Aphex Twin SYROBONKERS! Interview Part 1
dave: hi rich, first up, thanks heaps for agreeing to an interview for noyzelab! there’s a MASSIVE buzz going around about your upcoming release syro[now released as this interview took so long!], the first aphex twin album since drukqs in 2001. lets start off with the album title and artwork. you’ve said that it was a word conjured up by one of your lads, can you elaborate on this? How did it come about & does it have a meaning?
rich: Hi man, funny being interviewed by one of yer mates :)
although actually I reckon its quite a good ting for all friends to do to each other, ill have to return the interview about you at some point.
thinkin bout it, quite a few mates id like to pin down on a few things!
My eldest son[8yrs] just looked at me one morning and said syrobonkus, I asked him what it meant he said he didnt know.
Artwork, this time I didnt want to just stick a ‘picture’ on it you know, its pretty acidmicrodot inspired in a way [cold as fuck] as was icbyd cover which happened after my girlfriend morphed into me while she was lying on top of me [scariest thing I ever saw, looked much better than the pic i painted for that, , no emotion, which is how I’ve felt on acid before, just experiencing so much more than normal, heightened senses, telepathy, huge increase of smell, I think I can smell my own brain now…it smells clean and grey, it’s a strange smell, being aware of so much more but not feeling ANY emotion.
completely culturally deprogrammed, one very good reason why it’s illegal, like the beautiful scene in John Carpenters ‘they live’ ‘money is your god etc’ but even more extreme to the point of how you behave.
I think doing acid is a bit of a brute force way of getting outside yourself, there are other easier ways but no less difficult to deal with and more intense but without the brutal chemicals in your body.
I had an astral projection the first time I did acid [after about 5/6 hours] right outside myself on the ceiling, looked down on my body making a sandwich, such a terrifying experience,
Well I don’t think terrifying is the right word, I don’t think there is a word, I think getting a 2nd one is harder as you have to overcome the fear.
I had a trip on a microdot once around 94ish , it went very weird, long story short, I couldn’t find anything that was good or worthwhile about music, I put on some of my fave records by other people [i get into this state tripping sometimes, .. what am i supposed to do now?[deprogrammed] its pretty scary..and thought oh maybe i would play… like music.. to enjoy?]
I was in quite a desperate/seeking state and they all sounded so bad, the brutal truth, pointless and totally boring, i saw how i kind of invented/made up a fantasy about things i liked, kind of tricking and lying to myself that it was good so i could feel nice&comfy, anyway I thought there must be something good to fucking listen to… and I found it , it was turning my amp and eq up on maximum and I mean maximum and spinning the radio dial backwards and forwards, [it was a nice weighted one] , I was totally emotionless when I was doing it [ :) ] and I thought…hmmm yeah thats …kind of alright, then my speakers blew up.
But in the back of my mind now, many years l8r I can choose to remember the feeling of everything anyone ever does creatively is actually terrible, the only comforting thought I can get like that is , well rocks can’t make beats or something, ha , so that’s kind of good, i don’t knw wtf I’m going on about…jeez.
awhile after my girlfriend tried to comfort me, as i musta looked in a bit of a state, she stroked my arm and all I could think was, why is there a skeleton with a blood circulatory system moving up n down on my skeleton with another blood circulatory system! [absolute deprogrammed to fuk]
it was confusing I knew I was supposed to feel something but didn’t and when I saw my girlfriend get upset, 4 a split second I ‘felt bad’ and said I was sorry I dunno what I’m supposed to do..like a kind of remnant of emotion just flicked back for half a second.
what a tangent..yeah its cold microdot vibe basically, ha
dave: how does it feel to have a new aphex twin album coming out after so many years? its quite incredible to have such a large gap in releases and yet maintain such a loyal following. aside from the music of course, do u think your live performance work has been integral to this ? Also been checking some of your interviews that have started coming out, really cracked me up, all your lies about having kids and wives !
rich: Well you know you gotta play with the conventions ain’t ya, also though, I always kinda fantasised about what it would be like to have kids and get married etc, I know I probably will never do that, so I guess it’s nice to pretend that you’ve done it, my russian girlfriend was flattered when I started pretending we were married, a lot of people now think we are married which is funny and we just play a long with it most of the time, we had an imaginary wedding and have imaginary kids.
I’ve surprised myself quite how far I can take it, inventing personas etc.
ok music career, ha, i hate the words career & successful btw.
dunno but i used to have this game on the spectrum 48k which was rock star manager or summink, it was pretty boring but kept me entertained 4 a bit and was different from the usual games and i remember you used to do better when your band toured regularly, so that was my first in depth music managerial education on’t speccy, great music education, ha
It feels good because although tracks get finished thyre still kind of unfinished in yer ed, they occupy space up there as you know they not pressed up/backed up and mastered.
Backing stuff up on releases and getting it mastered whether I do it or someone else, they are the biggest reasons for me releasing stuff
id lose track of it else.
Then its like your free of them and you can concentrate so much more on other things your doing and hopefully it earns you a living int process.
dave: theres been a lot of speculation in the media & reports of you playing out unreleased stuff from the album live. so have u been testing this stuff & future releases out during your live gigs to see peoples reactions?
rich: yeah i spose.. but firstly its always lush 2 ear what your tunes sound like on a massive p.a
Also was fully aware that usually with my releases, they are quite impenetrable for a lot of folk for a while until they work out whats going on, so having some people partly familiar with some of the tracks b4 release makes a nice way in for dem.
Im addicted [a bit too much] to listenin to my tracks on as many different kinds of speakers and headphones when making them, its like listening with a slightly different personality/set of ears, you hear different things and learn how it translates.
I gotta stop doing it so much actually as it kind of doesn’t matter, ur better off just makin sumink else but these things happen4 a reason u have to go with them sometimes.
With Syro, some of it sounds best on cans as i made most of it with phonz which I love doing [sony 7510's, tracks 6,7,8,9,11 to be precise], to be properly inside the music but is kinda shit/disjointed sounding then for listening on speakers/monitors coz ur not feeling it in your body when your making it, its just resonating ur ed
With the phoney7510′s, they do translate extremely well, they’re not the best pair of headphones for listening to music but to write/mix on, ive never heard anything as good as those yet, and I’ve heard a lot of em, not all but a lot, most, so mabe better ones out there.
also ive recorded breaks and certain sounds ive made over the pa in sound checks and used that in tracks or then played it out over the pa again at the gig alvin lucier style but more epic scale.
eres a quik exmple of a break i made on the
its not a great example really, just only 1 i got on this laptop , its better when you try and distort them etc and record that
reamping on huge scale, can get lots of different types of distortions that you won’t get running thru hard/software, i like the fact your releasing something from the inside to the outside ‘real’ world and then back again or like having 2 modular synths running in different parts of the world, linked by phoneline.
Getting some cheap speaker cones, running things through them until they blow up can sound pretty satisfying, probably some of the frst things i recorded were like that.
Going on nudder tangent bit ere but had stupid idea once to record set very well in every place i played then each time i played there again id just play the last recording, ha eventually it would be like im sitting in a room, and just be a set of resonating bell tones :)
Almost everything I do , there has to be an angle of making tunage to it, bit tiring, like oh if i go and see so and so I can try out my new klobberbox on’t train and be forced with that bit of kit only etc otherwise id never leave me ouse.
dave: is there anything particular u wanna say to your fans about this album that u haven;t said in other interviews?
rich: i didnt really feel like i said anyfink of note in recent interviews I’ve just done as was still in a bit of a regretamin hole, no sleep…also like we were saying before, journo’s tend to write their articles before they have even talked to you and you get the impression with a lot of them that you don’t need to be there at all.
hopefully this will b diff though
be good if people could wake up quicker and realise what is actually going on in the world, how people are being controlled, well nobody is actually in total control nobody ever will be , life is too chaotic but there are lot’s of people trying and doing pretty well at the moment and the majority of people are falling for it.
I keep forgetting that most people are totally friggin oblivious to how they are being programmed& controlled from birth upwards from your name, being a ‘citizen’ which basically enters you into a contract, it goes on from there.
Recently when some journo’s were saying ‘so you actually believe 9/11 was an inside job’ , attempting to paint picture of me bein a crackpot , [yawn] I was totally shocked, they were intelligent people but still they didnt get it, just popularist, pandering to what they think will be popular, instead of thinking for themselves and expressing their own opinions.
