• Fully patchable modular sound generator and signal processor
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• 160 patches from 8 cutting-edge sound designers and artists
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• Fully patchable modular sound generator and signal processor
First patch with the Mutable Instruments Frames,Tides and Peaks modules. This patch was inspired from the track “Sunshine Recorder” by Boards of Canada. Lead drifting melody using the “Tides” as an oscillator source, which is then being ran through the Tiptop Z-DSP processing with the “Halls of Vahalla” card. Peaks running in drum mode, top output is the kick and the bottom output is the snare processed slightly with the Makenoise Phonogene, then ran through a Synthrotek “EKO” set with a very short delay time. Braids running the 16th note high hats in “CLKN” mode using the “PIK” envelope setting. Sequence is driven by the 4ms QCD clocked from the “Grids” sequencer which is also clocking the “Peaks” kick and snare sequence. The other Braids oscillator running in “Comb Filtered Sawtooth” mode as the dotted synth lines, triggered by the intellijel uscale. Low tone baseline created with the “Edges” module, then being filtered by the “Ripples” filter. Sequencing from the intellijel Metropolis. The output is then being sent to the MakeNoise echophon for a light delayed effect. This output is then split to the Qu-Bit Nebulæ running the “Polyphonic Oscillator” mode which is creating the Pad harmony seventh chords to the root note. This output is then being sent through the Eventide Space. “Frames” is being used as a quad CV source routed to first a intellijel Shapeshifter doing slow modulation changes to the “A” shape input. Second CV source from Frames sent to the “Sync” function to control the step to next wavetable. CV output three sent to the “Shift” input on the the ADM04 Frequency Shifter from Audio Damage. The 4th CV output sent to a intelljel HexVCA, opening and closing the release time from the Blue Lantern Mr. Blue Noise (white Noise) washes.
Ritual was composed entirely on the Cwejman S1 MKII.
Digital release date: May 12th, 2014. Vinyl ships June 1st, 2014.
After several years of creating complex arrangements and aurally dense albums, I decided to simplify the tools and work with its impact on composition and sound. One of my favorite synthesizers is the semi-modular Cwejman S1 MKII and knew that it was complex enough to shape all the sounds I needed for an album. The Cwejman’s architecture is familiar to existing 3 oscillator systems but its semi-modular nature, filters, envelopes, and even distortion are completely unique. Although using only one sound source simplified the sound I believe Ritual is, frequency wise, the heaviest album I have made.
The signal chain was short. Cwejman S1 MKII output > Eventide Space > RME Fireface UC. The Cwejman was sequenced by the Make Noise RENE. The Dynaverb algorithm in the Eventide Space was the only reverb model used, except 20 (00) where a Tip Top Audio Z5000 delay preset was utilized. The album was tracked into Logic X and like my previous albums, everything was recorded into one large session but this time only 4 tracks were used.
Sync & Editing
Sync was placed by hand – not quantized on a grid or snapped to a BPM. A drifting master clock might be considered “charming” or give the album “personality” but it presented an unnecessary task of syncing audio files that would eventually sound like a train wreck if not reorganized. Although the drifting was unintended, by the end, I grew fond of this quirk, at points, and let some parts go their own way.
The editing, like the clock source, is pretty rough and raw. You can hear cables being pulled out, patched in, crackling knobs, and ground hum – all things I decided to leave in. There are a couple tracks where the computer was not able to handle the buffer size while recording and it resulted in audio files corrupted with a dynamic static effect. While these static infested files were immediately re-recorded cleanly, I ended up using the static files as it added an accidental texture. The most obvious example of this static is all over 03 (06).
Mixing & Mastering
Unlike past albums, I didn’t dwell on the mix for very long – hell, I didn’t even EQ anything! Because of the unique and versatile filters in the Cwejman S1 MKII, I was able to carve out unwanted frequencies during the recording process and simply had to automate volume changes in post. The bass in the Cwejman is very intense, and even with proper monitoring, I didn’t understand its depth until I went to Richard Devine’s studio that has subs. His system revealed frequencies I didn’t know existed in the recordings until monitoring on his system. I decided to leave all this extra information for Shawn Hatfield to play with.
The mastering duties were conducted by Shawn Hatfield of Audible Oddities. My biggest concern was keeping the Cwejman envelope aggression as well as the intense bass frequencies. The references I sent Shawn was Raime’s Quarter Turns Over a Living Line and Grischa Lichtenberger’s And IV (Inertia). As always, he glued it all together, didn’t compromise the mix and extended its volume slightly.
