May 4, 2015


by Chris Randall

For reasons passing understanding, I've decided I'm going to do my next release 100% Euro. So in my munificent free time the last couple weeks, I've been trying out different workflows to make that experience relatively painless, and by that, I mean that I'm looking in to ways that the context doesn't get in my way. My normal course of action would be to do everything in individual passes, and edit/mix/arrange in the DAW, with additional production being done digitally.

For this release, I'm hoping to avoid that and do entire songs in one pass. So I went through the trouble of assembling a Eurorack instrument-unto-itself; I'm still fooling a bit with the exact layout, but I pretty much have it down right now to something I can make complete tracks with. It's a 12U Monorocket case with a pair of Sequencer 1s and an obvious collection of modules. Taken as a single collective instrument, it needs to be learned and mastered. Which is what I'm doing right now.

The video above shows where I am in the process. This is by no means a musical statement, but rather just a recording of me exploring some different methodologies for performing with this thing, and learning what it is capable of. You'll note the thing I'm fiddling with off to the side, which is a Boss RRV-10 that I circuit-bent some years ago. It has made appearances in many of my videos, but it never occurred to me to "play" it in real time. So I'm experimenting with that here. The monome is hooked up to the Earthsea module, and I'm just using it to play the little melody that is running in to the RRV-10.

So, it's coming along. I think I'm getting close to being ready to patch some music in to life. I will be recording these tracks "stemmed" (in a manner of speaking) direct to 8-track tape, where they'll be mixed to my MTR-11 1/4" deck. I will _try_ to make a video of each performance, but I'm not making any promises there. Stopping a good creative flow to set up the camera, and deal with all that nonsense, is kind of a drag.

For an earlier snapshot of the current journey, you can have a listen to this (no video, sorry.) Unlike the above song, I made this before I made the decision to not multi-take things, so it is actually 4 passes, rather than one.



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May.05.2015 @ 10:05 AM
Indeed, it was only a suggestion, if only because the tape deck integrated with the mixer makes it more immediate to use.

May.05.2015 @ 11:25 AM
Chris Randall
I wouldn't mind having one of those, for sure. And actually, you're probably right. For this particular use-case, it's most likely the better solution.


May.05.2015 @ 1:50 PM
The Soundcraft Spirit M8/M12 each have direct outs and 4 stereo returns. Returns are on RCA's but there's also 4 proper stereo channels for return duty.

May.05.2015 @ 3:07 PM
I like the idea of configuring and learning to play a setup like that as a unique instrument; you could probably practice on it for months and become really good with it. I imagine you're going to want to record a bunch of stuff and see if you find things you like before you're 'good at' the setup, which is usually synonymous with 'sick of.'

And hey, if you get something most of the way there as a solo live performance, no one but you will know if you cheat and add some overdubs....

May.05.2015 @ 4:45 PM
I listened to this last night, late, and just as it was dropped from the ether. I hit refresh and there it was. I was too busy picking my musical jaw up off the floor though to comment. Too bad, two minutes later, praises raining in. Missed that boat. Then. I was tempted to say 'first', but thought better of it.

I just wanted to say: Staggeringly beautiful track. I love how you got that 'sucking' bass sound underpinning it all, yet with that almost (but not quite) haunting melody thing on top. I was all 'how did he do that bass thing?', and 'never mind that, what the hell is playing the "melody" - is it sequenced [doh] ? - is it the "suitcase" making the noise ?'.

But I got sidetracked, wanting to check out your 10 questions. Another treat. Please do more. I can't get enough of your wisdom oh higher one! :-) It was worth the price of admission just to see you get totally narked out about the 'about' comment. No one could ever accuse you of being passive-aggressive that's for sure. Yet, you went into some depth and answered Georgie Boy's question with aplomb.

But yeah, what a piece of music. Not sure if you are doing anything with that, but a 3-4 minute edit of it would be Golden.

What I'd _really_ like to see, is you out in the ravine or the rapine or wtf it's called, totally battery operated mind you, and just a short little impromptu gig with whatever. The world is your apple...

May.06.2015 @ 8:12 AM
@zazen I'm all for using AZ ravines as reverb tanks. You'd need a speaker rig powered by car batteries....

May.06.2015 @ 8:28 AM
Chris Randall
My car has AC power. We don't need no stinking batteries.

That said, those of you that live in the wooded valleys and hills of the Northern Realms would perhaps be surprised by the quantity of fauna in our desert. You're not gonna get a recording that doesn't have massive quantities of birds and insects doing their thing.


May.08.2015 @ 8:13 PM
I don't know what the used market is like but an A&H mix wizard should fit your requirements and is a good sounding desk.

May.15.2015 @ 10:10 AM
CR - have you ever seen one of these - Soundcraft Spirit Folio Rac Pac ?

link []

It might fit your needs.

May.17.2015 @ 5:09 PM
Sorry, Sypunday evening, can I vent : WTF an iWatch to tune a guitar... me dimwit may be but I don't find the practicality of this borderline racketish piece of "advanced" technology. Sorry, thanks.

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