Rick Wakeman, Jon Lord, George Harrison… and EZKeys?


There was comment on one of my YouTube videos a few weeks ago that got me thinking.  The video was about using the Cubase Chord Track with Toontrack’s EZKeys, and the general thrust of the comment was “that’s fine for people who can’t play”.

One of the things I’ve set out to do with the songs I’m recording at the moment is, for the most part, to avoid my own clichés and to try to think, (and play), outside the constraints of my comfort zone.  For a guitarist, I’m a passable piano player, but I’m no Rick Wakeman, so EZKeys gives me the ability to record a higher quality piano part than I could achieve on my own, either by playing or simply writing in the notes. [Read more…]


From the Boiler Room: February Update

drum_comboThe drum parts for all of the original songs are now complete, as are the bass parts. There may be some tweaking of the basslines as the arrangements develop, but they’re there or thereabouts for all songs. The drums are mainly the EZX Indie Folk and Americana kits, (a 50-50 split), but I couldn’t find the right parts for “One More Time”. In fact, anything I tried, no matter how simple, seemed too busy or just leaden, so I’ve opted for some simple (EZX) Latin Percussion on that and it’s just enough to provide some movement without becoming a distraction. [Read more…]


From The Boiler Room: Bass Line Sprint

broomstickWith the end of the holidays fast approaching, I was able to take some time to get some actual recording done.  Serial bass line recording was where I started.  I’ve got drum parts down for most of the tracks using the EZ Drummer libraries, but my efforts to generate acceptable basslines from Broomstick Bass’ internal library were (almost) going nowhere, so I abandoned that as an idea and reverted to playing them in off a keyboard.  In the space of a couple of hours, I had bass parts for 4 songs recorded and ready for editing and a second session yielded seven more – sometimes, you just have to go with what you know.  I’ve uploaded videos showing how I’ve gone about editing them to the YouTube channel.  Why almost?  Well, as you might expect, there was the exception that proved the rule – the bass line for “A Winter’s Blues” is, as it stands, what was generated by Broomstick Bass from the Chord Track. [Read more…]


Video Tutorial: Using EZKeys with Chord Track

EZKeys from Toontrack is a powerful composition and performance tool in its own right and shares a number of features with Chord Track, in terms of its ability to revoice existing MIDI patterns to match up with a different chord sequence.  Where it goes beyond Chord Track is it’s ability to animate those chords in different styles to suit the genre of music you are working in, but it’s limited to a single time signature and doesn’t always produce entirely pleasing results, especially when simpler chord sequences are tested against its more harmonically rich performance styles.  This video looks at how to get the best of both worlds out of EZKeys and Cubase.


From The Boiler Room – December Update

ezkeys_uprightYou may have noticed that it’s been a bit quiet on the Boiler Room front.  That’s because I’d got through the stage of defining my thought processes – very wordy, not a lot of action – and moved on to the stage of starting to build the arrangements – lot of action, not a lot of words. Despite my best intentions, I’ve struggled to get away from building an arrangement from the drum parts up.  Where I was able to find a set of parts in EZDrummer’s library that inspired me, I was able to construct the drum track reasonably quickly and then start to build on that, but where I was unsure just how “drummy” I wanted the track to be, I tried to start with something else and that’s where the trouble started and progress stopped.

[Read more…]