Bob Knutton – It Sates Itself On Doubt

Nov 25, 2023 | Posts, Music

Ventured into darker regions today. Tribal drums, echoing and distorted, thrust me into the gloom. A siren call and something glittering… Are those eyes? Teeth?

The idea of something feeding on doubt, fostering, nursing it…

Inspiration & process

I had been listening to The Cure’s Siamese Twins, feeling inspired by Lol’s ritualistic drumming, I started messing about with some modular drums at a slow tempo, 76 BPM.

 

Drums

The Entity and the LIP provided the bassdrum sounds, the BIA took care of the snare-like sounds, SY0.5 did toms, Crucible and Pixel Dust for hats & cymbals and Elements (with quite a bit of modulation from Voltage Block) took care of percussion.

The entire drum section was routed through Electus Versio, Splash, FX Aid Pro’s Shallow Water and Desmodus Versio, with Desmodus feeding back into itself, under modulation. Because of the big sound being pumped around, there emerged this distorted, pumping compressed feel to the drums, which I really liked.

On the desk I added parallel processing from this fx chain to the clean drums, giving them this dirty, industrial metallic sheen.

The modular drum section, triggered from Cirklon’s DMUX module.

Also there is a kickdrum from the RD-9 in enhanced mode through an fx chain, fully wet, no dry signal. First it gets sent to MXR’s Distortion+, then on to the DP/4 with a 4-op effect consisting of reverb, compression and 2 flangers, with the high end eq’d down.

The RD-9 providing the kick, which gets mangled to death by the MXR Distortion seen underneath

Synths

I’m safekeeping a number of synths for a good friend, among which a Korg MS-10 and MS-20. I am sequencing them from the CVIO break out box, but for some reason I had used 3.5mm jack cables with 6.3mm adapters.

The adapters are cheap Chinese things and at least half of the 30 or so I have are shit. So I was having some trouble with the consistency of the voltage, because of the bad connection from the adapter plugs. Enchanted however by the dark, menacing tone of the Korgs, I decided to remedy the cable situation once and for all and dug up some decent 6.3mm jack cables from my stash.

The brains of the studio

After the cable issue was fixed, I started working on the tone. I decided to feed both Korgs the same sequence, ganging the two instruments on the Cirklon. The MS-10 is getting PWM from its own MG (triangle) and the filter is getting S&H from the MS-20. The S&H on the MS-20 is taking its input from the white noise output, being clocked by its own MG.

The MS-20’s HP filter is being modulated from the MS-10’s MG square output. The output of both Korgs is fed into the Strymon Timeline for some delay.

Korg MS-10 and MS-20 patched up, with the OB-6 underneath

The OB-6 is providing the lead line. I couldn’t tell you what the sound is made up of, because I just preset surfed until I found something I liked. I do remember that both VCO were being modulated, and that there is an onboard chorus and delay effect in the mix.

I changed the amp envelope a bit, because it had a very slow attack and I wanted it to be a bit faster, also, it had a very long release which I didn’t want or need, so that had to go too. The OB-6 is being sent to the modular for treatment.

The board, a Soundcraft K2, as it was set (more or less, it is the day after and I have knocked a couple of faders) for the recording of the track

First the signal goes to the FX Aid Pro’s Shallow Water patch, at the same time it is being sent to the Splash reverb, which has its decay and excite modulated from Pam’s. From the Splash it gets sent to the Lofi Junky, which goes through Belgrad, set on lowpass mode with additional notch in the passband, which is being modulated from Pam’s.

The output of Belgrad gets fed back into the same signal chain, adding to the grime and nastiness. Parallel to all this, this signal is also being sent back to the desk for additional reverb by BAM and within the modular to Desmodus Versio, after which it is sent sporadically back into itself, modulated from Voltage Block and it gets sent to Electus Versio for additional delays and atmosphere.

To make things even wonkier, the output from Belgrad is also being sent to Deco on the desk for extra tape wobble. So that’s Shallow Water, Lofi Junky and Deco for wobble, Belgrad is filtering, BAM, Splash, Desmodus and Electus for time-based effects, along with controlled feedback.

The modular still patched up from the recording session

Finally there’s the Dark Energy MkI, which I added, because I wanted something shiny on top. It’s an arpeggio, which also goes through the H3500BDFX’s Avant-Garde patch, which provides pitchshifted panned delays and that then is sent to the BAM for reverb.

The Dark Energy MkI puts the sparkles on top

Gear

Sequencer:
Sequentix Cirklon

Soundsources:
Steady State Fate Entity Bassdrum
Michigan Synth Works SY0.5
Noise Engineering Basimilus Iteritas Alter, Loquelic Iteritas Percido
Mutable Instruments Elements
Omsonic Pixel Dust
WMD Crucible
Behringer RD-9
Korg MS-10, MS-20
Sequential OB-6
Doepfer Dark Energy MkI

FX & Filters:
Noise Engineering Desmodus Versio, Electus Versio
Happy Nerding FX Aid Pro
Dreadbox / Crazy Tube Circuits White Line Splash
Zvex Effects Instant Lofi Junky
Xaoc Devices Belgrad
Ensoniq DP/4
OTO Machines Bam
Eventide H3500BDFX
Strymon TimeLine, Deco
MXR Distortion+

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