Korg Kronos Released At Winter NAMM

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The winter NAMM show has started out with a big bang with Korg announcing their next generation workstation, the Kronos. Looks like us synth programmers will have our work cut out for us with no less then NINE different synth engines combined into one instrument. All that plus the combination of KARMA and One Gig of sampling memory adds up to one very powerful instrument.

Kid Nepro has been working with Korg’s synths since 1985 and has programmed sounds for nearly every Korg workstation since the groundbreaking M1 was released in 1988 – so we just wanted to let everyone know that we will be continuing our support for Korg’s next generation workstation and creating several new sound libraries for Kronos. Stay tuned for announcements later on in the year. Get on our mailing list and we will keep you posted with more details on what’s coming for Kronos. It’s going to be awesome!

More info on Kronos can be found at Korg’s web site.

Help Us Fight Copyright Violations

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So I’m sitting at home, minding my own business when I get an e-mail from someone (I can’t say exactly who) that goes on to tell me that there is an auction happening on ebay that has some of my sounds for sale. The e-mail went on to ask me if I knew anything about it.

Great way to mess up your day!

First I would like to publicly thank the person who sent me the e-mail. My best guess is that he’s either a customer of ours or just someone who understands what this kind of stuff does to small businesses like Kid Nepro. Maybe both! Well there certainly is a lot to be said about all that, but first let me continue with my little story.

My anonymous friend was good enough to send me the link to the auction and by putting a few simple facts together, I was easily able to figure out who was doing this. It was actually someone who had purchased our sounds from us, then copied them to USB sticks and auctioning the sticks off on ebay! I could think of a few “choice” words that I could use to describe this type of person, but I’ll leave that up to you to fill in the blanks.

Anyway, I had his phone number so I called him up. I think I was the last person he expected to be one the phone when he answered and I told him who I was, you could tell he was pretty shocked. When I told him I had seen the auction and asked him about it, he blurted out “my cousin put that up there”. Yeah right. Well I knew that was a bunch of crap as soon as it came out of his mouth so I said “I don’t care if it was you or your “cousin”, if you don’t immediately remove it then the next call your going to get is from my lawyers”. After a couple more brief exchanges, I hung up the phone. Not the type of person you want to get into a long conversation with.

About ten minutes later the auction had ended.

OK great. Score one for the good guys. However, this is certainly not the beginning nor the end of the story. Having been selling sounds since the early 80’s this is not the first time this has happened. Every once in awhile I spot one of these thieves and usually with the help of ebay, I’m able to stop it. However, it’s hard to spot every single incident which is why I’m grateful to people like my anonymous friend – which helps me monitor what’s happening on ebay as well as other places where this type of thing goes on. This is why I’ve decided to make a public statement about it and ask for your help.

I figure that “the more eyes the better” so if you happen to see any of this illegal activity happening on ebay or anywhere else please take a minute to send an e-mail about it. And I’m not just talking about Kid Nepro sounds. There are many other small sound companies out there who the same thing is happening to – so if you see anyone else’s sounds being stolen then I urge you to report it to whomever is the rightful owner. In addition, I’ll issue you some free credit on any of the sounds in our catalog. I’ll be happy to give away some free sounds under those circumstances!

Let me just clarify what I mean about people stealing our sounds, so you know what to look out for.

I don’t mind if say, someone is selling a Roland Juno 106 on ebay and they are advertising that the Juno comes with our Juno 106 sound collection. As far as I’m concerned, that’s OK. I’m even OK, if someone has “the original” cassette tape, no longer has the Juno and just wants to resell the tape as “A One Time Auction”. However, if someone is making copies off the original tape, CD, USB stick, ZIP Disk, or whatever format they purchased our sounds in – then reselling the copies, then that’s “NOT OK”. Some situations fall in a grey area between the two so if your not sure just let us know and we will check it out.

As you can imagine, this type of stuff really hurts our bottom line. It’s also very frustrating to spend over two years programming a new set of sounds and then have someone come along, steal them and sell them as their own. I’m sure if you own any type of copyright you know exactly what I’m talking about. This is one of many reasons why there are so few companies doing what we do here at Kid Nepro.

