my dad who had nuff wicked Black music albums from the 70s that were real rare, like Eugene Mcdaniels as well as classic George Duke albums. After work around the time of 1988 he would invite me over to his home and we would make house beats. He also would bring me along with him and introduce me to many of the top Manchester recording studios of the time.

Many thanks to you Tony and Chris Bird you help put me further along the pathway.

Your track ‘Found a Place’ (Ostgut Ton, 2009) is an absolutely timeless Berghain anthem, and is still a classic internationally. Please could you tell us a bit about how this track came about?

Thank you. I wrote it just after being very nearly homeless, completely broke and unemployed, with no one around me to help or who would help me out at the time. Shortly after I signed a 2 track EP to a label in Detroit and with the little cash got myself back on my feet and wrote Found a Place. I sent it to Len Faki who was a fan of my previous releases and he surprised me when he wanted to sign it for the Berghain compilation he was doing. I was surprised as I didn´t think people would get it; as far I was aware during the time no one else was digging back into the early 90s house and techno records. I wrote it thinking back to The Hacienda, when house fusion crews like Footpatrol would dance to Innercity and battle other house fusion crews from other parts of the country that would come up north.

To what extent has coming from the UK influenced your music? Do you feel your music relates more to the musical textures of Berlin?

Growing up in the UK in the 1970s and being born into a mixed race family the UK was secondary to Black America in terms of leading the way in Black music and modern music trends. Back then society was very divided. Blacks and mixed race families listened to Black music and virtually all whites listened to Punk, indie, and heavy metal. As Ive followed the development of Black dance music from the 1970s, I am very fortunate to have seen and experienced the music evolve, and was exposed to it from when it wasnt played on the radio very much or played in discos, right through to the dance music explosion in the UK at the end of the 80s, for better and for worse. Berlins music culture is a completely different story with a completely different culture.

When writing a track, what is your creative process? (Do you program drums first? Do you sit down at a set time and say “Now I’m making a track” or spontaneously rush to your studio…)

Always drums first and take it from there in what ever path it follows. I write music for different reasons, sometimes I want to feel good about myself and get my swagger on and write something I feel is dope that will put a few heads to rest, other times it’s to eliviate stress or simply to fill time when I don’t feel like doing something else.

Can you tell us about your studio setup?

Very basic portable set up of Macbook, Monitors and a Yamaha Mo6 Full size keyboard.

Ableton live and Reason in rewire mode, don’t need anything else to write music these days.

What were your initial thoughts on Circle²? Are there any certain features you like in particular?

Again thanks for letting me try it out and I must say I am having fun with it. I like being able to layer the different waveforms. The effects are nice too and can really add a lot to the sound and groove. I’ve just scratched the surface and i am looking forward to just playing around with it so I know exactly how to get the best out of it.

Thanks for your time Tony, we can’t wait to hear your next releases!

For Tony Lionni tour booking enquiries please contact
room303@live.com

Free Circle² Preset Expansion: Future Pop Vol. 1 / Hugh on June 25th

* All non percussive elements in this track are generated using the Circle² Future Pop Vol. 1 Expansion presets.

We’re currently in the process of recording our next video tutorials, which will be genre focussed synth recreations using Circle². The first series will be focussing on futuristic electronic pop, and will be followed by chapters focussing on deep house, future garage, drum and bass, dubstep and trap.

To precede the first videos, we would like to present a selection of the sounds that will be recreated over the first series. This powerful 6 preset expansion contains all the leads, pads and chords you will need to create the next hit track!

Future Pop Vol. 1

1. Electro Bassics
2. Square Lead Wobbler
3. Supersaw Power
4. Supersaw Tremor
5. Undercover Plucker
6. Undercover Saw Lead

Download the expansion here

To install the presets, just unzip and paste the folder “Future Pop Vol.1″ in here:

OSX - Application Support > FAW > Circle-2 > Presets
Windows - Program Files > FAW > Circle2 > Presets

Circle² Review Roundup - Part 2 / Hugh on June 25th

Resident Advisor

Overall rating: 4.4 / 5

“Perhaps the most impressive new feature of Circle² is a cutting-edge new oscillator type called VPS. This oscillator gets its name from vector phaseshaping synthesis, a technique in which two sine waves are combined in different ways to create a wide array of sonic textures. What sets this apart from the usual additive or frequency modulation algorithms is that VPS joins the sine waves together end-to-end. By altering the frequency and the point at which the waves are joined together, you gain an immense level of control over the output with just two parameters. FAW reportedly worked at length with some of the original authors of the VPS paper to refine their implementation for a software instrument. Their efforts paid off—the sonic possibilities of the VPS oscillator give Circle² a whole new level of depth and a signature that sets it apart from other instruments.”

Ratings:
Cost: 4.0
Versatility: 4.0
Sound: 4.8
Ease of use: 4.8

Read the review

imamusicmogul

“I’ve been using Circle² for the past couple of days and let me tell you it’s becoming on one my top synths. The sounds this thing produces are extremely gritty, massive and present to where music is today. If you’re an electronic music producer then this is the synth for you.”

