Now I understand why he waited over a year to release this video, new modular album! Expect more…
No external computers or hardware were used in this performance.
A patch built around the new “Grain de Folie” ZDSP card by TipTop Audio.
The melody starting at :40 seconds is the TipTop Audio ZDSP running the “Grain de Folie” card which is processing Mutable Instruments Elements thats being sequenced by the Circadian Rhythms and z8000 with voltage quantization by the Intellijel µscale. The program used is #6 “Six Grains Stereo”. Modulation to grain sizes 1 and 2 coming from the Modcan Quad LFO.
///// from the manual /////
Granular Synthesis uses small slices of sounds (‘grains’) to compose new sounds from existing material. By combining multiple grains of differing lengths, amplitude, pitch and speed creates very characteristic sounds of modern music.
Xenakis claims to have invented the technique and indeed his ‘Analogique A-B’, composed of tiny tape splices of pure tones, is credited as the first piece of granular music in 1959. Tape editing proved extremely time consuming, but by the 1970s digital processing could take the place of tape splicing. Curtis Roads dove into the early computer based granular synthesis and made some of the classic techniques known through his recordings, teaching and texts like ‘Microsound’. Today, most computer audio programs have some sort of granular synthesis engine or plugin. Dr. Richard Boulanger has used granular synthesis in CSound to great effect and he is also a beta tester for this card.
The French phrase for the cartridge is “Grain de Folie” which could be translated as “seeds of madness”, but in French “grain” also translates to “grain”, and “madness” evokes the strange disassembling/reassembling granular process. Also, “avoir un grain de folie” is a typically French expression to describe people behaving in a non conventional way, thus a fitting play on words.
How it works:
Granular processing requires a block of memory to hold digital samples for playback, and the Z-DSP has one second of memory for the audio used in processing. From this audio buffer the grains will sample smaller sections for playback.
The number of grains in the process determine how dense the overall output sounds. These programs have 3, 4 or 6 grains for playback. Each grain plays from a random point in the audio buffer and have an independent envelope controlling their duration. The envelope time is the ‘grain size’ parameter in many of the programs.
In the context of the Z-DSP, the FV1 (the DSP brain) is really not designed for grain synthesis (due to technical choices like a “circulating” delay memory, and the lack of indirect memory access), but the chip also has other design niceties that help overcome its limitations…
This cartridge implements a simple and customised granular synthesis with a limited number of grains, and parameters that mainly control the size of grains and their positions in the sample. One nice aspect of the Z-DSP is that it uses live inputs (granular synthesis is usually based on a pre-recorded sample), so it can disassemble live input and reassemble it in real-time into a different order resulting in a (usually !) nice sonic transformation of both texture and the rhythm.
Six Grains Stereo
Six independent grains have a random playback position with control over the size of each grain. The two size controls each set the size for half the grains so two different textures or rhythms can happen at the same time. Three grains are sent to Left output and the other three to the Right creating a spatial spread.
VC-DSP1 – Live / Freeze / Feedback. See the Control section above
VC-DSP2 – Grain size 1. Sets the maximum size of half the grains
VC-DSP3- Grain size 2. Sets the maximum size of half the grains
– Datach’i Facebook
– Tip Top Audio
Fever Daydream out on January 29th
A longtime secret that is slowly seeping out. The Black Queen is: Steven Alexander, Joshua Eustis (Telefon Tel Aviv, NIN), Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan)
Patch experiment using the Noise Engineering Variatic Erumption x 2, and Minigorille CV graphic modules x 2. Clock output from the Tiptop Circadian Rhythms into the CV Graphic input 1, left side (purple). Then another output from the TipTop CR taken to the right side (siliver) CV Graphic module. Output 4 from the Tiptop CR sent to the left side Variatic Erumption (ext gate to the hit jack input) which would send very slow burst of random gates. The CV Graphic CV output (PONG sequencer mode 2) A and B would output bouncing ball like CV voltages to the Variatic Erumption CV Pattern, and Time/Division input. This created some very organic scattered sequencing taking one output that was triggering a Snazzy Fx Ardcore running custom frac drums patch.
The other output was running into a trigger input on the Mutable instruments clouds, which is causing the light granular scattering in between the beats. Another output from the V.E. running into the Noise Engineering Basimilus Iteritas, for the FM pluck like percussion sound. Next output from VE running into a 4ms RCD, random triggering spaced out burst to the clock input. From here, the output was taken (4)out to the MakeNoise Optomix set slightly open, which was running a ALM’s new “Akemie’s Castle” dual voltage controlled oscillator, running out the chord output (OSC A). From the Akemie’s Castle the output is going into a Tiptop Z-DSP processed with the The Halls of Valhalla card running program 7 (Asgard). Mult output also taken to the Strymon Big Sky pedal running in “Chorale” mode mix completely wet for delicate melodic swells. Making the rich choral timbres. Another gate output from the Noise Engineering V.E. running into the Mutable Instruments (mystery) module. Output from here sent to the Qu-Bit RT-60 effect module, which is also being triggered (for effects program change) via by the 5 division output from the 4ms Rotating Clock Divider.
