Today, I am releasing a new record called snow under my midcentury modular project. It came together pretty quickly in the midst of a few other longer form projects that I have been working on. It is available digitally on bandcamp:
The goal with this record was to render feelings and personal attachments I have to snow and wintery weather. It is my first record (I think?) where I’ve started to try to capture the sounds of physical/real world things with synthesis (not really from a super realistic or modeling perspective, but more like an impressionist painting or something). Specifically, by track:
snow is about a particular snow day during college where I stayed at a friends place, and he, his roommate and I made the mile or so trek over to a local breakfast place and hung out for a few hours. It’s a bright, sunny (but still cold), happy memory. I attempted to render the sound of steps crunching though packed snow and the feeling of being snug in a bunch of winter outer-clothes.
hurt paw was created a couple months ago after a bout of anxiety I was dealing with when I accidentally stepped on my dogs paw after taking him outside during a cold, wet evening (he is totally fine btw, thankfully!) I was having a really hard time not harping on it so I tried to make some music to get my mind off of it. I feel like my mental health generally takes a dip during the winter (anxiety flares up, frequent depressive/super-tired evenings), and so I wanted to include something that was a part of that feeling.
tundratic was created a while ago…an excerpt for a live performance I did. The recording had the low roar of the wind I liked, but I attempted a rework, most notably manipulating a cassette deck manually to get some warbly higher stuff going on to complete the picture a bit more.
wind against the window I added to this collection when I went through my archive to find things that fit this release. It’s some guitar noodling several months back I did while exploring running my guitar through my modular. For me, it sorta brings to mind the feeling of snuggling up in a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate when it is super cold outside. I also thought it was kind of silly and fun to cut to mono for a brief second in the middle of the rest of this stereo record.
thaw is about the feeling of “coming to” after the snow and ice begins to melt. It’s kind of a sludgy, chaotic mess. A funny thing with this one is I was accidentally recording automation in ableton when I was tweaking eq for the mix, so there are some really crazy moves I decided to leave in (slightly taming) cause it kinda fit that messy vibe, hah. you can find an early mp3 rip of this one on the Mobenthey/Ciat-Lonbarde (synthmall) thread which has recently become one of my favorite places to go to get inspired to explore and create by figuring out new stuff to do with my plumbutter.
From a technical standpoint, snow and thaw were created with a Ciat-Lonbarde Plumbutter, Meng Qi Rollz-5+, and the Norns app Bounds. hurt paw was the Plumbutter and Beads (slowly pitching feedback up until it was out of hearing frequencies). tundratic was made with various eurorack modules, can’t remember exactly what as it’s been so long. wind against the window is a guitar recording. Everything was ran through a Marantz PMD-430 tape deck, with various types of physical manipulation applied during the process of dubbing (i.e. wiggling and pressing down on the tape and spindle as I was dubbing). I mix and mastered things myself.
The art is a closeup of a marker-based drawing I did with copic markers and liner pens, as well as posca paint pens. Below is an instagram post with a few videos that show some close ups of the piece (and I will hopefully have some prints available of the larger piece in the not so distant future, will share that here when it’s ready).
A huge thank you to a lot of people on lines for helping this one become a reality. Specifically, @samule.edmoon, @papernoise and @Tyresta for helping provide feedback on a few mix iterations, @youngest_brother, @renegog, and @andrew for their suggestions on the leaving records discord with the art, @pftjschute and @mlogger for help navigating some different recordings which opened space up for this one and @Justmat for the bounds app that I’ve probably made at least a dozen tracks with at this point. I’m probably forgetting a lot more people from here who have specifically helped and I apologize about that, so a general thanks to all who make this place a great place to share and discuss creative stuff.
In terms of discussion, I’d definitely be interested to hear if anyone else has any art they’ve made to capture “winter”, experiences with making synth sounds that sound like real world things, or whatever you want to ask me about this.
Thanks for reading/listening!