Karl Fousek - In the Forest LP

hey lines, my “debut” LP is coming out this March on Second Editions, it’s called In the Forest and it’s the album version of the score to this film/installation, which some of you may have seen in chicago or oakville.

feels like a meaty enough release to deserve it’s own thread (although the sounds are my most minimal), so feel free to ask any questions, conceptual or technical.

pre-orders are up direct from the label or from forced exposure in north america.

listen to the centerpiece track on sc:


Enjoying the preview.

What was the collaboration process like with David Hartt? How much was planned out vs improvised?

David had used music from my early albums as temp music for the edit of the film. I was sent that version to go off of when I first started working on it, along with some notes on what he thought he wanted. Mostly it was recorded as long takes (the length of the entire film) that were then shortened and edited to fit different scenes and certain edits/cues etc… the original takes were semi-improvised and semi-generative/procedural. We decided together what we thought did and didn’t work in terms of editing and selecting the music.

For the LP, one of the tracks was remixed and another was extended with autonomous listening (sans film) in mind. That was entirely my call.


this is lovely, Karl – still very bummed to have missed it when it was here :frowning:

can you talk more about the tools used for these sounds? they’re eerily comforting


Thanks @dan_derks! Happy people are starting to get their copies. Full digital will be up on Friday.

Everything is based on a pretty simple eurorack patch. A Three Sister’s chord that I dialed in by ear is the main oscillator. That gets FM’d to various degrees by two Mangrove’s. 5op FM patch is away to think about it I guess (weird).

For tracks 2, 3 and 5 the envelope (maths) is trigger by an Ultra-Random random gate set really slow. Strymon el cap in sound on sound mode set to the longest loop is used to create emerging rhythms and phrases.

Tracks 2 and 4 use the GRM Tools space grain plugin.

The reverb is Fabfilter pro-r that I spent ages dialing in.

Track one is the sisters outputs isolated, layered and arranged for beating and movement. No effects or FM on that one. Just one module.

Track 4 was made to match the sound of wind in that part of the film.

Everything is based loosely on gamelan scales, except track 5 which is minor pentatonic.

There’s probably some EQ in there I can’t remember.


Will it be on your bandcamp? (I’m a subscriber, I’m interested :smiley: )

Yes! Digital on bandcamp tomorrow. And I will put some LPs up too once I figure out shipping.


That said, if you don’t live in Canada it might be crazy to order a physical copy direct from me considering usual shipping costs (plus give my fellow Canadians a chance to buy something without paying import fees for once :wink:).

As of right now you can get it at forced exposure, norman records, boomkat, anost, and probably other places.

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Out now everywhere:


Just got the email. Listening right now. :raised_hands:

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I’ll order a copy from you when you have it figured out :slight_smile:

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Chapter 4 is quite affecting / effective

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Wonderful sounds, very natural sounding.
Synth wizardry…

Just gave a quick listen before sleeping on bandcamp.

Exceptional microtonal minimalism and stark spatial sound design

Can’t think of better words to describe (although i’ve never been good with words…)


One of David’s goals with the film was to go to this site of a ruined modernist project and try and recover something from it that was neither pure elegy and nostalgia for modernism nor a modernist techo-future Utopian dream. So, with the score I wanted to avoid those similar “synthesizer music” signifiers - like nostalgic retro synth (pick a decade) sounds or hyper-futuristic type sounds. But I still wanted to use relatively simple synthesis techniques.

The goal became to synthesize sounds that had an acoustic character but didn’t emulate any specific object/sound and also didn’t fully sacrifice some electronic qualities. My own small contribution to (re)thinking what synthesizer music can be.

Jim O’Rourke’s steamroom series was a big influence on this track. I was especially listening to 34 a lot around the time.

The second track of 33 was also an influence on the score in general.


Wonderful music. Congratulations! Second Editions is a marvelous label. Perhaps I have a particular attachment to the title of your album because I published a book of three novellas entitled “In the Snow Forest” a number of years ago. I look forward to hearing more of your work.

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Finally have some physical copies available direct!