Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Major Parkinson - "Twilight Cinema" Review!

One of my most favourite Norwegian bands is back with another killer album! I was growing leery thinking - can these Bergen natives top their self-titled "Major Parkinson" and follow-up "Songs from a Solitary Home" release? (Click the link to read my review from 2009) They did - continuing to guide my heart through darker, intricate shadows with "Twilight Cinema".

I don't even know where to start... Hands down - this album is a soul grabber, much like many other Norwegian acts alike (un-alike).

A huge thing I miss about living in Stavanger, Norway is enjoying these acts live!

They are playing at Folken this Saturday(!!!) by the way!  Go watch them for me, Stavanger folk! :) 

The production is still incredible, while still keeping that Eastern European circus nostalgia through accordions - interwoven from song to song. 

Like an Eau de Perfume upon first spritz... settling - I catch "Major Parkinson" top-notes, loud and lavish - mid-notes bringing me through the tight and technical crevices of a fun-house maze in "Songs from a Solitary Home" and the dry-down becomes musky, dark, and animalistic within "Twilight Cinema" making my way deeper into a dusky forest - lost to distant, intoxicating, serenades. 

It's a dreamy, heartbreaking, wistful trip. 

My thoughts of the members in Major Parkinson being magnificently brilliant -  still holds true with their third release. They also have a lovely sounding female vocalist haunting beautifully throughout the tracks (who I wish to know the name of to give her proper recognition!) 

The songwriting has always impressed the heck out of me. Jon Ivar Kollbotn inks some pretty wicked lyrics with really catchy melodies to support through his smokey, often mirrored Tom Waits-esque voice. 

I can't ever get enough! 

This album is a wonderful mastery to add to your collection - promise. I hope this is on an LP record somewhere - then I just need to hunt a perfect gramophone to play it on. ;) 

You can buy "Twilight Cinema" along with their other two fantastic albums right on their website, , iTunes or simply on the track link embedded, below!

Streaming one of my favourite tracks "A Cabin in the Sky" (I can't even pick a favourite!) along with the rest of the album:


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Vaya Project - Beautiful Agony (feat. ellemusic) (OFFICIAL VIDEO) and remixes!

Hey everyone!

A little while back I was asked by Jeremy Chaulk to write on one of his poppy-er tracks and our The Vaya Project" and we didn't think it would come out the way it did, and now we have a video - directed by Dave Cardorso!
collaboration "Beautiful Agony" was born. This was part of one of his projects "

It's so crazy how things work out sometimes!

All I want to say is thank you two for believing in this enough to work with me and this track.

Also - check out a couple very lovely remixes by Riley Eichler  and Jeremy, featured on!

Hope you all enjoy! :)

Friday, January 17, 2014

I Break Horses - Chiaroscuro!

You know how you find that band, and you listen to them ALL summer (or any whole season) on repeat. I discovered "I Break Horses" a couple of years ago made up of Swedish duo Maria Lindén and Fredrik Balck with their debut album "Hearts" and it was fantastic!

This past summer, I couldn't stop spinning the single "Denial" - and it brought me back to listen to their 2011 release - making me fall in love with them all over again. After they revealed their track "Faith" in the last recent months - it left me yearning for more of their new, darker, electronic, creative path. 

Maria Lindén and Fredrik Balck
Something about Scandinavian musicians - but I always connect with them on a deeper, spiritual level. They get to my soul. Maybe I'm biased being with a Norwegian, and after living there for a couple years - but I get it. I get them! I want to produce and write like them, also ;) 

They have impeccable skills for really catchy melodies and their production is always fantastic! 

I've had their album on pre-order on iTunes for some time now - but with a couple days away of their release of "Chiaroscuro" (January 20th) you can  stream the full length album- exclusively premiered via Hype Machine! Enjoy it, below! :)

This album is nothing short of incredible. Get your hands on a copy! 

Friday, January 10, 2014

The New RODE NT1 2014 Review!

New Rode NT1 2014

After a couple of sleepless nights freaking out about my purchase of the Legendary Shure SM7B - which I will say is a pretty wonderful mic (but - maybe for a deeper male voice), I just had serious doubts about this amazing dynamic on my voice. I also felt that it was quiet, and I ordered a Cloud Lifter CL-1 to get the 60db boost it needed. Yet, I felt it wasn't bright enough for my vocals, although I do have a lower female register; some days I can wake up sounding like Kathleen Turner - I only aspire to sound like her one day :)

Growing up I've had such amazing opportunities to work in state-of-the-art studios since the age of 12, and have seen a lot of gear and beautiful microphones in my day. Ribbons are wonderful to work with and probably a fave personally, but again - being another dynamic, I would need a louder preamp that would pack a lot of gain! Plus, they aren't so cheap.

Then I thought about a tube, and although it would create a warmer sound, maybe it would lack some of the brightness I would want? I stayed up for the last 2 nights pondering and reading review after review. I always wanted to own a RØDE - but because they were designed and MADE in Australia I thought there was no way I could afford them. I was wrong! After doing much research I stumbled across a few contenders.

