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IMPREC Podcast Debuts Alessandro Cortini’s Gloria

IMPREC podcast #3- “The Synthcast”

This weeks show will focus on the role of the analog synthesizer as a creative tool in the production of electronic music, modern composition, and sound art. This podcast highlights artists in the Important Records catalog that have made a connection with specific systems or instruments in the analog domain. Some artists have made momentary, inspired connections and managed to capture those results while others have spent decades exploring and mastering their given voltage-controlled instrument.

Each track represented in the podcast brings something unique and challenging to the table. This is not an attempt to fetishize or promote analog synthesis hardware; it is a snapshot of the results that are yielded by careful study, improvisation, and creative approaches to the technology available to artists at a given point in time. Although some may consider analog synthesis an archaic mode of expression, the tracks here attest to the opposite. There are three tracks featuring the EMS Synthi on this podcast but if you expect to hear something akin to “On The Run”, well…you’re in for a wild ride.

Track Listing:

Alessandro Cortini makes his Important Records debut with the track “Gloria” from the upcoming Forse 1 album. Alessandro created the Forse series of recordings using an original Buchla Music Easel. 2012

Pauline Oliveros- ‘A little Noise in the system’ (excerpt) from Reverberations (2012) was created on the Moog III modular system at UCSD in 1968.

Eleh- “Indictiva” from the Return LP. Eleh uses a custom Serge Modular. 2009

Jessica Rylan- ‘Phantasia’ (excerpt) from Interior Designs. Serge Modular feedback patch with home made electronics. 2006

Space Machine (Yamazaki Maso)- “Track D” from Space Machine 3. Maso uses multiple sound sources including the EMS VCS3, Arp Odyssey, Roland System 100M with various echo/tape delays. 2003

Christina Kubisch- ‘Ocigam Trazom’ from the Intorno al Flauto Magio exhibition, an interpretation of Mozart’s opera ‘The Magic Flute’. Performed on the EMS Synthi with processed field recordings. 1985

Astro (Hiroshi Hasegawa)- ‘Artificial Lake’ realized on an EMS Synthi with Tape Delay. From the album ‘The Echo From Purple Dawn’. 2008

Eliane Radigue- ‘Triptych Pt. 3’ created on the ARP 2500 in 1978. From the album ‘Triptych’.

POUPPÉE FABRIKK Remixed by Polyfuse

Pouppee Frabrikk aka Henrik Bjorkk Nordvargr gets properly remixed by one of our TRASH_AUDIO crew, Justin McGrath aka Polyfuse. You can buy the entire EP below.

Pouppee Fabrikk
Polyfuse

How To Destroy Angels Remixed By Sonoio

If you’ve seen How To Destroy Angels live, you’ve heard a song a bit out of place, a little brighter, catchier, and if you’ve been following our site – familiar. The uniquely pitched snares, massive rolling bass, and pop song structure is a recurring theme in one of our member’s projects: Sonoio aka Alessandro Cortini. Sonoio gave How to Destroy Angels a proper remix and they have performed it live for the past few weeks.

Sonoio

Donaldcrunk – Ethereal Patches

Jason Degelman is a regular in our community and his recent videos/patches are gorgeous!

Kamagraph Records Profile
Donaldcrunk Soundcloud
Donaldcrunk Youtube Channel

Alessandro Cortini: Forse 1

More info soon…

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Beginning this June, Important Records will be releasing a series of vinyl records and a subsequent cd box-set of Alessandro Cortini on the Buchla Music Easel. The first album, ‘Forse 1’, will be issued as a double LP. It will feature Alessandro playing an original Buchla Music Easel with a mastery and intimacy unlike anything previously released. It’s obvious from these recordings that Alessandro has spent a great deal of time exploring, experimenting, and pushing the Easel to its limits. I think the readers of your site will be really enthusiastic about these recordings as they showcase what the Easel is capable of, and the talents of Alessandro. We are very excited about these releases and pleased that they will coincide with the BEMI Music Easel reboot this June. The masters have been submitted and the artwork is being finalized as we speak.

