Piecing It Together

I know what you’re thinking… “David, you started a podcast instead of getting the new album out?!” Well I have one question for you… How did you know before I told you that this post was going to be about my new podcast?

ANYWAY… I wanted to post a quick little blog post about my new project, Piecing It Together. It is my new movie podcast where I’ll be discussing movies with various co-hosts and also giving little previews of new music I’m working on. So if you dig my music, you’ll want to listen. And if you dig movies, you’ll want to listen.

And if you like me, then PLEASE go subscribe in the Podcast App of your choice, and if that app happens to be iTunes, RATE & REVIEW the show! It helps! And it costs you nothing but a few little seconds of your time.

My Favorite Stuff of 2017

NOTE: This was supposed to be posted around New Years but I got super sick… I’m still getting over it actually… So here it is, a little half-assed because now that I’m finally getting through this cold, I want to move on to new things and not keep working on this old stuff haha. But here it is anyway. Enjoy!

It’s that time of year again. As I did last year, it’s time to look back at the things that kept me entertained in 2017. I sort of have enough music, TV and video-games this time to do proper lists, but I figured for the sake of consistency, I’ll do like I did last year and do my big Movies list, and then a separate overall list combining everything else. You can also check out 2016’s list for a refresher if you want, or just jump into my 2017 lists. Enjoy!

15 Things from 2017 That Kept Me Entertained (In No Particular Order)

  • Nintendo Switch – The biggest non-movie thing that happened in 2017 for me was Nintendo’s insane comeback with the Switch. Who would have thought that 30 years after the classic NES originals in the Mario and Zelda series, that Nintendo would pretty much make the new best entries? The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey are two of the best video-games I’ve ever played. Period. The Mario game is just pure non-stop fun, and the Zelda game is a revelation. If it holds up when I eventually go back to play it again one day (and keep in mind I beat it with only 19% – yes, NINETEEN percent of the game completed), I might even call it the best game ever made. On top of that we also got the crazy Mario Vs Rabbids game, a bunch of other first-party Nintendo games that I didn’t even have that much time for, and some excellent third-party games like Steamworld Dig 2 and Blaster Master. The Nintendo Switch is just weird and unique enough to be Nintendo, and is the most fun video-game system to come along in a long time.
  • Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – “The Nashville Sound” – The next album on this list, Ryan Adams’ “Prisoner” in any other year would have easily been my favorite album of the year, but Jason Isbell may have made the album of his career… Which is saying a lot when I considered his “Southeastern” album one of the best albums of the decade. The rock songs freaking rock and the sad songs are sad as hell. It’s poignant, every song is great. It’s just a perfect album and a hell of a surprise. 
  • Ryan Adams – “Prisoner” – Not so much a surprise is how great Ryan Adams’ new album is. Along with his also released collection of B-Sides, this was my most listened to album of the year, and one of my favorites of my favorite solo-artist’s career. The song “Outbound Train” may possibly be my favorite song. He rules.
  • The War On Drugs – “A Deeper Understanding” – Definitely my 3rd favorite album of the year… But to say that means I listened to it maybe a half dozen times because pretty much all I listened to were the previous two and podcasts haha. But this is a fantastic album.
  • Nine Inch Nails – “Add Violence” – I would have stuck with just listing my Top 3 but I wanted to add NIN’s new EP because first of all it’s the first NIN album in a decade that I’ve continued to listen to on occasion after the first week of release (sorry Trent), and second of all, even though I had already been considering this long before these EPs came out, my new direction of planning on releasing EPs in 2018 is at least partially influenced by NIN’s new EP direction.
  • Fargo – My favorite show of the year. I don’t get why people didn’t like Season 3 as much as previous seasons. It was FANTASTIC. All the best parts of a movie and all the best parts of this new age of Television combined. The best cast on TV. Everything about it was amazing.
  • Vice Principals – Vice Principals was such a great series. As much as I hate to see it go, I think two seasons was the perfect length for this crazy story and insane characters.
  • It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia – This show shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. I hope it’s on the air forever.
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm – Finally, more Larry David. And he’s as great as ever. 
  • GLOW – Hey, Marc Maron can act good! The show was great too. Can’t wait for Season 2!
  • At Home With Amy Sedaris – It’s been too long since we’ve had a show with Amy Sedaris in the center. She is the freaking best. So funny.
  • Episodes – The Series finale of Episodes. It’s not the best show, but I love it, and it was a perfect ending. 
  • Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later – Also not the best show, but it’s still David Wain and crew being ridiculous. Such fun.
  • American Horror Story: Cult – Last year I said that the season of American Horror Story was the first one I truly liked… Who would have thought I’d like two in a row? This was definitely the best season of the show.
  • Facebook – I hate to give Facebook any credit because it’s a terrible thing and ruining all of our lives and I’m probably physically addicted… But man did I have fun on Facebook this year… Dammit…