Staying up and getting slightly addicted to their Rode Soundbooth app. I still can't stop singing that "Oooh baby" track. It sticks with you. Well played Rode, very well played. ;)

These mics are a beauty and of course Rode sturdy. Both designed and made in-house in Australia.
The NTK tube mic was up there, along with the NT1000 (which I believe is a condenser version of the NTK - but I could be totally wrong!), NT2-A, NT1-A and the NT2000 (which was starting to creep out of my price-range). The highest on my list was the NT1 - new 2014 edition, but because it was SO new I put it out of my mind as I didn't think it would be around here yet, and trekked out to my local shop.

The P.A Shop is amazing here in London, Ontario - by the way. Incredibly knowledgeable staff, great variety of stock and if you're an out-of-towner Canadian, they offer free shipping! They also ship everywhere else, you can contact them through their chat service or call. They've always been awesome to me and treat me well :)

They actually have a RØDE vocal booth where I got to try the microphones I wanted to! I could have cried tears of joy finding this out :)

Sweet collaboration with Rycote - completing a really professional shock mount.

First up was the NT1-A. It sounded great, it sounded bright - which wasn't too bad for me for what I wanted. I think I was ready to go for that but wanted to hear all of my options. Next I tried the NT1000 which sounded a little warmer to me and I was warming up to that idea. Then I plugged into the NT2-A which also sounded equally great,  and started some confusion because for some reason I couldn't hear too much difference and asked for another opinion.

The very smart sales associate said he heard more sibilance on my vocals on the NT1000 over the NT2-A. Interesting! I was wondering what to do because I didn't really see myself using the different polar pattern settings as I found the cardioid to be what I would use the most, if not all the time - unless I wanted to do a duet on one mic - or whatever else. It was the next choice on my list.

Last choice (because the NTK tube wasn't available to try) was the NT2000. I loved the sound because it was sort of warmer than the NT1-A and incredibly smooth. The price was a little higher than I wanted to go - but it was also very sweet sounding. It because a hard choice, I made my vocal round 3 more times and then I decided I was ready to grab the NT1-A, because we both thought it sounded best on my voice.

In my head, I knew deep down I reeeeallly wanted to try the new NT1 and for some reason I started to walk around aimlessly because ADD gets the best of me sometimes - and for the good because there it was! I had a Wayne's World moment seeing the brand spankin' new box behind glass - "Oh yes, she will be mine."

Who doesn't want to pose with a new mic? I went with an out-take as I later thought how lame my idea actually was ;)
There were some waiting to be put out on the floor. "Oh yeah! We JUST got that new NT1 in! I'm equally excited to try it!" the salesman said. Both of us giggling in excitement, as we unboxed it and plugged it in. And there it was...

I get a smidgen warmer sound and not as bright as the original NT1-A. It gave my vox some nice depth and smoothness. I feel that was what the anniversary edition was lacking for me for MY vocals particularly. I am not knocking the NT1-A whatsoever, but the NT1 had similarities with that I loved about the NT2000. But, this is really just in my opinion and to my ears.

Perhaps I was just overstimulated, like smelling too many perfumes at once, but I knew in my heart that this one would work for me. At the price point of $320 CDN + tax it was a sound steal. Really happy with it!

As far as sibilance, it might be there a tad, but when I think about my S's and T's - I try and be cautious and I do sound a lot better, actually. I think you could use a de-esser on it and EQ it out - but it wasn't too bad at all, and a quick fix straight-away if NEED be. Especially when I was singing - it was a non-issue.

For my voice-over work I'm still trying to see what sounds best, but I sent in a completely dry vocal take and I am pretty sure I got that job :) That says a lot!

So, for the price - actually not even for the price... For the sound of the microphone, it sits at an affordable advantage to open to a bigger market - to get the proper credit it deserves.

Oh! They also have this little plug feature on the bottom of the mic that you can scan and it brings you right to the page where you can register for your 10 (!!!) year warranty. I've also read that their customer service is superb, and help without question (well, maybe a couple.)

All metal pop shield and a good locking nut is also included. 

The dreaded plosives through the new, and may I say INCREDIBLE, shock mount w/removable pop shield that comes included (SMR designed by Røde but features Rycote lyres) are almost completely gone. Which is actually why I went for the SM7B in the first place. I cannot give this shock mount enough praise. It's nice because you can't go wrong with the space between the mic, and the shield. It has already been ingeniously decided for you! :)

Another great thing is that this shock mount is compatible with all the NT series - including the K2 tube mic.

When you're done a session for the day, they also included a nice dust cover for your protecting convenience.

As you can see, I tried to capture the pop shield in it's detail. It looks like leather on the site ;)
I own an M-Audio Nova (because I actually love the sound for the money) and although these are both considered brighter cardioid condensers (the Rode NT1 is a little less gritty - in a favourable way) considerably floor noise boasting the "world's quietest 1" Cardioid Condenser", and to me - it seemed to open me up in a less harsh manner. I will keep both of them for my future mic locker as they offer me something a little different.

All in all, I'm very impressed with the new NT1! You should definitely have a listen! Try all of them, because something might sound better or different to you. Wonderful quality from Rode.

What is a review without hearing what it sounds like? I will post a sound clip below completely dry through Reason 6 and Prøpellerhead's balance (which I am also in love with!) below:

For reference: I am a new voice-over artist at (which is very much under construction)  and an old singer-songwriter ;)  I'll be using this microphone mainly for vocals and some acoustic guitar. You can check out my music soundcloud. (Even though I produce mostly electronic music:)

My little humble (and un-treated - don't judge me) home studio.