Circle² Featured on Dubspot Top Picks / Hugh on February 4th

dubspot

Circle² has been featured in Dubspot’s latest synthesizer chart: “10 Choice Synthesizer Plugins”

“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 article here

Studio Focus: Funkystepz / Hugh on January 28th

Funkystepz

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

We are collective / brand containing 2 producers, myself (Ren Phillips), Stimpy & a DJ, Maxsin. We are known for producing UK Funky, Bass & Garage music. We have had successful releases with Hyperdub and were residents on Rinse FM.

Can you tell us a bit about your studio set up?

We use FL Studio 12 to sequence, and mix & master in Pro Tools. In studio we have a Yamaha DX7 which is really only used as controller, an Alesis SR-16 Drum machine, Fostex PM1 MII and KRK RP6 studio monitors and a Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 interface. Nothing fancy and it all needs upgrading but it does the job!

When working on a track, what is your process?

Me and Stimpy are quite opposite. I like to start with a drum beat and get a groove going, I feel it’s the most important part in Dance music period. If you can bounce to the drums alone you’re halfway there already. I also find it easy to get a bassline and a melody from a drum pattern. Stimpy is alot more musical than I am, so he would come up with some melodies and I’d arrange a structure around them.

How do you normally go about sourcing and designing sounds for your music?

We usually start with the init patch in any plugin and try to create something that’s never been heard before but I’d say me and Stimpy like the weird sounds and we actually reference a lot of old Hip Hop & Dancehall tracks. “Dirty Dutch” “Fuller” “Bounce” are tracks of ours that really stood out because of this. Other than that we tend to tweak the hell out of presets, we are totally against them on the main sounds. There is nothing worse than hearing a great track on radio or in a rave but you can’t get past the fact you know the exactly where it came from. Not only that but alot of producers are using the same presets.

If you experience a creative block in the studio, do you have any particular rituals that get the inspiration flowing again?

We would definitely listen back to old records for a day or so, or line up some acapellas and build tracks around them. Sometimes i would send over Stimpy a bag of tracks I know he would like, or vice versa. I dont think creativity can be forced though, it’s something that just happens. I find when I produce when I first wake up and have a coffee, I can get in the vibe easily. Stimpy on the other hand likes to produce at graveyard hours like 3AM, and i would wake up to a email of all these crazy ideas that work!

Mixing down can often be frustrating when starting out in production, what advice would you give to getting tracks ready for the club?

I agree, I think the understanding of the EQ is essential. Alot of new producers tend to boost heavy on the low end (20hz-100hz) and add boosts all over the spectrum. Less is more! if anything you should be cutting frequencies. Reference your favourite mixes and aim to get it sounding how you want. Bearing in mind these tracks have been professionally mastered, you want to get it as close as possible. Listen to your final mixes from various sources like your car, cd player, console etc and stand outside your studio/room and analyze. I even listen to them on my phone now seeing as nowadays that is where alot of people will hear your music.

What’s up next for you, any releases in the pipeline?

We’ve been working on our releases for next year, no set dates yet but we are putting on Funkystepz UK Funky / Garage / Urban nights across the country. We will be bringing some vibes that have been missed in the clubs: whistles, horns, girls, everything! In the camp we have solo releases in the mould of “Stimpy & Scrufizzer - Tropical Level EP” coming out the start of 2016 and also “Ren Phillips - Blue Ruin feat. Namuli”

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Studio Focus: Compa / Hugh on January 18th

Compa

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

I’m a music producer from Manchester, England. I also DJ. I’ve been writing music now for five years and have played DJ sets around the world, and I’m signed to Mala’s Deep Medi Musik label, along with having released records on other labels such as Boka Records, Kokeshi and Lion Charge Records.

Can you tell us a bit about your studio set up?

My studio setup is modest, I’ve tried to keep it this way because to limit the equipment I have to interact with aids in my creative process. I use a Mac, Yamaha HS8 monitors through a Focusrite Saffire Pro and an Alesis MiDi keyboard and work soley ‘in the box’.

When working on a track, what is your process?

I have a few ways of working. I’ll either start with a synth like Circle for example, in which case I’ll dig in and experiment until I can write a synth line and then build up a track around that, usually by adding drums and then bass and pads and an atmosphere and so on, or I’ll start with a vocal if I’m building a vocal track or a remix and build the track around the vocal, or I’ll start with a sample, be that a sample taken from another track, off a record I own, or from a synth I’ve sampled from online, or… Well, a sample can come from anywhere, and then I’ll build up a track around that sample. Basically, I try to find a source of inspiration that sets off ideas in my head which I then translate into a piece of music.

How do you normally go about sourcing and designing sounds for your music?

I have a few ways of sourcing sounds, I’ll either sample existing records or scour YouTube for a sound that sets off ideas in my head as two ways of working, or I’ll simply open a synth, Circle for example, and just dig through it twisting knobs and playing in different notations until something clicks and, again, sets ideas running in my head.

If you experience a creative block in the studio, do you have any particular rituals that get the inspiration flowing again?