Let me just thank you in advance for your help. Please send any copyright violations to: support (at) kidnepro.com

Copyright 1984-2010 – Kid Nepro Productions – All Rights Reserved. All Kid Nepro software is to be used in music production only. Kid Nepro reserves all other rights not expressly granted to you. Kid Nepro retains full ownership of the sounds and samples contained in our catalogue. Unauthorized copying, duplicating, selling, trading or distribution of this product is expressly forbidden. Downloading our software means you accept these terms.


Rock Is NOT Dead

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Was checking out “Later” last night and contrary to what many may think – Rock Lives!

Not only one, but three very talented acts that I had never heard of all rocked. I think the “Later” format with all the bands playing in a circle, really forces everyone to bring their best game. Kind of like a battle of the bands. The thing that impressed me the most was that all three groups looked like they were in their twenties.

The first artist that got my attention was the singer/bass player Amy LaVerne – who performed the ultra cool “Killing Him” (didn’t make her love go away). Interesting topic! Great melody, hook and chord changes topped off my Amy’s smooth and sexy voice. The band was small. Only a trio of bass, guitar and drums, but they were really tight.

Next up was the incredible “Sia” – who looks like she has the potential to be a big force in the music biz. Sia has an amazing voice and is backed by a bunch of great players. I hopped over to You Tube to check out some of her stuff and really like what she’s doing with video. The Breath Me video reminds me of something that Peter Gabriel would do. When reading her bio at wikapedia I see she released her first solo recording back in 2000 so I guess I’m late in discovering this very talented singer.

The last act that brought the house down was the amazing “Cage The Elephant” who performed their hit “Ain’t No Rest For Wicked”. I’ve been singing the very catchy hook all morning. I’m sure there are a lot of people out their that can relate to that one! These guys really rocked with a great funky beat and slide guitar. If they can keep up this kind of stuff on future releases, I’m sure they are going to be big.

What really got my attention is that after checking out all three acts on YouTube, as good as their studio tracks sounded – they were even better when playing live. MUCH better. In this age of lip syncing and pre recorded sequenced tracks, it’s good to see young musicians out there that actually can play the hell out of their instruments. Makes an old rocker like me feel good that the future of Rock is not as bleak as I thought.

Rock On!

Paul, Michael And The History Of The Beatles Song Catalog

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paul-michael

Interesting history of one of the greatest collections of songs ever written. I guess whoever winds up with it next is one hell of a lucky person(s)! Just came across this on the cnn web site…..

First the rumor went around that Michael Jackson was leaving the Beatles catalog to Paul McCartney in his will. Then the rumor was that McCartney was upset that Jackson didn’t leave the Beatles catalog to the Beatle in his will. Neither is true, said McCartney in a posting on his Web site.

“Some time ago, the media came up with the idea that Michael Jackson was going to leave his share in the Beatles songs to me in his will which was completely made up and something I didn’t believe for a second,” McCartney said. “Now the report is that I am devastated to find that he didn’t leave the songs to me. This is completely untrue,” he added.

The story of the Beatles song catalog is long and tangled. At the time McCartney and writing partner John Lennon wrote their songs, they retained only a portion of the rights in the publishing company created by the Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, and London music publisher Dick James. (The company was called Northern Songs, a nod to the Beatles’ Liverpudlian roots.) The company went public in 1965.

According to the myth-busting site Snopes.com, Lennon and McCartney each had 15 percent of the shares, Epstein (and his NEMS Enterprises) had 7.5 percent, James and partner Charles Silver had 37.5 percent and Beatles George Harrison and Ringo Starr had less than 2 percent. The rest was available for public investment.

Over the years (and partly due to the group’s legal battles) the Beatles lost or sold their control, and the catalog of about 250 songs — almost all of Lennon/McCartney’s creations — ended up in the hands of British media mogul Sir Lew Grade and his ATV Music Publishing. ATV added the Beatles’ songs to its holdings, a cache that eventually grew to more than 4,000 songs. (Other songs in the catalog include those recorded by the Kinks, the Moody Blues and Elvis Presley.)

In 1984, the catalog was put up for sale again. McCartney wanted to buy his creations back, but for various reasons wasn’t a front-runner. Jackson — who had taken to investing in music publishing at, ironically, McCartney’s recommendation — came up with the winning bid of $47.5 million. The sale went through in 1985.

In 1995, Sony paid Jackson $95 million to merge the catalog with its Sony Music. Jackson maintained 50 percent control. In 2005, Sony/ATV Music had more than 200,000 songs in its catalog, a CNN.com article reported.

