Armageddon Dub (updated)November 24, 2012
So, yeah, this is gonna be yet another one of those posts aimed towards the fellow audiophile, so all you normal people can move along while us nerds drool and whatnot.
Recently I find myself getting almost a Hunter S. Thompson-esque air when it comes to the Molot tube compressor I wrote about earlier. Using this insane piece of technology on everything from drums to the final stages of mastering I’ve kinda adopted his body language and spout off “oh you magnificent beast!” in the same way good ol’ Doc used to talk about Cadillacs and .357 Magnums. I love this gadget. For all its unruliness and unmatched depth of ugly this takes whatever comes through it and sends it straight off to that “whoa! territory” I’ve mentioned in an earlier post. This is a wild buck impossible to tame. Pure masculinity. No holds barred. You just gotta buckle up, buy the ticket, and take the ride with a big grin on your face, ha ha ha.
So with that hunk of Russian primeval just ready to pretty much hurt anything I might point my finger at, plus me reading the great interview Sound on Sound did with French madman Phillippe Zdar about mixing The Beastie Boys‘ great (and final?) album Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, I was curious to try out his mixing technique – especially submixing sounds by splitting an audio source into threes (lows, mids and highs) and treat them with a different chain of EQs and compressors. Even though I’ve never been much of a rap/hiphop fan, the Beasties are totally different because they (1) have a unique approach to the form that keeps it interesting and (2) have a genuine punk/hardcore background giving them a street cred that no PR staff in the world can fake, resulting in a musical style that’s energetic and raw. Listening to that album I was blown away by its creativity, the variety of the material and just how dense the damn thing sounded. So of course I had to look it up, read up on the techniques used achieving it and then find an excuse to take what I’ve learned and just try it out.
As soon as I came home Friday afternoon I started working on a dub song using a classic drum loop and pretty much spent all evening working on it. The initial try had me ripping off my earphones again of course ’cause that damn Molot is kinda like dealing with a 900 lb gorilla trying to quit smoking, but once I had the levels right and started getting into it – using mainly tube compressors, expanders, a classic spring reverb and the occasional dub delay – I knew I was onto something. Cranking up the volume the track sounded hot, dense and just jumped at you. I went to bed around 1:00 am and oddly enough had my first nightmare in years. I summed it up earlier Saturday morning on Facebook, so ‘scuse me while I cut and paste:
Wow. I woke up way too early today on account of having my first nightmare in years. Ironically (’cause I don’t believe in the Mayan ‘The World ends in December 2012!’) I found myself in a quiet post-apocalyptic world, sneaking through the streets (’cause if you start hollering out who you are and where you are before you’ve gotten your bearings or a firm grasp of the situation you’re a damn idiot) trying to figure out what the hell had happened.
After breaking into a TV-station I saw videos of chaos, politicians desperately trying to maintain the illusion they were in control (while their bodyguards/police/military were being torn apart by brainless maniacs in the background), tv-presenters crying as they reported the latest updates and then just silence. No specifics mentioned but after all the initial chaos it all just went out like a lightbulb.
And I am aware that it’s anticlimactic but that was the horror of the dream. The silence. Cities completely devoid of life. The horror and unbearable sadness of waking up one day with everything just gone and no one to explain how or why.
Yeah, I agree. I definitely gotta cut back on the weekly amount of The Walking Dead episodes. Anyway, drawing inspiration from that I dug through my old industrial samples and worked out something that would’ve fit the horrific scenario. The title Armageddon Dub was pretty much a given. It turned out fine but way too dark and industrial-sounding for what I had in mind for the Call Me Greenhorn full length. I’m on the fence about it right now, but I’ll make up my mind about including it or not some time soon. It’s available via SoundCloud, so check it out and please share!