And now on to the movies. I thought last year was a big year for movies but wow did I see a lot this year haha. It was a pretty great year too. Lots of truly amazing films. I’m not going to stop and talk about each one or anything like that, but rather list them all out, in order from Best to Worst, and then a separate list of movies that technically were 2016 movies but didn’t open in Las Vegas until 2017, and then a short list of movies from 2017 that I’ve been dying to see but aren’t open here yet.

  1. mother!
  2. War for The Planet of the Apes
  3. Ingrid Goes West
  4. Good Time
  5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
  6. The Big Sick
  7. A Ghost Story
  8. The Disaster Artist
  9. The Florida Project
  10. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  11. The Shape of Water
  12. Logan
  13. Thor: Ragnarok
  14. Last Flag Flying
  15. Alien Covenant
  16. Wind River
  17. Get Out
  18. Brigsby Bear
  19. Colossal
  20. It
  21. Lost In London
  22. Baby Driver
  23. Stronger
  24. The Killing of a Sacred Deer
  25. Free Fire
  26. Wonder Woman
  27. King Arthur
  28. The Babysitter
  29. Lady Bird
  30. Power Rangers
  31. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
  32. Kong: Skull Island
  33. Logan Lucky
  34. It Comes At Night
  35. The Meyerowitz Stories
  36. Battle of the Sexes
  37. The Lego Batman Movie
  38. John Wick: Chapter 2
  39. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  40. XXX: The Return of Xander Cage
  41. Happy Death Day
  42. Split
  43. Wilson
  44. Justice League
  45. The Fate of The Furious
  46. Detroit
  47. Downsizing
  48. Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle
  49. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man Tell No Tales
  50. Transformers: The Last Knight
  51. Rough Night
  52. The Great Wall
  53. Snatched
  54. American Made
  55. The Glass Castle
  56. Spider Man: Homecoming
  57. Blade Runner 2049
  58. The Mummy
  59. The Hitman’s Bodyguard
  60. The House
  61. The Beguiled
  62. Ghost In The Shell
  63. Home Again
  64. Atomic Blonde
  65. American Assassin
  66. A Cure For Wellness
  67. All The Money In The World
  68. The Belko Experiment
  69. The Foreigner
  70. Valerian
  71. Annabelle: Creation
  72. Suburbicon
  73. Landline
  74. Dunkirk
  75. Life
  76. Daddy’s Home 2
  77. Fist Fight
  78. LBJ
  79. A Dog’s Purpose
  80. Roman J Israel, Esq
  81. Baywatch
  82. The Dark Tower
  83. All Eyes On Me

2016 Movies I saw: A Monster Calls, Live By Night, Silence, 20th Century Women, The Founder, Patriots Day, Jackie.

2017 Movies I didn’t get to see but I’d probably love: I, Tonya, Phantom Thread, The Post… a bunch more but I think it’s time to close up 2017 and move on! Haha.

