thank you so much for putting this all together @jasonw22 ! I just finished giving the album a listen and there are lots of fantastic gems. here are some notes from my take on my collaboration with @giftculture…
we are friends RL who play modular together, including a couple times in front of small groups. until now it had all been improv, so we thought this would be an opportunity to give ourselves a kick to hunker down and work on a Real Thing. we both have a pretty good idea of what styles the other person likes so we decided to both make some recordings on our modulars and go from there. @giftculture suggested that we use Ableton Live with Splice to collaborate. this tech choice was a pretty good experience overall, more thoughts on that here: Ableton Splice
very early on, I made some modular recordings which appear here and there, most notably, the solo groove you hear during the first 30 seconds is a SSF Entity + TipTop SD808 being driven by a Teletype and going into a Rainmaker. pretty sure that is the only modular on the track, although @giftculture may correct me on that.
@giftculture took my recordings and assembled a basic structure with bass and percussion loops, and added in the wah pads. at this point the dub sound began to emerge. I wasn’t able to help much with Splice during this time period because I was not up to date on my Ableton plugins so I was mostly restricted to listening and commenting.
three weeks before the track was due, we decided to have an in-person session. this mainly involved @giftculture driving Ableton with me making mostly-helpful suggestions in the background. this is when the d&b fills emerged, and we made the bass a lot more active. we were reasonably happy with it at this point, but kept going back and forth online, with @giftculture manning most of the polishing since he is way better at Live (I’ll be playing some catch-up there, soon!)
on the weekend before the track was due we met up for two several-hour long sessions. on the first day we ended up trimming tracks where the layering was making things sound too muddled. this was the peak of testing out our mutual “Yes, and…” experience as it can be hard to kill your babies. the cuts made individual bits shine more and we decided that it was good but needed more melody to create interest. near the end of the first evening, @giftculture improvised an early version of the fantastic and distinctive space melody. on the second day we made that resolve more interestingly, sprinkled in the faux vocals, and did a ton of fiddly tweaking with effects, mixing, and panning. this got us to a place that was near to what you hear on the compilation.
during the final week we had a few more ideas but most of them seemed to hit diminishing returns. I was convinced that I could do some cool Clouds processing but everything I did was meh. @giftculture and I did a few more rounds of iteration with tiny mixing and mastering tweaks, and we called it good a couple days before the due date.
I had a ton of fun and learned a lot and am excited to work on more in the future! it feels great to finish something that I’m happy with, and working together was a blast.