Monday, December 19, 2011

Funk Musicians Record at DSU

Audio Student Tyler Steele found a great way to kick off the holiday break by recording a group of musicians from the University of South Dakota called 'Olde Funk Riot'.  In order to capture the entire band live, they set up in the adjacent auditorium, utilizing a drum shield and the hallways to create separation between the instrumentalists.  With Tyler bringing out his tracking and mixing skills, the project is sure to produce some fantastic results!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Digital Arts Students Premiere Video

Digital Arts and Design students Luke Arens and Paul Schipper made their big video debut this week, when they showed a 5-minute video presentation at the annual Scholarship Banquet, with an attendance of upwards of 400 people.  The video was created as a part of Paul and Luke's university-related internship, which challenges them to create promotional material for the DSU Alumni Foundation.

The video featured DSU alumni and donors who stressed the importance of supporting current and future students through scholarships.  It also featured students who discussed the benefits of their scholarships.

The response to the presentation was overwhelmingly positive, and the students will continue to work with the Foundation in order to continue creating their engaging presentation materials.

Friday, October 28, 2011

'DSU Live' brings huge talent to campus

It's been a busy month for members of our campus live music organization, 'DSU Live', which includes many of the university's Audio Production Program members. In addition to DJ'ing a huge Halloween Dance hosted by the Student Activities Board, the group has hosted some really exciting musical acts during October:
The premiere band showcase of the semester featured Sioux Falls area band, Avian Sunrise, with The Broken Resolve. We treated this as our big event to show the campus and community the kind of great shows that we are able to bring to DSU. The bands were a lot of fun and both played stellar sets. The Broken Resolve has an uptempo pop-rock sound, while Avian Sunrise has a piano-driven sound with a strong emotional core. The DSU Live crew was very on top of things, and they impressed the band members with their quickness and efficiency.

More pics can be seen in the flickr gallery.  The group also had the pleasure of hosting an acoustic show in the 'Myxers' coffee shop in the campus Trojan Center. Our first show of this kind featured a hugely talented singer-songwriter, Audri Vargas. Her amazing vocal skills made it clear why she was a top 50 finalist in American Idol several years ago. DSU student Austin Donley kicked off the night. There was an excellent turnout and a very positive response that helped to ensure that DSU Live will be hosting more events of this kind very soon!  Check out Audri's cover of Taylor Swift's song, 'Mean':

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Student Creates New Electronic Music

DSU Students have been hard at work this semester in our Recording Sessions class. One student in particular, Kristen Cooper, has been keeping a blog showing off her latest work. She has been using a portable field recorder to capture and edit sound effects for a video game project being produced in the Gaming department. Additionally, she has been practicing her skills using the software program, Reason, and recently finished a song titled, "Nightmare Moon Remix Rhapsody": Nightmare Moon Remix Rhapsody by Cooper Production
As mentioned above, she has also been capturing many sound effects and editing them in Pro Tools for the video game. She was requested to gather effects related to burning, trash cans, and howling winds. Here's the latest from what she's been working on:
Latest tracks by Cooper Production
I'm excited to see where this and the other Recording Sessions projects will lead this semester!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

DSU Live has a HUGE start!

As students have been getting back to work in their classes this semester, the campus music organization, DSU Live, has been off to a really strong start.  The opening "GO! Karaoke" event packed the Underground and gave students the opportunity to sing their hearts out on stage.  It was also a great opportunity to show off the updates to the Underground which includes brand new LED stage lighting!  DSU Live also worked hard to promote themselves during the annual Activities Fair.  

Above, you see founding member Matt Lyon posing with organization advisor, Nathan Edwards.  Also helping out were student members Tyler Steele, Bruce Schulz, Paul Schipper, and faculty advisor, Sandy Champion.  Check out all of the upcoming events at the brand new DSU Live website:!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Students visit for Digital Art Camp at DSU

During July 2011, students visited Dakota State to spend a week at camp learning about the various elements of the digital arts arena. In the Audio Production section, there were two really great students in class: Sara and Megan. We went through the entire recording process, including recording vocals, instruments, MIDI drums, and the skills and nuance required to create a great mix.

Most of the week was spent reverse-engineering a song (in other words, creating a cover) by Martina McBride. It was sung with great skill by DSU faculty member, Tracy Pardy. Instruments and backing vocals were added, and the track turned out sounding fantastic! It was a really fun week.