Im really, really sorry to all folks who might be reading this but if you believe the ridiculous story that is being pedaled about 9/11 from the mainstream media then you are absolutely gullible, some very clever people are also very naive and very gullible, they are not nasty people but very trusting and theyre good nature is being taken advantage of. Not believing the mainstream media is very hard for some folk who have put their trust and faith in the state and press, breaking that faith will not be an easy process for many.
Some people just see through bullshit very effortlessly and can easily tell when people are lying, others it seems can’t , that in itself is an area im interested in.
When I first watched footage of 9/11, I was around this geezers house in London , he is a real geezer n all , I was buying old jungle records , he had this massive widescreen tv in his flat which was too big for the room, classic and as soon as we watched the twin towers being struck ,he said really matter of factly , they just did it to themselves and I was like thank fuk for that, people are not THAT gullible.
Also dark funny moment was email@example.com kept playing the footage over and over again of the buildings going down and then at 1point they played the film backwards by mistake and the building went back up again, we had to laugh…when things are so dark, you have to laugh sometimes, those poor people and their families…one day justice will be done.
Anyway yeah 9/11 is just the tip of the iceberg isnt it but how do you break this strangle hold on humanity, well you have to start somewhere to break the illusion and 9/11 is a pretty big weakpoint in the illusion but still so many are fooled… we live in hope.
people can be made aware of these things ,covertly with music though anyhow, so I don’t need to say much more.
dave: lets get synth nerdy & talk a bit about the synth/instrument clobber u used for the album, as u have included some of this in the track titles. i remember when u told me about getting the cirklon sequencer
to replace your mc4, can u say a little about why u like the cirklon?
rich: I did sell my mc4 , thyre like making tracks on a taxi meter, top, loved the number pad entry, yeah the manual as we’ve discussed before is nuts, not looked at it in years, would like to again now im thinking bout it but the manual reminded me of prgamming assembly language at college on nascom computers & programmin the machine., wish circlon had a number entry pad, actually gear with a number entry pad that doesnt allow you to use it for editing should probably be sledged, theres a few.
course the timing of the thing is tighter than a gnats vaj.
The sample ‘richard..yep’ in the track 4 was my dad calling me, i was inside my tank sampling noises inside it, its got wicked acoustics actually, should sample some drums in there, hmm nver thought of tht until now but yeah thats why its recorded…in between whacking someting .
computers in 2014 as amazing as they are, are not made for one job and thats their massive weakness, when you just turn on a bit of equipment and its designed to do just one job, theres no fucking about. Could always do summink on raspberry pi etc…but would have to invest a lot of time designing summink or pay someone to do it for me, might do…rackmunt it etc or ask one of my lads to code it when bit older!
i ask my eldest what he’s doing and he just gives me that look of aww gawd, explain to the old man face, classic.
my 6 year old has already made an album on renoise and published it on band camp wtf! [actually he took it down now but I've attached them below]
He was 5 when he did most of it n all!
+I never showed him a thing, he worked it all out himself, mind boggling, 5!
here some of his first traks! he’s done more since , vocals on one says ‘alien action’
He is so advanced mainly because he is trying to keep up with his 8yr old bro who is also going way deep into computers already, dunno where they get it from, its really exciting to see them start so young.
I love music by people who dont know wtf they are doing…its the best…why i liked certain periods of jungle so much before they learned how to use machines properly.
Doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy music made by wise people but I think your more likely to learn something ‘new’ by someone who doesnt know anything as opposed to someone who has been doing it their whole life.
dave: what attracted you to dance music?
rich: well rave music, Im not sure how many people actually realised what was really going on there.
If the law hadn’t stepped in, firstly in the uk, rave culture would have almost certainly lead to a revolution and the authorities were absolutely taking it very seriously.
Raves were getting bigger and bigger , like hundreds of thousands and some people were just traveling around going from rave to rave, loads of diff types were in there, people making money out of it etc of course but essentially it was groups of people partying,being together from all different backgrounds[what the authorities definitely didn't want] and having a good time, not hurting anyone.
ok thats oversimplified but it was all in there, in the music.
Thats one of the things dnce music had at the end of the 80′s-early 90′s , spirit of togetherness with chicago house & acid and then when it turned into ardkore in the uk it was like ok were all together now lets fucking do summink about it! smash up the dance and take to the streets!
Have to reccount likkle proud story here, around 1995ish, I was at a reclaim the streets party in London, i usually went to them on my bike and I was in the city of london with about 10,000 people shuffling about around all the banks & office blocks, quite peacefully & casually, a dreadgirl came up 2 me had a bit of a go at me for having a flash bike[ it was pretty dope have to admit, still got it] which got my feathers rustled a bit B U T then this truck which had been sitting innocently at the side of the road, right in the middle of the crowd rolled up the back to reveal large sound system and immediately proceeded to blast out caustic window ‘garden of linmiri’ !!!!
The whole fucking road just went totally insane! it was such an unbelievable moment for me can you imagine? probably best moment of my life actually, sweet as a nut.
its total riot music and people understood it.
…oh and then 1 hour later after the police came and said truck got abandoned my then french girlfriend nannou got in the truck and drove it off! without a word to me and then got chased through london by a load of police cars, i kid you not, she is a really good driver as well i have to say!
They finally got her at kings cross and she started at bank, not fucking bad going eh?, full respekt!
They let her go that night amazingly/thankfully, shortly after I worked out where they were holding her.
So funny to think people have been eating mushrooms for 100,000 years but only in last 50 its not ‘allowed’ anymore , so insane when you think of it that way.
‘Its simply not good for the workers of the office environment don’t you know!’
thats all long gone now,rave culture, its just another horrible business now but some people still pretending its about togetherness etc [as long as u pay the ticket price], its very sad…well one day it will happen again hopefully, when we get out of this strangle hold on the population and have a real awakening.Then we can properly update the anarchy rave sound!
just been reading more about how microwaves can be used to control peoples minds and give people cancer etc , stealth weapons..have you noticed how high profile people who are anti establishment quite often die of cancer related illness’s?
robert anton wilson
terrance mckenna etc etc
The women at greenham common had microwave weapons used on them to make them go away and a lot suffered or died afterwards as a result.
dave: yea, bill hicks (rip) is one of my hero’s… your use of the casio fz is well known from the early days, what new things have u done with it for this album?
rich: ha, yes the fz’s, well ive got 2 running in tandem, one with hxc flop emulator being fed by the other via parallel port and floppy disk, can then transfer old floppies as i go along to the sd card+use the sd card to save the whole setup, nice, cheers keith!
its got uber weird filter architecture, dig/analog hybrid, dont really understand it, you will have to suss it out and explain it to me one time, its like clocked or summink??
dave: yaa, seems to be sorta hybrid job, see buchty bloke page:
the DCF/DCA is on one chip, it has analog in out for the signals(stereo). it comes AFTER the samplerD/A ! i reckon, it can easy do external input direct to the chip. there is also link to the
patent. very weird. his other pages on fz r v. good too. but yea, according to the blerb in the patent it is a digital filter internally, using some clever jiggery pokery in the internal gubbins. its key trick is using a coded rom for storing the filter resonance characteristics in a tiny space, which then gets decoded using a special arithmetic circuit. it uses an 8 bit data byte to specify cutoff frequency, resonance & amplitude values for the chip. from wot i can tell of the chip pins, there are additional pins which specify whether the incoming data byte is for cutoff, resonance, amplitude, and channel 1 or 2. whole ting runs off a 3.58MHz clock, which is pretty nifty…
rich: there was some talk about eurorackin fz filter, would be great, not sure it will happen though and would be a bit crap monophonic like.
Not many polyphonic things in eurorack…although I’m staring right at an analogue systems polyphonic harmonic generator which is lush.
You can do some unusual stuff on fz’s and they sound unique+at time of writing people are giving them away,
I think I have about 8 of em now, last one i got for £35!
inc the hohner ones which has slightly diff o.s [uber geek alert]
actually you know this thing about apologising for being, like i just did a geek, it fucking pisses me off.