Sampling, without a doubt. I start by listening to records whether that is those in my physical collection here at home or online until I hear something that inspires me. At that point, I’ll either sample that sound that inspires me and begin playing with it in Logic, manipulating it and just making it my own sound and then writing with it, or I’ll try to create my own version of it using a synth and go from there.

Mixing down can often be frustrating when starting out in production, what advice would you give for getting tracks ready for the club?

This, in my experience at least, is a game of trial and error. Mixing down is an art, a very personal art. A mix is different for every track depending on where it’s going to be played and where an artist wants that music to be heard. For the club, at least for me, the focus is on the low-end, the bass. I always make sure my low-end packs a big punch on a sound system, but then again it’s important to make sure the rest of the mix is balanced. I learned by playing my music in clubs, as well as hearing my music being played in clubs, and just listening, thinking; Does this sound right? Does it stand up to the following track in terms of weight and clarity? If not, I try to listen to what is lacking, fix the mistakes and most importantly learn from the mistakes going forward. It’s all a case of trying, failing and learning. I’m still learning as I think everyone is. There’s no definitive answers when it comes to mixing a piece of music.

What’s up next for you, any releases in the pipeline?

Next up I’m releasing my second record on Mala’s Deep Medi Musik label which will be a four-track 12″ and my biggest body of work so far which is coming out early next year, followed by a 7″ single on the well-respected Dub music label Zam Zam Sounds based out of Portland, Oregon in North America. I’m also launching my own label next year, along with making a big effort to carry on touring all over the world, so a lot is happening. I’m increasingly busy!

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Best Synth Plugins Released in 2015: Circle² / Hugh on January 5th

Circle2

The awards keep rolling in!

Circle² has been featured in Producer Spot’s run down of the “Best Synth Plugins Released in 2015″

Read the article here

We’re also featured in ATTACK magazine’s list of “10 Best New Synths Of 2015″.

Read the article here

Roll on 2016!

Happy Holidays From Berlin! Now check these free presets… / Gavin Burke on December 24th

We had a great 2015. Having worked very hard getting Circle² ready for prime time, we were delighted with the positive praise and appreciation we got back. To close off 2015, we’ve prepared a bank of presets for you to use, designed by Circle² sound designers WorldBroSounds. Bring on 2016!

Download presets here, then drop into your preset folder and you’re good to go!
http://www.futureaudioworkshop.com/downloads/extras/free-holiday-sounds.zip

Studio Focus: Kreature / Hugh on December 7th

Kreature

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

Hi im Kreature or Ashley Burgoyne to my mother… I’m a music producer / DJ Based in Ibiza for the summer but I’m usually based in Leeds, UK. I’ve been producing under different aliases for the past 8 years. My music taste has varied over the years but i focus my production on the groovy side of tech house and techno.

Can you tell us about your studio setup?

My current studio consists of: Macbook Pro, Behringer b3030a monitors (cheap monitors but I really love these, I’ve been using them for years and replaced different parts, I guess its just what you’re used to…), Moog Minitaur, Access Virus Ti2 Desktop, Boss BX-16 analogue mixer (great to run Drums and my outboard synths through, it has overdrive on each channel to get a nice bit of analogue distortion), Focusrite Liquid Mix and plenty of midi controllers!

If you experience a creative block in the studio, do you have any particular rituals that get the inspiration flowing again?

Good question! I tend to not bang my head against the wall in those situations.. I think the best thing to do is step away for a little while and work on something else… Maybe go through some new promos, make a mixtape, pretty much anything except drive yourself insane on a project that isnt working.

A signature of your tracks is the unusual sampled elements that work percussively inside the main drum / bass groove. Do you normally insert these elements towards the end of the production? How do you generally approach a making a track from start to finish?

I dont tend to have a certain ritual, I’d say the only thing I do that’s the same on every track is start with creating a decent kick drum, its the basis of the music I make and if that foundation is sonically sound, everything else will fall nicely in the mix around it.

Can you give one sentence of mix down advice for aspiring producers out there?

Learn the ins and outs of EQ and compression, test your music on different sound sources, use plenty of modulation, automation and groove to try and make your electronic tracks sound as human and organic as possible.

Can you give one sentence of sound design advice for aspiring producers out there?

Know your synths! Buy a VST or synth and learn it inside and out, don’t waste time buying loads of different bits of equipment and software and have no clue how to use it all, or just know how to use each one a little bit. Spend time experimenting - listen to sounds and try to re-create them. Again lots of modulation and automation helps things sound more organic.

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

I’ve been a fan of Circle for a while now, I’ve had the first version for years. As you can tell, I’ve mentioned modulation a fair bit here and Circle does that so well, plenty of different filters, envelopes and sequences to assign anywhere you like with ease, it’s an amazing bit of kit.

What’s coming next for you? Any releases on the horizon at the moment?

Up next I have an EP dropping on London based You Are We Records on the 16th December with a remix from Animal Trainer.

After that I have another Collab EP with my good friend Rudosa dropping on Amnesia Resident Mar-T’s WOW! Records. Then a string of releases on Labels like LOST, Material and some remixes here and there.