“The thing I loved most about mastering this record was all the rich warm sounds that are unmistakably analog and the seemingly wild nature that comes with modular systems. In mastering these songs for vinyl, it was important to try and convey that as naturally as possible, but with modular systems, things can get unruly pretty fast, and vinyl can complain when it’s unhappy. I found FabFilter’s ProMB a very useful tool for this particular project as I was able to control just the specific aspects that needed control, without getting in the way of the rest of the spectrum. This helped me tame the beasts within, giving them a more balanced end result while maintaining as much of their natural character as possible. Because they had a nice organic feel from the start, I didn’t feel the need to blanket them with additional colors. I went in with clinical tools designed for transparent surgery, and made sure things like excessive treble were in check and low-frequency phase information was centered. But more importantly, we opted for a lower overall level, allowing for clear punchy transients that help the music be felt, not just heard.” – Shawn Hatfield of Audible Oddities Mastering
For my previous albums I’ve worked with some of my favorite artists that I’m fortunate enough to call friends and Ritual was no different. I’ve followed Emilie Elizabeth’s photography for years and have always admired her style, sets, and aesthetic. John Crawford was involved throughout the process and provided his post production expertise that helped the images reach another level of unsettling. John also created the Waveform Gate which is an altered Necronomicon Gate Key with the 7 waveforms of the Cwejman S1 – one of many subtle and original touches this team obsessed over. They made me a bit uncomfortable by asking for my input so often. This is an abbreviated version of Emilie’s responses, the full length article can be found: Surachai.org.
“John and I are typically hired to do more commercial work, despite the fact our personal taste is not very commercial. Projects like this allow me to combine the last 10 years of experience as professional photographer with some of the experimentation that I’ve greatly missed.
At some point in our image research, we began to focus on still life paintings from the “Vanitas” style of the 16 and 17th centuries. John’s been really into H.P. Lovecraft lately, so that was a major influence. We were also leaning towards the idea of incorporating alchemy somehow, especially considering the name of the project.
We’re both really, really happy with the way the shots turned out. We were both challenged in ways we didn’t expect to be, which I believe is the best way to evolve as an artist. However, I’m a little surprised at our inability to work a few cats into the photos. Next time… and probably several times after that.” – Emilie Elizabeth
The Shawn Hatfield mastered files were sent to Roger Seibel of SAE Mastering to create lacquers. The lacquers were then sent to Mastercraft to be metal plated. The metal plates were then sent to GottaGroove who are currently pressing vinyl and printing the jackets. The vinyl release of Ritual is the intended way to experience the album for several reasons but here are the obvious three.
1) Sound. The vinyl mastered files were mastered at 24bit, 48kHz and at a volume that keeps the dynamic range of the Cwejman true. You won’t be able to hear this range with the digital downloads as we opted to make this version louder rather than dynamic. They both sound great and will push any sound system to its limits, but my preference is the vinyl edition that showcases the Cwejman’s aggression.
2) Artwork. The artwork, and I believe most artwork, is meant to be experienced on a large scale and physically if possible. So much attention to detail went into the artwork that when you see it up close, you’ll pick up on a few things…
3) Tip-On Style Gatefold Jacket. The moment this record is in your hands, you’ll notice the difference. The jackets are heavy, sturdy, and tough as shit.
“Tip-On jackets were the standard format of record jacket printing up until the late 1970’s / early 1980’s. Today, they are typically considered a deluxe form of packaging for records. However, ironically, I have been told by folks involved in manufacturing records in the 1980’s that tip-ons were actually considered the low-class option back then; and that direct-to-board was the form of print bands strived for on their releases.
In modern vinyl pressing, the tip-ons are definitely a step up over the tip-ons of the 1970’s. For ours, we use a very thick 30pt stock core. I find that the extreme stiffness of the board provides an aesthetically pleasing “feel” when handling the package and a lot more protection for the records when mailing them.
I know that tip-ons are unlikely to ever become the standard again for most record packages, but I do hope that as more people become aware of their availability, we will see more of them in the marketplace. Being a record consumer myself, I always find more enjoyment when buying a record when it is clear that there was a lot of extra steps taken in the manufacturing and the packaging.” – Matt Earley from GottaGroove Records
BLK_NOISE was created by Moe Espinosa (Drumcell) and I to release music on multimedia formats including obsolete technology. This is the first release for BLK_NOISE and our plans include media projects not specifically limited to music.
One of my favorites from Joseph so far…
A patch utilizing the WMD Sequential Switch Matrix as a routing switch for incoming gates. Gate sources are four channels of the 4ms SCM which are routed to the Cylonix Shapeshifter, TipTop BD808, Mutable Instruments Braids and Harvestman Hertz Donut MKII. Another output of the 4ms SCM is sequencing through the matrixes via the SSM step/gate input which results in complex and evolving percussion patterns.
Ambient melody is an original piano recording played back via the Qu-bit Electronix Nebulae in loop mode with various time and pitch manipulation, This is then fed through the Serge Resonant Equalizer and Modcan Dual Delay for further modulation.
Additional accent melody coming from the Synthesis Technology E350 though the Flame FX6 reverb and Modcan Phaser with an envelope being triggered by another channel of the 4ms SCM.
Reverb is from the Eventide H8000FW.
