Embral: Deep State [modular, guitars, EWI, field recordings, sound design...]

‘Deep State’ is the fourth full-length studio release from embral (embral.org), the critically acclaimed duo of Charles Shriner (dRachEmUsiK / Indianapolis, IN) and Adam Holquist (that’s me) (onewayness / Erie, PA).

Built from building blocks developed over 10 days of live improvisations, ‘Deep State’ is a socio-political statement about the nature of truth, perception and interpretation, in the form of two widely traveling longform pieces.

It’s available as a limited edition CD via the Personal Archives label, or digitally via bandcamp.

process & gear chat:

In November 2017, Charles & I went on a 10-date tour planning to play no existing material, with the intent of treating the tour as a mobile R&D project for our next album. Two recurring themes began to take shape, based around two different spoken word recordings – one, a cassette tape of our friend & visual collaborator Arnie’s elderly Uncle Benny; and the other, a found field recording of the 2017 Charlottesville protests. You can hear a live set that we released containing elements of both here.

We got back together in spring of 2018 for 4 days at Charles’ studio in Indianapolis. We built lots of layered textures and grooves, as well as some extended sections of very bare unaccompanied duo playing that we planned to incorporate throughout the pieces, and then spent the next several months refining the arrangements and final mix.

I played bass, lap steel, Eurorack modular for big resonant modulating drones like so and granular shortwave radio and contact mic percussive things like so, Waldorf Streichfett, and glitchy Kaoss Pad manipulations of some random Bollywood cassettes.

Charles played EWI, used a variety of standalone analogue & semi-modular synths including the Marsynth Morris Box, MFOS Soundlab & KOMA Field Kit for drones and percussion sound design and strange contact mic’ed rubber band sounds, various iOS controllers including Touchable to control Max for Live and other Ableton-y things, and Ribbons to play lovely expressive MPE lead things with Apparillo.

We like it. Have a listen if you would. <3


Wow, this is awesome!!! I’m really loving the different places it goes to. Thanks for sharing!

1 Like