I’ve been sick for a week. No talking, no singing, and a lack of inspiration/energy/general chi anyway. (No, it’s not COVID, but I think my booster took my immune system off to college at an inopportune moment.) So I’ve spent more time than I might otherwise have spent learning some deep-cut Cubase features, and exploring the wonders of my current studio setup. For the record, that is:
Cranborne Audio 500R8 interface – an absolutely genius creation that incorporates a low-latency, clear, wonderful interface w/ great conversion into a 500-series rack. All slots are accessible immediately via ins/outs, so it’s incredibly easy to route things through the magic boxes. Not only that, the whole thing is hooked up through a 48-point patchbay w/ an addition 8 ADAT channels, so I have total flexibility on routing synths, guitars, and effects, oh my. GENIUS.
My outboard effects include a Yamaha SPX990 (for pure 80s genius), as well as a few pedals, including a Strymon Iridium (models Vox-style, Fender Twin-style, and Marshall-style amps very nicely), a Pyramids EarthQuaker flanger (space it out people), and a Source Audio Collider Delay + Reverb.
Moog DFAM, Subharmonicon, and Werkstatt. Waldorf STVC (the sleeper hit of the century). Korg Minilogue XD. Erica Synths Bassline DB-01, which makes me want to buy everything that Erica Synths has ever made. AKAI EWI 3020m old-ass analog EWI synth, which is sorely underused at the moment. Novation 61SL controller. Guitars. A newly-acquired accordion, which I can’t play yet. Other things my mucus-addled brain can’t think of at the moment.
You get a patchbay…and you get a patchbay…
I can’t stress enough the absolute genius of the patchbay. Today, it allowed me to quickly and easily create the following chain:
Epi ES – 335 –> Camden pre w/ mojo –> Neve 535 comp –> ext. input of DFAM –> Cubase
At which point, I added some Collider reverb as an external effect. (Didn’t want to commit, but could still track in realtime with it. It’s not in the audio sample below)
Here’s the resulting sound from today’s session, the star of which is the DFAM’d guitars, w/ a bassline from Erica Synths Bassline DB-01 (played in keyboard mode, w/out the sequencer) and a boring drum loop that never ever stops:
In its current state, this is the scratch track I’ll use to record the vocals for a song called Push Pull. I wrote the song years ago and it’s finally going to have a home on my upcoming album, currently called IX. I’ll definitely use these guitar parts and the bass part in the final track, but not exactly in their current form. Warning: the above audio file is NOT a listenable track unless you like it REALLY minimal.
Guitar + DFAM = <3
The fun of playing the guitar through the DFAM was epic. It’s kind of like a totally wild tremolo where you can specify rhythms, modulate everything, etc. etc. I used the LFO on my Moog Werkstatt to modulate the filter, which made it move even more.
The ability to drastically change the sound and feel of the guitar is SO helpful to me. For one, I love writing on guitar and I love the sound of the guitar, but I’m not exactly a guitar player. This song has been stuck for years in this bluesy place that I don’t really want to live, and even if I did want to live there, my blues guitar skills are dismal. As soon as I hooked the guitar up this way and heard it, I immediately went to this progression and it found its way out of blues-land.
I truly can’t wait to record vocals for this song. Hopefully without the help of Fisherman’s Friend.
Mein Walkman ist kaputt
Other notable things to report: I came across Bureau B on Bandcamp today. What a frickin’ treasure trove. It’s making me want to buy a turntable so I can buy all their vinyl and spend my days reveling in the quirk. Do not miss Eins und Zwei und Drei und Vier – Deutsche Experimentelle Pop-Musik 1980-86.