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!!!

Still from the documentary by Luis Torroja showing my alabaster sculpture


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 ❤

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