Kick drum created using the MakeNoise telHarmonic module, running into a Optomix. Snare and hi-hat sounds courtesy of two Ladik D-333 Rom players. One running the Snares card, and another running hi-hats. Both outputs being summed into the Synthrotek DLY module. The delay input being modulated by a modcan QuadLFO output 1 slow S&H. First sequenced notes via the Mutable instruments Braids running the new “HARM” additive harmonics mode. The quantization was set to “Oinian”. Second Braids for other harmony running the “OPSK” smooth sine like melody, VCA mode set to on, with short decay for pluck like quality. Signal for both braids are being sent to another Qu-Bit RT-60 running program number 1-Reverb. Quantization set to “Oinian”. Bassline sound created with a Intellijel Shapeshifter output 1, then being run into intellijel uVCF filter in LPF input, then the signal goes out a Qu-Bit RT-60 in program 1 Reverb.
no computers or external hardware were used in this performance :)
sequencers used are the tiptop audio circadian rhythms (CR), z8000, modcan touch sequencer (TS), intellijel metropolis and 2x make noise pressure points with brains.
CHORDS: make noise tELEHARMONIC sequenced by the CR and two pressure points. processed through the tiptop audio ZDSP reverb.
LEAD MELODY: intellijel atlantis sequenced by the intellijel metropolis and processed through the qu-bit electronic RT60 reverb.
KICK: blue lantern asteroid BDv4 sequenced by the CR.
SNARE: noise engineering BI triggered by the CR and processed through the make noise erbe verb and synthesis technology e580 delay.
HAT: SSF quantum rainbow MKII purple noise with maths expo envelope sequenced by the CR.
SUB KICK: tiptop audio BD808 triggered by the CR.
MID SECTION PERCUSSION: mutable instruments elements sequenced by the CR and Z8000.
MID SECTION TO END HARMONY: modcan triple osc through the modcan multimode filter sequenced by the modcan TS and processed through mutable instruments clouds.
my brother says:
“Sounds like some kind of scale in the key of F minor. the chords are Bo dominant 7th first inversion followed by Dd major first inversion, Ab major then another Ab major an octave higher.”
Harmonic patch using the new MakeNoise tELHARMONIC is a Multi-Voice, Multi-Algorithm synthesizer, and 4ms Spectral Multiband Resonator. The master clock is the Tiptop Circadian Rhythms. Clock output running into the Modcan Touch Sequencer. Channel output one running into one intellijel Dixie (V1) for the bassline. Dixie output running into a Mutable instruments Ripples filter (LP4), triangle waveform. Second channel output sequencing quantized 8 note sequence to the telharmonic oscillator, creating the first lead sequence in the patch (major scale set). One Mult output taken and sent to the Strymon BigSky reverb (chorale mode) to create the delicate swarm pads that rise in and out at the builds. Amplitude control of the slow rises via the intellijel HexVCA, slow rate control from one Modcan Quad LFO. The other output is then taken and sent to the Qu-bit RT-60 reverb. Third output from the Modcan TS sending quantized CV to the MakeNoise STO oscillator variable SHAPE output then sent through lower section of the MakeNoise Optomix. The forth output from the Modcan TS is sending a 4 chord pattern (min9) to the intellijel shapeshifter module in chord mode. This output is then sent to another Qu-Bit RT-60 reverb algorithm. MakeNoise Mysteron plucking guitar like effect being triggered by a 4ms RCD, 5th trigger out. The Mysterson then is running out into a Strymon BlueSky pedal, reverb far right.
Drum sequencing from TipTop CR, channel one kick drum going to the Nord Drum 2. Second channel number 2 triggering a custom snare drum made on the Nord Drum 2. Channel 6 from the CR triggering a low bass drum, in the key of “C”. Clock output from CR into the 4ms SCM being rotated by a intellijel dixie sine wave output running at a slow rate shifting the 16th’s hi hat pattern. Noise source for hi-hats are the SSF quantum rainbow 2, purple output running into the MakeNoise Optomix. The high end snare clap sound is by the Synthrotek’s DS-M drum module, then being lightly processed by the Synthrotek DLY, slowly CV controlled by a Modcan Quad LFO in random mode creating more glitchy effects. This is then being sequenced by channel number 2 from the tiptop CR. The first lower left side 4ms Spectral Multi-band Resonator processing 72 custom DSP samples, which are being played by one addac wave player. The output is then being sent to a intellijel uVCF filter (hi pass), for the light subtle glitch textures. The second 4ms Spectral Multi-band Resonator, processing another set of 32 samples (noise washes/slow rises/falls) via channel number 4 from the CR tiptop. Main output from a intellijel Mutagen mixer then ran through the Eventide space pedal for extra spatial atmosphere. :-)
For those wanting the track, its available HERE (Free Download)
Just released today my remix of bossFYTE on DETROIT UNDERGROUND
Lil’ Dog Toes / Think About It ( Richard Devine Remix)
DETROIT UNDERGROUND 7-inch by bossFYTE.