I basically think if your not being a geek i.e. not talking about intricate details of something or not about to say something of interest then you should warn people, I’m sorry but I’m about to say something really boring,pointless, normal cunt shallow vacuum brain person alert shite!!!
I realised when I was about 15 that there was this huge anti intellectual prejudice going on in the UK , just like in Orwell’s animal farm, he wrote the bloody manual for dictators didn’t he!
for instance imagine on radio 1 [a popular national radio station] that someone would start talking about the interesting details of a subject they would be herded off with sheep noise, boring, boring, bah bah
its actually really scary when you realise how deep people are programmed to not be interested in things, it is done on purpose but the people doing it don’t realise why they are doing it.
its all part of how the masses are controlled, I do think things are getting better though.
dave: yea our sound guy for wired lab, marty, he gave me my fz1 few years bak , although is currently covered in a foamy grunge
+ i got an fz10m languishing in the uk tht i must get my mate dave harkett to post over (along with one of my other tx802′s) … hint… hint… dave h !! :) ! + all fully intense, detailed, extensive nattering & klobbery discussion is very welcome ere… carry on…!
rich: casio fz20m for the scsi though but i no longer use that, i used to use it with an obscure bernouli drive, only thing that would work with it.
But I think what the engineers were planning was a wavetable synth/sampler[no mention in manuals], im guessing but having 10 loops per sample, I cant think of why else you would do that, either way you can do so much with those 10 loops per sample+crossfades x8 voices!
lots of button pushing though, all the xtra software that was written for it is essential though to get the most out of it, esp some of the utilities and of course the wave drawing/extracting, sine synthesis etc
There are some new editors on the horizon that people are working on for it, vexciting, I want to be able to have full sysex control over mine in the future and be able to edit the floppy sound data…that could be absolutely lush
great start, looks really promising.
Maybe I can pay someone out there to write a new o.s then we can all have fm on it etc etc.. there is some app out there that can get you started with that, forgot the name of it ..need to have a butchers at that again sometime.
i used to do this trick on them when i was a kid, turn it off/on really quickly, once in a while it will not quite erase the contents of memory and you get mental corrupted data sounds .
the beat in this was done exactly like this:
and at that time there was no glitchy type sounds in existence which is funny to think about now with the world awash with bloody bit shifters etc, they all sound shit btw compared2 real thing, sorry.
although i quite like pseudo sample rate reduction using analog s/h’s
used fz’s on many things ,like the kik & snare drum on isopropophlex!
Which got used in some yamaha gear like the rs7000!
i was so chuffed when i heard it, i was like yeah yamaha got one of me sounds!
they even have a description of it in the manual, rs7000′s are dope btw
yamaha please release the source code for that ffs you bastards!
tht kik sound is prob in more units, id like to know which actually , very much.
i would never sue them, just wanna know 4 chuffs sake.
also if you sample the hoover sound from the alpha juno2 into them you can get that mentasm rave sound….oh and recently found the ‘aaah’ sound from unique3′s the theme in a sample library…im mad for this stuff.
-an old mate emailed me today prob coz he been reading recent interviews , asked me if i knew where some string and choir underground resistance samples come from, ha top, sample consultant, i didn’t know though although I know they used a prophet600 for the super juicy sound at the beginning of this track
Hardwax — HW 002
its a preset, i almost shat myself when i first pressed the keys on that preset, could never have guessed that sound was gunna come out!
sorry ur/jeff , cat is out the bag, full respect to you lot and your amazing tracks over the years!
you saved us so many times.
play that after most edm stuff and it will pummel it so pissing hard into the ground….sorry
oh heres one of the first few tracks i ever did on the fz10m
notes about this track below somewhere, 1987/88ish]
dave: wow, top! tell me bit about it + with a name like that i’m already wondering if there is a connection with window licker???
rich: ha, never thought of that, I don’t think that is the original name actually..would have to look it up in one me books..got plenty of those..think it got renamed by luke ha or maybe when I transferred it into computer, ive got at least 3 names for most of my tracks, not inc the released titles most of the time. it gets pretty confusing.
first I recorded to cassette, then DAT [[usually on "long play" sean booth said to me once, do you record all your tracks on long play?] ha, apart from him nobody ever said that to me before, good ears that he noticed,I was quite impressed he worked that out, used to do it to fit more tracks on the dats!, wasnt bothered it was loads shitter quality.]
sean said I was mad..but I could see tht it kinda confused him/made him laff at the time.
funny coz when my recording equip was crap, I used to try and make it even crapper , like use the worst rusty leads, crap cassettes etc etc everything on worst or lo sampling rates, now I use a lot of nicer spec equip, opposite vibe but then I do mix and match, like the idea of loads of layers of recording rates, live instruments, software, hardware, quantised, live etc etc, more depth, keeps me more alert, diff qual equipmnt.
And putting so much detail into traks, I think ive read a few times, people think I make my tracks so detailed to be ‘arty’ or coz im trying really hard, ha, makes me smile, I used to do it originally because id get bored of my tracks so quickly, so I try to put sooo many layers and details into it so that I can never remember in my head when listening, EXACTLY everything that is going to happen, funny thing is I still can remember pretty much everything but decide to listen only to certain layers, so get more from it depending on mood.
Although I think even from my very 1st tracks I had a desire 2 get really into the machines, to make a different world inside one of the boxes , live inside there instead :)
still do it, create worlds tht u can almost live inside…ok I fink I need to stop now and go and make something…all the time im doing this interview im constantly stopping and twiddling then comin bak..
Another thing I read on ytube about 1 of my traks was ‘ this is art not music’ ! Ha they meant to be nice but I think this reflects how a lot of people see music these days as some kind of utility that just does expected things, its very, very sad, sad shit., spiritually lowest point of humanity vibes..
But it doesnt mean we all have to think like that…thing is in a better world reality, creative acts would be considered the most important, not who makes the most money or who is good looking.
Its why we are here imo, I often say to people who get depressed as I never do,
you need to be either loving/caring, creating or learning, then you will be fine.
made around 1987/1988 with a fucking qx21 sequencer&fz10m,101+quadraverb +home made mixer on breadboards, was a pretty cool mixer ,got some pics somewhere.. looked well techno it was 2 big breadboards slotted together and did some odd phasey stuff., before that i used to just twist all the wires together as a mixer! not many have tried that i don’t reckon, its actually a pretty unique way to get the cheapest compressor!
that was my orig name b4 aphex
pbod, phonic boy on dope :)))
I did use a RAM music machine for the spectrum before the FZ which is just totally dope, ive bought a load of them recently and started using them again,
love the sound qual its 9khz sampling rate , 8-bit and you could get just over a second in memory, so i used to speed sounds up on tape then sample them into that and slow them down, so even more gritty!
heres something i did when i was around 15/16 on on one.
I did have a tape phlanged version of this, cant find right now, i recommend btw to anyone who has never tried it, try proper tape flanging, cheapest way to do it, buy a double tape boombox/ghetto blaster]
record whatever you want to flange onto two cassettes or one and then use high speed dubbing to other tape !-)
then just play both tapes at the same time using the pause buttons to cue em up and then, you might have to take the tape cover off to slow down either cassette to change the flange sound.
This is where the flange sound from fx units or plugins originates from!
the younger kids who might read this prob dont know that.
the effect is surprisingly amazin, it sounds so much richer than a plug in..
especially when the 2 signals cancel each other out and the sounds goes really think, amazing, try it.
actually you get flanging in nature, due to sound hitting your ears at slightly different times, you notice it sometimes when you walk up to a big wall and there is a constant noise around like a fan or something, when you go closer or further away from the wall you can change the flange effect.
also while tripping many times , all sound has had an extreme flanged sound to me, so it goes back b4 tape.
Im guessing its because sound is flanging to us all the time, because of sound hitting our 2 ears at slightly different times, but out brain deals with it in a way which makes you not realise the flange effect, tripping can expose that mechanism, fascinating!
although ive never started seeing upside down!
qx21 was my first sequencer, worked a whole summer in wimpy burger for that damn thing, it changed my world but it has to be one of the worst sequencers I’ve ever used, i kind of feel bad saying it, sorry mr qx21, i get a top feeling when i look at it still but never felt inclined to switch it back on, hmm maybe…no..
