The Blades.Technology Blog

Posts about Music, Technology, web and otherwise, and anything else that might come up.

From Here to There - Kevin Gilbert / Giraffe cover

An awesome Kevin Gilbert / Giraffe classic.  If you don't know who Kevin Gilbert is, you have some work to do.  Find anything you can of his, either with Giraffe, solo, Toy Matinee, or anything else you can find.  This guy was absolutely brilliant.  Made some really great, though provoking music with all sorts of other good musicians involved all the time.

I actually did this song many years ago (maybe 2008, using Cakewalk Sonar 7) when the Estate of Kevin Gilbert (RIP) was looking for fans to submit their cover songs for their official website.  I did that with this one and that site stayed alive for quite some time, but has since gone offline.  So, I saw a VLOG post (YouTube) from Tim Pierce talking about Kevin and the work they did on Toy Matinee and went to share this song with him and discovered that it never made it onto my website.  So here it is.

This was recorded with a Yamaha SW1000XG soundcard for all of the synth and electronic instruments and the Drums along with a Yamaha DS2416 (DSP Factory) card.  There were no other effects, there were no VSTs or VST instruments.  I had a cheap "Audio Buddy" preamp and my still-current Rode NT1 mic and Ovation 6-string and Fender Tele (also using the effects from the SW1000XG) for this.  It took a long time and some help from a friend to figure out the keyboard chords, which are likely somewhat wrong, but it was a fun song to make.  I still enjoy listening to the original that I covered this from, which was on the album "The View From Here".  There is another version of it on "The Shaming of the True" that was recorded later in his career that I don't like as much, though both are pretty cool.  Here's my take on it:

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186 Hits
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Spaceman

This is another cover song by Believable Picnic.  When I did the last song of theirs (Flowers from their second album called "Welcome to the Future"), I did it in Sonar.  This was prior to Gibson dumping the product.  So I thought it would be appropriate to do another song by the same band as I returned to the Cakewalk product after using Presonus Studio One for the last 2 years or so.

So what do I think?  Well, enough that I'm going to write a post of its own for that, but in General, I am afraid that I have determined that I prefer Studio One!  I thought that after all of the many updates that Cakewalk made after resurrecting the product as Cakewalk by Bandlab that I'd go back to it, find it more comfortable and remember what I loved about the product before, but that isn't how it ended up.  I think the end-result is similar in either case, but Studio One hits me with FAR fewer obstacles to getting the song down and being more fun, which is why I'm here.

That said, on to the "what makes up this song".

I used both of my electric guitars for this, since it is a more raw and gritty song than I usually would do.  The Les Paul is on the left speaker and the Telecaster on the right.  I used the Presonus Ampire sim for both guitars with the MCM 800 amp model and the 4x12 M65 for the cab.

For the drums, it is of course the Pearl Mimic Pro, using a variation on the kit that started out as a preset "Overdrive" but I have replaced the toms on it using the Pearl Reference Toms in place of the maple ones that were in that preset to begin with.  As usual, this was sent to tracks in the DAW as kick, snare, stereo toms, stereo overheads, and stereo room plus a single channel for each of the ride and hi-hat.

Something different on this one is that I used the Klanghelm SDRR Tube, a VST that I got as part of the Studio One bundle when I bought that.  I used it on the vocal tracks to make them a little "fuzzy" without going as far as distortion (except for the short spoken element, which definitely had some distortion using the same plugin, driven hard).

I also used the Softube Console 1 across most of the tracks with the SSL 4000e emulation on the vocals and some other places and the British Class A across all of the drums and the drum bus.  In the case of the (noisy) guitars, I used the British Class A for all of the modules except the gate, which I like better on the SSL, so those two tracks had a combo.

I used ONE synth in the whole song and that was for the effect sound that is at the end of the second run through the 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1.  This was using the Analog Lab (another thing I got in the Studio One bundle and upgraded to the full set of presets).  This one uses the Prophet emulation in a preset called Fafx and a little automation of the Filter Cutoff parameter.

There were a few things in this tune that were really hard for me: 

1. Getting it to sound organic and a little loose around the edges, as the original recording of it was like that - but it's hard to get that vibe of loose and sloppy without just sounding bad.  Loose and sloppy in a good way...