Hope you enjoyed the listings. Here’s to a great 2017, and here comes a great 2018.

David Rosen is an award-winning music composer. He composes original music for films, commercials, jingles, video-games and all other kinds of media projects. He has a vast music library of original tracks available for licensing and is also available for custom compositions. Contact him on the ABOUT page for pricing and availability for your next project.

2017 – Year In Review

As 2017 comes to a close, I wanted to take a quick look back and go over everything that’s happened in this crazy year.

I’ll follow this up with my usual “My Favorite Stuff of” post with my favorite movies and music and stuff like that, but this is about me and my career. What did I accomplish? Lets make a list…

THIS THING RULES: Sonic Zest String Theory

Welcome to another edition of This Thing Rules! This time we’re revisiting Sonic Zest, a company I’ve covered three times before. This time I’m taking a look at String Theory. While the name might not immediately tip you off, this Kontakt instrument is all about a palm-muted Telecaster guitar. It’s made up of 323MB of samples and 4 patches: Tele Pad, Muted Telecaster, Muted Bass and Bass Arp.

The Demo song “Through The Trees” used the first three and a couple sounds from elsewhere (just the percussion and the keyboard). Lets take a listen.

THIS THING RULES: Galaxynth

Welcome to another edition of This Thing Rules! This is a really interesting one, as it’s a unique rompler from a small, new company called Heart of Noise, that is quite frankly, unlike anything else I’ve ever played with. GalaXynth is the name of it, and it’s a little hard to review, but very cool and worth checking out.

Before we dig into what makes Galaxynth so unique, check out the demo, “Machine Eyes” which was made all in GalaXynth except for the main drum beat.

Picking out presets is kind of pointless with a product like this, since the goal of GalaXynth really is to experiment. There are presets that I used, and it does come with lots of samples to play with… But its the way in which you mess with and most importantly, combine those samples that creates the sounds that you work with.

Heart of Noise says that GalaXynth is a highly advanced “auditory synthesis” modeled after the human ear. That may sound like a lot to take in but what it comes down to is mixing and morphing any of the 100+ instruments included in very natural and smooth ways. In the simplest of terms, there’s a box that you drag instruments into and depending on where they are on the X/Y axis as well as how close they are to one another changes the sound of the overall instrument you’ve created. It’s as simple as dragging instruments on and seeing how they mesh.

Of course like any good synth, there are further tools at your disposal to further tweak the sound including 7 high quality effects and intuitive performance knobs. The whole thing has very low CPU usage and practically zero load times. I did run into a few crashes though with certain combinations of sounds which was a little disappointing. After mentioning it to the company they pushed out a patch which actually seemed to fix it, so hopefully those crashes don’t raise their heads again, because it’s a fun, unique tool to experiment with.

One other thing about GalaXynth that’s perhaps a little disappointing is that you can’t use your own samples. I suppose the complex nature of making all these sounds mesh together would make that quite hard to plan for, so it’s somewhat understandable. And thankfully, GalaXynth is expandable with Soundbanks that Heart of Noise continues to make available including the Pop Stars Vol. 1, Future House, Classic.FM and Neon Dreams packs. Hopefully they’ll continue to add more. Don’t be scared off though, the initial purchase has enough instrument combinations to really provide a seemingly endless array of possibilities.

GalaXynth is available to buy from Heart of Noise for $99 (there is a free demo available). It’s definitely a product in its own category, but I think it’s different enough to be worth a look.

My Comedy-Rap Stuff

So this will probably surprise most of you who know I’ve been steadily trying to shed my comedy-rap past as I build a career for myself composing serious music and scores for films… But I’m going to talk about my comedy-rap stuff for a minute.

This Thing Rules: iZotope Neutron

Welcome to a new edition of This Thing Rules! This time we’ll be taking a quick look at iZotope’s NeutronOne of many pieces of software I’ve been meaning to review for some time now.