To finance his lifestyle, Jackson borrowed money, using the catalog as collateral. Nevertheless, he never lost the asset. The entire catalog was estimated to be worth between $600 million and $1 billion in 2005, according to a 2005 article in USA Today.

Farrah & Michael R.I.P

Classic Stuff, Music Industry News 1 Comment »

farah_fawcett_poster we-are-the-world

I can’t say that I ever remember two icons passing on the same day before. Certainly Farrah Fawcett did not fall into the same class of icons as Michael Jackson – not many people do, but nevertheless she was as an iconic part of the 70’s as anyone. Yes, I did have that famous poster hanging on my wall – as did millions of other young men back in the 70’s. I’m sure that millions more will admire her for the courage that she showed during her illness. She will be missed.

I guess there is a lot more to be said about Michael – of which I’m sure there will be many books, movies, TV mini series and who knows what else coming down the pipe over the next few years. I’m reminded from a line in the movie “The Birdcage” where one of the news media say’s “we are in enquirer heaven”. This story is likely to go on and on for many years to come.

Although it’s way to early to tell, I did hear one report that Michael left Paul McCartney the rights to his share of The Beatles catalog in his will. For those of you who did not know, Michael Jackson still owned part of the The Beatles catalog which he had purchased back in the 80’s. If indeed that is the case, talk about karma coming back around. We shall see.

Yes, Michael Jackson was well known for his eccentric/crazy behavior over the last thirty years, but I prefer to remember his other side which was capable of writing a song like “We Are The World”. I don’t know why, but that’s the first thing I thought about when I heard the news yesterday. I had not heard the song or watched the video for many years, but the first thing I did when I woke up this morning was to click over to YouTube to check it out. Seeing it again was a reminder of what good us humans are capable of – when we are not so busy killing each other. This is how I prefer to remember Michael.

There are dozens of versions of the song and video on YouTube to choose from, but this version stood out because of the editing and background music that was inserted. Kind of erie in a way. Brought me right back to 1985 – when the world was a much different place.

We Are The World

We Are The Children

We Are The Ones Who Make  A Brighter Day

So Let’s Start Giving


Apple Startup Chime – Time For a Change?

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startup chime

I don’t know exactly why, but lately the sound of my Mac’s startup chime is really starting to bother me. I recently bought a new Imac and Macbook Pro and while they are two of the most beautifully designed machines on the market today, with all the most innovative new features one could ask for, they still had that same old chime when starting up that I’ve been hearing since I bought my old Mac Quadra back in the early 90’s. I know it’s not a big deal, but maybe it might be a good idea for Apple to update the sound to a more 21st century sound that would better suit their new product line. After all, when I hear that chime, I think I’m back at a time when the first George Bush was president! 

Yesterday, I was doing a bit of research about the Korg Wavestation and came upon this interesting bit of trivia at wikipedia and it got me thinking about all this again. “The sound of the Wavestation is familiar to users of the Apple Macintosh, since the startup chime that has featured on every mac since the Quadra 700 to present day was created by Jim Reekes on a Korg Wavestation. Reekes said, “The startup sound was done in my home studio on a Korg Wavestation. It’s a C Major chord, played with both hands stretched out as wide as possible (with 3rd at the top, if I recall).”

Now I have nothing against Jim Reekes and his classic chime. It has certainly served us well through the years.  However, I just thought that maybe it’s time for a change. How about something like THIS or THIS ?

OK..OK..just kidding. I know Steve Jobs would never go for that. Besides, that would get old very quickly. But seriously, maybe something like THIS or THIS would go over well. They are couple of ringtones that I created awhile back which I think might work. 

I’m sure someone out there can come up with something better. Maybe some sort of contest to pick a new start up chime would be a good idea. I know there are many creative musicians and sound designers that could come up with a bunch of cool choices for Steve and the gang at Apple to choose from.

What do you think? Good idea? Want to participate? We can’t guarantee that Apple will even consider changing the chime (this is our wacky idea) and there are not even any cool prizes, but we thought that it might be fun anyway. Send your chime to us “HERE”. Obviously it has to be something very short. 2-3 seconds max, so try and keep your creations in that ballpark. After we get a bunch we will post them online and who knows what will happen. Maybe your original chime will be used in the next generation of Mac’s to hit the market!

