Trying to formalise some new ideas: mixing beauty with chaos

I’ve been sat here for the past couple of weeks barely make music. The main reason for that is down to work making me knackered. But another reason is due to my desire to try something new.

I usually use the computer these days and arrange inside Ableton Live Suite. I LOVE that program. The power and the abilities it unveils to you are immense. Really, really immense. In the late 90s my studio comprised of a cheap guitar with a Marshal amp, a Fostex 8 track hard disk audio recorder tapped into a Behringer Eurorack mixer (the one where Mackie sued the shit out of them iirc). It was never a Neve desk but I liked it nonetheless. Nothing was quantised or computerised back then, everything I recorded was human and free, well apart from the drum machine – an Alesis SR16 I’d often sync up:

The desire to return to that recently lead to me buying a Zoom R24 recorder. Its small, a little complicated, and yet no where near as powerful as Ableton. Yet there is some joy in using it and how free it allows you to be:

You can simply play.

Jam out random ideas, no wifi or CPU to worry about. I think some of my more chaotic ideas have had some merit in them. I am terrible on the keyboard. Really awful. Yet I seem to be able to lock in and create a dynamic I havent been able to on Live.

I intend on exploring themes around chaos and beauty a little more in the future, hopefully using this method. I like the idea of using the analogue synths like the Microbrute, too, as they are equally chaotic, and when you layer them by the track and with effects this formal beauty to the sound emerges. IUDX (no bloody idea why I called it that to be honest, but people seem to like it) started as a line on the keyboard into an echo pedal using slapback mode to give me a tempo to hang everything upon. I layered up long attack pad sounds and neoclassical whimsy was born.

One thing is for sure – having little space here is going to make this a tough challenge.


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