A teaser video for the album will be available soon and a track from ‘Forse 1’ will be included in the next Important Records podcast on soundcloud.

Carl Oliver – Experiments

Beautiful mind bending experiments from Carl Oliver to start off your week. More on his youtube channel linked below.

Carl-Oliver.com
Carl Oliver Youtube

Richard Devine – ALM’s Acid Test Patch

ALM’s Acid Test – Patch from Richard Devine on Vimeo.

Test patch with the ALM Pamela’s workout module. :-) Using the ALM Pamela’s workout module as the main clock sending pulsing gates to two 4ms SCM with breakouts. Acid line via the Synthesis Tech E350 running through the MakeNoise MMG filter. Analog drums cwejman BLD, and TipTop modules.

Workspace and Environment: Valance Drakes

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Background
My parents are originally from Barbados, West Indies. They came to England in the 60’s, They lived in West Kensington London, I was born at Westminster Hospital in 1985, then my parents moved to the Borough of Ealing where I currently live.

My Biological father, he was a vinyl junkie, his friend Bobby and himself use to take me to every record store in London and they would be in there for hours, he also owns a akai reel to reel, the generation of today is very lucky with technology because in my father days when he wanted to listen to one of his favourite tunes he would have to fast forward or rewind the tape in order to find it, so one day he sat me in the corner with my fisher price turntable and he tracked down every song he wanted, he started cutting and splicing until he ended up with his very own mix tape. He passed away when I was 8 years old and my Step Dad Kenneth Knight came into my life when I was 10 years old.

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He got me in the music orchestra in primary school, the clarinet was my weapon of choice, I did many solo performances at school plays, In 97 was first time I witness The Come to Daddy Music Video by Aphex Twin, I told my mom the following day that I wanted music from him, so she went to HMV and purchased the EP which I still have to this day. I was also getting into Hip Hop at the time and one of my best mate played to me Delarosa and Asora: Sleep Method Suite, I also came across Autechre: Chiastic Slide, my mind was blown.

As years went by I got into Japanese Animation, Classics like Neon Genesis Evangelion, Ghost In The Shell, Paprika and etc, I always based my music around the concept of Anime. One of my best friends from Australia (Daniel Lambert) influence through out the years.

Favorite Hardware
My Technics turntables. I got into Scratching before I got into production, I still dab into scratching because It’s one of of my favourite pass time and I love the Rane mixers, I also hang out with The Community Skratch Games Crew in Ireland and Brighton. I recently purchased a Binaural Microphones / Earphones by Roland, A japanese friend of mine told me about the experience of capturing audio in 3D, I take those and my portable recorder everywhere I go and record random stuff.

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Favorite Software
I use FL Studio from the get go back in 97 and 16 years on i’m still using it because it was the only program that I could afford at that time and I just grew with it, many people were shocked to know that I use that DAW but I made projects such as my first album Digital Ninja Lp (Global Vortex Records), Tales from A Gameboi EP (Briefcase Rockers), Subliminal Arrangements 12″ (Alkalinear Recordings), Sky Open to Those Who Have Wings LP and Unseen Intruders collab with Qebrus (Bedroom Research), a tape release along side ilkae (Onibaba Records), Fallen Innocence (Bunkai – Kei Records), Biomorph Demo for Glitchmachines, Remix Richard Devine track from Risp and A Fatherless Child EP 12″ dedicated to step dad who passed away last year (Detund).

I also have an iPad, a portable recorder and some of my father’s vinyl for samples.

Workspace and Environment
I mainly make all of my music in my bedroom or walking around my area recording sounds on the go. Where I live in Ealing is a very mysterious and quiet place, it’s like the whispers is louder than the shadows at times so I add that element to my music. My ideal creative location would be a japanese garden where I can capture a lot of inspiration with all the surroundings or hi jacking Ivo Ivanov aka Glitchmachines music gear :P.

