Friday, February 21, 2014

Digital Single: Cathode Ray

Fourth in my series of free singles is Cathode Ray / U235. These both lean towards the experimental, so they were a lot of fun to put together. There's nothing like unleashing your 'mad scientist' side in the studio!

Bandcamp player:

Cathode Ray opens with a march-like rhythm created from snippets of a sample & hold patch on the Korg Monotribe. The Monotribe also provides a recurring bleepy filter sequence. A bassline, drone, and some percussion sounds recorded from a Toshiba radio form the backbone of the track. The Alesis SamplePad was used to sequence some Speak & Spell percussion and tom-toms. Novation K-Station adds some extra percussive sounds. I manipulated my voice with the Marantz PMD201 tape recorder to create the spoken word part. A very nice VST called Lounge Lizard provides the electric piano.

I should point out that the TV featured in the artwork is exactly as I found it. No TV's were harmed (by me) in the making of this e.p.!



I did something a little different with the video this time. It's shot entirely with a 40mm macro lens and features some of the instruments and devices I used to make the music. My tin robot 'Mini Radiocon,' which you might recognise from the cover of 'Let's Build Mecha!', also makes an appearance.

U235 was the first track I made for the new album project, and my first experiment with the Korg Monotribe. Once I had a patch and a sequence programmed, I recorded several live improvisations, cut them into chunks, and assembled them into a track. I then created various percussion sounds on Roland HS-60, TAL U-NO-LX, and K-Station, and added in a snare from the Yamaha MR-10. HS-60 provides some other synth sounds, more Monotribe was overdubbed, and K-Station and Yamaha CS01 also provide some melodies. Electric guitar can be heard on the ambient sections (backwards). My voice was once again pitch-shifted with the Marantz PMD201.

The title refers to the only fissionable isotope of uranium to occur in nature. In the film A Is For Atom, which I sampled for Isotopes For All, U235 is represented by a frenetic cartoon character. The bouncy arpeggio reminded me of that.



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