Category: Music

5 Beginner Tips for Making Awesome Music with a Sequencer

While the best instrumentalists in the world can play with incredible precision, none can approach the incredibly reliable timing of a sequencer. This is because music sequencers are fully programmable in the same way that you can program a computer.

In fact, modern sequencers ARE computers: incredibly complex digital machines that allow you to play virtually any musical or rhythmic patterns or “sequences” of sonic elements. If you have your sequencer set up appropriately, you can play your chosen combination of notes, rhythmic elements, effects, and articulations with the touch of a button or a click of a mouse.

There are many sequencer types and designs on the market today. Although some models are specifically geared toward beginners, even the simplest of sequencers can be quite intimidating, particularly to people who might be less musically and/or technologically inclined. But, by following the five tips below, even total newcomers to the sequencer can begin making a beautiful racket in no time!

1. Choose the Right Sequencer/Synth Connection

Fortunately, most music sequencers are compatible with most other forms of synthesizer-based instruments and computer hardware. In fact, users can generally choose among many different ways to connect sequencers to synth. Software sequencers that operated entirely on a computer or mobile device are generally quite easy to connect to any synth device. Depending on their age and specific brand, hardware sequencers commonly link to synths and other devices via MIDI, CV, or USB interfaces. While all of these interfaces allow you to faithfully carry pitch, rhythm, articulation, and other defining aspects of sequencer music creation, a 3.5mm CV jack can give precise voltage control to further modulate auditory signals.

2. Use Sequencer Knobs Rather Than Your Mouse

If a software sequencer has any knobs to speak of, they will be virtual in nature and appear only on your computer screen. Many hardware sequencers that connect to a computer allow you to choose between making adjustments on-screen or with a series of physical knobs, switches, and buttons. Most beginners tend to appreciate the tactile nature of turning a physical knob and find that “turning” knobs with a mouse and keyboard is far less intuitive. When you hear your musical sequences changing in real time under the influence of your fingertips, it can be quite creatively empowering.

3. Create Melody and Harmony with Pitch

Although different sequencers may come with radically different features, nearly all of them allow you to program them for pitch. The relative highness or lowness of a note, pitch allows you to create melodies and harmonies. Try placing different notes in different orders to craft a melody. Try programming two or more congruous notes at the same time to create harmonies.

4. Create Rhythmic Timing with Gate or Trigger

The related elements of gate and trigger are even more essential than pitch when it comes to sequencer operation. Applicable to both musical notes and atonal percussion, gate refers to the amount of time in any sequencer program that is “open” to a particular sound. Triggers are the specific points in time that various gates open. Every time you program a sound, your sequencer places gate and trigger signals to launch that sound and subsequently terminate it.

5. Create Sound Texture with Modulation

To create true works of music art, sequencer users must augment the primary elements of pitch and gate with secondary elements such as modulation. Without modulation, musicians simply can’t get the specific timbres, textures, and other sonic qualities that give music so much of its emotional import and primal power. Often controlled by a mod wheel, a touch pad, or a series of knobs, modulation changes sound with effects such as vibrato and phasing.

5 Greatest Hip Hop Music Videos Ever

There was once a time when hip-hop music videos were among the cheapest to produce in the music industry as many of them involved someone simply rapping in front of a camera, whether it be outside or in the studio. During the mid-to-late 1990s, however, music video production exploded in quality as the genre became more mainstream, and multi-million dollar videos were soon being pumped out weekly.

Now, there is a long list of amazing music videos from the genre that have had great direction and artistry while also being accompanied by a great song. Though it’s hard to choose from a long list of an entire genre, here are the five greatest hip-hop music videos ever in our opinion.

California Love

“California Love” is one of the greatest creations to come from the late rapper, Tupac Shakur. Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman were also featured on the 1995 hit. The music video for the song was directed by Hype Williams and filmed in El Mirage, California. 

The video, inspired by Mad Max Beyond the Thundersome, features the artists and various actors such as Chris Tucker, Clifton Powell, and Tony Cox in a dystopian desert setting, dressed in ravaged clothing and body armor as seen in the movie. The song has been listed by countless publications as being one of the greatest hip-hop songs of all time.

The Real Slim Shady

“The Real Slim Shady” is the lead single off of Eminem’s 2000 album, The Marshall Mather’s LP. The satirical video starts off with Eminem as a patient in a psych ward, with comedian Kathy Griffin as a nurse. 