I always wanted to stack about 20 tx7,qx21′s etc with their sloping panels ha , would look good [from the front no?]
talking of breadboards, REALLY looking forward to getting one of these
havnt built any circuits in 10 years and really want to get back into it and do some more designs again+finish some old ones off and this thing just looks so nice to have in the rack, beckoning you to poke it with components.
I did make and modify a lot of my own equipment, not very well I might add but was proud of a few things, best thing I made was a sampler for a college project, funniest part was that my lecturer didnt know what a sampler was!
It didnt really work properly as I joined all the boards together with loads of hand soldered wires and it just generated too much noise, but it made some super lush odd sounds, I could change the sample rate in real time in record and playback, that was main reason why I wanted to make it.
Also circuit bent a logic analyser+calculators when I was a teen and got some mad fings out of those, reminds me I used to like tuning my scanner into my equipment and picking up odd stuff, its still a top thing not to forget to do …easier than circuit bending and dont have to take any thing apart,..shit ireally need to get back into scanners, they r so mental these days..internet on shortwave etc
ok one more fz story, once i was doin a trak into the early hours,in kingston halls of residence[next to sewge farm] i think it was dodeccahedron and i accidentally pressed the off switch but it doesn’t cut out till you let go , so i was holding on to it with my life like dutch boy&dike!
trying with my foot to get to a floppy disk off a shelf but couldn’t reach it, so i was screaming with twitching finger until someone came to my room to rescue/ pass me a floppy!
dave: thts a funny story! oh yea, we talked bout that spectrum tape sampling trik a while bak. tht sampler trik i know as well, sorta like resampling before resampling. i also used a similar-ish technique tht i werked out… i used to do me resamping this way , but only works with samples u can get in ram memory first tho, but can be done with normal tape recorder with no speed change, coz manipulation is done in the sampler –>
select sample rate
play sampled sound back out at highest or very high pitch to normal tape recorder
change sampler to decent or required sample rate
play tape and sample
pitch bak down
repeat as necessary…
getz v. tedious quik tho :) me very first pooter samplin tho was using my dragon64 , there was a machine code listing in some old mag or book, can;t rem which. well strange the way it did the sampling, coz it used the tape load input port, which is for very bandlimited fsk input for the encoded tape tones, and then u could play it out using using the tape save pin. coor, the things we used to have to do to squeeeezzze those sounds into them machines … oh yea => that place you have in Scotland is very nice, do you spend much time there & russia?
rich: Awesome, i love it, starting to get a nice little group of ravers&neighbours on the go there + I share it with a few friends, like a little community, I still go back to Cornwall a lot but mostly been living in a suburb outside Moscow recently, where my bird is from, I really like it, i get into some strange conversations with locals here, thyre not used to english speaking people and want to know all about you, not like in the centre of Moscow, also people really chilled here, again not like the centre but its SO different from scottish yard.
Moscow is a banging city though, my fave thing about it is how it makes you realise how shit the class system in the uk is, which is just total bullshit, in moscow, it seems like to me that they have this attitude of were all in this together vibe, unless you are uber rich or something, everyone is a taxi etc, u just stik ur hand out anywhere and within a few mins someone will pick u up and take u to the door of wherever it is u want to go 4 totally reasonable price, dope.
Russian food is prob my favourite food now, okroshka is so top in the summer, summers are way hotter than the uk, a fact most people in the uk don’t realise,they think its frozen all the time.
Houses are too fucking hot in russia though in winter, its actually much more of a problem for me than when it gets freezing but people freak out when you open windows, when its -30 outside.
I like draughty cold uk houses much more,can think better, all that central heating shrivels up yer brain.
I think my brain froze walking thru moscow once as i hate wearing hats…eek was bit fkin scary..
dave:what’s all this about ice sculpture?
rich: Something ive gotten into recently, Ive made some pretty neat things in russia wid girlfriend, very satisfying, will send pics if can find.
dave: yes pls send if u get time… :) for s950tx16wasr10 (earth portal mix) what did you find special about those machines to make a track with them?
rich: s950 unknown to most has analogue filters+12bit, no rezonance though unless u mod it, was used briefly by ardkore massive before they all got pure digital 16 bit s1000′s
so a lot of jungle tracks, 93/94 used them.
they r bit of a bitch to use unless you just using a few breaks but u get used to them, only got one recently, of course like everything else with floppies i got hxc on that as well, its best sampler for amen imo, makes it gritty .
not sure id recommend to anyone sane , solid bit of kit though, akai made stuff really well, I really like the akai vx600, used that on a lot of tuss stuff, beautiful little compact logpolysynth with a few unique triks up its sleeve, they used to come up well cheap for yonks, prob not now …
tx16w is is my fave sampler&ensoniq mirage, tx has to have typhoon o.s though. love the workflow, sep processor for the filters :)
its like a dx7 but with a sampler, in terms of the envelopes, uberultra snappy, can make kicks from sine waves etc,
has so many good functions, i can use mine so quickly now, that typhoon is a work of art.
esp using midi keyboard/controllers to operate it e.g. using midi note numbers for entering alpha character names,modulation wheel 4 data entry etc etc, hardly anyone does that..such an oversight..
[important note to reader from prichard]
have to say to anyone reading this at this point you dont need any hardware to make electronic music apart from a computer, thats it, you have to be slightly mad to want to use hardware these days, its just what ive always loved for many reasons, so i keep doin it, its what buzzes me up.
the more equipment u have the harder it gets, its that simple, i think no equipment is actually the best situation because then you have to sort something else out and its totally open, as soon as u add ONE piece of equipment it adds constraints to wot ur about to do ..so bear tht in mind.
I battle this by either putting things out of sight & mind or going to a different place without anything from time to time.
dave: any additional c0mment re asr10?
rich: don’t know it well enough to comment yet, recent acquisition fraid
i think ae used em but thats not why i got it, the ui looked orrible to me at first but u can really zip around it once u get the hang of it.
does sound vey punchy, forget timestretching on it though unless u like writing novels in between operations.
dave: is minipops 67 (source field mix) done on a korg minipops? any other instruments used in this track?
rich: yep midi’d and sep outs, so many sounds in tht thing ..
shedload of other equip..inc 3 korg ps3300′s!..ive tried to list everything on album notes,[attached]
[pic of 3x ps3300's]
good story [long though]with the Korg ps3300′s
so going back to about 93/94 ish there were 3 for sale in loot newspaper london for £10k for bloody ages, like 6 months or something, nobody was buying them! I mean i remember thinking that was a shit load of cash then even.
so i went too see them, I had about £2k to my name then to live on and i would’ve dropped the lot on one of those bad boys so thought id go and see if i could get one of them at least.
Went around with my friend vic, it turned out it was owned by Dave simmons of simmons drum fame! and his wife!
was so cool to find that out but was REALLY bad atmosphere because they were SO SO nice to us, very welcoming showed us the synths , played us their music even , they didn’t know who the fuk i was, even if id told them they wouldn’t have known who i was..
but it became pretty apparent to me they were very in need of the money prob coz his business had gone down tubes, bought 3 korg ps3300′s in better times for god knows how much…they even made us dinner thinking I was going to buy all 3 , it became really horrible atmos..then i was like ill buy one of you …silence…tumbleweed…, here I’ve got 2k in cash now!
they were so sad and didn’t sell it to me , so i went home also sad..
then ffwd about 6 years and better money times for me and I was buying up loads of cheap analog on ebay and i thought i wonder what happened to those 3 korgs, id heard a rumour cold cut had bought them, pulled some strings and realised matt black lived literally 5 mins away from me! so i thought ok, its destiny.
went to see him, they were all fucked, but working AND midi’d, he’d midi’d them
Matt, really lovely guy, was very friendly and lushly agreed to sell me one,
it was unusable, used it on fenix funk for the mental spectral sounds at the beginning with pitch bend applied to it oh and dissonant sounds at end.
dave: so is that a synton fenix in that?
rich: Yes , actually its TWO synton fenix’s patched together making that vocal baseline riff, using all the bandpass filters on both machines….
it sounded a bit more vocal on an earlier pass
, thats the thing with complex analogue patches in the context of a ‘song’ and not just fucking about with them in experiments, they just change all the time and its pretty imposs/extremely hard to keep them sounding the same throughout the whole process of making a big track , i like the challenge though, like i say you have to be slightly mad to even attempt it, i have quite a few tricks I’ve invented to keep things in tune over the years though.
