Saturday, December 29, 2012

Kaiju Science

Kaiju Science from Karim More on Vimeo.

Jamming with analog gear...

DSI Prophet 08 & Tempest
Moog Little Phatty
Doepfer Dark Energy (sequenced w/ iPad)
And also M-Tron Pro Chamberlin, MPC500.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

(Still in) Recording Mode

Added some electric guitar, bass guitar (courtesy of the Electro-Harmonix POG2 octaver) and mellotron.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Recording Mode

I've almost finished mixing and mastering the "Hollow Lands" folk-blues-electro album, and taking some time off to record a new tune, which will serve as an experiment in a more organic, electric sound. As another experiment, I'm programming sample-based beats on the Fingerlab DM1 iPad app. And shooting a video for the whole thing. Stay tuned!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Voight Kampff

Restored from my archives... I've recorded this in december 2010 for a horror short film that unfortunately wasn't ever finished.

At the time, I did a little tutorial on the recording. Here's what I had to say.

This particular track was actually recorded before I was able to see any footage of the short film. Hell, none had even been shot at the time! I was told by the filmmaker that the film would need some fast-paced, street chasing music.
I decided to go for a tight, urban sound, built around a fat and biting Moog groove.The tempo is relatively slow, because I was expecting to create a sort of musical momentum, beginning with an almost hiphop-styled groove, Mellotron strings, a quiet break, then full-on electric and industrial madness, with nasty guitars and crazy electronic bleeps.
Whether it’s a song or an instrumental, and unless I’m 100% sure that there won’t be any beat and that the track won’t need any fixed tempo, my first step is always to program one, at the very least to provide a tempo guide for recording.
Method-wise, there’s a big difference between recording a song and an instrumental. I will almost always start the former with a completed song. On the other hand, building up the latter is pure improvisation, in that I simply have no idea what the track will be until I push Record and improvise something that I’ll then expand upon.
So, I’ve started by programming a first beat, with the Drums Overkill plugin as main source. This is an excellent database, using the Kontakt engine. Not only does it feature almost every vintage drum machine ever built, but also a clever sample collection arranged in sections such as “hiphop”, “drum and bass”, “experimental”. All in all, a very useful source that provides a large variety of drum sounds that you can tweak within Kontakt.
This particular beat also features a couple of “natural” sounds, that is, a gunshot and a falling bullet shell, both from a huge database of movie sounds I have assembled over the years. Mixing-wise, I’ve juxtaposed two layers of the same beat. The first one has a 6dB boost at 64Hz.
The second one is squashed to death by a compressor, then radically EQd to cut most bass and high frequencies, and boost the mids (EQ deep cut below 150Hz and at 16Khz, boost between 1Khz and 10Khz). This is pretty much a variation on what it’s called parallel compression of New York compression :
I then programmed a second beat, which comes midway to reinforce the rhythmic section. This one was treated in pretty much the same way.

Now that a basic rhythmic foundation is in place, my second task is to lay down some instrumental part that will define what the chord progression (if any) will be, and what the overall tune will be. I would usually play piano or possibly some synth pad, but for this particular track, since it’s meant to be very rhythmic, I’ve chosen to sketch out a bass groove.
Gear-wise, bass to me means MOOG!
A little bit of experimentation here as well : the Moog Little Phatty is plugged to the UA 710 preamp, with a blend of 50-50 solid-state and tube signal, and a fair amount of gain to make it distort. That little trick provides a bit of additional grit to the bass sound. There are 3 Moog layers involved here.

I then proceeded to add some more harmonic parts around that beat/bass core.The Prophet 08 was to put to use there.

Now the track was coming together but it still needed a fuller sound. A couple of electric guitars, playing the fundamental note over and over, would fit it nicely.
It’s often a good idea to record the exact same guitar part twice, and pan one on the extreme left and the other on the extreme right. That’s what I did, and I should add that the slightly off-key, grungey guitar sound was obtained in two way : tuning the first string one step down and passing it through a Small Clone chorus.
Some EQ there too : light boost at 1Khz, cut at 10Khz and big cut 16Khz.

There’s a lot of orchestral software out there, but I do prefer to create little weird, retro chamber orchestras using Gforce’s M-Tron, and now M-Tron Pro, plugins.

The Mellotron of course is very limited, which fits my idea totally. A little arrangement of Mellotron cellos, violas and violins gives a vintage, off-beat strings flavor which has far more character than any realistic emulation of orchestra would give.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Quote du Jour : The Mummy

"Do you have to open graves to find girls to fall in love with?"

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Quote du Jour : The Wolf Man

 "I believe a man lost in the mazes of his own mind may imagine that he's anything"

Friday, November 23, 2012

Quote du Jour : Frankenstein

"Have you never wanted to do anything that was dangerous?"

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Quote du Jour : Dracula

"To die... To be really dead... That must be glorious"

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

New Video Out : "Dark Mind"

This was shot last summer with Nicolas Plaire, who planned the shooting with me, then did all the editing and post-production.
Song "Dark Mind" from the upcoming "Hollow Lands" folk-blues-electro album.
Sung by Miss Roxanne and clothed by Couicq Factory.
Bass by Oystermoon.


Khoral - Dark Mind from Nicolas Plaire on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Analog Four : Outstanding Elektron Promo Video

This should have a lot more hits.
It's got to be the most elaborate promo video ever for a synth.
And the instrument itself, four voices analog with lots of knobs, sounds most interesting.
Watch it and share!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

All the Sad Puppets

Fujifilm X-Pro1.

