Displacement Explained

Upcoming release from me is a five track dawless techno EP recorded live and my premiere release on Petite Victory Collective! It will be released in full on Bandcamp and streaming 2021-05-22, but leading up to this each track will be made available through YouTube where you can see the recording of each track. I guess this post will make more sense if you have actually seen all the videos but here it goes…

The main three tracks (Displacement A, B & C) has a sort of raw sounds with a focus on a slightly detuned harmonics using the Electro Faustus Drone Thing as a central unit and starting point instead of more traditional synths. When the oscillators are freely tunable you end up in new territory you really can’t predict in the same way as when you play a keyboard. Adding the EHX Pitch Fork in the signal chain as in track B and C is just a way to enrich the harmonics with additional octaves of the Drone Thing and being able to use this as another dynamic tool in the performance.

The switches for note on/off on the Drone Thing invokes in me at least that it’s need to be timed/clocked somehow (even if you switch them manually) and that is where the Neon Egg Planetarium comes in with it’s external side chain feature. It is receiving the Korg Volca Beats as the side chain ”clock” and then feeds it back out to the Koma Elektronik FT-201 step sequencer filter, which set to a odd amount of steps gives a bit of poly rhythm feel/movement to this drum machine. In track A I utilize the light sensor on the Koma filter to stop the sequencer running from time to time. The Neon Egg also adds it’s wonderful reverb and tape styled delay to the otherwise rather harsh timbres of the Drone Thing.

I am using the Micro Brute as the lower harmonics in these pieces using the gate out to gate in patch trick for the notes to have infinite sustain and freeing up my hands not to have to keep holding the notes down. It is receiving a signal from the Koma Filter ”sequencer out” which I have connected to inputs of either the filter or the PWM on the Micro Brute to give it some extra movement and that also follows the movement that is imparted on the Volca Beats by the filter. Some extra lush stereo sounds for added ambiance is added to the Micro Brute with the Walrus Descent octave reverb before it hits the mixer.

Not the forget the Novation Circuit here which is providing deep and solid foundation of beats utilizing the sounds from Blank.for.ms Circuit pack. These sounds are a bit rough around the edges, warbly and warm, but are quite hard hitting none the less. The beats in themselves are not so complicated using a minimum amount patterns but playing with the mute on/off on each track here gives me the ability to work with the dynamics in a very direct way bringing in and out elements as I see fit. Also to note is that the Circuit is providing the master clock to the Volca Beats, which in turn sends this clock as CV to the Koma filter and passes it on a altered form (it’s sequenced form that is) to the Micro Brute.

Audio routing:
Novation Circuit → Mackie Mixer
Electro Faustus Drone Thing → EHX Pitch Fork (used in Displacement-B & C) → Neon Egg Planetarium → Mackie Mixer
Arturia Micro Brute → Walrus Audio Descent → Mackie Mixer
Korg Volca Beats → (Passing through the side chain input of the Neon Egg Planetarium → Koma FT-210 → Hi-pass and lo-pass being split (and in Displacement-C hi-pass is distorted by Ibanez Tube Screamer) → To two different inputs on the Mackie Mixer

Midi/Clock/Tempo routing:
Midi clock is coming from Novation Circuit → Korg Volca Beats
Korg Volca Beats audio → Neon Egg Planetarium sidechain input
Korg Volca Beats Sync Out → Koma FT-201 EXT. Clock
Koma FT-201 Sequencer out → Arturia Micro Brute either filter input or PWM input depending on the track

The two interim tracks are made with a smaller setup having the Moog Subharmonicon as a central unit and Electro Faustus Drone Thing providing it’s skewed harmonics on top. Here I have broken out of the straight turning on/off notes on the Drone Thing and using the output volume to make the notes swell and disappear in a more ambient way. The Boss RC-3 looper is directly after the Drone Thing to be able to be stack the notes on top of each other and have them repeating as well obviously. Since the Koma FT-210 is a mono unit (although with several filter outputs) I added a stereo chorus at the end to widen this signal to get more of a wide pad sounds I guess.

The audio routing for this setup is as follows:
Moog Subharmonicon → (Passing through the side chain of the Neon Egg Planetarium) → Walrus Audio Descent → Mackie Mixer (Out of frame) Electro Faustus Drone Thing → Boss RC-3 → Neon Egg Planetarium → Koma FT-210 → Ibanez SC10 Super Stereo Chorus → Mackie Mixer (Out of frame)

The clock/tempo routing is a simple one here, clock out from Subharmonicon to the EXT. Clock in on the Koma FT-201. Also since the Subharmonicon signal is passing through the side chain on the Planetarium I guess this could be considered a sort of tempo sync adding more movement to the Drone Thing signal.

Both setups are such that the Mackie Mixer feeds a stereo input to my audio interface where it is recorded to Ableton Live. I have then mastered the tracks and added small volume automations during this process to enhance the dynamics of the tracks slightly.