Here’s the video that the students helped put together, complete with the song:

Digital Art Camp 2011: Audio Production from Nathan Edwards on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Students Create Promotional Videos

This semester's Audio for Video class took on a project that required them to choose a topic related to the university and create a 2-5 minute promotional video on that topic.  Every element of the video was to be produced from scratch, including the narration, interviews, video editing, and audio design.  The goal was not only to challenge students to work as a team and create a cohesive final product, but also to benefit various groups or clubs within the university by providing them with promotional materials.
The following video on Gaming Club is by Audio Production students Carrie Aus, Braderious Martin, and Mitchell Williams.  More videos to come!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Students host 2011 Battle of the Bands

The student group, DSU Live, is an organization with members from many majors, including some from our Audio Production program.  Just over a week ago, the group hosted their annual Battle of the Bands in the student union venue, The Underground.

The group hosted an excellent show that could not be described as anything less than a big success.  We hosted five very talented bands from the area whose names were:  Blood of the Ancients, Amos Slade, The Dashing North, Top Shelf Stank, and The Broken Resolve.
Thanks to the hard work of our students, the show went very smoothly and sounded excellent.  We also raised money for Colleges Against Cancer!  Enjoy these fantastic pictures by DSU student Denise Livingston:

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Students Create Audio from Hollywood Films

In this semester's Audio for Video class, Audio Production students have been working hard on a project that requires them to completely replace the audio track of popular movies.  This project has revealed how sound plays such an essential role in setting the tone of a scene and bringing the viewer into that world.  The students did everything from finding appropriate background music, to using creative sounds and audio effects.  The results were very impressive!

Here's a clip from Wall-E with sound replacement designed by Jake Killoran and Brad Martin:

Here's another great clip with sound created by Carrie Aus and Jordan Lindgren:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Audio Production Instructor Releases Album

DSU Instructor, Nathan Edwards, has just released his new album, "New Season" in both digital and CD format.  He describes the album on his website:

"The seasons always seem to have a dramatic effect on my songwriting. It was only after compiling my recordings from the past several years that I realized I would have "Sunshine", "Cold Winter", and "Song for a Summer Day" together on an album.

These tracks have been through many different re-writes and recordings, and it sometimes makes me cringe a little to listen to the early takes. Even so, I have worked them to the point where I am proud of what it has all led up to and I can finally put the past several years into this completed album... a "retrospective" of sorts. Some of it was recorded in our South Dakota home, some back in our apartment in northern Illinois, and other bits and pieces were thrown in along the way."

You can check it out now at:

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Global Game Jam Winners!

Many students at DSU spent a near-sleepless weekend participating in the Global Game Jam: A challenge to create an entire computer game in only a single weekend. Two upper-level audio production students, Kristen Cooper and Mitch Williams, worked on sound design for the winning game, "Ballistic Boatin' Beavers Blasting Belligerent Bums". We are introduced to the game by being told, "You play as a beaver whose home has been destroyed by Dam-nation."

Although they didn't have the opportunity to have all of their sound effects and music programmed into the game, the team impressed the judges with its fast-paced action and fun bluegrass vibe. Congrats to Kristen and Mitch and all of the other participants on a successful weekend!
You can download the game here!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Students Produce Music using Reason Software

This semester, the DSU Audio Production program introduced a brand new class: MIDI (The Musical Instrument Digital Interface) Production.  Students are learning to sequence electronic music using a software program called Reason.  These advanced-level students will be given a lot of creative flexibility to incorporate unique musical and production-based ideas.

One of the students, Jacob Ritzman, is well-versed in using Reason and has posted much of his excellent work online.  There are several samples below, and you can also visit his YouTube channel for more tracks. I'm looking forward to hearing a lot of creative new work this semester.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Recording Harp in the Studio

Paul and Dan working on Mic Placement
Student Paul Schipper provided us with a truly unique opportunity last week by bringing a harpist to record. Anna Vorhes is a highly accomplished musician who plays with the Northwest Iowa Symphony Orechestra, as well as the Sioux City and South Dakota Symphonies. She performed three pieces while Paul worked hard at the mixing desk. We utilized a fairly elaborate microphone setup, which included eight mics at various locations throughout the hall.

We received very positive feedback from the session and I’m very excited that we are getting such unique talent to test our recording skills with. Kudos to Paul for such a fantastic project!