Nostalgia For A Forsaken Future is a 4 tracks EP marking a transition between the « solely made with guitars, effects and live-looping » paradigm to the new approach of playing and producing music I’ll start using in the next record.
Read more about Nostalgia For A Foresaken Future in this post.
From SILBER RECORDS Press Release:
“Koyl comes to Silber with five songs in five minutes, one about each finger. But are the fingers originally on one hand or are they fingers from dead men stitched together to tell tales of angst & woe? No matter, now they all are part of the one & making incredible soundscapes with a guitar & lapsteel.”
Everything was recorded with guitars, effect pedals and loopers only (No additional samples, synths or post-production other than proper mixing & mastering).
Read more about Fingerprints in this post.
Original Soundtrack of the introduction video for “Les Mondes Minuscules” (Tiny Worlds) by Paris-based artist Lucile Jaeghers (aka HalLucilogene).
WATCH THE VIDEO (directed by La Team Collective) to hear the story behind her poetic & surrealist paper-made pieces:
You’ll find more information about Lucile’s artwork in the files included with the download of the O.S.T on Bandcamp.
You can see Lucile’s latest unique pieces here:
LA TEAM COLLECTIVE can be found here:
« Modular Glitchtar Soundscapes Vol.1 » is a collection of improvised recordings made solely on lap-steel guitars (electric & Dobro), effect pedals and live-looping devices.
– Recording pieces that are a good representation of what I do when I play live. This was achieved using a strict and uncompromising mode of operation: Every tracks (except track 10) were 100% improvised and recorded in one-take. Everything on them: guitar playing, effects tweaking, live-looping and mixing, was done live. The resulting stereo tracks were shortened, then mastered. This gave no possibility of correcting mistakes or do any post-production tweaking: No safety net. This is basically a live-in-studio record.
– My other goal was to explore the possibilities of the lap steel guitar and Dobro in a new context and in styles in which they’re not usually found.
Ambient, drone and post-rock are colliding with glimpses of folk, blues and americana in tracks that feel more like journeys than traditional structured songs. Effects, preparations and advanced live-looping techniques are used to expand the voices of those instruments. Their strong personalities and the fact that every single sound, as electronic as it might seem, is originating from them makes those Modular Glitchtar Soundscapes coherent as a whole.
The lap-steel guitar DNA is still at the core of the music, but it has been updated to version 2.0.
Read THIS POST for more information about the gear used on this record and the technical side of it.
An Electronic Press Kit (including a Biography, Record Notes, Links & Hi-Res Pictures) is available here:
Since the Modular Glitchar Soundscapes Vol.1 record will soon be completed and available in its entirety (including bonus tracks and a limited 2xCDR edition), I thought some of you might be interested to know more about what gear I used to record those improvisations and how I used it.
So let’s start to get this straight: Every tracks were improvised and recorded live in my home-studio, using a lapsteel guitar (electric or Dobro), effect pedals and live-looping devices. Everything, guitar playing, effects tweaking, live-looping and mixing, was done live. The resulting stereo masters were shortened, then mastered. No other instruments or samples were used and no other post-production tweaking.
There are 2 exceptions to this:
All the rest is Lapsteel + Effect pedals + Live-looping. (Did I say that already ?)
I must add that every part of the chain is crucial to the music on this record. This was the core idea behind using the word “Modular”: the whole setup that I’m about to describe IS the instrument. I didn’t only play a guitar, with added effects and recorded it with loopers, I played the whole setup.
Now here we go for the details !
THE (LAP-STEEL) GUITARS:
This is a squareneck Dobro equipped with a Spider cone.
It came with a Fishman piezo bridge amplifying the sound of the cone and is meant to be used with the Fishman Jerry Douglas Preamp pedal (see the Effects section) for a more realistic tone.
I modified it by adding a Gold Foil type electric pickup (made by Mojo pickups) and a miniswitch so I can chose to use the electric pickup, or the Dobro pickup or both. The output jack that originally comes with the guitar is a stereo one but only one “side” is used. I just had to use the originaly unused side to wire the output of the GoldFoil.
One very important feature is that I used a stereo cable that splits to 2 mono cables, allowing the dobro sound and the Electric sound to go through their own effect lines. This is the reason behind those momentts when you think there are 2 guitars playing at the same time on some of the tracks. More details about this in the effect section.
As the long name suggests, it’s an aluminum electric lapsteel built by Christopher Fouke of Fouke Industrial Guitars. I put a Lollar El Rayo pickup in it, an amazing humucker which tone is close to a P90 (much clearer than your average humbucker). The nuances possible with this pickup associated with the resonance of aluminum gives huge possibilities for textures, as you can hear in “And the moon turned red“.
Stock corean made Squier Stratocaster converted into a lapsteel thanks to a nut raiser.
Its cheap and garagey tone actually suits slide playing very well.
This guitar was used on track 7.
This one is a biscuit-type cone, the sound is fuller and more agressive. Unfortunately, there’s an electric pickup but nothing to amplify the acoustic sound. The only way to record it is to put a microphone in front of it, which makes it tricky, if not impossible, to use with live-looping. (All the sounds in the room would be looped on top of each other alongside the guitar sound).
This is why it was only used on Track 10.
The guitars then go through my pedalboard which is directly plugged into my audio-interface. My “Amp” is a Tech21 “Blonde” Character series pedal, which emulates Fender-like amps. I actually recorded the first tracks with the Deluxe version that you’ll see in the effects galery below).
