making your own beatz

For quite a few years I’ve been keeping myself busy with making music on computers. Well, some people will disagree on the fact that I call what I make music, but that’s a different discussion.
I started out on the Amiga with tools Octamed, StarTracker and FastTracker, which where cool at the time, but of course still rather limited.
Later I used FastTracker 2 on the PC, which was a lot better already, to finally start using some “more professional” tools like FruityLoops.
Since I started out with trackers I’ve always had a software based approach to music making. What I mean is that I’m not interested in the way for instance Reason works, by looking at the whole process from a hardware perspective. That’s simply because I never had a clue how the actual hardware of what I’m using really looks like (and I don’t really care either), so this just makes things more complicated for me.
So I want sliders, switches and maybe some knobs (admit it, it’s so cool to tweak a knob) but please no fancy skins to make something look like an actual TB-303, which just sucks up your memory anyway. So Fruity was cool, but I was always on the lookout for something better, and euhm… free for instance (yes, you can read between the lines).

So after a while I came across something called Jeskola Buzz. Some call it a tracker, which sort of made me look down on it a bit, but that’s mainly because it has a tracker-like interface in e.g. a sampler machine.
But Buzz is so much more than a tracker (no offense to the tracker peepz btw).

hey look! it’s buzz!

First of all it’s modular. You can connect as many machines to as many effect combination as you like, just click and link em up. Want to pull all your synths through separate delays, distortion, into a mixer and through a compressor? No problem. Your Buzz gear consist of machines and effects. Machines generate sound, like a synth or a drum computer, while effects change it, like reverb, compression, flanger etc. The cool part about Buzz is that creating a machine for it is done with a well described API, which has resulted in a huge amount of different machines made by a large community of developers ranging from TBS404 or Roland 808 emulators to the weirdest synths you’ve ever heard (unless your name is Richard D. James that is).
Second, it’s free.. free!! How sweet is that!

Another cool thing is the low impact on your memory, and you can never have enough of that, mainly because all sort of fancyness like huge skin bitmaps aren’t used in it.
It’s a bit buggy too sometimes, but I can live with that, especially because a lot of the machines are optimized for speed. You can really run a lot of reverb effects for instance on a decent machine without bringing it to it’s knees.
And it’s free, FREE!! Did I mention that already?

Anyway, time to check it out I guess. You can download everything you need and more at the BuzzMachines website.
Be sure to check out the tutorial. I know, I know, reading manuals is for n00bz, but it’ll definitely save you some time trying to figure it out on your own…
Also check out the BuzzWikki, which has some excellent tips for newbies and the more experienced buzzers.