2. The guitar solos.  I played them and I think they pass, but they are not as good as the originals.  The recording of this has some kind of backwards masking on the first section, but it doesn't seem like it's all backwards.  I didn't accomplish that.  The "wah" part after that is more complex in the real recording, but beyond my playing - and for me, it's easier to try to copy a more clinical guitar part than this.  The noisy looseness of this part of the song is something I've not learned to do on guitar and wish I could.  I don't really even know how to otherwise describe it, but definitely a challenge for me.

I hope you enjoy this song.  I give you "Spaceman" by Believable Picnic from their Self-Titled album.

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432 Hits
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Killing Time

This is another cover song that I have been wanting to record for MANY years.  It is another Roger Taylor song from one of his solo albums and has always been one of those "epic" songs in my opinion in all of the songs in my library.  This one is from his Strange Frontier album from 1984.  When this album came out, I must have listened to it so many times - on vinyl - that the grooves wore out and this was one of the songs I listened to more than any.  There are so many cool things in here, like in the song I did before from his first solo album (My Country Parts 1 & 2).

I tried to record this song an MANY occasions and  came up short each time I tried, barely scratching the surface of what this song really is.

So here we are in 2020, amid the Corona Virus lockdown.  I was watching some tutorial videos on the Presonus YouTube channel and came across one on using a combination of the Pattern Editor and the Impact instrument and that was the kickoff for this song to start taking shape that I needed.  Really, that part wasn't really that complicated, but the inspiration got me going and I was able to pick the rest of it up from there.

So, with the lockdown, even though I have still been working at least as many hours as I usually would, the song "Killing time" seemed so appropriate that I just had to finish it.  And what a great play on words: Killing Time, as in "got nothing better to do" or "it's time to kill" - who know which meaning was really intended!  It took a lot of work, especially in keeping with the original arrangement while trying to add something modern and of my own, and especially making sure that I tried to stay at least somewhat true to the "middle section" of analog synth orchestra goodness!

In this one, I used Studio One, MANY synths from both the Sample Tank 2 library as well as the ones that came with the upgraded Analog Lab that came with my copy of Studio One.  That CMI synth hit couldn't be done without this!  Such a classic 80s sound that is on so many songs and was featured pretty prominently on this one.  I also used the Pearl Mimic Pro for the drums, my Epiphone Traditional Pro II Les Paul (including some clean stuff done with the pickup "coil-split" to give it a bit of single coil sound).  Beyond that, this one used a combination of the Console 1's SSL 4000e and the British Class A (for the first time) on drums, the vocals, and some other parts.

A ton of work went into this, but I actually got it done pretty quickly considering how long it took to get to the point of actually recording it (seriously, I checked the dates and my first attempts at this were in Cakewalk Sonar version 6 in 2007!).

I hope you enjoy it and will leave a comment or at least a reaction below.  And Buy the Album!  Again, from Roger Taylor, Strange Frontier.

  627 Hits
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627 Hits
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Angels or Devils - Dishwalla Cover

Dishwalla has been one of goto favorite bands since their first album, Pet Your Friends.  In my opinion, this is one of the premier rock bands of the 90s and 2000s.  I really liked them a lot with J.R. Richards as the lead singer but haven't really picked up on their stuff since he left.

This song is from the album Opaline from 2002.  I don't know that I ever heard it outside of listening to the CD itself, but it really has a great feel, message, and melody, as all Dishwalla songs seem to have.  Buy the "album" at Amazon here

I'm not sure I got all of the chords just right, especially in the bridge, but played what I heard and modified a few chord listings I found online for the song.

One FIRST for me on this one is the use of the Softube Console 1.  In fact, I didn't use much else on this.  

For the Guitar, I mic'd my Ovation 1861 Standard Baladeer for one channel and ran the piezo pickup and a convolution reverb for the other channel.

For the Electric, I used my Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro-II in the middle position and used effects from the Pod Farm VST plugin.

On the vocal, I used a Rode NT1 (my only real mic option, also used on the Ovation above).

The drums are the Pearl Mimic Pro played on the first preset kit called "Masters", based around samples of a Pearl Masters kit.  I am using primarily Roland pads with a few others mixed in, most notably the ATV 14" hi-hat and a self-made conversion of a DW snare to an e-snare.