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I am a strong believer of the term less is more so I make everything in FL Studio, I gather a lot of sounds through my portable recorder as well as improv session with mom in Native Instruments Reaktor, she’s becoming a boss cat now as when she hears the slightest sounds she’ll be like valance get your recorder and iPad ha ha

Currently
I did a remix for a mate in Birmingham: Defunkt Dialekt, I’m also going to working on a EP with 3x World DJ Champion: Tigerstyle, Working on some tunes with Enabl.ed from Cyuild Apo, working on remixes for Detund and carry on Beta Testing for Inear Display (France) Mitchell Nordine (Australia) and VI-Sounds (Netherlands)

I’ll be debuting at The Community Skratch Games in Galway Ireland at the end of March and will be showcasing in Leeds with The Tomorrow People. I’m planning to make a trip to the states next year.

Valance Drakes Facebook
Soundcloud
Twitter

MakeNoise – Creature III Patch Outtake

MakeNoise – Creature III Patch Outtake from Richard Devine on Vimeo.

Third patch outtake from the Creature series. This patch was contrived completely using only these MakeNoise modules, Pressure Points, Rene, Optomix, Moddemix, Wooglebug, Maths, DPO (Dual Prismatic Oscillator), Echophon, and Phonogene. The patch was clocked using the Wooglebug as the main tempo, and then sent to 4 different sources. Trills courtesy of the Maths output then triggering sporadically the strike inputs on the Optomix. Rene CV plots the pitch inputs on the DPO and fluttering CV/Gate data to the Phonogene. Woogle stepped out controlling various parameters on Echophon, and Phonogene for extra animation. Reverb splashes by the Eventide Space pedal which was used on the Echophon feedback output and return. One output on pressure points to toggle on and off the freeze function on Echophon for the held feedback effects. This patch was inspired by Morton Subotnick’s “Sidewinder.”

Make Noise Records

Surachai – Embraced

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My latest album, Embraced, was released digitally April 23rd and on 180 gram gatefold vinyl mid-May. This is the first time I’ve worked with a band and the result is pleasantly extreme. Embraced will be independently released through Bandcamp.

Embraced – The Absolute Process
Because of my hostile nature towards interviews, I decided that a way to avoid them would be to talk about the important aspects of the album: the process. In all, Embraced took about a year and a half of studios, other humans, and countless hours staring at the screen. If you have questions and/or comments, leave them below. Thanks for your continued support.

Writing
The writing portion of Embraced was the most time consuming. It took the longest because it was written in a four-part choral style: bass, tenor, alto, soprano – also not having a deadline didn’t help speed this process up. Having the necessary instruments to write for a large range of voices was helpful and an 8 string guitar played a key role. In all, it took about 7 months of noncommittal writing, experimentation, and arranging to be satisfied with a skeleton ready to be recorded. 

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In this writing period I was fortunate enough to have a friend lend synths including the Fenix II/III, a massive Serge system, and a Buchla 200e. These illusive synths were used in addition to the ever expanding Eurorack system I possess. The sessions with these systems helped shape the way the album was arranged by basing the structure around certain patches. A rundown of the Eurorack manufacturers that I used extensively: 4ms, Cwejman, Doepfer, Harvestman, Intellijel, Make Noise, Malekko, Schippman, Tip Top Audio, WMD.

Recording
After deciding I was ready to record, I transcribed all the audio into MIDI as reference for the musicians. There are a couple reasons I did this: the first being versatility, I wanted us to be able to ajdust the tempo while keeping all the harmonic content aligned. The second reason I transcribed audio to MIDI was that my scratch guitars were horrible. I often played without tuning or a metronome – if I had an idea, I recorded a scratch and left it at that. This scratch track method created a problem when showing the work to other musicians, so transcribing it seemed like the most logical, albeit time consuming, task in order to work with different musicians. In case you were wondering, I used the harp patch in Logic’s Sculpture as a stand-in sound. As annoying as it was, everyone grew fond of it and eventually missed it as it was being replaced by real instruments.

