Monday, November 9, 2009

Industrial drums

I was at the Absolute body Control concert the other day, there were other bands as well, some good, and one agonizingly bad. But this is not a concert review, what did influence me to write this is the awesomeness of the drum and other percussion sounds ABC used. Now, of course, anything with Dirk Ivens wreaks of 808's and distortions, but there were several other noises which were sampled and mangled, and it sounded very nice. This made me think about my own drum programming, my ever expanding library of samled drum machines, battery, BFD, and recently acquired waldorf attack. I must tell is all shit. Having gigabytes upon gigabytes of drum sounds which are all nice and everything, but it all sounds pre-packed and ready made, just sequence it. I don't even talk about drum loops, i have never used them, and i hate them with all my heart.
Usually when you think of industrial (well, when i think of industrial), it seems to me as a sound laboratory in which you concoct your own recipes for handling noise, sound, imagery...well anything. i really don't like the nowadays and the aggro, hellektro, or even the plinky-plinky EBM. you know the type: get an access virus, find a nice preset, put arpeggio on and go with it for an entire career (don't get me wrong, i had a chance to play with a friend's virus, it sounded awesome, all the knobs, and beautiful effects and all...i secretly cried when he sold it...the bastard). it all sounds like viva dance, it all looks like viva dance with vampire teeth bought at the hot topic, and it all stinks of middle class prepubescent twilight angst for not getting a pony a few years back. it may try to sound and look evil, but it really is far from being so (on the other hand...why 3v1l?), and let's not even get into the creativeness of it all...
so, to cut the long and ever divergent rant short, i made something that is a tool, a basic thingy, used by many experimental artists to make deep, thought provoking, sometimes hipster sounds. it is essentially a contact mic, something you can make very cheaply, but it has a great potential. Here, have a tutorial how to make it.
Now you have a very sensitive piece of gear which can pick up all kinds of vibrations, and turn them into sound. What i wanted was to make one shots of drums so i taped it to a can which used to hold danish butter cookies many years ago.
You need to tape it securely, so that vibrations are properly transfered from the can to the piezo disc.
The next thing i did was filling the can with screws, nuts, some metal hardware, anything will do, but as a friend said when i mentioned what i wanted to make:"can filled with screws, it doesn't get more industrial than that" :) indeed it doesn't.
To process the sound, i used my trusty KP3 (it really is an experimentalists swiss army knife).
When i recorded some interesting moments, i processed them again in ableton live, but you can do anything, load it in a sampler, mangle, stretch, compress, delay, phase, you name it, and you made it yourselves, and did not use any pre-rolled library.