Welcome to a new category on the Nerve War blog: Exhumations. In this category, I will be posting electronic music from the past that I’ve only recently discovered with my metaphorical archaeology kit.
The first to be exhumed is KaS Product, who was (still is?) a duo based out of France. While the coldwave electronics of KaS Product are certainly catchy, it’s the remarkable vocal performances of Mona Soyoc that puts the duo over the top.
The past couple weeks have been pretty exciting when it comes to Nerve War. Sounds discovered, tracks completed, oh my!
Below are a few samples of some things I’ve been working on and playing with. I’ve got a lot more in the works too, but I gotta save some surprises for the album release, after all 😉
This first track starts out with an arpeggiated bass line generated by the Arturia SEM V, which is an emulator for the Oberheim SEM. Then comes in a light an airy medoly courtesy of the free VST Synth1. And lastly, on top of everything, is an arpeggiated lead from the Arturia JUP-8VJupiter-8 emulator. Overall this track is coming along nicely and will definitely be making an appearance on the upcoming album 🙂
This next one is a noisy as hell experimentation using the free VST TyrellN6 from U-HE. Not sure if this one will go anywhere, but I’m definitely keeping it in my back pocket.
Lastly is a track that’s giving me a bit of problem with synchronization settings (which you will likely hear). the bass line is generated with the Arturia MINI V filtered through the D16 Devastor. Towards the end Prophet V makes an appearance. Overall I’m digging the vibe of this one, I just need to figure out the sync issue (I’m sure it’s just operator errorrrrrr, drrrr).
For fans of Witch House and bizarre psychedelic electronics, the label Phantasma Disques out of Germany has a solid lineup of releases. Want to get your witchy-dance moves on? Then check out Sco and Morgve. Want to trip out on some down tempo creepscapes? Then give Drug Machine and Master Suspiria Vision a whirl. The label also has a large selection of vinyl, CD’s and DVD’s available on their website.
And yes, I just invented the word creepscapes. I kinda like the sound of that. Just like the sound of these tunes from this label. Hit play below and get witchy!
Today’s fruit of scouring the never-ending abyss of Bandcamp is Violet Masks based out of Long Island, New York. The artist is a bit of a mystery, going only by the name of Michael. According to the Violet Masks website, Michael has released over 40 albums since 2003 (whoa). Michael is also a visual artist, and from what I’ve seen so far, has created all of the artwork for the many Violet Masks releases.
The Violet Masks discography is pretty eclectic, ranging from spacious ambience, to pretty harsh industrialized noise. Some of my favorite moments are when whispy vocals are included in the midst, such as in In My Skull on the Alternating Series (Part 1) release and Heather on Skeletons (External).
I’ll be looking forward to hearing and seeing more from Violet Masks. If you like what you hear, make sure and pick up an album or two and support the artist on Bandcamp!
Hooo boy did I have a good time this evening with a few plugins I picked up from D16 Group. I started out with a pretty simple bass rhythm using the Phoscyon, which is an emulator of the classic Roland TB-303. For the drums, I also picked up D16’s sub-crushing PunchBox. I almost can’t believe how deep the PunchBox’s bass drum generator can sound without turning to mush. In this particular instance it’s also layered in with my good old standby BFD. There’s also a little bit of space phasing thrown in to add to the insanity, via Fazortan. All in all I’m quite pleased with my purchase after drooling over these D16 plugins, and I know already I’ll be utilizing the holy living shit out of them >:)
Tonight I spent a few hours playing with the free VST Synth1 virtual analog synthesizer from Ichiro Toda. I started out with some freeform low-end flanging noise, then layered it with some arpeggiated (is that even a word? I’m using it anyway) high-end for a bit of a creepy sounding transition I’m digging. After the dip down, it comes back in with some slicing and application of noise to the Synth1. The drums are a mixture of a distorted Impulse 808 and BFD. Fun night! I almost feel like this is getting close to having many of the necessary elements for a complete song 🙂
Tonight’s sound experimentation revolved around a couple of free VST soft synths, OB-Xd and TAL-NoiseMaker. OB-Xd is flat out insane for a free plugin. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface, but I can tell I’ll be spending a lot more time with it. It doesn’t have an option to lock the LFO rate to the tempo of the track, which at first was driving me kind of crazy, but realized that’s part of its charm (and again, it’s free, so why the hell should I complain). The clip below starts out with a tone from it I got dialed in that I was feeling good about. Some extra fat low end comes in at about 1:05 via the NoiseMaker. I find this pairing layered on top of each other to be quite delicious. Just gotta spend some time tweaking the mix to allow for the percussion to keep thumping, without this deep madness drowning it out…
Tonight I spent quite a bit of time playing with the free VST Soft Synth Crystal along with Novation’s Bass Station. Crystal is insanely powerful for a free soft synth, I’m finding you can get some pretty hefty sounds out of it. The rhythms are layered in with BFD and Ableton’s built in Impulse 808. Overall I’m digging the vibe of this a lot, so I’ll be developing it further. Take a listen below!
While digging through Bandcamp today, I ran across a goldmine of a label in Beläten out of Sweden. The label specializes in the darker aspects of electronic music, such as darkwave, cold wave, experimental, witch house, etc. So far I’ve only listened to about a quarter or less of their releases, but everything I’ve heard so far is of stellar quality. I’ll be keeping my eye on this label, and diving more into their back catalog for sure. Here are the ones I’ve jammed out today. Inspiring stuff. Check ’em out!
2016 was most certainly one of the most intense, eye-opening, hilarious, absurd, and memorable years I’ve ever experienced. Due to the fact that I unapologetically and publicly supported Donald Trump for president (Twitter’s Response: “GASP!!!! RACIST!!! HOMOPHOBE!!! MISOGYNIST!!!”), I lost friends, made enemies, strengthened some previous relationships, and even made some great new ones. I learned first hand how susceptible people are to mass hysteria, and how quickly they will completely abandon any attempt at conversation and understanding in favor of simple name calling. To those in that camp, I say good riddance as I victoriously laugh off into the sunset. And to those that stuck with me, regardless of whether they agreed with me or not: Thank you. I’m blessed to have you in my life.
In regards to music and movies, 2016 was chock-full of goodness. There were more solid metal releases this year than I could keep track of. There are even a bunch of releases that have received high accolades that I haven’t even listened to yet. So, my list is chosen simply based on the albums I repeatedly listened to the most. The biggest surprise was the new Metallica. Hot damn, it hits the spot. Pretty impressed by those guys this year! Movies wise, it was a bit of a dry year for sci-fi and horror (wasn’t a fan of The Arrival or The Witch, and I’m not really much for the Star Wars universe), but it was still an excellent year otherwise. I was especially thrilled about Shin Godzilla…WOW.
So here they are! The text below the album covers will take you to a stream (if available), and the movie links will take you to their respective IMDB pages.