X-Pro1 / XE-1 Raw Conversion : Silkypix vs CS6

I had heard there was some issues about RAW conversion on the new Fujifilm cameras but couldn't figure out why. As it turns out, the new X-Trans sensor's RAW files aren't properly treated by the major image softwares, such as Adobe. Below is the same RAW file, converted to TIFF via Silkypix (latest version in trial version) and Adobe Photoshop CS6.

When zoomed 100% it is obvious that the files converted with Silkypix retain more detail.
I certainly hope Adobe will fix that in future updates!


Photoshop CS6

Photoshop CS6

Monday, October 29, 2012

Arturia Minibrute : Early Impressions

This isn't a review per se, I don't own the instrument. Just my thoughts after monopolizing it for an extended period of time at the shop.

The Minibrute is Arturia's first analog synth, quite an interesting move for a company formally specialised in software. It's small and it's cheap, but is it good? And does having yet another monophonic analog synth on the market matters anyway?

Well, it does matter, because there aren't that many companies invested in producing affordable analog synths, apart from Dave Smith Instruments. And the Minibrute is a wonderful instrument. To begin with, it might be somewhat inexpensive (as analog goes), but it feels pretty solid. It's surprisingly heavy for an instrument of that size. The knobs have a reassuring sturdiness, although the slidebars are a bit light. All in all, it's a synth that you won't be afraid to carry around.

The Minibrute only features one oscillator, but multiply the waveshaping tricks to make the best out of it.You also get a beefy sub-oscillator that's bound to shatter some glass. Soundwise, the synth certainly delivers. Some have questioned the use of the obscure Steiner-Parker filter design, but I totally support it. If you want a Moog ladder design or a CEM-style filter, well, go buy a Moog or a DSI. We don't need yet another Moog-like analog synth. It's a bold move from Arturia, but it absolutely makes sense, because it sets the Minibrute apart from the competition. Whether you like its sound or not is a matter of personal taste. When it comes to modern monophonic analogues, the Moog Little Phatty has a round, warm tone, and Dave Smith's synths sport that sophisticated, well-educated analogue sound. By contrast, the Minibrute, is punchy and gritty, and it has range, from analog ground-shaking basses to experimentally harsh screaming leads and other-worldly textures. It's an aggressive synth, that you can make to sound warm and soft or screeching digital.

The level of control is understandably great : one knob per function. You don't have any preset memory, everything is on the synth and the possibilities are numerous from an instrument in that price range. The arpeggiator works like a charm, and even features a swing mode.
Now the problem will be to actually buy one. The Minibrute I've played in the shop is the ONLY unit they've got at this point. They manage to get a couple units from time to time which are of course pre-ordered. Production levels are ridiculous. I know that Arturia isn't Roland, Yamaha or Korg, but it's still a bit jarring to see how they managed to mess the release that badly, after so many delays. Anyway, if you can find one and fancy adding a mean sounding, portable and programmer-friendly analog synth to your setup, go for it. I'll probably do when they actually build them in decent quantities.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Me and the Devil

Man was singing out loud Robert Johnson's blues "Me and the Devil".

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cover du Jour : "Creators of Rain"

One of my favorite late 60's pop songs, most famously covered by Claudine Longet.

Gforce M-Tron Pro w/Chamberlin for most of the sounds.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Demo du Jour : "Snowfall"

To be recorded later on by Miss Roxanne.

"The angel came
To nurse this heart
Beating too slow
I grieve for the day
Yet the wounds do not show

Rain turns to snow
Fall the starry roads
The tears shed in vain
The ghost of yesterday
Lying on the plain

The world is gray
The pale moon rests
The stars fade away
But in the distance
I think I saw your face

We hurt again
But the wounds do not show
The pain will go
Fall the starry roads
The tears shed in vain
Grieve for the heart
The ghost of yesterday"

Friday, October 5, 2012

Cover du Jour : "Man with the Gun"

A favorite song of mine from my favorite singer.

Gforce M-Tron Pro for the strings.

"I'm out of my senses
I'll only smile
The night I meet the man with the gun

Not that I'd be defenceless
But I don't think I'll fight
The night I meet the man with the gun

Maybe I'll say what kept you?
I knew you would come
I somehow didn't expect to
Be spared for so long

Was it a whim of fortune
Or was I hard to find
What's the routine of a man with a gun

Was it a kind of torture
Have you been out of town
What is like to a man with a gun

Maybe I'm glad to see you
It's hard to believe
But standing here beside you
Is such a relief

This is gonna hurt me
I do know why you've come
But I got this feeling
That it's already been done"

Monday, October 1, 2012


"She came to the river
To quench her thirst
To leave this all behind
And drown desire

We glance upon
The times we’ve known
Deep in her thoughts
She’s sinking down
We chance upon
The things we’ve done
Buried in sleep
And sinking down

We stare upon
The joy we’ve known
The forgotten scene
From a long lost film
We sigh upon
The things we’ve lost
Drowning the tears
And sinking down
We glance upon
The times we’ve known
Deep in her dreams
She’s sinking down"

Drums&Bass : DSI Tempest
Gforce M-Tron Pro, VSM

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fujifilm Showdown : X10 vs X100 vs X-Pro1

This is no in-depth review of the three cameras, just a quick image quality comparison. The pics speak for themselves, actually. What it basically shows is the X10 is a great entry-level compact camera, which provides nice results if you don't crop too much. The X100 actually holds up pretty well against the X-Pro1.

All shots were done with the same settings, in JPEG mode, no filters, no post-processing. Please note that I had a hard time getting as bright a shot from the X10 than with its bigger brothers, I can't say that I understand why.