IDOW Extended Interview #10: Trent Reznor & Alessandro Cortini

Quote on the age of digitizing and compromising keyboards for price: “… and everything had to have a fucking piano sound, whats the bell sound sound like? Does it look like fucking bells? Then why….?”

The Wikidrummer

… or you could use convolution reverb.

Richard Devine – Nord Lead 4 Bank

Richard Devine is an artist and sound designer based in Atlanta GA. He’s a man of many skills and his portfolio includes releasing music on the cult label WARP, remixing Ryuichi Sakamoto, sound design for Microsoft Windows 7 and doing sound libraries for many innovative companies like Ableton, Native Instruments, Propellerheads, Izotope and many more! Richard also did some brilliant patches the Nord Modular G2 back in the day, so he can proudly call himself real Clavian!

Richard Devine’s Nord Lead 4 Banks
Nord Lead 4

Glitchmachines – Polygon

Polygon is a new sampler plugin designed to facilitate the creation of stunning composite sound effects. Co-developed by Ivo Ivanov and Thomas Hennebert, Polygon was conceived from the ground up with unconventional attributes and a fast, forward-thinking workflow.

Layering samples is only the beginning. Polygon’s unique granular mode will bend your samples into fresh material while its clean and logical interface, extensive modulation options and distinctive sonic fingerprint make it an invaluable tool for creative sound design.

At the heart of Polygon, you will find 4 Sampler modules featuring a granular mode and various play and loop modes with focus and loop range sliders. The modules are supported by 8 LFOs, 4 modulation envelopes with variable slopes, two multi-mode filters, three effects processors, a sub oscillator and various global parameters. All of Polygon’s components work in conjunction with its modulation matrix to allow you to achieve extremely dynamic results with relative ease.

Polygon’s sound set was compiled to facilitate the broadest possible range of sonic flexibility. Its core is driven by a 1.2 GB sample library comprised of brand new material and previously unreleased alternate edits from our entire range of sound ware products. To get you started, we included factory presets from Ivo Ivanov, Thomas Hennebert, Nicholas Yochum and Daed. Load any of your existing samples and listen as Polygon takes things in exciting new directions.

1.2 GB 24bit/96khz .wav sample library
4 monophonic Sampler Modules with Granular Mode
Play & Loop modes with Range Sliders
4 Mod Envelopes with Cycle Mode and variable slopes
8 LFOs with Retrig, Sync and built-in Multipliers
3 FX Processors: Metalizer, Stutter and FM Ring Mod
Sub Oscillator with Sine & Square wave with PWM
Comprehensive Modulation Matrix and Global RND Isolate Suite
Cross-platform compatibility (PC/Mac – VST/AU 32bit & 64bit)

Glitchmachine Polygon

Nine Inch Nails 2013, Pt. 2 (VEVO Tour Exposed)

Great synopsis of the production side of NIN. You never know if things will work out until they do. Lots of Alessandro and Justin cameos.

“Free 14-song Nine Inch Nails show filmed in LA last month, streaming in HD. I’m excited that we were able to get this show documented and that we can put it out for everyone to see. It puts a great bookend on an amazing tour. I’m more excited for the Blu-ray release next year though – I spent last week sitting with the editor of this Vevo cut, finessing it and making tweaks and doing color corrections, and there’s a lot of detail that gets lost here but will really shine on Blu-ray. Plus there are some great production moments from the show which aren’t in this cut, but will be on the final release. We’ll have details and pre-orders on all that stuff soon, we’re still getting the specifics worked out. For now, set this to full screen 1080p with the sound cranked, and enjoy.” – Rob Sheridan

Intellijel – Metropolis Shapeshifter Wavetable FreeJazz-Patch

Intellijel-Metropolis Shapeshifter Wavetable FreeJazz-Patch from Richard Devine on Vimeo.

First little jam using the Intellijel Metropolis sequencer into the Shapeshifter. Everything is clocked from the Metropolis “CLK”output. Pitch multiple outputs into the pitch input 1 on Shapeshifter. The gate outputs running into a clock input and chaos input on the MakeNoise Wogglebug. The random burst gate output is then taken out into the sync input on the Shapeshifter, in conjunction with another gate output (stack able cable) from the Metropolis sequencer. I was trying an experiment to see how the Shapeshifter would work as a wavetable indexing oscillator. I choose wavetables 2 through 64 and selected random sequence mode. The combination of both clock signals created a shifty like sequencing arrangement. The cluster sine based shepard tones are courtesy of the synthesis technology/motm e340 cloud generator. Sparkle dotted notes from one output from the MakeNoise DPO running into a optomix, then into a dash of reverb from the Space pedal. The low note drones coming from the Braids Mutable instrument running freely in low modulation setting FM model mode. Kick drum is from the Tiptop BD-808 module. The snare was created using output 2 from Shapeshifter going into another optomix with a super close decay time. White noise hi-hats created with steady state fate quantum rainbow running into one optomix. Kick, snare and high-hat pattern triggered by one Mutable Instruments Grids module.

