The Drone Machine

Playing this kind of music, and I’ll use the term “music” liberally here, is kind of like riding down a big hill on a bike with no brakes. Its really easy to get going, its really hard to stop, and there is the real potential for a crash at any time. The cyclist has some element of control over general direction, but the hill has just as much influence on that aspect as anything else.

This particular configuration consists of an Arturia Beatstep step sequencer, a Microbrute analog synth, an Electro-Harmonix Superego, a Moog Moogerfooger ring modulator, and an MXR Carbon Copy delay. The gear sits on an SKB PS-45 pedalboard, which has been modified with a second tier. This is the same basic setup I used on my last album, (((HUM))).

What could be seen as an embarrassment of riches, using all this gear for simple drones, having immediate access to all the knobs, buttons, keys, wheels, and dials allows for more expressive sounds than what I’ve ever been able to achieve with software synth patches and “all in one” hardware synths. The analog nature of the gear, the lack of save menus, as well as the 1:1 functionality of all the knobs, creates unique play sessions that can never be re-created and that have an intrinsic element of chaos and discovery, happy accidents and utter failure.

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