For the mix, the only extra effects I used on this whole recording were the phaser on the vocal in the two verse "b" sections using the POD Farm VST and a plate reverb on the snare and the lead vocal provided by an IK Mulitmedia VST.

Everything else on here was the Console 1.  I set out originally to do this but as I got through the mix, I didn't really find a reason to add anything else.  This made me really happy, as that is the precise reason I bought the Console 1 to start with - goal achieved.

I hope you enjoy this cover recording and hope you will provide a comment or at least a "reaction" to the song below.



  965 Hits
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965 Hits
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She's Tight - By Cheap Trick

Here's another cover.  I LOVE Cheap Trick.  This was a quicker tune than I typically do.  I usually labor seemingly endlessly over the recording, the parts, the mix, etc, but this one was a lot faster than usual.  There are a few others that I have started - The Dream Police and Their cover of The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour - but I was able to actually get this one finished.  I really would like to cover "If You Want My Love" or "Tonight It's You", which I might get to at some point, but this was a bit simpler to get down than the others and probably one of the more energetic tunes I've done, so it was a good bit of fun to record and mix.

This song was recorded with:

  • Presonus Studio One 4
  • Pearl Mimic Pro - Kit #38 Gasoline
  • Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro-II
  • Presonus Studio 1824
  • Rode NT1 Mic
  • A number of built-in Studio One FX plus a number from the Line6 Pod Farm for the guitar and vocals
  • Arturia Analog Lab 3


I hope that you enjoy it.  If you have any comments or just a Reaction, it would surely be appreciated!

Here's the tune - Thanks for all the GREAT music, Cheap Trick!


  1047 Hits
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1047 Hits
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Anything

This is a great song written by PFR, a Christian group that is (unfortunately) no longer. together  They had a number of albums that never got the "praise" that they deserved, in my opinion.  This group is everything Power Pop that any band would ever want to be.  There are so many influences in here that it's hard to name them, but a few obvious ones come to mind, like Queen and Jellyfish, who are two my favorites.  But you have to go beyond just who influenced them to really appreciate the music they made in their brief time (relative)  on the spectrum.  There are so many of their songs that I'd love to cover, but one day, while driving and listening,this one came up and I said "Hmmm...I think I can manage those parts".  If only I could write a song like this!

You can still buy their stuff online for sure, so if you haven't had a chance to check them out, you really can't go wrong with any of their collections.

I like "firsts" and this one has a few:

1. It is the first song that I have completed using Studio One.

2. It is the first song that I have completed using my Presonus Studio 18|24 (https://bit.ly/2QG5CSz), which replaced my aging Echo Audio Layla 3G.

3. It is the first song that I have completed using my Pearl Mimic Pro as the drum Module (https://bit.ly/2QMGucJ), recorded using the DB25 output and a few other analog input channels on the Presonus device, recording the drums from there to multiple tracks in Studio One 4.1.1.  I love the Mimic!

Most of the mix was done with stock Studio One plugins except for a few plugins for the guitars (Line 6 PodFarm - I simply like it better than anything else I've tried, even if there are others that are "better"). I used the Presonus "Fat Channel" for a bunch of the channels, the built in Chorus and ProVerb for the vocals and a few of the drum parts, and some other stuff sprinkled in here and there.  

I used my trusty old Rode NT1 for the vocals, a Variax 500 guitar to do the acoustics, an Epiphone Les Paul for all of the electrics, an old Peavey bass, and a real tambourine, of course. 

Here is my rendition of "Anything" off the album "Them" - Best I can tell this is Copyright 1996 Sparrow Records.  I hope you enjoy it.  Please comment, like, or simply "react" below" so I know what you think!

(And if you want to listen to it or better yet, support PFR by buying their albums - here's Them: https://www.amazon.com/Them-Pfr/dp/B0040ESJNC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1546659480&sr=8-1&keywords=pfr+them)


  1344 Hits
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1344 Hits
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Flowers

Another cover tune by a band you probably haven't heard of.  This is by a group called Believable Picnic.  They had two albums and this is from the second one, called Welcome To the Future.  This one was recorded and mixed using the Sonar Platinum application.  I used many features in the process of creating this that I haven't used before , such as Melodyne for a few pitch correction and timing things, the new(ish) automation lanes for taming some volumes automatically using envelopes, and the new (at the time of this writing) Adaptive Limiter across the master bus.