The video cuts to different hilariously odd scenes throughout, some with Eminem surrounded by a group of lookalikes, with him pointing out there’s only one Slim Shady and others are just imitating. The video went on to win Best Video and Best Male Video at the MTV Video Music Awards. 


“Sabotage” serves as the first single off of the Beastie Boys’ 1994 album, Ill Communication. The music video for “Sabotage” was directed by Spike Jonze and is inspired by 70’s crime shows such as Hawaii Five-O and Starsky and Hutch. 

The hilariously action-packed video features the members of the group being introduced as characters in a mock television show intro, fighting crime in 70’s style outfits, wigs, and mustaches. The video was nominated for various awards during the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards but failed to win in any of the categories. 

Jesus Walks

Kanye West had established himself as a producer for many years, but in the early 2000s, he finally got on the other side of the microphone and recorded his debut album “The College Dropout”, which ended up being considered one of the greatest albums in rap history. Among the singles released were “Through the Wire” and “All Falls Down”, with “Jesus Walks” being released later in the album’s life.

There were three different videos released for “Jesus Walks”, with two of them being paid for exclusively by West. The song was deeply important for West and his spirituality, which is why he felt that it was important to spend over $1 million to produce the two additional videos. The one that most people know though was the second version which started with prisoners being treated like modern-day slaves and touched on the social justice issues of the past two centuries in the United States.

Tha Crossroads     

While Bone Thugs-n-Harmony was already an up-and-coming group by the time 1996 came around, the release of “Tha Crossroads” really helped put them on the map. The group, which was then comprised of members Krayzie, Layzie, Bizzy, and Wish Bone, came out with “Tha Crossroads” as a tribute to not just family members that they had lost, but also their mentor Eazy-E after his passing in 1995 at just 30 years old.

The accompanying music video for “Tha Crossroads” was a deep and emotional look at life, death, and the afterlife which included a full choir and even a man that chaperones lost souls into the afterworld. At that point, there hadn’t been many rap music videos that had touched deep into sensitive topics like death and gang vioelnce, but “Tha Crossroads” did that beautifully and became one of the best hip-hop songs of the 1990s.

5 Best Selling Hip Hop Albums of All Time

When you’re talking about the best-selling albums in music history, the entire top of the list is dominated by pop and rock music. That doesn’t mean hip-hop is completely gone from the list, though. There have been many albums from the genre to sell millions of copies and make their way to the all-time list.

Almost all of the best-selling albums come from a time where downloading songs to your phone or watching the videos on YouTube wasn’t available. That means that the list is probably never going to change. With that said, here are the five best-selling hip-hop albums of all time. Did you own any of the albums on this list?

5. Greatest Hits by Tupac Shakur

Following the death of hip-hop legend Tupac Shakur, a compilation album was created to honor his legacy, which included four previously unreleased songs as well as the single “California Love”. Like any greatest hits compilation album, this one doesn’t have any slow moments when going through the tracks, which starts off with “Keep Ya Head Up” and “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted”.

All in all, there are 25 tracks on “Greatest Hits”, and it peaked at number three on the Billboard 200. However, the album would see sustained sales throughout the years and eventually reached diamond status more than a decade after its initial release. Even in 2019 through 2022, it was at the year-end Billboard chart inside of the top 200.

4. Life After Death by Notorious B.I.G.

Just like Tupac’s “Greatest Hits”, “Life After Death” came out following the murder of Notorious B.I.G., but it was only a couple of weeks after his tragic death. “Life After Death” is considered by some to be among the greatest hip-hop albums ever made, and was a showcase of a man who got taken down during his peak.

“Life After Death” features songs including “Hypnotize”, “Mo Money Mo Problems” and “Going Back to Cali” which all turned out to be radio hits. The album peaked at number one in 1997 and was at the eighth spot on the year-end charts, while also finding its way to the top 100 of the decade-end charts.

3. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below by Outkast

Back in 2003-04, you couldn’t go for more than 10 minutes without hearing a song from Outkast’s album “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below”. Whether it was the notoriously infectious “Hey Ya!” or “The Way You Move” to the more niche songs like “Ghetto Musick” and “Roses”, the album was unstoppable when released.

The album easily made its way to number one on the Billboard Charts in the United States and performed well in just about every other major market. For the entire 2000s decade, it finished inside of the top 35. That’s certainly cooler than being cool.

