Here it is, five fresh tracks for your listening enjoyment:
“Silence and Infinity” is a free download or “pay what you want.”
If you’re interested in the “tech” and compositional process behind this collection of songs, keep reading…
So, it’s not six tracks this time, but five; I wanted to avoid the correlation between the Mark of the Beast and the number of tracks of my last few EPs (6, 6, and thankfully, just 5). No, not really; there were going to be six tracks, then four, then eight, but these five really sound like they belong together. I don’t know if the theme is as overt as the last EP, “The Expansion,” but I’m sure there are some images that come to mind.
Anyway, here’s the rund0wn of what’s went on behind the scenes:
01 – Silence and Infinity
A track made completely on the modular, including some of these modules: Tiptop 808bd, Makenoise Optomix, Moddemix, STG.MIX, Random Seq (Turing Machine DIY), Envelator, Wiard Osc, 4ms RCD/SCM, and the Doepfer Dark Energy. Yes, I used every patch cable available! If I recall, the entire thing was clocked from either a MD pulse or the Envelator’s “SQR” output, which gets sent to the RCD or SCM. The whole thing was run through either the Monomachine or A4 reverb (I can’t remember which). The distortion is intended and is a result of the “overdrive” on the Moog-inspired .MIX audio mixer.
I recorded about 20 minutes of stuff and a few great moments came out of it. There was another whole section to this song, but I don’t like to have things go on forever. Maybe that edited part will turn into a remix, one day. There are a few other random modular noises used throughout the tune, but there’s no way to remember how I did them.
02 – EntryPoint
This one was created using the original Elektron Monomachine (SFX-6), going through the Analog 4′s awesome filters, efx, and modulators. A pattern was created on the Monomachine, comprising a DPRO, FM, and ENS machine, which sounded cool, but piping it through a channel on the A4 really changed things. The A4 can do crazy things and most of them were unintended on this song, for instance the “AM” -style modulation. It’s actually the main sounds going through the A4′s inputs as an oscillator, but the PWM is actually still active. It’s not that important, but if you want to process and effect something even further, mess around with the PWM in the OSC settings.
The main pad (Monomachine ENS) patterns were played live over top of everything. To add some movement and variation, one of the LFOs was set to modulate one of the intervals of the synth oscillator, so that sometimes it was a 5th, then morphed into a 7th or something.
03 – Spectre6
Another Monomachine-only thing. The trick here is using the DIST on the FM machine, which is the main tone. I’ve always said that the DIST gives MnM sounds an organic quality, or rather, some non-linearity. If you have a Mono, experiment with a SID machine (pulse): just turn that encoder up slightly with a little PWM and little bit of filter modulation and you’ll hear what I mean. Anyway, I think “DIST” is one of the tricks that Autechre may have used for some of their “Elektron Era” sounds.
A granular-type effect accompanies the main clangs and bongs. The reverb and delay were provided, again, by the Monomachine. Delay was used both on the source channel and the effect track, which results in some nice feedback.
04 – A Pulse
Originally, “A4 Pulse” because that’s where the sound came from, the Analog4. I am so in love with this synthesizer; it’s basically everything I’ve always wanted in a single box.
Anyway, that primary synth sound is the star of the show: OSC1 waveshape is modulated by a RND LFO in HLD mode, while OSC2 remains static on FDB. The sound is cool because on some notes, the OSC lands on “OFF,” but the other osc is still active, so it makes this kind of “buzzing” sound.
Later in the track, I bring in this whining sound and a modulated arp pattern. I think these are some of my favorite sounds in the whole album.
Drums are courtesy of the one and only MachineDrum, I think with samples. The hi-hat is a FM CY. If you are keen, you’ll notice that this song isn’t quite in 4/4 time; it starts with 18 steps, then to 12, then to 9, I think. The math looks strange, but it has an interesting groove.
The end contains some bell-like tones, which, again, were produced by the A4. Such a versatile machine. If you read negative comments about on forums or youtube videos or whatever, just ignore them; this thing can do anything, but you have to work to get something great out of it. It’s a tool, so if you can’t get good sounds out of it, you might be the “tool.”
05 – Fortress
One of the “epic” or “cinematic” things I do with software. Oh no, not software! Yes, software. I’ll use whatever means necessary to get a great, emotive sound. This one came from some short, unfinished tune I did. I chucked it into FL Studio and played with it for a while, until I came up with this thing. I love it and I didn’t get tired of it after hours of mastering. That’s the sign of a good song!
Despite the number of tracks, I found it more difficult to master this one. In fact, I dropped two songs because they just didn’t fit, sound-wise, on “Silence and Infinity.”
I used “A Pulse” (04) as the benchmark because it was dynamic, full, and raw. My first attempts to bring “EntryPoint” up to the that level were way too compressed. It was “louder,” but all the space between the sounds was lost. Same thing happened with “Silence and Infinity.”
In the end, after a few listens in the car and various other places, I decided upon the more natural and punchy versions. I am fond of the “in your face” sound, but not for this album.
A Final Note
Ok, so there’s only 5 tracks, but they are all meaningful, not just throw-away works in progress or “jams.” For me, there’s great satisfaction in putting together a compilation of similar works and telling a story, a.k.a. an “album.” Maybe it’s considered a little old-school, but I’m going to continue doing it this way for a while.
Please enjoy “Silence and Infinity.”