Experimenting with Digital Audio Workstations

Okay, I have discovered that a lot of open source tools are not well fitting for musical work. There seems to be Ardour, LMMS and Audacity. And that’s it. Ardour seems to be the only one that works with audio and MIDI. But only on Linux & OSX. I’m currently running Windows on the laptop so that’s not going to work. So I’m going to set up a Virtual Box to test out the software and system to see if it works. Plus, it seems to be important to use JACK audio to sort out latency issues.

Right now, I am testing the best alternative Reaper. It seems to do everything that I want it to do (except be open source) and will use this to record my instruments with as a backup after I have experimented with Ardour.

Plans for 2015 • Going forward with our Open Band

Well, 2014 was a busy year of learning. Everything from how OS operating systems work, what sort of audio software is possible, how to build stringed instruments, ways to market bands, ideas, thoughts to the correct people. Plus, as real life got in the way, things went and sat by the harbour.

And so 2015 arrived with a spectacular thump and I’m reorganising my priorities. As my personal design work moves towards becoming a more human-centered designer, I’m going to use the Goblin Orchestra Session 0: Proof of Concept as one of my ‘Live Blogging’ experiences to help drum up support as well as make more people aware of this project.

I’m also going to decided whether I am going to be using Open Source software to record this Session. My research indicates that OS audio tools might not be quite up to scratch. But then that’s what a proof of concept is for: to see if it is possible and to see what learning outcomes we arrive at. I could always change it for Session 1. I still think that one should look after its community and so I think we’ll still release our output with open licenses and sell extended / deluxe versions and other merch to fund the project.

By the end of this year I hope to have at least 4 instruments built and a selection of tracks recorded to help promote what I believe the Goblin Orchestra to be. It would also be nice to have more band members (get in touch!), but I’ve planned it so there’s no real need until our next recording Session.

Anyways, I hope you join me for this project for 2015 and don’t forget to sign up to the Newsletter which will contain offers, more details and downloads when we get to that stage.

Instrument Design Number 2

This is the base part of instrument number two before construction. If all goes to plan, the neck will be shaped, fretwire put in and the whole thing made electric.

The idea behind this instrument design is the 4-string cigar box guitar that you see around everywhere. I think the only thing different about this is that it will be tuned EADG. With this tuning and neck length is should be possible to create some mid-range sounds to go with instrument number 1.

What is an Open Band?

I’m going to try and explain what I mean by an Open Band.

As you well know, the Goblin Orchestra is a band / music collective that creates the instruments it plays. But there’s more it it than that, we want to work using what other people have called Open Band Principles.

Now, these are philosophies and ideas that have been transposed / translated from Open Source principles and adapted to music. If you look at our about page, you can see three ideas to this approach:

We give our music away freely

Yes we do. If you want all our music, you can have it. It will be available through our website or through various torrent sites and you can do pretty much what you want with it. Ans long as you name-check us. We will most likely provide better quality audio wrapped in more interesting packaging at a premium rate, but your basic MP3 will be freely available to do what you will with.

We build community

Being in a band is about reputation. Our fans are our reputation. If we treat you nice, you will treat us nice. And that’s all we want. There’s strength in community. There safety in community and we want our community to feel like they are part of the band. Something you can contribute to as well as benefit from.

Fair pay

It would be nice if the Goblin Orchestra earned money exploring this Open Band concept, even if it is to pay for deluxe items, merch, venues, raw materials for new kit and the occasional weird tea. So, we will be selling things through our website at a fairly respectable price. We may even involve the Radiohead pay-what-you-want theory to some of our releases. We just want to give things to you that have a fair value.

That’s pretty much it. A later post will look at some of the other Open Source principles we’ll be hijacking and using as part of this band, but for now these are the three guiding principles that we’re going to follow.

If you’ve got anything to add, or have some ideas, please add to the conversation in the comments section. Thanks.

First Post

This is the first post of what (I hope) is going to be an interesting experiment in open source, community, product design and music.

The plan is to create a band that builds its own instruments / equipment and then writes some songs using them.

That’s it.

I’m currently on the lookout for band members that like this idea and want to get behind it. If this might be you, go take a look at our About Page and register with us.