2. The Marshall Mathers LP by Eminem

The top two-selling albums in hip-hop history came from one man, and you probably already guessed who it was from the very beginning. Of course, Eminem is that man, and the Detroit native was able to go certified diamond with his sophomore major label album. Following the success of 1999’s “The Slim Shady LP”, many were expecting great things from “The Marshall Mathers LP” and it didn’t disappoint.

The first single released off of the album was “The Real Slim Shady”, which achieved huge mainstream success on the pop charts. This was followed up by more serious tracks including “The Way I Am” and “Stan”. There was a little something for everyone on “The Marshall Mathers LP”, which allowed it to become number one in most major countries and sell over 12.5 million copies in the United States alone.

1. The Eminem Show by Eminem

It took two years for Eminem to follow up “The Marshall Mathers LP” and he did it in a huge way with 2002’s “The Eminem Show”. Recorded in California and Detroit, “The Eminem Show”, much like its predecessor, debuted with a single fit for radio in the form of “Without Me”. And just like the last time, Eminem captured attention first then released the more serious tracks.

Among them were “Cleanin’ Out My Closet”, “Superman” and “Sing for the Moment”. “The Eminem Show” outperformed his previous ventures and all hip-hop albums in general, with a claimed 27 million copies sold worldwide. 

5 Classic Rock Hits That Were Revived Through Movie Soundtracks

Every now and then, a movie or television show will use a song that we haven’t heard in ages, while also introducing a new audience to a hit. There have been many rock songs that have found a second life due to being used on a popular soundtrack over the years, with some finding new heights on the chart. Here are the five biggest cases of classic rock hits being revived through movie soundtracks.

“Come and Get Your Love” by Redbone

Released in January 1974, “Come and Get Your Love” was a universally beloved hit for the remainder of the decade and the top-charting song for Redbone. It reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold over 1 million copies while being considered the fourth most successful song of the entire year.

Though the song has remained relevant since its release, it was in 2014 that it saw another massive surge in popularity. The opening scene of the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” film features Peter Quill (played by Chris Pratt) lip-syncing and dancing to the tune in a memorable opening by director James Gunn. “Come and Get Your Love” was later used on the Bill Burr animated series “F is for Family”, furthering its new popularity.

“Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede

Speaking of “Guardians of the Galaxy”, there were plenty of classic rock hits that the film series brought back to the light, but we’ll limit it to just these two. The second is Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling”, which is a cover version of a cover version that was initially released in 1968 by Mark James, starting with the familiar “Ooga Chaka.”

The song was featured in the first “Guardians” film after the group is sent to a space prison and Peter Quill is tased for getting out of hand. The movie uses the song as a backdrop to show how the group slowly started to learn to trust one another during their time in lockup while they start to put together the pieces of each other’s history.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen

“Bohemian Rhapsody” feels like it’s five different songs in one, and is considered one of the greatest rock hits of all time. When it was originally released in late 1975, “Bohemian Rhapsody” enjoyed a lot of success, reaching the top 10 of the Billboard charts. However, it wasn’t until it was used in the memorable “Wayne’s World” scene in 1992 that it really took off.

Almost everyone and their brother was recreating the popular scene that takes place in Wayne’s car, and it revived worldwide interest in Queen’s music. The biopic that would eventually be released detailing Freddy Mercury’s life was also called “Bohemian Rhapsody” and was released in 2018.

“Tiny Dancer” by Elton John

The Elton John classic “Tiny Dancer” is an all-timer, even though the original release wasn’t a radio hit due to its length of over six minutes. In fact, “Tiny Dancer” wouldn’t even reach the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100, and actually reached its peak in Australia of all countries, as it made it to number 13.

There was a huge influx of interest in the song in 2000 when it was featured in the film “Almost Famous” which earned Oscar nominations for Kate Hudson and Frances McDormand. The song got a lot of usage in “Almost Famous”, including the most memorable scene of the main cast singing it together in a van.

“Something in the Way” by Nirvana

Nirvana had a ton of hit songs off of their “Nevermind” album, but “Something in the Way” was sort of a deep track. The song was actually a bit of a hidden track as there were 10 minutes of silence before the track started to play on the original album. “Something in the Way” finally reached a lot of fans for the first time when it was featured prominently in the 2022 film “The Batman”.

The film had a lot of people Googling the song, and the new interest allowed “Something in the Way” to reach the top 50 of the Billboard charts for the first time in 2022. Even in countries like Greece and Iceland, it was able to find the top 40 charts.