This is a pretty straightforward setup when I’m using the electric lapsteel, but there’s a trick when I’m using the Dobro.
In the guitar section, I explained that the Dobro has a magnetic pickup and an acoustic guitar pickup. Both signals go through the same cable but separate again at the end of the cable, allowing me to plug each pickup through a different set of pedals.
Here is a schematic (click on the picture to see the full size):
As you can see, the acoustic sound goes in an acoustic Dobro preamp pedal (a Fishman Aura Jerry Douglas signature), the electric sound goes though other effects and the Tech21 Blonde pedal, then those signals are regrouped and go through delay and reverb pedals.
I’m a big user of the POG2 by Electro-Harmonix, and especially the “swell” feature which slowly raises the volume of the sound and allow to make violin-like sound. I used it a lot on the electric side alongside the bare acoustic side. This is what gives the impression that there are 2 guitars playing together: When I’m playing a note, you immediatly hear it with the dobro sound, but as I keep this note, the electric sound slowly rises and sustain as the Dobro sound fades away.
On top of this, the magnetic sound can be heavily effected: it can be 1 or 2 octaves higher or lower, it can have overdrive or distortion or whatever effect etc… You can have 2 very distinct guitar sounds, with different behaviors but still playing the same notes.
If you listen carefully to the tracks played with the Dobro, you will hear this quite a lot.
All those improvisations were recorded over the span of a year so the pedals I used changed quite a lot. A detailed description of every pedals would be quite boring so here is a gallery and a list of them. You can easily find more infos about them if you want to.
DIY Split Box / Fishman Aura Jerry Douglas Signature / Tech21 Blonde & Blonde Deluxe SansAmp Character Series / Electro Harmonix POG2 / Electro Harmonix Cathedral Reverb / Electro Harmonix Stereo Memory Man with Hazarai Delay / Red Panda Partcle Delay / Wampler Ego Compressor / Line 6 M5 / Zoom G3 / Okko Diablo Gain+ / Moog MF Drive / Pigtronix Echolution 2 / Blackout Effectors Blunderbuss Fuzz.
THE LIVE-LOOPING SETUP:
My Live-looping setup is Ableton Live + one or several control surfaces.
Ableton Live setup:
The Live set I use consists of 1 Guitar input track with some effects and utilities, several tracks hosting the loopers, an auxiliary track with a reverb and a empty track used to record what’s going out of the Master track (so I can have an audio file at the end).
Here is what the Guitar Input track looks like (Click it to see full size):
It’s pretty much self-explanatory: a Utility rack with Volume, Pan and basic Gate and Compressor controls, a Beat-Repeat effect, An Auto-Pan effect, A rack with different Delays and another with several types of Reverbs (Mainly used when I didn’t have those in pedal format).
I use 2 types of Loopers: The one that comes with Ableton and a Plugin by ExpertSleepers called Augustus Loop which is a full featured Tape emulation plugin. Both have their advantages and drawbacks so I tend to go back and forth between those two or use a combiantion of both.
For this record I used 2 sets: one with 4 instances of the Ableton Looper and another one with 2 instances of the Ableton Loopers + 2 instances of AugustusLoop.
The following picture shows my Template which features 4 Ableton Loopers and 2 AugustusLoop. I just have to delete the un-needed ones before starting.
You also can see the effect I’m using inside each looper’s track: an EQ use only to remove frequencies under 30Hz, a little bit of compression, an “Offset Panner” that turns a mono track into pseudo-stereo, a limiter for when it gets too crazy and added volume for balancing the levels.
Those Clips you see in the loopers tracks are “dummy” clips: clips that contain automation information in them (and no audio). They are used to automate functions in the set. In this context, I use them to control when a looper is recording, overdubbing or playing.
The ones in the pictures are very basic: they “say” to the looper in the track to record for 4 bars and they switch to play mode for example. I actually didn’t use those a lot.
I have other dummy clips with much more complicated informations: For example: “overdub on the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th and 8th beat for half-a-beat with Feedback=0”. The result is everything I play while the looper is overdubbing is actually replacing what was there before (It’s sometimes called “Quantized Replace”).
Such dummy clips allow to sample very short periods of time in a quite random way (especially when the dummy clip is programmed on an uneven numbers of bars: 3, 5 or 7). This way Ableton Live have kind of a life of his own: I never know what I’ll get when I launch one of these dummy clips and I have to react to it. it’s a great way to be surprised, just like if I’m improvising with another human being.
There’s a lot of this technique on the record: everytime new short notes are showing up while I’m playing something else, that’s it ! Those notes are actually fragments of what I played a few bars ago.
They of course allow me to control stuff (huh) inside Ableton Live without using the trackpad: recording, overdubbing, volume, pan, effects and so on.
I used 2 different setups:
a Midifighter 3D and a MidiFighter Twister by DJ Techtools.
The 1st is a Matrix of 4×4 buttons x4 banks and the 2nd one is a Matrix of 4×4 knobs x4 banks.
They look like this:
Later on, I switched to the iPad Lemur app which allow to build your own interface from scratch exactly like you want it to be. My interface looks like this:
I can’t really say that one setup is better than the other. It’s great to be able to have a customized interface, including labels, thanks to the Lemur but tactile technology can be tricky and feels less natural than physical knobs and buttons.. The immediacy of the MidiFighters is quite hard to beat (and they are still very much customizable). The choice often depends on the context and the goal I want to achieve.
That’s it ! I hope it cleared things up and that it’ll help you get inside the music when listening to the record.
It’s here by the way: