Back in the day, the music coming from some of the innovators in the electronic music scene blew my mind. I simply could not wrap my head around how such sounds could be generated, let alone made to be melodic and beautiful.
This week I dive head-first into this mystery:
Exploring some different themes and sounds this week, I look back to a few of my German electronica forebears including To Rococo Rot, Oval, Apparat, and The Notwist. These artists - and others, not strictly from Germany - pushed the boundaries of the electronic genre, incorporating live instrumentation, vocals, and other unique elements alongside the futuristic glitch/microsound production style I had grown to admire. This sonic combination fascinates me to this day, and I continue to hone the skills necessary to weave them together.
The intro percussion pattern consists of a custom kit of drum samples loaded Maschine 2.0, each of which are snipped to short blips via ADHSR envelopes. The pattern was recorded live on the drum pads, with a few passes for layering, then quantized for that perfect robotic sound. The V-Station quickly enters with the main chord progression, before a second custom Maschine kit hits with the main drum pattern.
A few passes into this - after a number of 'The Finger' glitch effects grace the drum channel - we begin to fade in a lone vocal phrase. It's not long, however, before additional vocal harmony channels enter the mix. Suddenly, the mix drops, and the bassline begins. As quickly as everything drops out, a reversed cymbal crash swells them back in, with each melodic and rhythmic pattern revised for dramatic effect. All along the way, additional vocal channels have been fading in to build a chorus of chants. About half of these were recorded live, while the others were later pitch-shifted to other intervals and octaves inside Cubase.
On reflection, I may have missed the mark with the sound I referred to in our first paragraph… but oftentimes that's half the fun, and we end up with something entirely new and different!
Key equipment/software used for production:
- Novation V-Station synth plug-in
- Steinberg Retrologue synth plug-in
- Studio Projects C1 condenser mic
- Native Instruments The Finger Reaktor effect
- Native Instruments Maschine Studio
- ValhallaDSP ValhallaRoom effect plug-in
Key: Ab minor
Time Signature: 3/4