3 new summer work-in-progress tracks

Summer is here!

Summerphones

…Which can make it hard to stay productive at times, as the warm weather and blue skies seem to command you to go outside, as if it were your God-given duty and obligation to nature to go and get a nice red sunburn as soon as temperatures rise above 30°C.

I have however (more or less) been keeping up my strict “make at least 1 track a week”-policy, which is something I started doing recently in an effort to stay in (musical) shape. It also allows me to spam Anders with MP3s every week, and he in turns sends back his ideas – a process that will hopefully speed up the completion of a new album!

Here is a sampling of 3 work-in-progress tracks that have come out of it so far:

Old Dusty Morn

Work in progress: Old Dusty Morn by subdelay

Weidlinger

Work in progress: Weidlinger by subdelay

Nimyst

Work in progress: Nimyst by subdelay

Blast from the past: Derelict – Live at ABC Teatret, Copenhagen

Waaaaay back so long ago I’m not really sure when this recording is actually from we played a small 3-song set at a place called “ABC Teatret” in Copenhagen. A glance at Google Maps suggests that the place has since been converted to a fitness center so I guess we should count ourselves lucky for having had a chance to perform at what used to be an old theatre hosting some of Denmark’s greatest entertainers.

ABC Teatret

Although the timeframe is a bit unclear, what I do remember is that we had just begun working on the Subsidence album, and even though we hadn’t actually finished a chorus for it yet, we decided to play Derelict as part of the set, instructing our vocalist (Karoline Porsby at the time) to just do some humming during the parts that weren’t done. :D

Karoline, by the way, was extremely angry at Anders and I that day for having asked her drummer ex-boyfriend to perform with us but neglecting to tell her until minutes before going on stage…erm. :roll: Karoline, if you’re reading this, we hope you have forgiven us by now!

All in all, as you can probably tell, great conditions for a fantastic performance. And the result was…well better than expected perhaps…? Anyway you can judge for yourself as a recent dig through my minidisc archive produced this recording from the show:

Derelict – OLD live version by subdelay

Not sure exactly why the ENTIRE MIX gets swamped in reverb near the end. Maybe the sound guy simply decided it was sounding terrible and tried to help us out by drowning everything in a cheesy room reverb? ;)

For a more recent live version of Derelict done in Tokyo, check out this version from “Live at Enyen”!

Studio tour: Tokyo

As Anders and I live in opposite ends of the world at the moment, we don’t actually share the same studio and basically work on all songs by sending files back and forth over the internet. The end result is a mix of not only our different ideas but also of the different musical equipment we use in our separate locations.

Today I thought I’d give you a little tour of my (rather unimpressive) home studio here in Tokyo and show you some of the gear I use on my side of the Earth!

MacBook, LED Cinema Display, Ableton Live

MacBook + LED Cinema 2

Thought I’d mention this first, as the fact of the matter is that over the years we have gone increasingly “virtual”, substituting music hardware for their software-based counterparts on the computer. It makes things a lot easier when you’re living in a tiny apartment in Tokyo!

Although our first productions were done on Logic, we switched to using Ableton Live when Emagic was bought by Apple and stopped supporting the Windows platform. (I have since converted to the Mac platform but that is a different story!)

Novation Remote 25SL

Remote 25SL

While having everything you need within the computer is incredibly convenient, moving dials and pulling faders using a mouse soon becomes tiresome, which is why I use the Remote 25SL to assign actual physical knobs and faders to control the software.

The 2-axis “joystick” on the left also comes in handy and was used to great effect on Inlet to create the swirling delay effects (heard throughout the track but easiest to pick out at around 1:00) by assigning one axis to an EQ and the other to control delay feedback.

Oh, and of course it also comes with a keyboard, which is useful when you are actually trying to play something. ;)

Novation Nova

Novation Nova

Although I don’t use it as much as I used to, I still dust the Nova off and hook it up from time to time, mainly because it’s so much fun to play with!

Most recently featured providing the bassline on New Skies (comes in at 1:41, with an additional saw wave added at 2:48), I often use the Nova for creating effects and pad sounds too.

Worst feature: Produces an annoying “beep” whenever you push a button, and you can’t even turn it off!

Nord Micro Modular

Micro Modular

I brought this little red devil back with me from Denmark on a recent trip home, but haven’t actually been able to make it work in Japan yet because of the difference in voltage over here…(will need to find a voltage converter or something).

The software for generating new sounds that comes with the Micro Modular is beginning to look a bit dated, but sonically it is still an excellent instrument for creating powerful sounds that really cut through the mix, such as the grungy lead on Sphoudeiko Part 1 (comes in at 0:35).

We also used it for the vocoder melody part in Derelict (at 0:30), the recording of which involved Anders holding a microphone and going “wuuuuuauaaababbbzzzzzzuuuuuueeeaaaaaaaa” for several minutes while I tried out different melodies.

Behringer BCR2000

BCR2000

I hardly ever use the BCR2000 for production but it is great for live performance and DJing (see it in action in Sub Delay Sessions 6). With all those lights and knobs it looks great in the dark and sometimes I switch it on just to look at it. :P

Sony MZ-R50 Minidisc Recorder

Minidisc

Okay, so this old gadget doesn’t really produce any sound on its own as such, but it is what I used to capture most of the ambient sounds you can hear between tracks on Subsidence. Basically I would walk around Tokyo, Kyoto and Nikko with a crappy stereo microphone sticking out of my pocket and capture whatever came by.

I also have a ton of old Minidiscs containing recordings of old unfinished songs that can serve as inspiration when I get stuck. In fact, Beware was more or less entirely based on audio samples of an old version of Sentient.

Macbook + LED Cinema

…As you can see, not a whole lot of gear lying around, but I suspect it is only a matter of time before we become superstars and can afford to surround ourselves with tons of musical equipment. Hope to do another “studio tour” then! :P

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