5 Classic Rock Albums That Stood The Test Of Time

There are many albums that end up being a product of their time and tend not to age all that well over the years. For most classic rock albums, though, that tends not to be the case (unless you’re talking strictly about some hair metal bands). 

There are many classic rock albums that are still beloved and critically acclaimed even decades after they were released. From the 1960s to the early 1990s, here are five classic rock albums that have withstood the test of time.

“Nevermind” by Nirvana

Nirvana wasn’t around for a long time as lead singer Kurt Cobain tragically took his own life in 1994, but he led the trio that put together a perfect album for its time that still holds up today. “Nevermind” starts with a memorable album cover and then hits you right in the face with “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, which would be the band’s anthem.

The great songs didn’t stop coming after the intro, either, as the next four songs were “In Bloom”, “Come As You Are”, “Breed” and “Lithium” which all ended up being grunge classics. There were even some deep tracks including “Drain You” and “Something in the Way” that were great, with the latter even being featured in the 2022 film “The Batman” and reaching the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time.

“Rumours” by Fleetwood Mac

If you were to ask a group of people to name a perfect album, there’s a good chance that a lot of them are going to say “Rumours” by Fleetwood Mac. The album was the band’s attempt at making a poppier version of a rock album, and the result was an 11-track masterpiece that reached number one on the charts and is still relevant to this day.

Of course, there are the big hits from “Rumours” that include “Don’t Stop” and “Go Your Own Way”, but there are plenty of other top-tier tracks that include “The Chain”, “Dreams” and “You Make Loving Fun”. There’s really not a single bad song on the album, which is why it was recognized as the Album of the Year at the 1977 Grammy Awards.

“Master of Puppets” by Metallica

You could really pick any of the Metallica albums from before the mid-1990s to appear on this list, but the one that really stands out is “Master of Puppets” for a lot of different reasons. First, there’s the memorable album cover that’s considered to be one of the greatest of all time, then there are eight tracks, all of which are hard-hitting classics.

For the first 14 minutes, listeners are treated with one of the best back-to-back openings in music history with “Battery” followed by the title track, “Master of Puppets”. There’s not much of a break as the album is high octane all the way through, including songs like “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” and “Orion”, which many consider to be one of the most underrated Metallica songs since it wasn’t a big radio hit.

“Led Zeppelin IV” by Led Zeppelin

When you try to visualize what a classic rock album looks like in your head, you might picture “Led Zeppelin IV”. The 1971 album from the legendary British rock band was one of the greatest-selling albums in history and is considered by many music historians to be the best. Like “Master of Puppets”, there are eight songs total, and they’re all memorable.

The front side of “Led Zeppelin IV” features “Black Dog”, “Rock and Roll”, “The Battle of Evermore” and concludes with “Stairway to Heaven”. That list alone could be an entire album, but there’s also the second side that’s comprised of “Misty Mountain Hop”, “Four Sticks”, “Going to California” and “When the Levee Breaks”.

“Van Halen” by Van Halen

Van Halen has had a lot of great albums, especially when David Lee Roth was the frontman. However, their debut self-titled album released in 1978 remains their best work. It was a great introduction to the band, especially since the lead single was “You Really Got Me”, though the opening track on the album was “Runnin’ with the Devil”.

The hits kept coming thanks to songs like “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘bout Love”, “Feel Your Love Tonight” and “Ice Cream Man”. According to Roth himself, this was the band’s best work and was critically beloved upon its release.

5 Classic Albums Everyone Should Own

There are a lot of albums that are considered to be among the greatest ever, but that list can end up getting pretty long when you start to think of your personal favorites. While your own tastes are certainly good, there are some albums that hit the general public with such an overwhelmingly positive response from fans and critics alike that it’s hard to not consider them to be among the greatest ever.

If you haven’t listened to too much music from the 1990s and earlier, there are some albums that you absolutely must listen to. These albums have memorable tracks from beginning to end, with the singles that were released from each album making their way up the charts. Here are the five classic albums that span generations and genres that everyone should own.

Rumours by Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac is a band with an incredible amount of notoriety, in part due to the lasting success of their eleventh studio album Rumours. It’s a classic soft rock album, released in February of 1977. The album features hit songs like “Dreams”, “Go Your Own Way”, and “The Chain”, songs that were written with influence from the bandmates’ lifestyles and relationships. Rolling Stones ranked Rumours at #25 of the 500 greatest albums of all time. 

