THIS THING RULES: The Riser

Welcome to a new edition of This Thing Rules! This week I’ll be checking out Air Music Technology’s The Riser, which I’ve been using quite a bit on my new album.

Speaking of the new album, I’ve recently gotten really busy what with finishing it up, as well as working on music for a couple of films, so these reviews are going to be coming a little less frequently than I had hoped. But rest assured I’ve got plenty This Thing Rules reviews on the way… As a matter of fact, I’ve got 8 in the works currently!

Now that that’s out of the way, back to The Riser. Lets start off by listening to the demo “Final Lap.”

Now this is not really my usual kind of This Thing Rules blog as this isn’t a usual kind of instrument. The Riser does one thing only, but it does it really, really well. It creates all kinds of rising and falling sounds. In the demo, “Final Lap,” you’ll hear a simple electronic track that I threw together with other instruments, and then every couple of bars I include different rising and/or falling sounds to create build up and transition. All of those rises and falls were made with The Riser.

The first thing that hits you when loading The Riser up is the extremely user friendly UI. There are tons of tools at your disposal for dialing in the kind of sound you need, as well as a lot of presets to get you started. Some of the settings available to play with include three oscillators, three LFOs and 23 filter types. There’s a randomizer that will get you started if none of the presets are quite doing it for you, and even a quick invert mode that changes a rising sound that you like to a fall. There’s also a nice little hints section in the bottom left corner of the screen.

In this demo track, I used presets such as the basic default riser, as well as Horror Chord Swell, Pleasant Fall, Alien Mod Sweep and Empty Space. However, telling you the preset names isn’t as important in a program like this as you’ll feel the desire to start tweaking right away with all the easy controls laid out in front of you.

It’s also really fun to layer different rises or falls (or even a rise with a fall) to get all kinds of great transitional effects in your music. The sounds range from extremely electronic and even chip-tune-esque synth sounds to slightly more natural (although you’re not going to find a big orchestral crescendo here). For most kinds of pop, electronic or hip-hop music, you’re going to find plenty of stuff that works for your compositions.

All of the rises and falls are tempo synced to your host’s currently set tempo, and the length of the rise varies depending on how low or high of a note you push on your keyboard (which is extremely convenient since many similar programs require adjusting parameters with your mouse to change buildup times).

Like I said in the beginning of the review, this is a very specific piece of software. The Riser is the kind of instrument that is either for you or it isn’t, and for me, it’s great. I’ve been using it all over my third album, and I think most people that are making any kind of electronic or synth based music will get a ton of use out of it.

The Riser is available from Air Music Tech for $79.99 and for a limited time includes the free Flux Transitions expansion pack (a $10 value).

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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