tuffkid (street version)

i thought i’d write up some notes about how i made my latest track ‘tuffkid’ to share some ideas about my process. scroll down for a track by track breakdown of the gear used & some insight about how it was put together…

all the instruments used are hardware but i used a combination of renoise & sequentix’s cirklon for sequencing duties & mixed in the box with renoise’s mixer. i used cytomic’s the glue on the master bus and softube’s trident a-range on each channel. effects used were renoise’s built in delay, lexicon’s native reverb plug (LXPHall) & a send/return out to a doepfer spring reverb module (a-199).

going through it track by track…

track 1 – roland sh101. i used this for the random beeps at the start & end. whack the filter res up high & modulate the cutoff with the random lfo. slight sustain & release on the volume envelope. actual note triggering was sequenced by the cirklon but the pattern is uber simple. i used the eq, delay & reverbs for timbral variation here and there which were sequenced by renoise (muting their action at various points in the track).

track 2 – korg ms20 (original). you can here this throughout the track, it’s the mid & low stab sound that comes in first with the bleepy bleepy. both oscillators set to saw, filters open, lowest pitch, sustain max & release halfway between 6 & 7. Notes sequenced by the cirklon & the eq, reverbs & delay sequenced by renoise.

track 3 – cyndustries zeroscillator (modular). this comes in near the end & sounds like a woody bass sound. i use a doepfer a-111 as modulator & cwejman adsr-2 for modulating the fm index & as volume envelope. the sound is routed through a cwejman vca-4mx before hitting my audio interface (motu ultralite) and ending up in renoise. Again, I sequence the notes with the cirklon & the mixer effects in renoise.

track 4 – osc303 (modular). this comes in about midway through the track, a squidgy acid little riff sequenced on the cirklon once again. this voice consists of a number of modules, osc303 & vcf303 by dinsync.info. volume envelope is a analogue systems rs-60 & i feed the audio into another channel on the cwejman vca-4mx. i don’t mess around with the sound much here, just a bit of reverb.

track 5 – wasp (modular). this is another modular voice used for the rave’ish alarm sound at the start. it’s built out of a livewire afg feeding into a custom dual wasp filter built by metalbox. envelope duties are handled by a makenoise maths & again I route the audio through the vca-4mx. the cirklon sequences the notes as well as the filter cutoff modulation (mixed in with some maths). there’s some eq on this and again the reverbs & delay are sequenced by renoise.

track 6 – worm (modular). another squidgy acid riff sound, made with an analogue solutions sy02 filter. i route in white noise from a doepfer a-118 noise module & take the audio out from sy02 & feed it back into it’s audio in jack (to it’s vca) before taking it into the computer via the motu. the resonance is whacked up high & the cirklon sequences the filter cutoffs. i use a wiard malekko envelator for the vca envelope & eq out the bottom end in renoise (it’s a bass monster otherwise). sounds pretty cool even if i say so myself 😉 again, the effects are sequenced in renoise.

track 7 – xoxbox (mode machines). this is the punchy bass that comes in midway through the track. i don’t mess around with the controls, just keep it steady. square wave oscillator, cut off about 5, resonance about 2, env mod on full, decay on lowest, accent about 5. notes sequenced by renoise via midi with just some reverb applied in the mixer.

track 8 – moog voyager. this is used for the extra bass as a kind of counter point stab against the ms20. the 3 oscillators are set to 32, 16 & 8, no detune between them. first two waves are close to saws, third is a square. osc 1 is on full, 2 is half, 3 is a quarter. filter cutoff is about midway, so is the spacing & resonance. both envelopes have fast attack, fast decay, medium or high sustain & medium release. sequenced by renoise via midi with the effects switched in & out as per the other tracks.

track 9 – roland mks70. this is used for the flutey like sound that comes in near the start of the track. i’m shamelessly using a standard preset on this (h4 – xylophone to be exact) but it’s fairly heavily processed with delay & reverb. not much more to say about this part really, it’s a simple line added for variety.

track 10 – marion systems msr-2. another shameless use of a default patch here, this one is 346 – ocean lights. again i’m using some heavy delay & reverb with some occasional spring reverb thrown in for good measure. this synth is really rather nice, it’s actually an oberheim designed machine, this patch especially sounds good with the spring verb.

in terms of composition, tracks 8 thru 10 form a loose melody playing off each other like a 3 part counter point. all are sequenced in renoise via midi. i find using very simple melodic lines intermixed like this works really well, especially for drum heavy tracks.

speaking of which, that’s pretty much it for the melodic parts but there are another 7 tracks just for the drums to go through. as this post is getting a bit long though, i think i’ll break here & write about those in another post soon. let me in the comments below if you want to know more details, otherwise stay tuned for the next part coming soon…

Refund – Orthoclase (remixed by me!)

The guys over at TEFOSAV organised a little compilation where each musician was randomly given a remix pack from a fellow TEFOSAVian and told to “have at it!”. I was given Refund‘s Orthoclase to mash up, the results of which can be heard here…

Check out the whole compilation over at the bandcamp page.

Home Made MC-4

Here are couple of videos of a project I’ve been working on; a recreation of the Roland MC-4 CV/gate sequencer using an Arduino Mega. I acquired one of these old sequencers to use with my modular synth but unfortunately I’ve never managed to save & load programs on it (I think it’s busted). So I decided to have a go at making my own version, with the key feature of being able to save & load data to an SD card. There’s still some way to go but it’s getting there. I’ll eventually release the schematics & code once it’s in a decent (less shocking) state.


A bit of work in progress this time as well as a sort of demo. I’m using the incredible awesomeness of Expert Sleeper’s Silent Way Sync plugin on this track to clock various bits of gear (more about that later). I’ll complete this one after I finish another track I’m currently working on, so this is a sort of preview I guess…


This track is just a little demo of the marvellous DrumDokta DRM-110 module by Din Sync. I might work this up into something more varied in the future. I really have the urge to write some mental acid.

If you’re wondering, the picture is of a snowman I made whilst out walking in Denmark (it was bloody freezing!)