Légère Artificial Clarinet Reeds - I'm Never Going Back to Cane

Anyone out there who is a woodwind player knows the nightmare that is having to deal with reeds. They are expensive and finicky. You are lucky if you get a couple in a box of ten that are good. At one point I used to be one of those individuals who would sit there an sand my reeds, tweaking them to try and get them to be better. It was a pain and it honestly never worked. 

I have had my eye on various artificial reeds now for a while. Reviews are mostly positive about them, but you always see purists who just won't have anything of them. I noticed that someone in my section was playing on a Légère reed a few weeks ago and she said she loved it since she picked it up. That was it for me after dealing with another night of a sub-par feeling Vandoren. 

I ordered a Légère the very next day. It was not cheap, around $30 on Amazon. When it arrived two days later I put it on my clarinet and the different was noticeable right away. It was immediately responsive when playing and I knew right then and there that I would probably never play on a cane reed again. Why had I waited so long to get one of these? 

Now, playing on the Légère does feel a bit different than a traditional reed. First off, the surface is incredibly smooth and my bottom lip was sliding all over the place. The overall reed characteristics are also different than a normal reed. The tone is for the most part excellent, but if you aren't careful with your embouchure, the open holed notes like the middle G, A and Bb can sound very "plasticy". The rest of the notes above the break and in the low register sound great though and with a little bit of careful playing the open tones sound fine as well. 

I initially had some trouble playing the high register notes well above the staff, like the high E, F and G. I think I may have been biting down on the reed too much, causing it to stop vibrating. I think most of that will just come with some time on the reed. 

I'll also have to see how long the reed really lasts. Will it last a year? More? Less? We'll see, but I am super pleased with my initial impressions.  

New Album: Songs of the Solar Empire


I'm proud to announce the release of my latest album. It has been four years since I last released an album and a lot of work has gone into this latest work. The music here is once again an eclectic mix of tracks ranging from ambient to techno to even dance. The opening track, "Lowered Fog" was featured on the Ambient Collective vol. 5 compilation about a year ago. 

Once again, all of the songs were composed on this album utilizing only hardware. After taking some time off to look at new synthesizers I picked up a Waldorf Blofeld for leads and pads and also complemented by Korg EA-1 with a Tech 21 Flyrig 5 to give it a grittier sound. I think those new sounds come across nicely in the tracks.  

All of the tracks were recorded in 24-bit audio and you can download all of the tracks from bandcamp in lossless audio. This is the best sounding album I believe I have ever done. 

So please enjoy, and share. 

New Track - Pileus Approach


I finally found some time this past weekend to finish a new track that I have been working on. If you have followed me on Soundcloud you would have seen the preview of this when it was a work in progress about a month ago. The changes between then and now I think are notable. This is a really "chill" downtempo techno track. Lots of texture type synth sounds and some experimentation in the middle section with some glitch type styling by utilizing my EMU Command Station's grid recording feature along with some manipulation of the flanger on the EA-1 that it is sequencing.