My friend had an argument with luke vibert who likes that fenix funk track, i think he said it was his fave track of all time to me once which is just a huge massive complement coming from him, thanks luke!
but anyway luke was telling my mate it was a vocal sample and you couldn’t get a sound like that out of a synth , another top indirect complement, cheers mate!
ok so back 2the korgs, matt agreed to sell me one, he did say i could have all 3 for £10k , the same price from all those years ago! which was actually very reasonable of him as thats what he paid for them so he wasnt looking to profit, [top karma that]
anyway even though I wanted them all I thought it was too greedy and they were all fucked anyhow so a lot of work to take on…so just got one
He also has an ems vcs4!!! which I begged and begged to buy but he stood firm :)
its a prototype but still it looks extremely cool, was kinda working i seem to remember.
then when i left with it , i think some ninja kids there were like aphex is stripping us kinda vibe, talked some sense into mat…
coz when i got it home i was like oh my fucking god this machines is the beast of beasts! i want all 3 now!
but when i asked him he changed his mind….but i didn’t give up, i emailed him every 6 months or so ‘hi mate, fancy selling those other korgs?’ kind of thing, then one day about another 2 or 3 years! later he was like yeah ok if you come down and get em like today or tomorrow!
Anyway the other 2 were in a bit of a sad state , but GWC kindly agreed to drive me up to Tony allgoods from oakley fame to bring em back to life,
I tried myself but they were way beyond what I can do and even if i did it would be nothing like what Tony can do, as he with Keith from Lucidsound are the synth repair masters of the universe!
Anyway since Tony worked his magic, keith has had to go in there and fix them some more, leaking caps…fucker..there is so much inside them though, last time i turned them on they were all working!
There were litterally 00′s &00′s of connections to be remade as some of the pcbs had cracked.
You think tuning an oberheim 8 voice is a chore, try micro tuning 3 ps3300′s! an afternoons work :)
Mad thing about those synths is that as complex and epic as they are they were designed to work in threes!
Because this rare Korg junction box that they made connects 3 of them to one keyboard! with these weird large slimey cables made by Honda!
They definitely DONT make them like this anymore.
like the ms20′s they are actually designed to simulate acoustic instruments and they do it very well, the resonators are i think supposed to emulate acoustic instrument bodies and with 9 of em, u can get very un synth like sounds from them, they are very special synths.
even the ms20/50′s, i mean you can do some tuff acid on them but they are designed to do oboes and shit, I reckon, ha
but they do actually do that very well, very pure sound.
If anyone out there is lusting after one, then my advice is to get a korg pe1000 not pe2000,they actually sound better than a ps3300! in a raw sound kind of way but obviously lack a lot of the features of the 3300 but to me it sounds like a fatter 3300 AND every key can be tuned if you remove the secret panel below the kybd!!! unlike the 3300 which can only tune 1 octave to microtones, which is actuallly my fave thing about the 3300, its microtonal capabilities and why i wanted one so badly..no other analogue polysynths had knobs for microtuning! So shit, been looking at ways to mod existing poly’s :)
but i also got 3 pe1000′s currently being midi’d, they r bloody great beasts n all.
dave:top version mon! wicked! oh yea, its funny u sent me tht, coz theres been a burning question in my head about tht trak i been meaning to ask fer ages, an totally keep forgetin to ask u. i rem the room at the bank where u had the korgs and the synton’s et al,… wot synth does the bassline tht comes in at 1.54 … ?? actually while am it, theres also a modulated digital noise bit in it, now my old dopefer euro noise module made sounds similar to tht when using external clock rate modulation, is tht wot tht was done on ??? + wot is drum machine / percussion on tht trak made from?? oh + tell me bout the harpsichord like sounds at the end and wot they were done with :)
rich: the shift register noise?
thats a digital noise gen built into the fenix, lush it is, there r more now ilke the harvestman zorlon ones, more flexible but not as smooth as the synton.
that 1.54 is a conventional europatch but dual path , so like 2 mono synths, so 2 filters,2 osc’s 2, vcas etc i rek it was mostly doepfer modules, there wasnt many other eurorack modules out then anyhow, you can make the doeper modules sound much smoother/delux like that, 2 of everything and pan it
theres a lot of ensoniq mirage in that tune as well and a z1 doing the karplus sounds :)
seem 2 remember several 31 band graphics in there, i was well into them for a while but not really noticable on that track, subtle.
Some 100m on the percusiion.
I had like 10 or more 31 band graphics setup for a while and funnily enough just set a load up again recently, mostly different makes, you can get some real cheap like this one
court acoustics graphic eq, amazing inductor based graphic, awesome, people dont like graphic eqs right now for some reason!
but ive been doing things like getting one output and using a modular matrix switcher to send the sound to all these graphic eqs, sounds super nice, controlled with velocity or another cc
had a funny kind of argument with george massenburg once, was telling him he should make a 32 band graphic eq which was also a vocoder/sequencer/midi controller, with presets and motorised faders ! :)
he was having none of it, boooring..
dave: tell me bout the equipment list on the cover
rich: i was pretty wary of doing it coz i absolutely dont want to be showin off, one of the reasons i not done it b4 ‘look at that cunt with xxx£ of equip etc’ i guarantee someone will get their calculator out in about 2 mins after readings it, add it all up post it on a forum, the cunt has £ this much stuff etc’
but the equip list was so extensive i thought it just had to b noted.. that is only a small part of it as well even on the tracks never mind the rest of the stash.
I mean on the first 3 tracks on syro , there was probably a ton more outboard but I just couldn’t remem what was used, too many things..neve 1081′s dbx’s etc, ext eq’s,
oh and a friggin moog modular for bass on mini pops, forgot bout that , ha, looking at the gear list!
i wish i could do it on all future releases , i might but it just takes so much time, i was even going to record every patchbay connection on each track to show how everything was connected together and even include all data from the circlon but then slapped myself around the face got a grip.
coz it has all costs i wanted to take it to absolute maximum extreme of info…shame im not that mental …yet..if i didnt have kids i prob would have.
dave: syro u473t8+e (piezoluminescence mix) hints at the use of piezo contact mics, is this a process used in this track & did u develop any new techniques?
rich: nah its to do with crystals in the pineal gland giving off light and being able to generate imagery of remote locations in yer mind…ok [skin up cunt] soz new terrible expression..you asked
dave: [scrattling... scrattle... :]::> aaaaaahhhh… , …. shulda looked it up, now i get it! hmmm, so does this and PAPAT4(pineal mix) have some kind of link?
rich: yep thats where u will find it happening, not that I’ve dissected a pineal gland or anything.
although I’m getting an electron microscope soon!
dave: apart from the cirklon, the track titles hint at retro/vintage gear, but what new/current equipment have u been playing with & why?
rich: tons of eurocrack and new custom adt mixer..ummm eventide h8000 is newest thing i got, intense machine…
and of course the logos snr2 ! which is fullybonkers
some old stuff with new mods :)
you cant see the 12 internal beaters from the outside, unless u get right underneath it with a light.
dave: do u have a favourite synth & synthesis technique of all time?
rich: yeah u know im gunna say fm, so fm
it was first thing i got into, i bought a dx100 when i was 15 something like that[see attached receipt i found recently],
dave: is that my eyes or does it say “Penance Road”?? + have u still got that same dx?
rich: penance rd , yeah, where i grew up, lannerlog studios [in the bedroom] nah it broke unfort, trying to bend it for nth time, didnt have kybd or case by the time it died..was in a cardboard box :)
should have buried it next to my dog in the garden
saved up a whole year for it by saving my diinner and bus fare money, was nightmare but did it, i then made a business called lannerlog sounds [age15]and i used to sell sounds i made for it via mail order, i advertised in the back of e & mm , dont think any of the forensic fans even worked that out..i wish i could find the ad though, was in back pages of e &mm, maybe someone can find it, would be top nostalgy buzz to see that again.
bank wouldn’t let me have a business account ,was too young but they let me use my mums account for free, explaining to the bank woman, i remember still her reaction, …yeah i got this dx100 right and I’m saving the sounds as sysexdata not audio to cassette and selling them…
[ah stop press, been rummaging around at my mums house recently and dusted off a load of random things that ill bung in here, old flyer from back in the day, school trip certificate, letter from london records and lannerlog sounds! still wanna find the ad though and most of all the sounds!]
i might have the letter and sound listings somewhere..would love to see that again and would love even more to have the sounds back! not got it anymore…ahh be incredible if someone still had one of those tapes, rare!
also before that had a yamaha mk100 which was pretty advanced for a home keyboard type thing, that was the machine that got me into synthesis.