This is also the first song that I've really taken advantage of the Sonar feature called Pro Channel.  Rather than doing things with a bunch of individual plugins, I used the integrated ProChannel for EQ, compression, some console emulation, and a few other goodies.  I also used a drum bus (mix) and a room reverb bus (aux).

This is a v-Drums TD-20 with TDW-20 expansion drum kit; a new setup called Tight Maple 2.  I was after a more raw sound so that I could do my mixing "in the box" rather than using sounds that were complete coming out of the Roland brain.  Thuis was a fun song to hone in on as a practice in getting back into using my "studio space".

  1497 Hits
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1497 Hits
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My Country (Parts I & II)

Another cover song.  This one comes from one of Roger Taylor's (Queen's drummer) solo albums (Fun in Space).  This is the last track from side one of the album.  I always liked this album (1984) and this song in particular.  It's so sarchastic and blunt.  While I don't completely believe everything in this song, I think it's very strong and an interesting song.  Please listen to the whole thing, as it has several different arrangement parts to it, each different than the next.

  1126 Hits
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1126 Hits
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The Game

This is not a song I wronte, but it's not exactly a cover song either.  I was in a band back in the early 90s - one that was "trying to make it".  We did a few studio demos and this a song that was on one of those demos.  I started playing around with those old demos and decided to try this one out as a "redo" of the song.  It's pretty close to the original arrangement.

I used my Variax, the Line6 Pod Farm plugin, bass sounds from SampleTankXL, drums from my V-Drums with the TD-20 with the TDW-20 expansion card, and the keyboard sounds coming from a combination of SampleTankXL, Dimension Pro, Wusikstation, and the small vocoder bit at the beginning coming from Pentagon.

  1028 Hits
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1028 Hits
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Can't Stop Thinking About You

This is an original song writtein for/about my wife Arlene.  I was given a challenge one day after complaining about some songs I was hearing on the radio and somehow it lead to this.  She said something like "I bet you can't even get one completed" (knowing that she would be "egging me on").  I spent some time writing this and here's what I came up with.

This was done using an early version of Cakewalk Sonar (maybe version 2?) with a Yamaha DSP Factory for the recording and mixing, an SW1000xg for all of the keyboards and bass, an Ovation 6-string for the acoustic, and an original Line6 Pod and Nashville Telecaster.  I also use my Roland V-Drums with the TD-10 + TDW1 card.

  1033 Hits
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1033 Hits
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Tomorrow's Just a Day Away

This is a cover song originally done by The Rollers in 1979.  I recorded it as part of my proposal to my wife back in 1998.  This was made with an SW1000XG and the included software at the beggining of my recording abilities on a PC.

  1041 Hits
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1041 Hits
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Goody Goody Gumdrops

Another song recorded for my Wife, who was my fiance at the time.  She was having to work a lot of long hours and I put this together for her one Saturday, feeling guilty that I got to stay home but still wanting to do something fun.  I was also trying to learn how to use my new SW1000XG and XGWorks software and whatnot.  This is a cover of a tune by 1910 Fruitgum Company in 1968.  I tried to modernize it a bit.

  1011 Hits
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1011 Hits
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Todd Rundgren - Honest Work

Another cover song, this time from a great artist: Todd Rundgren, for the album called A Capella.  If you haven't heard this one, you should check it out.  It came out when sampling was still pretty new in 1985 - Todd did this album with many layers of himself and some obvious old-school sampling (an Emu Emulator, I think).  This one is a simple, honest, tune in three parts harmony.  This is loose and pretty flawed, but I'm putting out here anyway!

  1035 Hits
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1035 Hits
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Queen - Seven Seas of Rhye

This cover song was done as a collaboration with a guy from the Cakewalk forums.  6StringsAt1000MilesPerHour is who did all the guitars and bass on this tune.  He asked me to add the drums on it and it was over the Christmas holidays and I happened to have some time to work on it, so I did a version with vocals, which I then went back and did a bunmch more layers on and sent back to 6Strings.  That's as far as this went, so it's not a really complete mix or anything, but it sounds pretty decent as it is.

  1022 Hits
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1022 Hits
0 Comments

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