May 4, 2015


by Chris Randall

For reasons passing understanding, I've decided I'm going to do my next release 100% Euro. So in my munificent free time the last couple weeks, I've been trying out different workflows to make that experience relatively painless, and by that, I mean that I'm looking in to ways that the context doesn't get in my way. My normal course of action would be to do everything in individual passes, and edit/mix/arrange in the DAW, with additional production being done digitally.

For this release, I'm hoping to avoid that and do entire songs in one pass. So I went through the trouble of assembling a Eurorack instrument-unto-itself; I'm still fooling a bit with the exact layout, but I pretty much have it down right now to something I can make complete tracks with. It's a 12U Monorocket case with a pair of Sequencer 1s and an obvious collection of modules. Taken as a single collective instrument, it needs to be learned and mastered. Which is what I'm doing right now.

The video above shows where I am in the process. This is by no means a musical statement, but rather just a recording of me exploring some different methodologies for performing with this thing, and learning what it is capable of. You'll note the thing I'm fiddling with off to the side, which is a Boss RRV-10 that I circuit-bent some years ago. It has made appearances in many of my videos, but it never occurred to me to "play" it in real time. So I'm experimenting with that here. The monome is hooked up to the Earthsea module, and I'm just using it to play the little melody that is running in to the RRV-10.

So, it's coming along. I think I'm getting close to being ready to patch some music in to life. I will be recording these tracks "stemmed" (in a manner of speaking) direct to 8-track tape, where they'll be mixed to my MTR-11 1/4" deck. I will _try_ to make a video of each performance, but I'm not making any promises there. Stopping a good creative flow to set up the camera, and deal with all that nonsense, is kind of a drag.

For an earlier snapshot of the current journey, you can have a listen to this (no video, sorry.) Unlike the above song, I made this before I made the decision to not multi-take things, so it is actually 4 passes, rather than one.



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May.04.2015 @ 4:22 PM
Cool track. Sounds like you need an analog desk to go between the 8-track and the 2-track.

May.04.2015 @ 4:46 PM
Nice jammin' on that one.

May.04.2015 @ 4:50 PM
Chris Randall
If there was an 8-12 channel mixer that had direct outs and 2 stereo FX returns, I'd be all over it. Unfortunately, the only ones I'm aware of have "Neve" and "SSL" badges on them, and are more than I want to spend on this particular project.


May.04.2015 @ 6:19 PM
Yeah, not much of a market for those. Allen & Heath maybe.

May.04.2015 @ 9:13 PM
Chris Randall
You guys used to make a nice one. But you gave it up in favor of pink guitar tuners or something. :-)

I've been looking, but I haven't found one locally that wasn't fucking cashed.


May.04.2015 @ 10:01 PM
desks - had an 8 channel AMS Calrec mini mixer MKII that would be perfect. direct outs, 4 sends, simple and musical EQ... had to sell it when the economy took a dump all over me in 2008. a great sounding thing.

calrec pic for pron sake.
link []

currently using mackie 1640i w/o regrets. (sort of)

you could maybe find one of those studers if you look long enough. it's a minor mission to find small desks w/the right features as you well know.. and the worthy ones always cost! usually more than the new SSL little mixer. sigh.

anyway... good luck on the "all euro" front. i find when i do this i can't be too methodical about and have to just always be recording which can quickly paint you into a corner if using tape.. but will likely make it all come together faster in some ways.. as you well know!

May.04.2015 @ 11:10 PM
Chris Randall
I find it kind of a relief when I do this sort of thing, actually. The transient nature of it is appealing. My hard drive is littered with half-finished tracks because I got bored of the production part. (Literally. Well over a thousand.)

The Calrec Mini Mixer would be _perfect._ Exactly what I need. But Gearslutz and TapeOp have ruined that sort of shit forever. My best and only hope is one of the TASCAM 8-channel ones that hasn't had a half rack of Coors Lite spilled on it. I know there's one out there.


May.05.2015 @ 6:38 AM
Sounds very nice, starts out film-like.

If you're going to tape anyway, I personally like the workflow of the classic Tascam 388 and 688 multitrackers, if only because tape is relatively inexpensive on these machines and because the mixer and all the routing is integrated. You'd think maybe the quality would suffer due to the narrow formats, but I think they can sound pretty good (or not!) depending on how you hit it.

May.05.2015 @ 6:39 AM
I realize Tape Op/etc may have ruined the cost of those machines somewhat, but for the most part they still seem relatively affordable for what you get, IMHO. I've picked up 3 388s over the last few years (one I keep with my drummer so I don't travel with mine, one setup at home, and one spare one for parts).

May.05.2015 @ 9:10 AM
Chris Randall
I have a very good 1/2" 8-track machine (TSR-8.) While the tape isn't cheap, it is a fantastic deck, and I have no intention of replacing it. What I need is a mixer.


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