I used to always tinkle on keyboard in dixons for years when id be in town then when i saw this mk100 i thought woah wot is this, having never heard or seen synthesisers b4.
its got an unusual/unique mechanical rotating menu thingy+programmable drums+seq& sort of fm emulation, not sure whats going on inside them, would like to know, never opened that one up funnily enough.
dave: yea chekd tht mk100 on the net jus now, table hooters got a page on it =>
rich: fm goals left:
Ive just got this genetic algorithm based fm resynthesis app written for me by a very clever chinese computer student girl,
its VERY promising but needs more work,
it was originally on the kyma system and they wouldnt give the code to me, I wanted to run it natively as i sold my kyma system or was it chucked out window..not sure.., eventually would like to control banks of tx816′s with it to reconstruct the sounds,ha, we’ll see.
I love coding but its not my strongest point, im better at ideas so makes sense to pay someone else to code while I provide the rest.
I did some pretty far out stuff with supercollider1 , very mental ui’s, mental patches with faders that crossed through each other , ha, I never followed it beyond version 1 in much detail, u can get it on raspberry pi now, might try it.
there r bits of supercollider all over my stuff like the fm bit at end of izus is supercollider fm.
I’ve got loads of old patches files somewhere , that i should make safer somewhere in the datamaze..ahh
just looked for summink to attach but on a drive somewhere??
dave: its been interesting to see the massive surge of popularity in modular synths over the last few years, which i think has also been helped lots by the eurorack scene and the availability of cheaper gear. as an artist u’ve been using modular synths since the beginning. what did u find interesting about modulars, and what are your thoughts on current modular gear available?
rich: The freedom to patch whatever you want, getting out of the chair to plug something, its like a quest/journey when you start patching,making connections in that way seems very natural to way me brain works, the community of eurorack is so good and getting better, everyone contributing to a common purpose…oh shit , not this common purpose
shit ytube keep reducing the views on this..they do that. oh stick in next to common purpose link
views [7,245] at time of writing out of interest.
shame it was not banana plugs that caught on as they are so much better, like betamax/vhs .
looking forward to when a robot arm that you attach to the modular watches/records all your actions and then you can recall presets and watch it patch it up super fast,if it runs out of patch cables, have option to make new ones from any wires in house..
dave:So when can we expect more music released?
rich: Its kind of a bit depressing really as warp just told me if i give them something completed by the end of this week it will be out in january!
fuck me, thats a long wait, it this kind of thing that stops me wanting to release anything, its like ok were on a roll now lets get something out next week, then couple weeks after that, a few weeks after that etc.
It just doesn’t fill me with excitement to want to put anything out.
I don’t wanna knock them as they are a lovely bunch but they got their stuff to put out first which they obviously think is worth releasing so ..and i suppose they can’t employ an office full of people to sit around waiting for me to do some music,suppose :)
dave: its clear u use sequencers in your music, but is manual playing (either on keyboard or other devices) something u enjoy?
rich: yes, i play for hours most days, not recording anything, i usually can tell a synth or module etc has a good sound if I’ve been playing it all day
dave: tell me about some of the gear u’ve sledgehammered coz it woz so crap.
rich: ha, i did take a sledge to a video recorder once when it chewed up one of me tapes, was a good machine with varispeed bought from notty ash.
ended up outside the house, still hitting it, then chucked it in a tree and it sat there for years.
i used to get REALLY physically angry when i was younger when machines wouldnt work properly…i calmed down since..’autistic trait?’ i remember a few times literally screaming at the highest possible level 1mm away from gear calling them every name possible like this guy
,..ah fuk…those were the days..
i think we get used to being the boss telling all these machines what to do and when they dont listen its quite a shock..control freaks
dave: do u have anything you’d like to say to the synth/instrument manufacturers that u think they ought to hear?
rich: really chuffed someone finally made a shortwave module, although i think I’m gunna have to get a bigger aerial as i can’t pik up sod all where i live in middle of nowhere prob even worse where u live!
[oh cheers 4 update, they do a better aerial! now]
now all we need is a transmitter module, then we can patch to different rooms etc :)
but that was a big one for about 15 years,
intuitive micro tuning is the real biggy, should be legal to have it on all synths, sequencers.
dave: + anything else u wanna say to the synth manufacturers? ?
rich: yeah ill design a mega portable all in 1synth/seq/samplerworkstation for ya, get in touch!
I aksed ae if theyd collab on a piece of equip , sean said no.
ok free giveaway idea no.1
was thinking yesterday a really awesome thing that say korg or someone could make is this:
USB all in one mechanical drum kitkits!
USB to modular HUB with up to 16 i/o’s
Say you get 4 to start with and you can buy more to expand it to 16.
So you plug in your solenoid beaters which on the same cable have a contact mic which takes audio back to the USB port of the thing its hitting, cable to be at least 4m long,would need a really nicely designed flexible clamp to fix solenoid to hit whatever you like, drums, saucepans, children&pets heads , windows etc.
Then sell additional 1 cable/contact mic combo cables to plug into your hub, could have large and small solenoids for smaller or larger objects.
would be fuckng amazing, could be so compact , just take your laptop anywhere and start sequencing rhythms out of everything and anything and be able to record it easily and in good quality.
, when u see all these things peeps make these days , they always record It so badly , like they forgot the most important bit, peeps seem so happy these days just proving things work, annoys me.
[also see idea proposed to George massenburg, somewhere else in this interview, oh i can't find it now, musta deleted that bit, ok again, i was saying to him he should make a graphic eq, which was also]
I think all my other ideas would never make it to market, too obscure,weird/specific…
I’m sure designers start off with amazing designs but then after boardroom financial meetings, all the good stuff gets chopped off.
dave: did u record&mix the album at home, or did u go to a recording studio, or was it some combination of both?
rich: lots of diff setups in couple of different houses over quite a long time,
this is just a selection from quite a big pile
i love diff setups and love looking at pics of peoples studios/workspaces although most are pretty boring standard.
u get the occasional diff one.
one of mine that im using the most now is like a giant cray computer/hexagon , c shape with tiny walkway in and 8ft towers of stuff wrapped around me, i can walk around it on the outside which is totally dope to re-patch things, its constantly growing like a virus, my setups always get out of control pretty quickly.
everything programmable is within arms reach, if you put something in a rack out of arms reach you will never get REALLY into it, unless you have already mastered it and even then its bit rubbish.
dave: what year was the earliest track on the album made & which one is it?
rich: think its 180db, made in my old bank, made on quite big serge modular.
It doesnt fit really and on purpose, its deffo one to play on a big rig.
dave: u’ve mentioned to me many times u are really into alternative & unusual ways of making sounds, what was the most unusual process u used for this album? wot is the most unusual process u’ve ever used?
rich: ha theres a question
well i think the first thing i remember doing was when i was at a scouts camp about age 11 , I got a radio cassette player and put a track on it, then attached it to a long piece of rope and starting swinging it in a circle around me, to also kind of show off to other camp people I suppose,…but slowly letting the rope out so the player is in a really big circle, like 10m in diameter, you get an AMAZING doppler effect, people should try this, its so good, you can re amp like this also!
So I was doing this kind of thing from very early age, and had fascination with doppler fx and other acoustic phenomenon since being a kid…oh and should also mention that i got kicked out of scouts that same day for putting a hangmans noose off the main flagpole, well you know its a knot..thy didnt like that….oops.