Cylonix Shapeshifter
Intellijel Metropolis

late for meeting – Sound Design

You’ve probably seen the video in the past few weeks or its predecessor, going to the store, in the past couple years. An old friend of TRASH_AUDIO, Jamie Vance, performed the sound design duties for late for meeting and is giving T_A an inside look into scoring and sound designing a viral video. The following sound design version of the video was expected to be premiered on Wired and their article for late for meeting, but they don’t give a shit about sound and we’ll gladly take sloppy seconds. Jamie sat down with Brent Rogers from REX Production & Post in Portland, Oregon and talked about the processes that went into making a video that had over 10 million hits within weeks.

late for meeting Sound Design Cut

Brent: What exactly was your role in ‘late for meeting’, like, what audio did you provide?

Jamie: Well when it was shot, it was shot on a Canon 5D with – for lack of a better term – hacked firmware that allowed David Lewandowski more control over various parameters in the camera. This helped the footage look stunning, but a caveat is that the altered firmware doesn’t allow audio recording. Thus there was literally no acoustic sound or audio of any kind originally, aside from Jean-Jacques Perry’s song, of course.

So I designed all the sounds in the piece, and composed a funny little muzak piece that you can hear playing overhead in the grocery store early on in the short.

B: That is excellently cheesy sounding.

J: I know, man. I made a downloadable ring-tone version of it and put it up on SoundCloud. It’s gotten thousands of plays, tons of downloads and hilarious comments – I was really amazed by the response. Usually online if something requires more than a single click of the mouse, you know, you don’t expect anyone to even check it out, or to go that extra mile. Considering this was kind of hidden in the YouTube info pane, I have been so happy about how many people liked it.

B: You can hear quiet sound effects beneath the score sometimes, does your sound design exist throughout the entire piece?

J: Yeah, I basically covered it from start to finish. Once I mixed the version for the public, I pulled the sound effects way back during the score-heavy sections, of course. We did also render a sound design only version which is entertaining in a different way, and, considerably more terrifying. [laughs]

B: How did you manage the sound design portion of the work?

J: The usual situation, pulling from sound effects libraries, my own recorded library, and recording foley (physical movement noises) manually to cover all my bases. I would go record foley in one of the big spaces at REX Studios, otherwise just working at home. Of course, anything from a sound effects library I heavily edit or mix with my own recordings in some way – I’m to that point as a sound designer where I am kind of cursed, I can hear every stock tire-screech or Gate Opening_001.wav in stuff, and it just makes me cringe. So I really work hard to make everything sound as if it was captured uniquely in the moment, even if it very much so was not.


B: Any unique challenges?

J: It’s funny, you know, finding the right sound in your library is mostly about knowing the right search-term to use – kind of like knowing the best words to search with on Google. But, when you pull up even the most decked out, comprehensive sound effects library and query the term “nude man violent flailing” you pretty much get like zero results, one hundred percent of the time. [laughs] So, yeah, making creative, funny, realistic foley for the “rubber man” required some risky techniques. He’s close to my heart, though, so it was worth it.

B: What do you mean, risky? Sound design and post work isn’t usually considered dangerous.

J: [laughs] Well, after crafting his footstep sounds to my liking, his physics-and-physiology-breaking movement still needed a better aural representation, to me. Such a hilarious and terrifying movement wasn’t done justice with just barefoot footstep sounds. Here again, libraries came up short, because 99.9% of all movement foley is based around cloth, leather, some kind of material the person is wearing. I wanted to hear his skin actually rubbing against itself, you know, so there was no choice but to record myself doing this.

This resulted in a late night guerilla recording session at REX where I had my partner stand in as engineer. It was pretty ridiculous – her, a little bewildered running ProTools over a gigantic mixing board, watching as I scraped my forearms together and tried to imitate the creature’s movement. Eventually I needed more “real estate” shall we say, so I had to take my shirt off. I was so afraid that you or the studio owner would just happen to stop by that night, peer into the little window on the sound-lock door and see me shirtless beneath a single over-head light, frantically rubbing my arms together like something from Jacob’s Ladder.


