Archipelago is live.  Check it out below:

Distribution through the usual online sellers and streamers will occur over the next few weeks.

Production details below.

The title was inspired by this short story, though the appellation relates more to the concept of these being self-contained works in a chain or collection.

Overall the style is experimental ambient in the traditional sense that the origin of each work is improvisation without awareness or concept of end-point.  These eight tracks were finalised over the last few months out of a pool several gigabytes in size.

What really ties them together is that in each track I was working towards the development of a workflow, the creation of a sonic language, and a kind of musical vision which has now stabilised.  More than just discovering how to use the hardware and software to develop a unified sound it has also been a lesson in learning what habits I should keep and what I should let go.  Embracing the hiss, the noise and the artefacts I’ve previously avoided, while also letting go of the worry over whether it is “experimental” enough.  I could keep tweaking for ages but letting these tracks go will help in moving forward.

the Bell Bower studio
the Bell Bower studio

The Roland System-1m and V-Synth make grand entrances, with the former providing lots of sequenced bass and rhythmic sounds while the latter dominates the ambient pad landscapes.  The Ableton Push is a major addition to the workflow allowing me to play most elements and tweak parameters simultaneously.  The Nord Modular is still used on almost every track though it becomes hard to tell when so much of the synthesis ends up morphed together via Zynaptiq Morph or destroyed by Crusher X.  I’m still finding the Melda Total Bundle of huge benefit in the mixing phase with particular emphasis this time on the multi-band delay, saturator, transformer and linear EQ.  2C Kaleidoscope also makes a number of appearances creating harmonic drones and resonant emphasis often paired with the B2 reverb which helps place the more alien sonics in a semi-realistic environment.  Every track has an instance of Sknote Soundbrigade filters which is incredibly useful for balancing the spectrum without blandly normalising and the end chain uses U-He Presswerk which glues the mix together nicely (to these ears at least).

The Bandcamp upload is 24bit and i’ve set the ceiling to -3dB as there are sizeable dynamics and some of the noisier tracks sound shit if everything gets compressed.  I may boost the iTunes / Spotify etc… versions to -1dB but for now I encourage you to turn it up.

The imagery used in this release comes from a series of water / oil / food-colouring experiments i’ve made shot with a Canon 100mm Macro lens.

The next release focuses on “comprovisation” within the defined workflow and to contrast with Archipelago the vibe is more percussive and broken.


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