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Noel Borthwick

Fission - Cakewalk Professional 1.0!

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This is a jazz fusion composition of mine that I originally recorded and mixed in Cakewalk Professional 1.0

This was an all MIDI project at the time - no audio sequencers were around! I used the GR-50 synth to record all the MIDI and it was mixed using MIDI CC's alone. It's amazing that Cakewalk still loads the project file from back then without any problems. I just added a few virtual instruments and did a rough mix. Nothing fancy in the mix. I left it vintage sounding :)   

Noel Borthwick: Guitar Synth (GR-50)    
Ramona Borthwick: Electric piano

Synths used:
Fabfilter Twin 2
TTS1
Session Drummer
SI-Bass
SI_Strings
Lounge Lizard

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Lot's of modulations in this!  haha.  I've never been able to wrap my head around this stuff though I studied it for 20 years in NYC.  Great sounding stuff.

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I was only saying to someone the other day that it was nice that we could still load Cakewalk projects from older versions.  Sounds good here for a rough mix Noel.

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12 hours ago, David Sprouse said:

Lot's of modulations in this!  haha.  I've never been able to wrap my head around this stuff though I studied it for 20 years in NYC.  Great sounding stuff.

Its generally horizontal but yeah I like things to move around a bit even in this genre. There is some interesting symmetric motion in between the sys chords.
I think I have the changes somewhere if you're interested...

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3 hours ago, Wookiee said:

I was only saying to someone the other day that it was nice that we could still load Cakewalk projects from older versions.  Sounds good here for a rough mix Noel.

What was cool was that I was able to get that project to play with softsynths since I'd originally used a hardware synth. There is a ton of pitch bend info on the synth tracks because it was all tracked with a guitar controller. The Roland controllers generate pitch wheel events to do slurs, hammer on's  and even vibrato. So you can literally get hundreds of pitch events in the space of a measure depending on your articulation when you play. I don't use guitar synths these days but that was one thing I actually liked about the them, since they made guitar synth sound more organic than keyboard parts. However most soft synths don't properly track wheel events like this so they sound weird or glitchy. I found both the FabFilter Twin and TTS1 handle them perfectly though so I was able to fairly closely get a patch that was like the original GR-50 sound I had used then.

I remember Cakewalk professional had a lot of issues rendering the pitch wheel events in this same project back in the day. When I was a beta tester in '93-94, I reported bugs where some events were being rendered incorrectly on playback. I remember Ron pulling out his hair trying to fix them since they hadn't seen many projects from MIDI guitar controllers.

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BTW this tune was uploaded to BandLab directly from CbB using the new export toolbar. I exported the buses as stems.

Try it out - its very convenient. All the song info text from the project info tab in the browser should also populate in BandLab.

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This kind of music is just my cup of tea!  Reminds me so much of Chick Corea and Return to Forever.  And don't feel bad about the modulation.  IMHO, thats what helps make it a great sound.

 

😀John B.

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Love the wobbly detune thing this has.

It's 1980, and its early Level 42! Or maybe Incognito. Really fun stuff. If you posted the chord changes, it would kind of ruin the listening experience!

cheers,

-Tom

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Very nice track. Interesting history on it. I'm amazed CW loaded the old project. I'm sure there is still a lot you would be capable of with this if you had the desire and thinking out loud, the time.  

Thanks for sharing  it!

 

 

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16 hours ago, emeraldsoul said:

Love the wobbly detune thing this has.

:) That's an artifact of the early guitar synth pitch to MIDI stuff. It could be difficult to control. I was tempted to strip out the pitch wheel but I think it had a kind of organic sound so I left it there.  But I did goof on the synth assignment - I think I have one instance of fabfilter playing two parts simultaneously on different channels. It doesn't appear to respect the MIDI channel properly so the wheel events are getting interpreted incorrectly when they are playing together. I should split it into different instances...

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6 minutes ago, Starise said:

Very nice track. Interesting history on it. I'm amazed CW loaded the old project. I'm sure there is still a lot you would be capable of with this if you had the desire and thinking out loud, the time.  

Thanks for sharing  it!

 

 

Yeah it brings back a lot of memories from a different era. At the time I mixed the tracks via MIDI CC7 and then used a mackie 1202 to mix the outputs of the hardware synths to stereo and record it to cassette tape :)

It would be nice to have a real drummer instead of the cheesy MIDI drums and a bass player as well. I might try and modernize it and try and actually perform it someday. Never actually did anything with that tune other than this scratch track although we were looking for a recording opportunity to do this and a bunch of other tunes. It never materialized though...

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Cutting edge for the time though. My cassette recordings were nowhere near as well done.I still have a Mackie gathering dust in the studio.

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Still sounds good after all these years.
I have a 3.5" floppy with a bunch of old Cakewalk projects from the late 90s, but they were saved in some proprietary format and I don't remember the backup program I used back then.

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Something that may be of interest. You may might notice that the way notes are articulated is very different from how it sounds when played from a keyboard.
I mentioned earlier that the  Roland controllers generate pitch wheel events to do slurs, hammer on's and pull offs from the guitar. These are typically instantaneous pitch bends, something you physically can't do from a keyboard in real time. Synths respond to this is quite differently than how they would when notes are played consecutively and it gives it a nice legato feel.

I got interested in this back then and wrote a CAL script called bend.cal to do this with normal MIDI parts. It can be quite effective to create more legato sounding lines.
Check out the attached file if you are interested. This is what got me interested back in the day to write music software:) Some pretty dense CAL code there!
Ha my email address in there is from my old job before Cakewalk.

 

BEND.CAL

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Thanks Noel!

Nice job! I listen to this genre a lot! 

I have a GR-50 and wish I could make my guitar playing as good as yours.

Always on the lookout for another CAL tool also!

 

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Thanks :) The GR-50 was ok for its time but it was terrible as an external controller. Much better stuff now with fishman et al. I no longer have it. I have a GI-20 that I havent used in years. These days I stick to guitar when I have the time to play.
Check out this album which I recorded around 90. It is almost exclusively using the GR-50 (all internal sounds no MIDI). Not my cup of tea any more but I was into it in the day :)

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Great work Noel! Really enjoyed it.

I can also hear elements of Return to Forever but it actually reminds me of a Bill Bruford album I had on vinyl way back when ( called Feels Good to Me).

Thanks also for the CbB/Bandlab usage  insights.

 

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