Mudlogger - In Blue (Serge Modular album)


#1

Happy to announce the release of a new album today - “In Blue” which is 60 minutes of analogue electronic music compositions inspired by the farmers and winter countryside of North East Thailand compared to the industrial town in North West England, where i was born. On these recordings, i play with Serge modular recursive control voltage, and feedback techniques. Analogue waveforms and multiple envelope generators are looped and fed back to create instability and semi-random events. No conventional oscillators are used. Parameters that control feedback are further manipulated by hand with a touch activated control sequencer, in a series of live, one take, performances. Errors and mistakes are deliberately left in the mix. No post edits are made. There is no multitracking. The vibrancy and urgency is there. Despite the abstract nature of the material, a sense of hope and uplift sometimes emerges from the music.

In Blue can be downloaded here from Bandcamp :

It will also be available on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Google Play & YouTube Music, Amazon, Pandora, Deezer and Tidal in @1 weeks time


Serge thread
#2

Congrats! I can’t wait to hear this.

Do you use euroSerge or the “real” thing?


#3

Thanks, its STS 4u Serge so I guess the real thing :slight_smile: I’ve had this before Randomsource started. It’s a Blue Voice, Blue CV, Klangzeit, Dual VariQ and CGS Swamp.


#4

Listening to the first track and already massively digging it!

The Serge sounds to me, to the extent I’ve heard much from it, to be the closest thing to hearing the electricity singing…

I recently discovered Thomas Ankersmit, and that sound blew my mind…

Thanks for sharing!


#5

Very well put. It’s juicy indeed.


#6

Thanks, its got a very distinct sound, especially when pushed to the extremes, where it becomes unstable, and that’ is what I was trying to do with this album. I wanted to hear the sizzle, crackle and electricity


#7

i’m on “Letter Box Thief” right now - these sounds are so crisp and popping … this is quite enjoyable!


#8

you might dig Thomas Lehn’s work as well - check out Horsky Park

back on topic, In Blue is quite beautiful. “Selling Smoke”, my god


#9

Always unique and interesting. More uncovers with each listening. Added this to my BC collection.

Nice work, Jason.


#10

Thanks, this is the video “Selling Smoke” when I recorded it live

Some others here from the album.

This one is the different one, I used Dan Derks Less Concepts / Monome script to play the Serge.


#11

I really like how Serge has its own sound, especially the transients. Somehow i always hear a lot of headroom within Serge Instruments. And props for recording this live-after all these machines are made to tweak :facepunch:t2:


#12

I’m always keen to hear new stuff from you, @mlogger - looking forward to this!


#13

without a doubt one of the finest experimental modular albums i’ve heard in a minute - serge circuitry all exposed, sputtering, glittery. there’s something like an ear-tickling effect as i listen on headphones. wild stuff


#14

Really nice album @mlogger. One of the things I love about Serge is that it has a sound, but can be used in so many different ways and take on different characters. What you’ve got here is so different than my last album but made on the same basic instrument.


#15

@emenel @naxuu thank you! Serge is a very special instrument with its own unique sound.

btw you may want to re-download the files of the album again. I updated to much better remastered files, a few hours ago. I spotted some stuff i wasn’t happy with when mastering another album. These are much smoother with better dynamics and less unwanted distortion. Much happier now.


#16

gosh, absolutely loving this album. agree with all sentiments re: the unique timbral nature of Serge, but your expertise and familiarity with the instrument is truly front and center on tracks like ‘Gruff’ and ‘Haystack’. what a gorgeous exploration, wonderful work!

also, very fun to listen to ‘Pay Day’ without knowing the origin beforehand. thank you for including it on this lovely release, it means so much :hugs:


#17

Thanks Dan, much appreciated. I think I could have done a whole album using Less Concepts, it’s such a unique and inspiring sequencer, but will leave that for different album :slight_smile:


#18

Sounding crisp and good! Can you talk more about the inspiration behind it and how that translated to the music? Is the influence combined in each or are some Thai and some English?


#19

this is great! i know very very little about serge synthesizers, but this has really piqued my interest. such interesting tones. cheers!


#20

Thanks!

I always work with systems, I very deliberately do not mix them. So I am a bit of a purist when it comes to modular stuff as I think mixing them takes away something of their individual tonal character. So I will make a Eurorack album (Monome/Whimsical Raps), a Buchla Easel album (Touch Activated - http://mudlogger.bandcamp.com/album/touch-activated ), Ciat Lonbarde albums (as Hoan Kiem Chess Team http://gameoflife.bandcamp.com/album/hoan-kiem-chess-team-wooden-box ) a 200e album. I have been concentrating on my Eurorack stuff all of last year as I was playing gigs using that monome / isms system http://soundcloud.com/mudlogger/modular-live-set-from-tokyo-festival-of-modular-2018 . So the Serge had been neglected and it was the one system that I hadn’t sat down and took the time to make an album with. I wanted to take a break from Euro. All my modular stuff is in separate cases in cupboards. I don’t leave it all out in the open, because of the climate and humidity here in Thailand, and tend to work on song writing more in the winter months.

