Ned Frankly

Music is Therapy.

Photo of a recording studio

Alchemy – My favorite VST, but…

Apple purchased Camel Audio, a German software company that produced my favorite VST, Alchemy, as well as the infamous CamelSpace and CamelCrusher. Until now, this hasn’t impacted me at all – I knew I wouldn’t be getting any new packs or content for Alchemy, but I never thought Ableton would turn their corporate back on my favorite little VST (a little VST that cost several hundred dollars).

I recently upgraded everything to 64 bit, and I was a little disappointed in how crashy my system became, and how delicate Ableton is now. I had already had some trouble with the installs.

Max still refuses to run for me (Brandon with Ableton assures me that it’s something I’m doing wrong, or a bad download, or something not Ableton’s fault…). The Max install comes as an MSI inside a Zip. That’s two CRC checks that I’m aware of, and neither one failed, so the “bad download” theory is not going to be the answer.

Anyway, Brandon also informed me that Alchemy has reached that point where Ableton won’t support it any longer (you know, because Apple), so if I choose to run it, any problems are, well, my problem. Ableton’s usually better about these things…

So I said all that to say this: I spent a day and a half reloading all of my sound banks into Alchemy, and I remembered why I ponyed up the cash for it – it’s a great sounding synth. Apple customers, you got a gem there.

I cut a trance piece as a kind of proof of concept. It’s in the synthwave arena, I think, but most of the sounds are from Alchemy. Listen, and let me know what you think!


The 64 Bit Question-Session 1

Frankly Studios is now a 64 bit Ableton shop. The conversion was not fun, but at least it was time consuming. ūüôā

I started working on this song while fine-tuning Ableton and the machine, and it just came together pretty well.

Listen Responsibly!



Positive Inlook (An Electronic Excursion)

I found myself in a particularly positive mood today. I had done some pretty depressing and soul-wrenching studio work last night (up until 3 am), but today felt… lighter.

I did my chores, all the while thinking of what to create. No tune came to mind. No drums appeared in my head. I turned the studio on, all 13 switches. It, and I, came to life and I played the beginnings of¬†this song. Several hours later I think it’s complete. It may not even be started yet…



Kawai K3, Kawai K5, microKorg, Korg MS20, Ableton 9.6.2.

Longevity (One Take)

We had a tragedy unfold in front of our home this afternoon. A young lady lost her life riding her bicycle into the path of a turning SUV. Fault doesn’t matter. We have video surveillance around our house, so to assist the police we¬†reviewed our footage and found that we had captured the accident. In making copies for the police and local newsfolks (Caleb’s room was full of cops and reporters…) I had to watch the event over and over. And over. And after everyone left, I watched it again. It’s hard to put your mind around the immediacy of someone’s death, especially one¬†so sudden and unexpected.

Music is therapy. So I went in the studio and turned everything on. I cut the beats by hand and recorded the piece in one take. I did edit it a bit. The graphics are a¬†visualization from¬†VLC. Here’s how I feel:


Stormy Weather (Not the song…)

Well, Florida has had a good run, especially Northeast Florida where Ned and his posse dwell. We’re set to get hit by our first hurricane in decades. I (Jay) have a friend in Spain who makes insane beats, but moreover he is obsessed with our Florida storms.

Hurricane Hermine

Hurricane Hermine enroute to Jacksonville. Satellite Image courtesy NOAA.

I think people believe¬†we’re just dodging hurricanes right and left, but in reality we get hit very rarely. The jet stream does that – it runs right up the coast and steers most hurricanes away from us.

Not so with a Gulf hurricane – those sneaky bastards will cross the state from the west and do some real damage. That’s what’s going on with Hermine, our latest tormentor.

Tascam DR-05 Field Recorder

                      Tascam DR-05 Field Recorder

He’s chugging across the state right now, and his south side is a BAD neighborhood. We’re set to be visited by the southside of Hermine sometime early Friday morning. Caleb is on location on the Westside of Jacksonville, so¬†between the two of us we might get some pretty good storm footage. He has our good Tascam (he’s working, I’m not), and sometimes these things have crazy stereo separation that only the DR05 can capture.

Or it will do exactly as it always does – sputter, cough, and rain. Me? I’m hoping for noise, wind, little damage, and a great light show. I think that will¬†make Spain happy…


Glitchy – Sequenced, Torn, and Glitched

Another grand experiment in sequenced glitch processing using Ableton, a couple of Korgs (MS-20 and microKorg) as well as a Digitech RP90 (thanks, Dan!)

Enjoy! ūüôā



Ned creates a Lead Patch on the Korg MS-20

No words, just patching. The “base” patch on the Korg MS-20 is the most boring sound on the planet, which makes you immediately grab a handful of lowpass…

In this example we used both inverted envelopes, both normal envelopes, and every filter mod. I’d have split some of the routings¬†but I don’t have any of those little stackable patch cables. I really need a patch / split / inverter box. That may have to be a project video.

In any case, we start with Korg Basic and end up with a lead patch with a bit of after-touch effect thanks to the inverted envelopes which are routed to the Hi and Lo pass filter mod ports. This is Ned’s go-to solo patch, but it never sounds the same twice.


13 Star Flag Table

Mrs Ned directs a “Project”

I must admit, it was therapeutic, and the results were better than I expected. I’m a musician and a software developer. I’m not a carpenter nor a good painter, but here we have the results of a family effort.

I present… The Patriotic Picnic Table.


Advanced MIDI and Voltage Controlled Sync РLive Modular Jam 

Ned was inspired after the last few sessions of MIDI basics. The arpeggio / Local Off project wasn’t finished decoding on YouTube when this piece started to take shape.

I did have to solve one technical issue to create this piece. I wanted to sync up my SQ-1, which is playing the MS-20. I’m out of MIDI cables (I used 3 to create the instrument chain for Local Off), so I had to get creative and make what we call a “Ghost Track”. In Ableton, I created a new send that only goes to output 3 and 4 on my 4×4 audio interface. Next I created a new drum track, and set it to “Sends Only”. I cranked the knob to my new send on the ‘silent’ drum channel. I take either of those outputs and run them to Sync In on the SQ-1. Now all I need is a short pulse (like a drum hit) to trigger the sequencer step by step. You’ll hear the SQ1 and MS20 come in at about 2:00. On the drum track I put a cymbal running 16th notes, with a pulse length of about 10 ms. That was enough to make the SQ-1 happy and advance the sequence with each cymbal hit. So it’s not technically voltage control, but it’s close enough.


Ableton Tip 1 – External Instruments and Local “Off”

As promised, we’ve been working on a video to demonstrate a technique that will revitalize your creativity if you have at least one MIDI synthesizer laying about that supports “MIDI Local”. You need to be able to set “Local” to “Off” for this technique, but it will be worth it. If you’re fortunate enough to have more than one MIDI synth and a few MIDI cables, you can do some really cool stuff by using your DAW as a big MIDI pedalboard.

What is this “Local” thing I’ve been yammering on about? Its simply a keyboard-equipped synth’s way of separating the keyboard from the built in synth. When Local is on, the synth can be played by its own keyboard. When Local is Off, the synth might as well be a rack module, and the keyboard is just a dumb controller. This allows us to inject MIDI effects between the keyboard and the “module” (our internal synth).

Have a look and a listen, try out the technique, and let me know what you think!


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