After a couple months of Charlie sending in recordings of his drumming to the tracks, I decided it was time to hit the studio. Greg ran the studio while I was concentrated on trying to translate the music to Charlie. Recording the drums into ProTools took about 3 days.

I didn’t do shit except make sure you could hear what Charlie was playing. Surachai made the lines fuzzier by steering me away from the over-the-top definition of modern metal, so I didn’t get too crazy about clarity. But at the end of the day, the guy is playing some cool shit and I wanted to be able to hear it. Gear-wise, I mic’d closer than I typically would, including some spot mics on cymbals that weren’t cutting through the overheads clearly enough. I used mostly API pres on the drums, for their definition and punch, and I added a bit more top than I typically would, again mostly with API eqs. I also fed a wildcard spare room mic to Surachai’s modular so he could improvise aka wank-off on it, while Charlie was tracking. Sometimes I like to run that through different pedals but Surachai had plenty of bullshit of his own to add, so I stayed away. It was a fun project. I just listened to Surachai’s final mixes and they sufficiently beat me into submission. Which I think was the goal.” – Greg Panciera

surachai_embraced_v_V3 (dragged)

With the notation written out for the four different voices, guitar tracking was basically playing a game of Guitar Hero. Listen to the metronome or drumming and play the notes on the screen while adding your own flare if you were so inclined. Shane recorded the Alto and Soprano voiced guitars over several late nights, and Drew recorded the Tenor voiced guitars on one of the tracks in a night. Aside from the sheer talent Shane and Drew possess, their input and unique style on the parts where invaluable and brought the stagnant MIDI notes to life. Tom Kelly’s standup bass sections were recorded in a night and added a depth I didn’t know the album needed. My guitars were recorded over a few nights after everyone was finished. The main bass track was recorded using a Tip Top Audio Z3000 MKII going through a couple of Malekko Fuzz pedals as well as a Sonny & Sanford Blue Beard Fuzz.

While staying in a lake house in Georgia and with a few minutes to spare before new years, Richard and I recorded burning embers underwater with his hydrophones. He pieced together the files for his own use and I just plopped it at the end of Ancestral alongside what I already had. Alessandro let me use a file that was recorded when he was giving a tutorial of the Buchla Easel to Richard and I when we all were in my studio in Chicago.

Mixing
When working on an album that has sonic consistency throughout all the songs (like a traditional rock setup), I work in one giant Logic session. The advantage to this method is that it forces me to treat the arrangements of audio as a cohesive album rather a bunch of collected songs. Global changes like adding dynamic processors are easy to implement as well as auditioning patches throughout the entire album. Most of the mixing was performed on JH Audio’s JH16 in ear monitors and there is a reason for this: between work and my different workspaces I have 5 audio workstations. What most of these stations lack is consistent monitoring between them. Of course hearing mixes on different monitors in different rooms is helpful but with the JH16’s – it remained consistent. Adams A7X’s were very useful for an overall ‘pleasure’ mix while the Avantone’s were showed you how horrible your mix actually is. Some of the most used plug-ins that were essential to the mix were Universal Audio, Sound Toys, Valhalla. INA GRM, Native Instruments, U-he, and factory Logic plugs.

Mastering
The only person I’ve used with mastering for vinyl is Shawn Hatfield of Audible Oddities. He’s accommodated all of my personal and label related releases. Shawn’s work has consistently been incredible, helpful, and in this particular case he elevated the mix to a level I couldn’t be happier with.