2nd thing that comes to mind is putting a bank of ldr’s and a few thermistors over the oscilloscope of the synth 100,
its 20 ldr’s and 3 or 4 thermistors, so you get a nice visual feedback thing going on, sounded insane, got to record it next time! pitch transition were so nice..also got to record synthi100 with all oscillators synced,..that IS a sound…all oscs on that thing have sync
remind me to send pics
but like that you are going from electricity to light waves then back to electricity and then finally to sound waves in air, top…oh and then electrochemical in yer hed and then……._
s100 with ldr’s+thermistors
ive got a cv in control on the lights of the synthi 100 so can also use those to operate the ldr’s, also putting the bank of ldr’s behind a fish tank with light on other side, fish modulation :)
also probably remote orchestra [below]
dave: wow, defo send me sounds and pix of that!
rich: ive been writing down for years installation/invention ideas which im thinking of releasing either as a book or with an LP or something, coz i now know im never going to get around to building/doing them all
its in 2 categories, fantasy ideas and realistic ideas, fantasy ideas are things like attaching stuff to planets and comets etc and the other category is stuff which could actually be made without help from other entities.
I dont want to say yet what they are as i really want to make some of them in next few years and you know its really bad to talk about things before you do them?
I tell my friends all the time, dont tell me what your GOING to do tell me what youve done, it takes a lot of the energy away and motivation to do something if you talk about it first.
dave: we’ve spoken in the past about algorithmic / generative music processes, did u use any for syro, whether computer based or otherwise?
rich: umm no not on those tracks…i dont fink…its all progrmmed by hand.
ive done tons and tons of modular random weirdness which i almost released about 10 years ago but never got around to it, the current craze of modular stuff kind of put me off as i like to fill gaps and those modular gaps got very filled but it will come out one day, my faves always change so hard to compile but longer you leave it the more objective you can be, less emotional attachment.
dave: you’ve told me your lad is getting into python & programming self-generating systems on the raspberry pi. + u also sent me a track made by one of your boys, which was wicked! as a recent father, i’m obviously keen to get my own lad playing with computers, synths & sound making if he shows an interest (which he already is…). do u have any thoughts or tips for me & other parents about bringing kids up with all this music/technology gear?
rich: well i didnt really want them to get into it as i have visions of us all sitting in the house on laptops with rain pouring in leaking roof and nobody bothering to fix it , so was kind of hoping they would get into carpentryDIY/plumbing or something ha.
but it is absolutely awesome..m y 8 yr old is already asking for a machine controller for xmas and the 6yr old wants a 3d printer .
I never could’ve never imagained id be hanging out with sons making tunes together!
my youngest asked me, dad what software do you use, ha and i wasnt really listening to him and i said oh try renoise, he then got a crack, downloaded and made some tracks, i never told him anything, he created a band camp page,artist name etc all on his own! he’s 6 now but would be pretty top to release and album of electronic music when your age 6! maybe ill get warp to release it.
one of the reasons he’s come on so fast is he’s learning from and trying to keep up with his 8 yr old brother who is well off into code world.
When im not with them i sometimes play them both on starcraft over the net + skype at the same time!
so good, we play on the same team and work together to play others or the a.i
dave: are u planning any more live dates? how was the barbican remote gig for you, what were you actually doing for the parts of that show?
rich: none planned, phew..really wanna do some more live installation type events like Barbican though.
also really wanna work more on the remote orchestra idea.
Was a miracle anything came out of that as half the software broke down 5 mins b4 gig at barbican, had so much planned for that and it just didnt work right before show..so frustrating but lucky we got anything going, learnt so much though .
We had code to take it so much further ,like analysis of live audio>translation to humans as partials , midi files, live keyboard input>players, chord memory like on a synth etc etc, shouldve kept going , if id done 10 of those type gigs in a row, would’ve have been insane by the end..but hopefully I will continue that, dont wanna talk about where I want to take it for above reasons but it should be dope.
Ok quick explanation of what we did/planned.
Remote orch, players have pitched saw waves in their headphones, they have to try and track pitch, i control the pitches via midi controllers and maxpatches and who gets what.
They also have visual cues that tell them how loud to play and what style of playing + other instructions like play as high as you can and as fast as possible, on the birdge of instrument etc etc, scream like a cat dying :)
none of these worked at barbican though :( they did work at the poland performance though, i did what i could with what was left working.
Poland was particularly nice as nobody spoke english and i don’t speak polish so it really was remote , it became part of it as I had to devise graphical instructions that everyone understood which they pretty much did,
my fave part was rehearsals where nobody told them when to start, there was no conductor, so there was lush moment when performers were like do we start or what? and slowly they realised i had started and started to do it, was pretty magical.
I send which players recieve which cues and how loud to play them, effectively making one big fuck off human synthesiser.
All audio came from laptop with digico usb>madi box>digirack 48 i/o rack [serious bit of kit]
48 channels of audio all from a laptop, the uber clever girl who designed the maid box at digico told me you can get over a thousand channels of audio from thunderbolt, the mind boggles..
also all headphones were wireless, so the setup was pretty insane, much more complex than i originally thought.
radio signals bouncing all around the concrete room and modulating each other etc, insanity
‘play’ also means sing.
Try and play as close to the pitch in your headphones as possible, the pitch will sometimes change in very small amounts, try and play it as accurately as possible, microtonal outcomes will be desirable most of the time.
Try and follow the bend of the note as it increases or decreases.
If you cant follow the pitch because it is too high or low or too fast, just play as close to it as you can or play in a different octave.
Dont worry if you make mistakes when the pitch is changing too erratically to follow.
I will be exploring the players inability to reach the pitches immediately and when its impossible to play.
For instance if the pitches are too fast to hear and respond to, just try and respond as best as you can.
Try to ONLY play for the duration you hear the tone [sawtooth wave sound] and not play when it has stopped, or in other words try and match the note length accurately.
The duration and speed will vary and it will take you a few seconds sometimes to adjust to the new speed and duration, dont worry about mistakes in this adjustment period.
When the tone is constant, try to sustain the sound as long as possible.
You might hear tiny clicks in the tone, ignore these.
There are 2 modes
1st mode:mainly rhythmic
13 channels on screen = 13 sections.
Strings are split into 9 sections/channels ,Choir 4 sections/channels
The 13 sections are :
violins [3 groups of 4 violins],
violas [2 groups of 4 ]
cellos [2 groups of 2]
double bass [2 groups of 2]
choir [4 groups of 3]
2nd mode:spectral mode, [mainly sustained notes]
5 channels on screen
Every player can recieve an individual sound [32 channels]
as opposed to 13 in mode1
Each section could be receiving a different pitch and rhythm, although you may all be receiving the same pitch and rhythm sometimes.
Each string and choir section looks at their part of the screen only and follows the instructions in that column on the screen, which also has its own colour
You are only looking for volume information and a playing instruction
There are other parameters represented on screen but they are mainly for eye candy, you may find them helpful or maybe best to ignore.
Instructions will flash just before they change so you can anticipate a change
and help synchronise players.
As soon as you see it change, follow the instruction
String players will be required to make vocal sounds also and stamp feet,tap bow etc
Try and concentrate on what you hear in the headphones and on your screen and what the other players in your section are doing as it will be the same as you[mode1 only] BUT not the other sections. [this might be very difficult, do your best!]
It is your choice if you are wearing both left and right headphones or just covering one ear, adjust your own volume.
Sound will be at one volume only, no volume changes.
It will be good to listen to what other players in your section are doing, try to play in sync with just them only and not the other sections IF possible, otherwise just concentrate on the tone.
if the volume is zero ‘off’, stop playing.
when you see the pause command pause playing.
additional instructions[ some things repeated]
Its important not to be influenced by what anyone else is doing, just try and concentrate on the sound in the headphones but note that
for the rhythmic parts and occasionally the non rhythmic parts there will others in your section receiving the same sound as you , it
would be good to synchronise with these players[mode1], hopefully you will be sat in groups to help, so you will know who these others are but not sure at this stage, it might be that its just easier to block what everyone else is doing out, we will see in rehearsals.
Each part may seem like its not changing but the timing or pitch will very likely be subtly changing.
