Saturday, April 19, 2014

Digital Single: Half Life

After a bit of a delay, here is the fifth free single leading up to the Radioatomic album: Half Life. It features a 'proper song' and a couple of experiments I like to call sonic atmospheres.

Bandcamp Player:

Half Life is perhaps my favourite song that I've written for the album. It was written in March of 2013 but not finished until this April. It started out with a basic loop made from a clock sample and a bass note from the Korg Monotribe. I called upon the K-Station for an arpeggio (and a few other sounds) you may recognise from other tracks, as I wanted to give the songs on this album a similar sound and style. The bulk of the lead sounds were made on the Roland HS-60. It wasn't long after I got it that I made this song, and I wanted to 'show it off' as it were. The Yamaha TG-33 also makes an appearance. It's a digital 'vector synth' designed for making evolving pads, but in this case I've just used its lovely bell sound. The drums are Alesis SR-16 samples which were initially programmed via keyboard but redone using the Alesis SamplePad to give them variable velocity and a few interesting frills here and there.



March of the Rads is the earliest track I recorded for Radioatomic. It's essentially an aural journey into a radioactive wasteland. We hear the clicking of a geiger counter, getting faster as the radiation builds, the stark sounds of wind and other strange wiggly noises. I thought I was being clever, only to realise that Kraftwerk already did this in the 70's on the opening track to their album 'Radioactivity.' The geiger sound was realised on K-Station. If you apply a pitch modulation envelope to a sawtooth oscillator you can, with a bit of fiddling, slow the waveform waaaay down until it just becomes a click. Turning it slowly back up produced the backing track, which was then fed through a Danelectro Spring King (spring reverb pedal). HS-60 provides wind sounds and the weird wiggly radiation noise. Monotribe also makes a brief appearance and you can hear some radio frequency sounds towards the end.

Video: (coming soon)

Global Warning while doing research for the album I happened upon this youtube clip, filmed inside Sellafield THORP. At 3:50 you can hear the criticality alarm which sounds perpetually inside the building. I found the whole idea rather creepy and thought it would be a cool experiment to replicate the ambience using synthesizers. The blips were made on the Monotribe through the Spring King. HS-60 and K-Station each provide a layer of filtered noise to emulate the background hum of the industrial building.