B: That does sound pretty hard to explain.

J: Yeah, I was just imagining the next morning the studio staff would’ve all received an email to the effect of, “Jamie has suffered a mental break – please sever contact and keep your distance.” The risk of being associated with the dangerously insane was worth it, though.

B: Then you must want to keep working on projects like this, right? What’s next?

J: That’s what ‘late for meeting’ has shown me, more than anything. I didn’t know what I was in for before it began, but it turned out to be one of the most satisfying projects of my career. Working on something creative, for no one else other than you and your team, for no purpose other than to laugh and express, with basically no guarantee, or expectation even, of “success” or remuneration – I don’t know, there’s nothing quite like it. The fact that over 10 million people watched it in a couple of weeks only serves as encouragement to do it more. It makes me super proud, of course.

I can’t say what’s next precisely, but we’ve got some work planned overseas next year. More than anything, though, I just know this is the kind of material and work I’m going to stay focused on right now. It just feels right.

late for meeting Original

Jamie Vance

Surachai – Form Thirty-Two

This patch has been left on for a few days and I’ve slowly been picking at it until I decided to archive it. This is a small portion of the recording process. By the way, nothing is screwed into the Tip Top Audio case.

MacroMachines – Karplus Web

MacroMachines – Karplus Web from Richard Devine on Vimeo.

Late night patch experiment using the new MacroMachines Memory manager expander for the Mungo d0 module. Noise snare source made with the noise engineering ataraxic translatron module that was running into the top section of a Optomix. The setting was set to a closed decay time and I set the dampen control clockwise to cut out the low end frequencies. From there I set the memory manager in sequence to clock at half the time of the main sequence tempo. I purposely set nothing to control the delay modulation inputs on the d0 for inputs A and B, so that we only hear the delay line open and just changing the slew rate times and feedback intensity caused some interesting feedback swells. The output signal was then ran into another Optomix bottom row then set it to a medium decay time so could ring out in more of controlled manner.
Other modules used was the ALM Pamela’s workout doing the tricky high hat pattern and kick drum via Tiptop BD 808. Scattered melodic notes dashed in reverb from the Mutable Instruments Braids running in WXT4 mode, and then being ran through an optomix for extra closed fast envelope control. The intellijel µScale was used for the subtly modulated plucks in conjunction with the Dixie and another Optomix. Trigger output from Pamela’s workout to a 8th division sequence with 9% random value. This was sent into the Uscale A trigger input. Then I took the VCO output on the Wogglebug which caused this super fast zigzag effect on “shift” input B . I took the output to a intellijel Dixie which was set to the FM input, for a marble scrambling type of sound. All outputs ran into one Intelljel Mutagen mixer running in my new Enclave 12U case. Reverb from the Eventide Space pedal.


Alessandro Cortini – Forse 2

200 copies on blue vinyl.

Deluxe gatefold printed on heavy duty stock with matte finish. Expanded package view

Alessandro Cortini’s second release in his Forse trilogy is full of thick analog brightness and deep analog warmpth. Despite also being fully composed on a Buchla Music Easel, the feeling of Forse 2 is quite different from Forse 1 and this deluxe double vinyl release is the ultimate way to experience this engaging work.

Alessandro Cortini (Nine Inch Nails, How To Destroy Angels) recorded Forse using a Buchla Music Easel; of which only 13 are known to exist. Forse, meaning “maybe” In Itilian, is a series of 3 double LP releases.

“All pieces were written and performed live on a Buchla Music Easel, in the span of one month. I found that the limited array of modules that the instrument offers sparked my creativity.
Most pieces consist of a repeating chord progression, where the real change happens at a spectral/dynamic level, as opposed to the harmonic/chordal one. I believe that the former are just as effective as the latter, in the sense that the sonic presentation (distortion , filtering, wave shaping, etc) are just as expressive as a chord change or chord type, and often reinforce said chord progressions.

Of all the years with Nine Inch Nails the period spent writing and recording the instrumental record Ghosts I-IV is probably the one which changed my approach to music making the most. After that record I started getting more into instrumental composition, although I tried to approach it in a different way. While we had a vast array of tools and instruments at our disposal then, I decided to approach my pieces limiting myself to one instrument only, as I found myself being more decisive when faced with a limited creative environment. ”

Alessandro Cortini – Forse 2 (Important Records)