Order Here: https://bossfyte.bandcamp.com/
Weight In Minimalism
Leaving Heavy Mask sparse left me in doubt for several weeks. Every layer I added seemed to take away from its initial severity and grit, and wash away the detail of the foundation tracks. I eventually surrendered to its simplicity and worked with maximizing the details. As a result of its simplicity, it’s been called a grower and not a show-er. Heavy Mask was written, mixed, and organized with vinyl as the preferred listening method.
Thermionic Culture Vulture Super 15
Everything on this album went through a Thermionic Culture Vulture Super 15. The Culture Vulture Super 15 is a very strange piece of processing gear that I have trouble recommending to anyone. The TCVS15 is a very specific tool for a very specific person – and apparently, I don’t know any of these people. The Cwejman S1 MKII was fed into the Eventide Space and into the Thermionic Culture Vulture Super 15 and was sequenced by the Make Noise RENE. If you’ve listened to Ritual or read its accompanying article, this should sound familiar. Except for the TCVS15, the signal flow is identical to how Ritual was recorded. If you want an extreme comparison, listen to how clean and dynamic Ritual is and come back to listen to Heavy Mask. On the flip side, Form Volume II was pre-mastered with the TCVS15 and was cleaned up and sparkly by the time it hit mastering.
The drums were performed by Charlie Werber during this past brutal Chicago winter. You may remember Charlie from Embraced where I’m still in awe of his performance. In the Heavy Mask recording sessions, Charlie simplified and complimented the existing tracks I brought in. In an active rehearsal space, I recorded Charlie using 4 microphones: 2 Earthworks QTC40’s for the overheads, 2 SM57’s on the kick and top of the snare, everything went directly into the RME UFX. UAD’s Neve 88RS, UA1776, and LA2A were heavily used.
Sarah Sitkin. I’ve known Sarah for almost 10 years and I’m probably her biggest fan. She’s responsible for the artwork on To No Avail a few years ago and how much she’s evolved in that time is breathtaking. Hell, how much she’s evolved since creating the Heavy Mask cover just over a month ago is amazing.
John Crawford is the only person you need to follow on Instagram. Together, John and Emilie created the Ritual artwork last year and I needed John’s aesthetic on Heavy Mask as well. He’s been essential for creative input as well as execution and his instinct overrule mine.
Caspar Newbolt was responsible for the entirety of the artwork on Embraced and helped lay out Ritual. He graciously lent a hand again with making sure the vinyl packaging and general layout was consistent with our combined high standards.
A quick word about censorship: Heavy Mask will not appear anywhere that censors the human body, so far this only includes iTunes and its services.
Shawn Hatfield of Audible Oddities. Again, always. The versions Shawn send back make me feel like I’m listening to a fully formed thought as opposed to just a number of tracks I made and ordered. Shawn brought Heavy Mask to a level clarity and brutality I’ve rarely heard before.
“When I first heard these songs, I immediately thought about how they’d benefit from being pushed a bit harder than normal through my chain, to bring in some subtle saturation and harmonics. I felt this really showed off the exceptional work Surachai had already done at the mix stage. I focused mostly on getting the gain staging for each piece of equipment just right to get the optimal sound for each song. In these various stages, the songs passed through several transformers, starting with Carnhill, into a pair of amorphous core Lundahl’s and then into a pair of Cinemag’s. I used two different tube stages along the way; one for transparent vari-mu compression using the Knif Vari Mu II, and the other a colorful class A tube pre-amp called a Creamliner II that adds some great detail by adding triode harmonics. At the end of the chain, a Dangerous BAX EQ was used to help balance the lows and highs just prior to capture.”
Lacquering, Plating, and Printing
The signal flow was the same as Ritual: Roger of SAE handled the lacquering which is then sent to Metalworks for plating and then to Gottagroov for the printing. The records are 180 grams and the jackets are thick tip-on boards with a matte finish that makes the artwork particularly menacing.
This is the fourth vinyl release on BL_K NOISE. Moe Espinosa / Drumcell, who runs the label with me, described BL_K NOISE perfectly, “a small label to release music that is not restrained by genre or expectations. An open format label to release whatever music we feel like whenever we want.” What Moe left out is that all of our releases have been DIY, we go through great lengths to be involved in every step of the process and stand proudly behind out releases artistically on all levels. Anyone that has bought our vinyl can speak to the high quality.
We don’t pay for PR, promotion, or print and somehow we sell out of our releases. It’s equally humbling as it is confusing. Thank you for the support, it means more than you’ll ever know.