Thriller by Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson’s Thriller album is the highest-selling album of all time, globally. Indefinitely a classic album everyone should have as a part of their collection. Michael Jackson had a legendary career that has and will continue to leave a lasting impression on the world of pop. Thriller is the sixth studio album the King of Pop released in November of 1982, featuring sensational songs like “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’”, “Billie Jean”, “P.Y.T.”, “Beat It”, and of course “Thriller”. Critics gave the album incredible praise, claiming it changed the music industry for the better and was ahead of its time. 

Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morrissette

Alanis Morrissette is a force to be reckoned with, even to this day. Her third studio album Jagged Little Pill was released in June of 1995 and features hit songs like “Hand in my Pocket”, “See Right Through You”, “You Learn”, “Ironic”, “Head Over Feet”, and the infamous “You Oughta Know”. She won two Grammys, and five Juno awards, and placed #69 in the 2020 edition of The Rolling Stone’s list of Greatest Albums of All Tim. It’s a classic 90s alternative rock album that is full of angst and deep emotion. 

Purple Rain by Prince

Prince was and still is a legend among the world of musicians. Purple Rain was Prince’s sixth studio album, released in June of 1984. It featured hit songs like “When Doves Cry”, “Darling Nikki”, “Baby I’m a Star”, and “Purple Rain”, all of which, and more, served as the soundtrack for the movie “Purple Rain”. The song Darling Nikki and the music video for When Doves Cry were both surrounded by a certain degree of controversy due to the sexual subject matter. Purple Rain still remains a classic that stood the test of time. 

Back in Black by AC/DC

AC/DC’s seventh studio album Back in Black is one of the best-selling metal albums of all time as well as the fourth best-selling album of all time in the US. It was released in July of 1980, with powerful songs like “Hells Bells”, “Back in Black”, “You Shook Me All Night Long”, and “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”. It’s the first album released by the band with new singer Brian Johnson, following the death of their previous lead singer Bon Scott. Back in Black is a classic hard rock and the heavy metal masterpiece that revived and molded the world of metal music, making way for the metal bands of today. 

5 Best Concert Venues In The World

It seems that these days, most concerts are held in stadiums that were made for football/soccer or indoors at basketball and hockey arenas. While they serve their purpose as being venues that can get a lot of fans into the seats and have large open flooring sections, the acoustics aren’t always preferable.

There are some venues, though, where the atmosphere is tremendous and the sound is second to none. These venues are located all around the world, with some being outdoors while others are tucked away in smaller indoor spots. Out of all of the concert venues in the world, these five stand out as the place where musicians truly want to play for a multitude of reasons.

Sydney Opera House

Located in Bennelong Point in Sydney Australia, the Sydney Opera House is one of the most incredible and uniquely built structures of our time. The fabulous building rests on the Sydney Harbour and stands out to anyone within the general vicinity. 

The Sydney Opera House was fully erected in 1973 and has been home to some of the world’s most impressive acts, such as the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Australian Ballet, as well as popular performances by Sting, Bob Dylan, and Prince.

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre

Located in Morrison Colorado, the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, also known more simply as the Red Rocks, is one of the most stunning music venues in all of America. The outdoor, open-air venue is stunning and well-constructed. Famous acts like U2, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Rush, and Colorado native John Denver. 

The stunning architecture of the surrounding nature and manmade features creates an awe-inspiring scene for any concert performed at the Red Rocks. Concertgoers and performers alike have commented on its beauty and claim it may be the best venue out there.

Hollywood Bowl

Another eye-catching Amphitheatre is the Hollywood Bowl, located in the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles California. It’s been deemed as one of the best music venues in the world, even making it on Rolling Stone’s list of the top ten live music venues in 2018. 

It was initially opened in 1922 and underwent renovations in the early 2000s. Superstar acts like The Beatles, The Supremes, The Doors, The Jackson 5, and Elton John have all performed at the legendary venue. Plays like Mamma Mia, Rent, Westside Story, and Les Misérables have also made their way to the Hollywood Bowl, with all-star casts performing the popular shows. 


Dalhalla is an open-air venue, opened in 1995, and located a whopping 200 feet below sea level in an old limestone quarry in Rättvik, Sweden. Artists like Bjork, Iggy Pop, Sting, and Arcade Fire have performed in the extraordinarily unique venue that seats 4,000. 