David Bloor (Dirch Blewn) in January, sent me a copy of an unreleased Ciat Lonbarde album he had just finished. It was really inspiring. Because of that, I started working on a Plumbutter album and completed another Chess Team album with it (not released yet). Ciat Lonbarde stuff is basically boxes stuffed full of Serge circuits, usually with weird additional twists, because the designer, Peter Blasser is nutty genius http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1vuzw9Stk8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9oZqTS0-HM . So after that, I thought I would work with Serge again. Soundwise i wanted to explore the more timbral aspects that makes Serge unique. I love looping envelopes, the tension and instability of analogue circuits and CV recursive feedback, audio feedback. Its semi random. I didn’t use conventional oscillators and FM’d more with pink and white noise and used the wave multipliers, frequency shifters, audio feedback and ring modulators more, to create a tone which was manipulated. Envelopes and filters frequently go in and out of audio range. I pushed it to extremes, as Serge behaves really interestingly to me, at the extremes where sounds break up. The circuits do weird things. Touch control is also important to me, to put my character into songs. All the patches have direct input for me to play and intervene to add a human element. It’s the type of music I listen to, not all the time, but as a change from the norm. Also I think, you don’t find too many people making this kind of stuff anymore. There are so few people making Serge albums compared to Buchla or Eurorack albums. I definitely look up to people like Todd Barton (his Aleph https://youtu.be/PnL1asf1jMc and Krell patches https://vimeo.com/48466272), Rastko (check out his Serge feedback patches on Vimeo https://vimeo.com/48466272 and this video http://vimeo.com/19058233 ) and also more importantly David Tudor for his work with recursive feedback http://www.pointofdeparture.org/PoD44/PoD44Tudor.html. It’s deliberately an experimental album that I’ve always wanted to make. The other thing that is really important to me is the way I played and recorded it. I wrote about the way I work here Executing the modular album

The inspiration is both Thai and English. The song names relate to aspects of life where I live in Thailand and England. The name “In Blue” comes actually from the Serge itself and the winter weather here in Thailand - the 2 main STS panels I used are called Blue Voice and Blue CV http://www.serge-fans.com/shop_blue.html It was also made in the cooler winter months - November to February and that is pretty much crystal clear blue skies here. It’s also a time when the farmers have cut the rice and start to plant cassava and start tapping the rubber during the nighttime. So the album is a winter rural seasonal change thing.

The song titles, although just names, have meaning and a little bit dark. I won’t go through every one as it would be too long. Here’s a couple.

Tapper, relates to tapping rubber. My brother in law is rice farmer and also taps rubber in the nighttime. Before they tap rubber, at the beginning of the dry season, they will hold a ceremony in the rubber plantation, usually in the morning, with all the family attending. Basically for luck. I did goto one and it was kind of surreal and creepy, like some David Lynch movie. Here’s a photo I put on Instagram http://instagram.com/p/jWdKrlm9ch/ - The actual price of rubber crashed a few years ago. They still tap, but get very little money for it, as they take a cut of what they tap. Tapping also has connotations with the insurgency troubles in South Thailand were most rubber is produced. With many people getting killed from roadside bombs or being found dead in the back of rubber plantations. So there is a bit of a sinister connection with that title. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Thailand_insurgency

The name “Pay Day” has an interesting story. It’s about electioneering and corruption in Thai politics. What happens in the rural poor areas, in the run up to elections, the local candidates will take out huge loans. With that loan money, they give it out to the head of a family in a village to distribute it within the family, on the hope and promise that they get their vote. Another candidate from another party may find out about this, and secretly give the same family, more money than the previous candidate. It doesn’t really matter because, all the families here pretty much vote the same way. For the socialist guy (Red shirts), that promises the highest pay/subsidies for rice and other crop yields.
Now, when that person is elected, they will be in power for say 3 years. The actual government salary is OK - average. But now they have a job, but are also super poor in debt. But that position allows them to get other family members government jobs. Having a government job also allows subsidies on buying cars, getting low interest loans and cheap housing and better access to good schools. They still have no money though, because they have a huge loan to payoff. So what they do is cream off the money that was given to them to fund public schools, hospitals, and roads etc from central government. It’s the main reasons why, when they tarmac a road were I live, it’s around 2cm thick of actual tar even though they were given money for a 10cm thick road. The guy that tests it, is paid off. The road lasts usually around 1 to 2 years and can sometimes stretch out to the the term of that local government leader. Which is a coincidence, because by that time, they have paid off their loan, and sitting pretty on a huge stash of cash, 7 bedroom mansion and 4 cars! Voila, magic :slight_smile: Pay Day all round, except for the candidate that loses. The candidate that loses with huge debts is really in a lot of trouble. They will have alot of loan sharks chasing them for this money back. What normally happens is some that can’t pay will go AWOL after an election defeat. So basically, Pay Day is about corruption. It’s a happier sounding song, because the farmers just got a bit of money, so they make a party for all the family. The money is usually finished by the morning, but there’s a bigger picture that you don’t see if you don’t live here.