Watch on YouTube

Dubspot

“Circle²’s esteemed user-centred design approach is forward-thinking and highly intuitive providing an improved workflow and user experience for both novice and experienced users. The unique interface reveals every parameter in a single window that is very accessible and easy to operate without having to click around to find hidden controls and submenus. The complex sounds crafted from the simplistic operations of this modern looking synth allows the user to focus on creativity rather than technicalities, which makes it a must have tool for your arsenal.”

Read the review

Artist Focus: Fanu / Hugh on June 25th

In continuation of our Artist Focus series, this month we spoke to renowned Finnish drum and bass breaksmith Fanu.

For our readers who are not familiar with you yet, please can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

My artist name is Fanu. I live in Helsinki. and I’ve been releasing drum and bass and related styles since 2003 or so. I started making electronic stuff in 1992, though. I recently kicked off a “hip hop side career” as FatGyver, too. I run a label called Lightless and sometimes I release music wherever. My Bandcamp page should give a decent picture of what I’ve done in the past decade or so, as I’m trying to have most of the worthwhile music up there.

What inspired you to get into making electronic music? Is it something you’ve always known you wanted to do?

I could go for the super corny saying, ”I didn’t choose it – it chose me”. I spent my childhood (till I was 19) in the quietest, most boring countryside town, and hearing electronic music hit me really hard in the early nineties and definitely filled a void as I had nothing else to do (in addition to skateboarding). Hip hop came into my life at the same time and influenced me a lot as well, and I think most of my stuff has a bit of aesthetics from both genres.

I got into sampling with Amiga at an early age and started messing with tunes of my own around 1992 or so, and literally from the first moments I knew that’d be something I’d like to do. Nothing really compared to the magic of making music of your own. I still find it quite magical, to be honest.

How has living in Finland influenced your work?

It’s ”always” dark and cold here. Well, in general. Like right now, mid-June, it’s raining like hell while all I’d like to do right now is go out and skate. It still hasn’t got really warm, to be honest. So I’ll use today making music once again.

Living up north was even colder and darker, and I’ve always said there’s a lot to interpret in the dark, and snow definitely puts you into a different mindstate, and it 100% did shape my imagination when I was young. I’m grateful for having always lived in Finland, as because of that most composers here tend to write this sort of deep, melancholic music. It’s the weather / climate. I can’t even think of what type of music I’d be laying down if I had been born in Brazil or something.

Fanu

When writing a track, what is your creative process? (Do you program drums first? Do you sit down at a set time and say “Now I’m making a track” or spontaneously rush to your studio…)

It varies a lot. For such a long time, I used to start with a break, and you can hear it: most of my D&B tunes are known for the breakworks. When you write a strong break, you’ll sort of have to write the song around it, whereas if you start with something else, the beat may be sort of complementary.

But I’ve always considered the “vibe” important too – the emotion – so I may start with that sometimes because just laying down a deep chord will totally set the vibe for everything else you’re going to do. But if I start with “something other than a break”, I won’t always end up getting that deep with the beats. But I like switching my ways of working in many ways as it keeps it fresh.

Music – finishing songs – is work, and you often have to make yourself work even when watching a movie or going to a pub might feel like a more pleasant option, but in terms of starting a new piece, I need to have a bit of a vibe going. I easily get there by going through sounds I’ve sampled or sounds I’ve created or come up with. I’m always working on ideas and sounds, so I’ll always have material to start a song with when I feel like it. I’ve been keeping a notepad of all worthwhile ideas etc. for a while now so that leaves me a lot of mental space as I don’t have to remember anything. Mental space is key when it comes to creating music.

Can you tell us about your studio setup?

As for hardware: 17” Macbook Pro, UAD Apollo Twin, Adam A7 monitors + Sub8 sub, Moog Minitaur, Arturia Microbrute, Waldorf Blofeld, Akai s3200XL, Akai s950, E-MU Ultra 5000, Akai MPC Renaissance, Ableton Push, Soundcraft desk.

As for software: Ableton Live 9 and a ton of software. I’ll use anything, to be honest. I’m not a master of anything – other than Ableton Live, which I also give a bit of training on – but I’ll vibe off of anything and make it work. Traditionally I’ve been sampling everything that moves pretty heavily but it’s been in recent years that I’ve started using synths more, too.

What were your initial thoughts on Circle2? Are there any certain features you like in particular?


For me it’s important that it looks clear – I can work on my breaks a long-ass time using a sampler from the 90s that’s slow to use, but to be honest I don’t spend hours and hours on a synth patch. I do make my own, but I want to get them down quite quickly, and I need to be able to just rock it without having to read the manual all the time. I mean if the GUI is intimidating, it puts me off, but Circle2 did the opposite when I saw it: it’s really easy to grasp. And the modulation system is the best I’ve ever used on a synth, hands down. Honestly, the design is great – all you really need is laid out for you and all is easy to see. I also love seeing visually where the envelope and LFO are going…one of those small yet big things and it helps you set their speed etc.

All in all, it’s perfect for someone like me who wants to get their hands dirty quick. Definitely one of those I’ll whip out at an airport, come up with a dope sound quickly, and boom, I’ll write a tune around it.

To keep up to date on Fanu’s latest news follow him on Facebook, SoundCloud and Twitter.

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