Dalhalla hosts around 30 events during the summer months, mainly composed of opera, jazz, and popular musicians. The interesting location makes for an amazing acoustic sound that turns any and all instrumentals and vocals into even more beautiful works of art. 

Carnegie Hall

The famous Carnegie Hall venue is located in Manhattan, New York. William Burnet Tuthill designed the wondrous historic structure that was then built by and named after Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie Hall opened in 1891 and has been home to performances by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Symphonic Orchestra, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Nina Simone, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin. 

The Hall earned its place on the list of US National Historic Landmarks as well as the US National Register of Historic Places. The Italian Renaissance style structure remains a beloved masterpiece in the heart of Manhattan for tourists and locals, adding a sophisticated touch to the city.  

5 Best Metal Album Covers

There are certain genres of music where the album covers just mean a little more. In metal, an album cover is one of the most important aspects of the album itself. Many metal albums are epics that tell an entire story and have themes, and the covers tend to match those themes. Because of this, there have been some truly iconic metal album covers over the years, but these five really stand out as the best.

5. Leviathan by Mastodon

The newest album to be included on the list is 2004’s “Leviathan” by Mastodon, which was a concept album that was based on the famous novel “Moby Dick”. With songs such as “Iron Tusk” and “I Am Ahab”, “Leviathan” has a cover that matches the theme of the entire album.

Philadelphia native Paul Romano is the man responsible for the cover art for “Leviathan”, and much of his work has been featured on album covers throughout the years. The album itself only shows a small portion of the full picture, which can only be described as truly epic. The mix of colors and clashing themes seems like it’s straight out of a fantasy story and makes “Leviathan” really stand out.

4. Sad Wings of Destiny by Judas Priest

Judas Priest was still in the early years as a band when they released “Sad Wings of Destiny” in 1976, which was just their second album. “Sad Wings of Destiny” had a little something for all metal fans no matter the mood, and the album was propelled by memorable songs including “Deceiver” and “The Ripper”.

Patrick Woodroffe was tabbed to create the cover art for “Sad Wings of Destiny”. The official title of the painting is “Fallen Angel”, which shows the band’s symbol within the imagery. Woodroffe would also create cover art for bands including Budgie, Mike Batt, and even Tiesto. Still, it’s his “Fallen Angel” piece that fans remember the most.

3. Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? by Megadeth

Following the success of “Killing Is My Business…and Business Is Good!”, Megadeth released “Peace Sells…but Who’s Buying?” the following year in 1985. The album was commercially successful thanks to the title track and other songs including “Wake Up Dead” and “The Conjuring”.

Megadeth loved using artist Ed Repka and their mascot Vic Rattlehead, and that’s how the cover of “Peace Sells” came to be. Repka drew Vic in front of a destroyed United Nations Building and set up a sign to sell the real estate. Repka said it was a cornerstone moment for his career, and he’d go on to create art for several Megadeth albums including “Hangar 18”, “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and “From Beyond”.

2. Master of Puppets by Metallica

There’s always a debate amongst Metallica fans as to what the best album in the band’s catalog is, with many making a case for “Master of Puppets”. Released in 1986, the album received near-perfect reviews across the board thanks to songs including “Battery”, “Welcome Home”, and “Disposable Heroes”.

The cover of “Master of Puppets” fits the theme and name of the album, showing subconscious manipulation. The white crosses mark all of those that were being controlled by higher powers, including those having their lives ended by war. “Master of Puppets” was actually designed mostly by Metallica, though they enlisted the help of Peter Mensch and painter Don Brautigam to bring their idea to life.

1. Holy Diver by Dio

“Holy Diver” was the result of Ronnie James Dio wrapping up his first stint with Black Sabbath, using many of the bandmates that he had worked with up to that point. The album produced a lot of memorable tracks, including the title track, “Stand Up and Shout”, and “Rainbow in the Dark”.

Dio used a mascot named Murray that was prominently featured in much of the band’s work, and that includes the “Holy Diver” album cover. Randy Berrett was the artist that brought Murray to life in this one, which shows him wrapping up a priest with his whip-like chain from a mountain high above the water. Naturally, this cover drew some controversy, but it was very much on-brand for Dio.

Getting Started With Home Recording

Home recording is a rewarding way to spend free time and let your creativity flow. If you get good enough at home recording, you may even be able to make a career out of your hobby.