For this particular project, I combined several pieces of analog processors that when combined, give a gentle lift in the highs, and add some additional low-end harmonics. Despite each piece of gear having its own unique sound, when combined together, gear interacts with each other in unique ways that can create new flavors. So the first order of business was choosing the right processors for the project, with the help of a Dangerous Liaison. For EQ, we went with the smoothness of the Dangerous BAX EQ to help pull some air out of the music without adding harshness to the cymbals and guitars, and we used a Buzz REQ 2.2 to get a little surgical with the guitars to help balance them as a whole with the mix. The REQ 2.2 is pretty incredible in its ability to tuck components of a mix neatly into place. We employed two gentle stages of compression, starting with a Foote Control Systems P3S ME VCA compressor which fed into a Manley Vari-Mu. I really liked the combo of VCA and tube compression for these songs, but it was used very sparingly as to not alter too much of the natural dynamics. Everything was captured with a HEDD192, utilizing its pentode section for a slight increase in overall harmonics and then sent directly to the final brick-wall limiter.” – Shawn Hatfield

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Lacquering
Ideally the vinyl process would be a one-stop shop where you would send in your master tape/digital files/what-have-you to be lacquered, plated, and then duplicated. From my experience, the one-stop shop method is not the way to go. For the past few releases I extended the signal path by including Roger Seibel of SAE mastering. Making lacquers and metal parts are specialized skills and while some places want to perform it all in house, or outsource it – I prefer to use people I trust and know have skills backed by years of experience. Also, pressing plants generally subtract lacquering costs if you decide to outsource it. So, Roger Seibel handled the lacquering and sent it to Mastercraft to be metal plated, they in turn send it to GottaGroov to be printed.

Artwork
Caspar Newbolt of Version Industries was in charge of the visuals of Embraced. Ever since I saw his work with Big Black Delta, I was instantly captivated. I asked him early on, before I recorded anything and always thought he would lose interest but as the months went by, we kept in touch and he continued to ask about the progress. When artwork finally comes in, you can instantly tell if the visual artist understands what you’re doing – Caspar does. He understands that his artwork will forever represent every ounce of energy you put into the project and places a visual stamp on it. He has achieved a level of understanding on the content where I won’t include lyrics on the album.

Public Relations
When releasing anything, whether it being a pile of shit or diamonds, you must let the world know it exists or the worst thing will happen: it will be ignored. Kim Kelly is someone I admire for many reasons but mainly I choose her as PR because of our differences. Many of our opinions and interests align but our personalities don’t. Kim is social, easily approachable, friendly, smart, and open – I am not. She proofreads my answers to interviews and I receive brutally honest feedback, “You are SUCH a dick. I really, really love it! I would get so mad to get those kinds of answers back”. She’s one of the best people to have on your side, and you are lucky if she likes your music.

Independence 
Embraced is independently funded and released. It would be nice having a label front the studio, mastering, vinyl production, and PR costs but depending on the terms, it could end up biting you in the ass. I’d rather go into debt than ask for money on Kickstarter. I’ve always put myself in a position to be as involved as possible, admiring but not always following the DIY or DIE philosophy. Regardless if I trust or employ people, if my product “fails”, it is still on me. Blaming someone else is not something I’m interested in – I’ll take full responsibility of my failures and successes.

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The Crew
Drums – Charlie Werber (Guzzlemug, Murmur, Lovely Little Girls)
Guitars – Shane Prendiville (Guzzlemug, Murmur)
Guitars – Andrew Markuszewski (Nachtmystium, Avichi, Lord Mantis)
Acoustic Bass – Tom Kelly (Guzzlemug)
Sound Design – Richard Devine (Warp, Schematic)
Buchla Easel – Alessandro Cortini (Sonoio, NIN, How to Destroy Angels)
Guitars, Bass, Vocals, Synths, DSP – Surachai

Drums Recorded with – Greg Panciera
Mastering – Shawn Hatfield
Lacquering – Roger Seibel
Artwork – Caspar Newbolt
PR – Kim Kelly

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