Before we get into the actual review, or even check out the demo, I wanted to give you a little back-story.  I was recently looking for a certain older track I needed to go back to and edit for a project, and in the process, I found a remix I had started of my own song “Into The Black” from An Unseen Sky. On the companion album, Another Sky I did my first ever remix of my own work, “Forgotten (I Almost Remember Remix).” But I had completely forgotten (get it) that before creating that remix, I had already started on a remix for “Into The Black.” So when I found it just recently, it was a total surprise… And especially a surprise because it was pretty good! Then I had the idea of using it as the demo for iZotope’s Neutron mixing plugin, since it’s not an instrument and is something that needs to be added in the mixing phase, and voila! We’ve got ourselves a new This Thing Rules blog and demo! Here’s the track, “Into The Black (Undiscovered Remix).”

I’d imagine for those of you who actually listen to my albums, that was a pretty cool thing to hear. I know it was for me haha… A long lost remix of one of my more popular older tracks.

So since Neutron is a mixing plugin, we’re not going to go into the creation of the song much, except to say that when I first started the original version of “Into The Black,” it actually started life as a demo for iZotope’s Breaktweaker drum synth. Pretty cool how it’s all come around.

Every DAW comes with a suite of effects for mixing, and if you’ve been making music for a while, you no doubt have a ton of other software that you’ve added to your arsenal over time… Maybe even some of it from iZotope themselves… So why would you want yet another option? Well the promise of Neutron is basically a virtual mixing assistant. The real question is whether or not that virtual assistant works… The answer? Well, I’m not 100% sure yet.

At its core, Neutron is a plugin you can add to an instrument track or a bus and then click a button to make it start “listening” to your music. It will then decide what kind of instrument or music is being played and what should be done to make it sound its best and fit better into the rest of the mix. Surprisingly, it usually not only gets its right, but has some rather impressive results. There are times where it’s way off base, but for the most part, it’s really on point.

Now, that doesn’t mean it’s time to quit your music production school just yet. While some people may look at this as a way of lazily letting the computer do all the work, that’s not at all how I see it. For me, it’s more of a great starting point. Like any preset in a synth, this is like a preset for mixing. Sure, experience might be able to tell me to cut certain frequencies on a guitar with EQ or add some compression on a kick drum… But this is progress and technology creating a new way of doing things, and doing them faster. Not only that, but in my mind, you’re getting the most out of Neutron if you don’t just settle for what it decides to do.

Using Neutron’s decisions as a starting point can be incredibly helpful. Not just in the process of making your music sound its best, but in teaching you where you should be looking to do it yourself. EQ is EQ no matter what software you’re using, and if Neutron decides to adjust your piano in a way that ends up being a really good idea… You’re going to look and say “Oh… THAT’S how you make it sound like that” and remember it for next time whether you’re using Neutron next time or not. And of course, anything Neutron does, you can then adjust from there all within the software with a full featured set of tools.

Now like I said towards the beginning… I’m not quite 100% sure yet whether Neutron as an idea completely works. Partially, that’s because I’m not the best mixer in the world (or composer or masterer or player for that matter, but that’s another story haha)! But even without the wild virtual assistant options, just as a mixing tool, it’s quite full featured and can get you great manual results. What I can tell you for sure though, is that Neutron’s tricks are impressive and I believe definitely a sign of things to come in the future.

Neutron is available from iZotope for $249 and an advanced version that lets you break out each of the separate Equalizer, Compressor, Transient Shaper and Exciter effects as their own plug-ins is available for $349.

David Rosen is an award-winning music composer. He composes original music for films, commercials, jingles, video-games and all other kinds of media projects. He has a vast music library of original tracks available for licensing and is also available for custom compositions. Contact him on theABOUT page for pricing and availability for your next project.