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Return To Forever 2008

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Great to see that the Fab-4 of the jazz/rock/fusion world getting together again for a tour. Truly one of the important groups to come out of the 70’s with a sound that just blew everyone away. Four virtuoso musicians playing in high gear was enough to turn heads for both rock and jazz fans alike. I was lucky enough to catch one of their shows at The Beacon Theatre, back in 1976 and it was one of those concerts that you don’t forget. 

Was searching around youtube for some video and found a great vintage clip of a live performance of “Sorceress”, from the classic “Romantic Warrior” recording. Chick Corea’s live set up was certainly state of the art for 1976. You could see that he was having some problems with the Mini Moog and that old ARP is “just barely” in tune, but he still sounds amazing! Yeah, that’s the way it was back then. Don’t ya just love that old analog gear?

More info on the 2008 tour and much more at the: Return 2 Forever ’08 Web Site

 

Winter NAMM 2008

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The Winter NAMM 2008 show opened today out in California and it looks like it’s the usual onslaught of new goodies for all us music gear junkies. Hundreds of new hardware and software products all bidding to be the one that stands out above the rest and becomes that “hot new product”.

The new Akai MPC5000 looks pretty sweet with that analog synth built in. Over 300 Virtual Analog synth presets included in the presets. Over 40 all new effects and Expandable up to 192MB RAM. This is not your fathers MPC! The popular MPC series has sure come a long way since Akai released the original MPC60 bank in the early 90’s.

akai_mpc5000_top.jpg 
www.akaipro.com

Roland always does winter NAMM in a big way and this year is no different with the release of over 40 new products! The new Fantom ” G-Series” keyboard workstation must be getting a lot of hands on it right about now. Three models are available – 61 and 76 note models and an 88 note model with Roland’s weighted PHA II “Ivory Feel” keyboard. Advanced sound engine, bigger sequencer, more effects and a graphic user interface with extra-large 8.5” wide colour LCD and mouse connectivity. Looks like this this one could be a big seller for people looking to update their old Fantom’s or for someone jumping into the workstation market for the first time.

roland_fantom_g8.jpg

www.roland.com

For the DJ that has everything Numark announced the TTi turntable which will record directly to your iPOD. This new turntable includes a Universal Dock for iPod, USB audio interface, a metal platter and pitch control, making it, say Numark, one of the most versatile turntables ever produced. If I were a DJ, I would be giving this one a good look. It’s pricy for a turntable at: $449. US, but it looks like it will do everything except make you a pot of expressio to keep you going when your up all night D’Jaying at the club!

numark_tti.jpg www.numark.com

Sonic State usually does a great job covering the NAMM show with lot’s of cool video. You can find everything at; www.sonicstate.com

Korg Kaossilator and the funny world of You Tube

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As you probably know by now, all of us here at Kid Nepro are big fans of Korg’s musical instruments. We have been supporting their products since we first purchased their Poly 800 synthesizer back in 1985. 

A lot has happened since then in the world of electronic instruments and the products that they are releasing today are truly amazing. Of course everyone is talking about the new M3 and their flagship Oasys keyboards which are on the high end scale of things. However, the products that they are selling on the low end are just as innovative. One that I’ve recently discovered is the “Kaossilator”. An incredible little device that sells for under $200. It has lot’s of cool synth, drum sounds and sound effects along with an easy to use loop recording feature. Great for the teen who’s ipod is now old news or that next up and coming DJ who wants to start making beats.

There have also been a lot of interesting demos posted on youtube about the Kaossilator, but the one I enjoyed the most is this dude from Japan who calls himself “Jetdaisuke”. Complete with baseball cap, sunglasses and lot’s of cool stuff on his shelves to look at. Looks like he’s been busy since he has over 500 videos posted. A star is born!

jetdaisuke1.jpg

Keith Emerson & Oscar Peterson

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 We lost one of the great ones a couple of weeks ago when Oscar Peterson passed.  I was searching around You Tube for some videos of Oscar and found several interesting ones from various points in his over fifty year career. However, the one I found most interesting or I should say “off beat” is a recording of “Honky Tonk Train Blues” that features Oscar and Keith Emerson that was done in 1976. You can see that Keith was a bit out of his league with this one, but it makes for some fun viewing. 

 

 

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