The Music Network
More news of what SOS is doing on The Music Network.
This month we welcome Roland onto The Music Network and Paul Gilby reports on some interesting network developments.
Before going any further we must apologise for the non-appearance of last month's promised article about choosing the right communications software and transferring MIDI Files. Due to the pressures of time and exhibiting at the PC Show, we were unable to bring you that article. Unfortunately, we have to hold that particular feature over yet again as this month we want to bring you news about Roland and other system developments.
By the time you read this, Roland will finally be members of The Music Network. Current users know that Yamaha have been using TMN since its inception and were the first of the major hi-tech companies on the system. Now, after a short delay, Roland join them. Their network activities are split into two definable sections: business use, which is primarily for intercompany communication worldwide; and, more importantly for TMN users, customer support.
At the time of writing Roland are planning a number of public areas, which will include an open 'hints and tips' conference where owners of Roland gear can leave questions for Roland's customer support staff to answer, with the replies being left in the conference for all to read. Additionally, there will be a news section where new Roland products (like the S770) and software updates will be announced. Roland also have plans for an on-line public domain sound library containing sounds for their LA series synths. The idea is to start the ball rolling by placing a good selection of their sounds in the library to help get it off the ground, and then encourage users to upload their own sounds into the library and build an ever-growing catalogue of new and interesting voices. So, if you area D50 owner, or you're just getting to grips with a D110, the Roland sound library will be a place to visit.
Roland also intend utilising TMN to set up an education section especially for schools. Plans are somewhat vague at present and it will be sometime before this area is active; however, if you would like to know more about their ideas you could write to them or indeed send them an email message. Roland's identity on TMN will be, you guessed it, roland.
If you start seeing some strange names cropping up over the coming months that aren't listed in the TMN user directory, don't be surprised - they're probably Australians!
TMN is currently finalising plans, with an Australian network called Pegasus, to extend The Music Network to Australian users. TMN will operate under the name of The Pegasus Music Network in the land of Oz, with the two systems practically running in parallel. You'll be able to mail between systems without ever noticing it, and everybody will be able to access the same conferences. This relationship with Pegasus will enable Australian musicians to participate in The Music Network and keep in touch with the UK music scene via sos.news and the conferences. So, if you get a mail message with a slightly unusual ID you'll know where it came from! And remember, no matter what anybody suggests, the UK market is definitely not interested in a MIDI retrofit for a Rolf Harris Stylophone. However, do welcome these new members and encourage them to get involved in your various conferences.
An interesting concept that is currently under development could well appeal to a great number of UK musicians. Or Ltd, a Japanese music company who recently established a London office and have been using TMN to communicate with their Tokyo headquarters, have started to work on a very interesting project. In order to understand what they intend doing, we must first explain their current position.
Or Ltd work closely with a Japanese music publishing company whose aim is to bring together Japanese and European musicians and let their creative talents mingle in order to produce new music which exploits the fusion of eastern and western ideas. For example, a few months ago they released a CD by Hiroyasu Yanguchi, who had worked closely with Andy Partridge (ex-XTC) and Robert Bell of The Blue Nile. The album featured these and other western musicians on all tracks, and was recorded at Farmyard Studios and The Wool Hall in England.
Until now, the method of writing such songs involved tapes being sent back and forth to Japan or long-distance travel for some musicians. When the material was finally composed, the musicians would meet at a mutually agreed location to make the recording. Or Ltd have proposed a different approach which utilises the power of TMN and MIDI. They want to find musicians who are specifically working in the field of electronic music and using MIDI equipment and computer sequencer software. It is envisaged that musicians in the UK could become involved with Japanese counterparts; both would write music using their MIDI setups and utilise The Music Network to transfer the data as MIDI Files. This would allow each person to interact with the other and actually collaborate on a song (see 'Transcontinental MIDI Shuffle' article in SOS May 89 issue). This approach cuts out the geographical problems and also greatly reduces the time it takes to write material, in common with the Yanguchi CD, when all the music has been written the musicians would then finally come together for the master recording and mixing session.
It's a really exciting idea and we'll keep you updated on its progress. Or Ltd will soon be opening a conference on TMN, where the company will outline the idea in detail and ask interested musicians to contact them for future introduction to Japanese musicians. Of course, prospective collaborators will need to be a subscriber to TMN.
For details ot how to join TMN write to: The Music Network, (Contact Details).