Audio recording of my first patch with the new MakeNoise “Mysteron” Voltage Controlled Digital Waveguide and Erbe-Verb Voltage Controlled DSP Reverb. For this video I wanted to do something slightly different to present what could be done using just these two modules as the only sound sources. The focus was to use only a few modules as control sources. Starting with the MakeNoise Wogglebug stepped CV out into the Size input on the Erb-Verb. Another stackable cable from the Wogglebug stepped output running into the 1V/oct input on the Mysteron. 4 Clock signals running into one sync input on one intellijel Dixie, another to the strike input on the Mysteron, third output into the Optomix. The Mysteron “Mix” control via the MathsV2 – Channel 4 output running a very slow rise modulating pulse. Output 1 / channel 1 from the Maths running into the speed input control on Erb-Verb. Positive output from the MakeNoise function running into the “Pre” input control on Erb-Verb. Negative output from the Function module running into the “Depth” control on the Erb-Verb. ZigZag output from the intellijel Dixie going into the “Tilt” and “Decay” control inputs on Erbe-Veb, modulating at very slow rates. “EOC” output from Function running into the “Absorb” input on the Erbe-Verb. Top strike input control to the Mysteron from the random clock burst out on the WoggleBug. Depth control on Mysteron via a yellow stackable cable (sine) output from the intellijel Dixie, and to the “Generation” input on Mysteron. Lots of real-time tweaking and finally recorded Allen & Heath mixer.
This patch was built entirely around the Delptronics Trigger Man which is a unique trigger/gate sequencer module with a 8HP format. The idea was to take 8 different patterns consisting of 8 steps for each of the 8 outputs. Then run the trigger man in pattern play mode using the VC input to determine the currently playing pattern. The 8 patterns where programmed to flow into each other in sort of a quasi random string. Output one was sent to the Tiptop BD-808 kick drum. Channel 2 was sent to the Snazzy FX Ardcore triggering one custom snare sound created with a NordLead 2X, these sounds where imported into the “fac drums” Arduino sketch. This output was then ran into the Synthrotex Eko to provide flowing delay slap back effect to the snare sound. Channel three output was sent to the first channel of the 4ms QCD, running at the 6th knob position in divide mode, then sent to the trigger input on the Mutable Instruments Braids VCO running in “CLKN” mode using the “PIK” envelope setting to create a very short synthetic hi-hat sound. Channel 4 was sent to the external clock input on the MakeNoise WoggleBug which then triggered out the stepped random sequence into the 1volt into the intellijel shapeshifter, and also splitting the signal using stackable cable to the Macro Machines “Storage Strip” module that was controlling the program step modes to the Mungo d0 delay module. Input to the Mungo d0 was from the “DAC” output 2 from the Ardcore. Channel 5 was ran into the “Sync” input on channel one of the Modcan Dual delay. Another stackable cable going from channel 5 went into the 4ms SCM clock input. The drones are created using two sine outputs from the MakeNoise DPO. Sine output one is running into one MakeNoise Optomix with a slow rate LFO (intellijel Dixie) controlling the damping/contrl settings. This output is then sent into the Tiptop Z-DSP running the new Halls of Valhalla cartridge. The Reverb algorithm used in this patch is “Ginnungagap” for the atmospheric drones of the modulated FM sine waves. The second output from DPO is running into another Optomix with the another intellijel Dixie controlling the damping and CV-control settings, but with slower rate times. The output from this was then sent to the Strymon “Big Sky” reverb pedal running in “Chorale” mode for the vocal like resonant drones. Other sound sources used are the Intellijel Shapeshiter for the high end DSP-FM scatters, which is being triggered by the inverse out on the 4ms QCD expander. Next is the Modcan CV-Recorder playing back recorded noisy computer glitches being controlled by the Modcan Quad LFO which is being clocked by the channel one output on Trigger Man. The murky watery sounds came from the second Mutable instruments Braids oscillator running in “Cloud” mode into the channel input 1 of the Modcan Dual delay with lightly filtered position. The last sound source is the Qu-Bit Electronix Nebulae playing back a single shot 40 second sample in loop mode of sounds I created in a Reaktor patch. All signals routed into the Intellijel Mutamix and Steady State Fate- Mixmode. With 4 additional output being mixed into an Allen & Heath mixer. :-)
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Using the WMD Sequential Switch Matrix as an effects routing matrix. The four outputs of the SSM are routed to four different effects chains. Slow sequences route the four different inputs to different combinations of effects in the outputs.
1: Intellijel/Cylonix Shapeshifter
2: Mutable Instruments Braids
3: TipTop Audio BD808
4: Q-Bit Electronix Nebulae (one shot mode – 5 channels of samples are being triggered)
1: Modcan dual delay
2: TipTop Audio Zdsp Dragonfly Delay with Modcan Dual Frequency Shifter in the Feedback path
3: Flame FX6
4: Mungo g0 > Modcan Dual Phaser
Drone – The Hrvestman Piston Honda MKII and Hertz Donut MKII > Serge Resonant Equalizer > Make Noise Echophon > Cwejman MMF1 > Eventide H8000FW reverb.
Seeing how Sean from Valhalla already made a fine demo of his ZDSP Cartridge, I wanted to explore another side of the capabilities of the Halls of Valhalla reverb card: Feedback!The first 5 programs are relatively standard though they easily bend the reality in which they’re based on. Programs 6-8 are based on Nordic mythology and they are massive gorgeous. All the beautiful distortion and clipping are courtesy of the Tip Top Audio ZDSP. Price & release TBA.