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Circle² featured on Audiofanzine / Hugh on December 3rd

Circle2

Circle² has been appeared in Audiofanzine’s latest feature: 5 Top Soft Synths You Might Have Missed

To help you avoid making music that sounds like everyone else’s, I want to tell you about some premium-quality soft synths you may not know about… Each is unique and probably very different from other soft synths you’ve used. When you’re looking to stand out from the pack, different is good.

Circle² ($129) is a modular synthesizer, but not in the same sense that Tassman is modular. It has modules — sound sources, modifiers, and modulators, in particular — that you enable as you need them by turning them on. Circle² has four audio oscillators, for example, but you only enable the ones you’re actually using. Disabling unused modules streamlines your patches and conserves your computer’s processing power. Another aspect that makes Circle² similar to traditional modular synths is that you connect modulation sources to destinations by clicking and dragging between them. It’s a bit like using patch cords, but color-coded dots appear onscreen instead of virtual cables.”

Read the article here

Blazey’s Bristol Grime Lowdown / Hugh on November 23rd

blazey

Following on from last week’s Circle² Future Sounds: Grime Presets, we found out about the current grime scene in one of the UK’s most musical cities; Bristol. Bristol is famous worldwide for punching above it’s weight in music, arguably making the biggest contribution to UK music outside of London in recent years. The south-western city is perhaps best known for it’s pioneering musicians within dubstep, drum & bass and trip hop, including artists such as Pinch, Kahn, Massive Attack, Portishead and Roni Size.

Unusually, the Bristol grime scene hasn’t yet had the success that’s been seen in London, Manchester and Birmingham, but things look like they are changing. With sell out 1500+ capacity events in the town and a recent feature of 6 Bristol MCs at Wiley’s inaugural grime event, Eskimo Dance, it looks as if Bristolian MCs and producers may soon be set for a bigger platform.

A forefather of Bristolian grime and dubstep, Blazey established the first ever dubstep night outside of London alongside Pinch in 2004. As the head honcho of grime in Bristol, after years of DJing and running parties throughout the City, Blazey is now running Bodynod, Bristol’s largest Garage & Grime event which has seen some of the most impressive line ups within the scene in recent years. We had a chat with Blazey to find out what’s been happening in the Bristol grime scene over the last few years, and which MCs and producers we should be keeping an eye on.

It’s great that a selection of Bristol MCs were featured at Eskimo dance earlier this month. How did that go down?

It went really well, actually exceeded my expectations, especially given that half the MCs had never worked with each other before on stage. The MCs got together prior to the rave and had a practice session, which definitely paid off, just because each MC has their own particular style which managed to gel during the set and translated well to the crowd.

How’s the health of Bristol’s grime scene changed over the years?

Right now it’s strong, it seems that there is just the right balance of Producers as well as MCs, whereas back in the first half of the noughties there was a wealth of MCs, but only a few producers, then in the latter half of the decade until around 2013, there were quite a few established producers but not many MCs making enough noise to be noticed.

Which Bristol grime MCs should we be keeping an eye on?

Buggsy, Jay0117, Slowie, Dash Villz, Double, Gilly, Daran, Chevz, Trizz, Pea Rackz, Scarz, TDot, Big P, and I really am hoping that Bristol legend King Aggi records some Grime soon, that would be powerful.

Im hoping by middle of next year there will be more Bristol talent in the limelight, with hopefully some nationwide recognition of the talent we have down here, it would be a pleasure to see people take note of the vocal side of the Bristol Grime scene as well as the Instrumental aspect of the scene which has turned heads towards the city.

Lastly, I just want to big up Koast for his Durkle Disco label compilation that is hosted by myself in a mixtape stylee, it features a whole heap of vocal and production talent from the city - definitely a good starting point if you want to check the current state of affairs with Bristol Grime talent.

Circle² Future Sounds: Grime Presets / Hugh on November 16th


* All non percussive elements in this track are generated using the Circle² Future Sounds: Grime Presets.

As part of our Future Sounds series, we’ve put together a new pack of presets. This time we’re focussing on an underground genre that is currently experiencing a strong resurgence; Grime.

Grime came to fruition in inner city London in the late 90s and early 00s. The sound originated on pirate radio stations such as Rinse FM and Deja Vu FM, building on the traditions of UK garage, drum and bass and dancehall. It is known for it’s hard hitting percussion and powerful, sharp synth sounds. Current prominent producers in the grime scene include Wiley, Preditah, Rudekid and ZDot.

Circle² Future Sounds: Grime

1. Alien Ensemble
2. Background Pattern
3. Gliding Squares 2015
4. Gliding Squares 2016
5. Muffler Bass
6. Whistle Grit Bass

Download the expansion here

To install the presets, just unzip and paste the folder “Future Sounds - Grime″ in here:

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

Richie Souf Produces Circle² Trap Demo / Hugh on October 22nd

Richie Souf

Richie Souf is a trap producer and certified hit maker from Atlanta, Georgia, whose production credits include stellar artists such as iLoveMakonnen and Rich The Kid.

Richie has put together the following track using sounds exclusively from Circle². This one’s sure to get your subs pumping!

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