Some hobbies have a steep learning curve, and home recording can be one of those hobbies. Investing in the right equipment, reading about home recording and allowing your creativity to flow can make getting started with home recording much easier. Here’s what to know. 

Know Your Budget

Your home recording studio will require an initial investment from you, because you’ll need to purchase equipment and set up space at home. Most people need to invest at least $300 in their studio, if they’re starting from scratch. This includes basic equipment and a microphone.

Costs vary depending on what you’re planning on purchasing. Shop around, and if you’re on a tight budget, you may need to purchase your recording equipment over a long period of time, which could delay your progress.

This cost does not include the price of a good computer. People who engage in home recording rely on good computers. Recording can make big files that require a powerful computer to manipulate. Just having a basic computer at home isn’t good enough – you’ll need a computer that’s designed to process and store large files. As you’re making your budget, you may need to add in some money for a new computer. Shop around to get the best, most affordable deal. 

Set Up Your Studio

Once you’ve got the money set aside, it’s time to make purchases.  

A Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) is a type of software that allows people who record at home to record audio and mix their music from their personal workstation. There are a variety of DAW products available for home recording buffs. You’ll learn more about the best DAW products by doing research and by networking with people who enjoy this hobby for themselves.  

Other purchases you’ll need to make include:

  • Audio interface
  • Monitor speakers
  • Headphones
  • Microphphone (including cable and stand)
  • Popshield

If you’re serious about home recording, you may also want to purchase acoustic treatments that help soundproof the room where you’ll be working.  

Record Your First Track

Once you’ve purchased and set up your equipment, you’re ready to record your first track. Some tips:

Name the track before you start recording. Come up with a naming convention to make it easier to store and organize your digital files.

Set the recording levels. The loudest parts of your track should fall around -10 dbfs (decibels relative to full scale). 

Avoid heavy-duty mixing in the beginning. Mixing tracks adds a level of complication that can leave many beginners feeling lost. Basic mixing is hard enough, so keep your mixing to a minimum at first. 

Home recording takes a lot of time to learn and get good at, so your first tracks may not live up to your own expectations. Keep practicing, and you’ll get better with time.

The 5 First Pop Songs You Should Learn To Play On Piano

You may love the piano chops of Elton John or Billy Joel, but if you’re just venturing into pop music on your keyboard you might find it hard to duplicate their adroit fingering. It’s better to begin with some easier tunes and build your confidence. Here are five first songs to learn when you’re starting out.

You can buy sheet music for these tunes, or you might prefer to watch an instructional video clip and imitate what you see and hear. As with any piece, you can add complexity and make it as difficult as you like, but they all have a straightforward structure that make them good starter songs.

1. Yesterday

This Beatles hit was written by Paul McCartney. The melody came to him in a dream, and he wrote it down when he woke up. It has a distinct and creative chord progression. It starts in G, then goes to F sharp minor seventh, then B, E minor and back to G. It’s best played arpeggio – chords played one note at a time.

Another way is to play each phrase of melody with the right hand and with transpositions of the chord progression with the left.

2. Imagine

A haunting tune by the other half of the great Beatles songwriting team, John Lennon, was penned after the Fab Four broke up. A big part of its appeal is that it’s beautiful but simple.

It’s not hard to learn. A tonic and fourth, C and F, anchor the song in the left hand. The right hand can follow the melody and optionally sneak in the little riff at the end of each line.

3. Unchained Melody

This was written by Alex North and Hy Zaret in 1955 and has been recorded repeatedly, but the most famous is the Righteous Brothers 1965 rendition. One way to play it is to follow the chord progression – D, B minor, G, A – with the left hand while arpeggiating the chords with the right. You can also do the arpeggios in the left hand and play chords that include the melody note on the right side.

4. A Thousand Miles

This Vanessa Carlton song begins with the famous and widely recognized riff. It might be a little tricky to master, but once you have it, you have it for the whole song. The harmonies are easier and they also repeat. There’s a bit of syncopation is this number, which may take some getting used to. However, the technique carries over to many songs, and once you start syncopating, you may want to do more of it.

5. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

Tuneful melodies are nice, but every pianist ought to be able to crank our something with a little soul. This classic, recorded by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell among others, has an easy melody and a rhythm that is essentially simple but begs for syncopation. In some arrangements, the left hand drives. It’s a good introduction to playing jazzy music.