Most of the time each individual part will be very repetitive and you will probably get annoyed but please persevere as its a part of the whole, which will be pretty complex.
try and improve on each repetition,matching duration as close as possible and playing at the same time of the tone.
there may be glitches in sound ,ignore
sequences of notes are never more than 6 notes, try and remember them as best as you can.
if you hear sound in your headphones but no play signal then stop, wait til you hear sound AND a play symbol or other instruction[software bug]
non musical instructions also follow volume
legato/play- play/sing tone
stamp feet- in time to headphone tone instead of playing
laugh at your own speed and style
scream or shout ,[any duration/speed]
heavy breathing in and out at your own speed different to others, with throat,short notes, any volume
click clock sound with mouth like horse hoofs, any volume and speed, your choice
whisper counting upwards from 1, at your own speed which is different to others
aphex logo-play random microtonal notes as fast as possible with rapid non rhythmic tremolo
nv several irregular changes of box in succession
tap the desk or chair with bow, quite fast, random rhythm
tap the upper part of soundboard with fingertips
z very rapid non rhythmicized tremolo
pendulum piece was extremely rewarding, i was asked to pick a steve reich piece by european culture of congress in poland to work on so i picked his pendulum piece, i loved the idea but didn’t think the result steve got was very good and could be taken MUCH further.
I asked steve what determines the pitch of the feedback, he said ‘physics’ im still waiting for the answer to that, anyway I originally was going to put all the feedbacks through banks of frequency shifters but in the end realised you can tune the feedback signals with parametric eq! it kind of tracks the harmonic series, so i was able to get all the different pitches.
Reich loved it and said it was like i had all the different parts of the orchestra as feedback tones.
He wanted to release it on nonsuch but i never got around to sorting the masters out, still havnt, rather do another gig.
Had an amazing setup on a midas matrix monitor desk whereby i could control the gain of each of the 17 different microphones[for vari sound] via analogue faders and also group vca faders controlling groups of the seventeen mics and seventeen wedge monitors, one big fuck off mixing desk instrument.
Those matirx desks are perfect for the job and you find them quite easily live gig equipment world.
dave: yea the pendulum version, u sent me youtube link a while back, this :
got very nice tones. pls send some soundfiles! oooh, thanks!!!
rich: swinging piano, nobody would lend/hire me a disklavier for the gig, i wonder why?
so realised 2 weeks b4 show i had to use mine and transport it to london, 1 week before piano wasnt working, i realised mice had eaten through all the fibre optics inside! cost me £5k to fix it, then had to reienforce the piano frame with steel to hold it together.
the whole point apart from the spectacle was to get the dopplereffect on the strings and nobody knew if it would work, it turned out to be the most trippy amazing pitch effect ive ever heard, it couldnt really be recorded, you had to be on the stage, even in the audience you couldnt really appreciate it , would love to do it again whereby evryone can walk around the piano as its swinging.
its like you could almost see the pitches in the air all spread apart and then all come rushing together, un-fucking believable, i wrote the piece specially for my wife :) and didnt tell her before that i was going to use the track i made for her at this gig :)))got some other juicy cool ideas like this swinging piano, taken to next level!heres a mockup track i did before the swingpiano to see roughly what a piano would sound like with dopplereffect, made it in maxmsp and its a diff version of avril 14th.
The crew in poland were astonishingly good but they couldn’t swing my disklavier from the roof in the amazing venues they had there for different reasons, which is other reason i knocked up this little track to play there.
So huge respek to all involved at the barbican gig4 making it happen.
Its so funny when you suggest these kinds of things especially with my rep to people, they just don’t know how to take it, ah man the things that could be done, i can’t think too long about it…
but usually the idea is the way easy part , making it happen is the fight, you have to be so single minded to make it happen and everyone just looks at you like a cunt UNTIL it works then its like ah yeah we knew it was going to be good all along.
But you gotta start off small and then hopefully build it up if and when it works…to get funding and trust.here are some barbican/poland pics
i used to live nr turbine hall at the tate and have got some mega ideas for that place but u have to kinda shmooze with all the right people to make it happen, i just didnt have the stomach 4 all that, mabe another time.dave: u told me a while back u still have a setup in your bedroom so u can work on tracks whenever u get the inspiration. how does your missus feel about having synth clobber in the bedroom? do u have synths in the bathroom?? rich: ha bathroom, funny u say that, as i rek is only room in house without equipment, of course I’ve used it as a reverb in the past :) not in this house though[scotland]
my missus is sooo understanding, she doesnt mind if i turn light on etc when she is sleeping she is the best, totally lush she is.
though she says i wake her up tapping on the circlon keys too hard!
i can go bloody fast on that thing these days!
bedroom setup is currently now a buchla 400 +two dynacord add one’s+four marshall time modulators[diff models] ! yer usual kinda bedroom setup :)
dave: speculation abounds regarding follow up releases, the watmm forum already has a thread going about it :
are the titles accurate? what sort of new material can we expect from u in the future? do u have any hints or timeframes for other releases?
rich: no, fuk knws where they got that from, yea well loads planned hopefully i wont get sidetracked, more experimental stuff and robotic/electro mechanical stuff, its all pretty much ready to go, so just got to master it.
syro was like the friendly easiest listening selection, although it is most of my fave unreleased tunes of last 10 years, so its no cop out.
The other stuff ,got to be in right frame of mind to hear it.
dave: what’s the current situtation with rephlex? are there to be any new rephlex releases by u or other artists?
rich: nope rephlex has come to an end, end of an era, all rights given back to the artists, I dont know if I will take part in another label, Im all up for suggesting things to other people to chase up and release though like , lets have a herbert eimert compilation!
dave: with all this music making its a wonder u get any time off. how do u manage to juggle a successful career and a family at the same time?
rich: its very hard but possible, its like constantly juggling, i enjoy the challenge…but sometimes its a bit like this
dave:how accurate is the gear list on syro?rich: definitely not 100% and there are 1 or 2 mistakes, like i think it says i used a vocoder on the piano track , dot in wrong place or i prob did it wrong, it is mostly right though but misses out a shit load of outboard as i couldn’t remember every eq etc in my lodge.
There were a few plugins used but hardly anything and not worth mentioning really, it is 99.9% hardware not that it matters just sayin.
Plenty more eurorack modules as well obviously but i think i put down the main ones i could remember.
Actually the whole equipment list is pretty weird choices on there actually pretty normal/odd for me i think, its definitely not showing off when u take into account what else I’ve got! just so happened those particular tracks used those things.
the birds on that piano track by the way were picked up by the mic’s at the same time, i angled them slightly towards the doors to pick it up, the birds hear what I’m doing also !-)
Oh and its all programmed, I think I’ve almost got to the point now when i can think music and then program it pretty much in one go, not quite but almost, it was never an ambition actually, it just happened that way.
Most people I know who heard it think its played, which is a really nice complement, coz every little timing imperfection in that is purposefully programmed in…i find it very mediative doing such tiny little things, tempo is regular though so it could be mixed with amen break :) dave: is there any country u’ve not performed in yet that u want to?
rich: not really, i dont really like thought of traveling that much, id rather stay local .. I’ve never felt the need to go anywhere that far, once im out the door its a different matter though, so id prob say antarctica or north pole.
I think I’m always just happy wherever i am.
Me and rus [russell haswell]
used to talk about doing a gig in Svalbard, id REALLY love that, check it out on a search, what a place.
Me and him played on a little lsland off the coast of norway once, was fucking intense total laff…i think that was mainly the acid though…oh god.., all they had to eat there was whale burgers or whale soup, although a mate of rus’s came and brought his harpoon gun and caught a load of fish!
the hardest part was being totally off my face and then the sun comin up at 2am, [coz its so far north]..ah it was intense…[grits teeth]
everyone was drinking as if it was their last day on earth, they do that over there.
dave: its great that you’ve been a champion of the vinyl format. what do u think is the secret of vinyl’s longevity?
rich: exactly that, its the longest lasting format and when it does deteriorate it does so in a pleasing way .
It has a sound, well it has lots of sounds, depending on who presses it etc etc but it sounds a certain way that suits some things and doesn’t suit others, simple as that, like tape,
id love my own lathe so i could bounce things to vinyl and then resample, I know people who do that, I’ve got some other weird devices for that though anyway at the moment to keep me happy.
but if you want to archive your music for longest period of time, vinyl is the one..
so weird to think of all the cd’s ,tape &and vinyl in the world today in few hundred years time, none of it will work anymore, all hard drives etc will be fucked in 10 years.
i bet usb sticks don’t last long, I’ve no idea, not looked into it but bet its hardly anything and nowhere ask long as vinyl.
How about people who store music in a stupid sound cloud? ha what a joke, like leaving all your records around someones house you never met and expecting them to be there still when you get back, :)