Wednesday, November 10, 2010


In May 2007 I bought a Korg Oasys. It was delivered on the Dancing On Ice Tour. I had played it in the shop and found it amazingly intuitive in following a lead I gave as it has Karma inside. Karma adds 'random seeds' as you play which feels and sounds awesome.

Now one of my goals was/is to write and produce my own songs and film and I thought this, very expensive, bit of kit could help.

Since then it has been a nightmare to learn for me. Whilst I can get great sounds out of it, it has been incredibly unfriendly to use in it's operating system. My Macs help me, the Oasys doesn't. You need to know how the Oasys, and sound engineering overall works, then it will work. It has no intuitive user interface and a handbook translated from Japanese that still has Japanese grammar - I swear some of it was written in Geek Japanese in the first place!

So, easy to use? No way. Not unless you are already conversant with Korg operating systems and sound recording overall. It's PC based in it's file structure has no - easy to use - PC interface. There's a reason for this, it doesn't want to waste anything on processing anything other than music, the result being it can process a phenominal amount of musical information. All that equates to great sound which is what you want.

Now I have battled and battled to try to get to grips with it. I suppose it would have helped if I knew more about sound recording as this is a complete music studio in it's own right oh yes and that I could play the piano!

I got sad. A waste of money? Maybe I will just use it as a piano and send some sounds over to Logic (my core audio software) in time. Oh yes and Korg stopped building it in 2009 so it's outdated now then... they have a lighter version that must be much better. Ah well, write it off to experience.

Two and a half years on and my journey sees me having a great morning with my lovely Oasys!? So good that I feel the potential this amazing machine gives me in composition and production and see that I didn't waste my money. So good that I felt the excitement you get when you jump out of a plane - Yes that good!

My story then: (1) Korg stopped making it because it was so expensive and only a few people bought it - thus it made no profit. They make cheaper ones because that is the market. It is a brilliant bit of kit, only a few thousand were made and I have one :) (2) I actually know lot more than I did two and a half years ago and it's starting to help me unlock routing patches and understand the audio engineering and file structures the Oasys has. (3) My piano is getting better so I can start to play it better - duh...

Bottom line. I play the Oasys, it records the sounds in to my Mac and I record the midi at the same time. I can then have Logic play back the Oasys and record a different instrument back into Logic. It is the sounds the Oasys makes that are superb added to Karma that make it amazing. Building o this I can do arrangements from the scores that are generated in Logic and I can back up onto the Oasys. Did you loose it there? Hee hee, little by little I'm becomming a sound engineer :)

So this morning a new vista opened up for me. A step change on my journey to make film and music combined. I played one Oasys Instrument - an orchestra - and thought it sounded a bit James Bond ish. You know - that time at the end of the film when it's going to be alright but then there's something else to sort out.

Christiane advised, "Keep the music short." So I improvised a piece to 1 1/2 minutes and I've popped it onto the net and click on James Bond.

For me to be able to do this blows me away and yet it's normal for so many and is the World I'm stepping into. The player is a baby one, the website in it's infancy, some of the tracks have duff notes as I find my way but hey the tracks are all intuitive and free form, played once, and composed on the fly. So that's my excuse at the moment. I've been waiting for everything to be perfect before putting anything out... Change of tack in the last week...

Somehow I can start to see what I have been working towards for so long coming more into focus. No doubt challenges will come - software conflict with midi driver after an update yesterday is a classic - for example.

But... but... I can feel a shift. The 'Magic's in the Music' and slowly it's coming. To hear the tracks back from the computer as it comes from the internet gives a different perspective for me. To hear my sub woofer sounding like the time in the movies when that deep deep note makes your insides wobble was also a first.

My, I have so much to do and to learn but today is a big step forward, so I wanted to share it with you...

I hope you manage to move your dream forward today.



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