THIS THING RULES: Ample Sound Guitar M & Bass Upright

Welcome to another edition of This Thing Rules! It’s been a long time as I’ve been crazy busy releasing my 3rd album Head Like Fire, but I’ve got almost a dozen products to review and I should hopefully be banging out one after another over the next few months. The first one up is actually two in one, and both of which I used quite a bit on my new album. They also both happen to be from a company I’ve reviewed before. Today I’m reviewing Ample Sound’s Guitar M II and Bass Upright. Lets start out by checking out the original demo I made, “By The Moonlight.”

In “By The Moonlight” the only sounds you’re hearing are these two products from Ample Sound, and drums coming from other software. I have one looping bass line that I created in Ample Sound Bass Upright II and then four different layers of Ample Sound Guitar M II.

Starting with the Bass, this software lets you create a pretty much perfectly realistic sounding upright bass sound. The library was meticulously recorded with 4.26GB of samples taken from every fret of the upright bass. There are 6 articulations – sustain, mute, natural harmonic, hammer on & pull off, legato slide, slide in & out. The bass has a great, smooth sound to it, and of course the software has many features for allowing you to dial in that sound exactly how you need it, as well as quickly switching between those articulations.

The Guitar M II is sampled from the Martin D-41 Acoustic Guitar, and it sounds beautiful. As with their TC II guitar that I reviewed previously, this guitar can sound as real as you want it to as long as you put the time in to play with its features. There’s a tab player that can load in tablature to play for you, and tons of adjustable features to get this to sound like a real guitar. In “By The Moonlight” I am playing some layers with individual notes on the keyboard to create melodies, and some I’m using the Strummer feature to automatically strum chords for me. Strumming also has an extremely natural feel and is fully adjustable to get the exact speed and style you want. For another example of just how realistic this thing can sound, check out this short demo video direct from Ample Sound’s website (I didn’t make this one):

Ample Sound’s Guitar M II and Bass Upright II are both available directly from Ample Sound at http://www.amplesound.net/en/purchase.asp. Guitar M II costs $169 and Upright Bass II costs $149. This company makes a whole host of different kinds of guitars, and their engine makes it very easy to get great sounding results, so really, any of their products are highly recommended.

David Rosen is an award-winning music composer. He composes original music for films, commercials, jingles, video-games and all other kinds of media projects. He has a vast music library of original tracks available for licensing and is also available for custom compositions. Contact him on theABOUT page for pricing and availability for your next project.

… Like Ashes

… Like Ashes,  my new album of bonus tracks from the sessions of Head Like Fire and remixes of songs from that album is now here for all to enjoy for FREE.

This album, as you already know from reading Part 1 & Part 2 of my … Like Ashes blog series (you did read them, right?) is made up of 8 bonus tracks and 5 remixes. You can stream it or download it EXCLUSIVELY for FREE on my Bandcamp profile. It’s also embedded right here in this blog post.

I hope you enjoy the album. If you do and you haven’t already, consider checking out some of my other music including the album Head Like Fire which … Like Ashes is a companion piece of, or check out my first two albums, Echoes In The Dark, and An Unseen Sky. All three are available wherever music is sold and streamed. And PLEASE share. Sharing is the best way for my music to get heard by more people, so SHARE! And if you really love what you hear and want to help out, leave a good review on the music store of your choice (iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby)… Any of the albums, doesn’t matter. The more reviews I can get on the albums in the store the more the albums get noticed in a sea of millions of albums and songs (I think 43 million songs on iTunes last I heard? or was that Spotify? I’m not sure haha, but it’s a lot).

Thanks for the support. New music coming… Well, probably soon, but at least you have these 13 new tracks to keep you busy until then haha. And make sure to check out the blog post about the … Like Ashes Remixes to get links to check out the amazing musicians who contributed remixes to this project! Support independent artists!

David Rosen is an award-winning music composer. He composes original music for films, commercials, jingles, video-games and all other kinds of media projects. He has a vast music library of original tracks available for licensing and is also available for custom compositions. Contact him on the ABOUT page for pricing and availability for your next project.

 

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