August 31, 2022 § Leave a comment
I will do another video post about the show on Sunday at @lacasaencendida , I am overjoyed with how it went, but first cannot resist sharing the new song I premiered at the end of the show, in a race against time: Movement II and Movement III of the 3-part still untitled song that will most likely open my 8th album, Le jour et la nuit du réel, which I’m recording right now (out next year on @thrilljockey).
I have often been able to play live one or two songs of new material ahead of album releases, and it is always such a special moment, a way to cheat on the (now unbelievably) long wait between an album’s recording and its release.
For me this is also always slightly crazy because I typically shift gear and/or method between albums, and this was definitely a bit risky on Sunday because 1) the song was just a few days old 2) the night before the show – literally – I had to work out appropriate levels on my mixing desk so that it would sound as close as possible to the studio version I had just recorded 3) it is REALLY hard – even in the studio – to get the 3 rhythms that make up the “inner beats” of the song to interlock properly and at the right speed: they depend on the @moogsynthesizers Grandmother Arpeggiator rate, Modulation LFO rate, and MF-104M Analog Delay time – none of which can be preset, and a millimetre change on the pots makes a huge difference. Even the way I strike the keys and the exact timing for the chord changes have an impact (and the beautiful thing is that it always sounds slightly different because of this). I nearly lost my concentration when the 10 pm bells started ringing against rhythm and the wind grew stronger!!!
I included the soundcheck videos as you can hear the 3rd part of the song much better.
🙏🙏🙏 to everyone @lacasaencendida, Andrés Noarbe @discosrotor for inviting me, @maryjoarnanz for taking such good care of us, David @furvoice @mutabor_music for once again being my amazing assistant on this show, and @jmattack 📷 Mvt I, @betacam 📷 Mvt II and @furvoice
📷 soundcheck for capturing these moments.
August 21, 2022 § Leave a comment
HEAD FULL OF ECHOES… CLOSING THE CIRCLE OF THE TUNNEL AND THE CLEARING WITH MY FAVORITE STILLS FROM THE DOCUMENTARY.
I have always wanted to share more stills from @luistorroja ‘s documentary and somehow never got round to it, and now that the doc is 1 year old and that I’m deep into recording my 8th album Le jour et la nuit du réel, it feels appropriate to close the circle of that particular album (even though I will still play it live).
I love how Luis managed to visually translate the intimate nature of the relationship I ended up developing with my machines over the course of making The Tunnel and the Clearing. I can’t really think of a more truthful portrait of me than a superposition of my face with a tape loop repeating sounds, because for better and for worse, that’s more or less how my brain and my whole self have always worked with thoughts (I find it revelatory that tape is recorded, played and erased by “heads”). And I do feel that my instruments are like friends and bandmates, that I’m not actually alone making music in the studio, but rather am accompanied by them, their special beauty as well as their quirks and occasional failures.
USING THE MOOG GRANDMOTHER WITH AN EXTRA SOUND SOURCE: “HIDDEN IN THE CURRENT” TUTORIAL VIDEO WITHOUT VOICEOVER
August 6, 2022 § Leave a comment
When Moog agreed to premiere the documentary on The Tunnel and the Clearing last year, they also asked me to make a short tutorial to show how I used the Grandmother to process the Reface YC on my album The Tunnel and the Clearing.
I made 2 videos for the 2 songs that use that method, “Revelation” (previously posted here) and “Hidden in the Current”. The voiceover tutorial is up on Moog’s Youtube channel, and is featured with a patch sheet as part of the written interview I gave on their website. I love seeing the overhead shot video without the voiceover though, and listening to this more than a year later, I’m actually floored by how similar this sounds to the album version (headphones for bass content please), which shouldn’t surprise me given that my methodology was indeed to record live and not use any plug-in, but still…
I hadn’t really dug deep into synthesis at that point, and now that I’m 1 year deep into exploring the Grandmother, I would say that even though the limit of this approach is that you *have* to be in drone mode for it to work (to process the external sound source via the synth’s mono input), it does open the beautiful possibility of having a chord-capable instrument (Reface YC here) on top of the monophonic synth, which immediately takes into another territory. I am really taken by the “washes” of sound on this song, as I am by the textures I got on “Revelation” without even using the oscillators and basically just using the Grandmother as if it were an LFO/Lowpass Filter/Spring Reverb giant unit.
I also remain a massive fan of manipulating parameters rhythmically by hand, both for the sonic result and for the sheer joy of doing it. There will be plenty more of this in LP8 which I’m currently recording.
“Hidden in the Current” setup:
Reface YC auxed to Grandmother
Grandmother auxed to MF-104M Analog Delay, with both outputs Mix and Delay to get a stereo effect.
August 5, 2022 § Leave a comment
Luis Torroja‘s mini-documentary on the making of my 7th album The Tunnel and the Clearing was premiered by Moog Music Inc. exactly 1 year ago!!! More about this this weekend, even though it’s old news, since many of you joined this space after that date, and since this was a special project born at a complicated moment. I am forever grateful to Luis for his amazing work and dedication, to Moog for their heart-warming support, with special thanks to Jason Daniello at Moog and Mike Boyd at Thrill Jockey.
I often mention that stone carving helped me get back to music-making after my late 2000s hiatus: this is the alabaster sculpture I worked on for 9 months during 2009-2010. It is the only real sculpture I’ve made apart from another tiny one, since the process is so time-consuming, but for me it will always stay as a testimony of a special moment in which I had to rethink my approach to my creative work. Thank you to my stone carving teacher Dominique Rivaux for this unique experience that brought me so much!!!
August 2, 2022 § Leave a comment
(written on 1st August 2022)
When I was a child, there was a lamp clamped to my desk, one of those heavy articulated lamps with a spring on the side. This spring was the first thing I tried to make sound with, running my nail along it. I thought about this today, as I am about to finally embark on recording my 8th album. The older I get, the more exhausted I am by life’s complications (I know, it doesn’t sound optimistic, and it isn’t), and the more exhausted I am, the more I want my music to be the ultimate refuge against this, a place and moment where complexity is only in the music itself. Closely intertwined with this desire is a growing and almost gut-like instinct to simplify my means of production, which I feel is actually the only way I can tap into complexity in contents and form.
I started working on this album exactly one year ago, and I rapidly saw that it would be a kind of octopus-like creature. At the beginning several approaches competed for my attention: a couple of songs with singing that felt related to my last album The Tunnel and the Clearing in both sound and construction; sketches with the Elka Drummer One (I’ve been wanting to make a rhythm-focused album since 2018…); a renewed interest in the idea of a “suite” of compositions, possibly influenced by reading a massive history of Western music, and… SYNTHESIS, on the @moogsynthesizers Grandmother, overtaking my creative life in a way I hadn’t expected. What you nurture grows, and little by little the suite-like approach and the idea of synthesis variations overtook the other aspects, to the point where I feel some radical pruning of the other aspects is almost bound to happen.
I have finally managed to put together a list of the songs I am going to record – everything live, no edits. It looks pretty insane on paper, but I will probably fuse some of those variations, leading to fewer tracks. Synthesis is a lot of fun, and whenever something is really fun, you run the risk of not really hearing the music behind your fun, so to help with critical hearing, I have made a “synthesis table” to keep objective track of what I do.
Can’t wait for it to be in your ears ❤