I recently updated my studio setup and even found some time to produce some music. Producing on an iMac for the first time ever has been pretty sweet. After using Nuendo for years I’ve also made the switch to Ableton Live for composition and arranging. UAD-1 became a UAD-2, and I’m trying out some of the new Signature Series plugins from Waves. The first product of all this is Opek, a percussive techno track with a thick ambience and a cut-through main riff.
After years of hibernation I finally managed to piece together just enough time to complete a brand new dance track titled Eezvor, coming your way in two mix variations.
While less percussive than some prior Alek Biotic works, Eezvor’s minimal techno influence is heard while its driving bass and synth lines provide enough energy for the prime time sets. The Dark Mix provides a more focused, flatter vibe while the Original Mix reveals the melodic, source riff.
Eezvor is my first completed production whose structure was created largely using Native Instruments’ Maschine. This amazing piece of kit combined with great, upgradable software is super fun to use and arrange on. Individual tracks were exported to Cubase (also a first as I’ve previously used Nuendo) where they were processed further and augmented with additional tracks, elements and effects. The final mix was mastered in WaveLab using Universal Audio, TC PowerCore and Waves plugins.
I’ve always loved the unique sound and versatility of the ride cymbal. Its distinct sound can be disguised and blended into a variety of genres while remaining very common and bare. I bring this up because Sativa is a track based on a sampled beat with a driving ride cymbal which marked a new direction in my productions. Coupled with a deep bass on the other end of the spectrum, Sativa really fills up the air, with the mid range filled by a mangled percussive riff and a twisted and evolving line played through Native Instruments’ Absynth synth. To get the rich harmonic sound from a very simple melody I layered multiple takes, each processed differently. The track also makes heavy use of delay and reverb effects which add to its spaciousness.
By the way, a very close relative of Sativa is a track titled Anathema, which was released on Gotham Grooves in 2005. We’ll cover that release at some point in the future.
This track was my submission for a CLR (Chris Liebing’s awesome label) remix competition. Chris had released his Evolution LP around this time (2004) and the challenge was to remix the track American Madness. My remix didn’t make the cut but since its completely different from the original I dropped the first word from the title and it was officially a track of its own.
Aside from it being produced for a specific (though, unmet) purpose, the track’s beat always stood out from the bunch and it was one of the rare tracks that featured the FM7 synth (the legato stab in the breaks). I meant to use this synth more since I really liked the sound, but it never ended up anywhere else.
Once again, the original, mastered .wav file is available for your listening (and mixing!) pleasure.
We’re going back to 2002 for this one. Clusterfuck was (and still is) a personal favorite but it never made it out, until now. The track is very raw and is based on a couple of rusty drum samples and a simple synth riff produced by the amazing Virus B synth. That riff always reminded me of Pink Floyd’s “On The Run” which featured the impossible to find (or afford) EMS VCS 3.
Also heard on the track is the Nord Lead 2 keyboard which supplied the underlying bass sound. The drums and the main line are all sample-based and played through the Akai S5000 sampler. (The photo shows the studio setup from this period. Seen in the upper right of the photo is the tiny 12 channel Mackie analog mixer which is one of the best sounding mixers I’ve ever used.)
Like many other producers, I’ve since moved on to a predominantly software-based setup, but Steinberg’s Nuendo software used to arrange and record the track is still in use, although upgraded to a more recent version.
Here comes a minimalesque techno set mixed live using TraktorScratch. If you are not familiar with this software, it allows you to mix digital files (usually from a laptop) using turntables and special timecode vinyl records. One thing that (presently) separates TraktorScratch from other similar set-ups (such as Serato ScratchLive and the older FinalScratch) is that it supports real-time key changing allowing you to blend not only beats, but key signatures. This is actually one of the most appealing features to me when mixing since I like to have control over the key progression during a set.
Having done a few prior mixes using Ableton Live, this live set was literally a heat check of my deck chops. It is also the last mix recorded before moving storing the 1200s to make room for a new member of the family – my son, Dean – born exactly a week later this recording.
Mark Henning – Ring of Fire – Trapez
Gui Boratto – Matryoshka – Kompakt
Andomat 3000 & Jan – Entr’acte Music – Cadenza
James What – Mesatennis – Sounderground
Gaetano Parisio – Untitled A (Adagio C) – Adagio
Sian – Forming The Pearl – Octopus Digipack
Teflon – The Wombat – Rebel One
Samuel L Session – Smokestack (SLS Remix 1) – Klap Klap
Jerry Abstract – Mudtsmut – Shitkatapult
Surgeon – Klonk 2 – Dynamic Tension
Mark Broom – Twenty Nine (Black Mix) – BPitch Control
Patrick Skoog – The Distance – Drumcode
Samuel L Session – Velvet (Alex Bau Remix) – One Off
Gabriel Ananda – Trommelstunde – Karmarouge
Par Grindvik – Do Us Apart – Drumcode
Rino Cerrone – Rilis 06B2 (Gaetano Parisio Remix) – Rilis
Andreas Mugge – Grand Slam – Punkt Music
Shlomi Aber – Freakside – Ovum
Christian Smith & John Selway – Lightning Strike (Agaric Remix) – CSM
Alex Under – Untitled 2 (Multiplicanciones) – Apnea