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Guest Zelmo Swift
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Guest Zelmo Swift

Just noticed Oval's official soundcloud created a set for a new release. there are no tracks in the set yet.

How do you all feel about Markus Popp's direction as of late?

I liked the "Oh" EP, but overall, I really prefer his loopy, glitchy ambient stuff from the 90's.

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I like it in theory but the technique is less 'mysterious' to me since it sounds very much like a Tension-esque physical modeling string based type of composition VS a really glitched out wavetable synthesis bed of ambient noise (ovalcommers, So). I'm curious if hell still use the same technique or move into something a a little more dense and weird

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had a chance to ask him last year when he did a presentation about himself, he said that he doesn't really like the old stuff anymore and is more into making this song-like stuff now, and he pointed out that he really seriously doesn't want people to focus on what he's using to make the music, overall he was a cunt 4/10. dunno.

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hmm. That's fine I suppose, but there was more sonic variety in the older So and before stuff. Even though it all had a similar density and noisey quality, no songs sounded as identical to each-other as they do on his newer works.

I really think my main problem is that he's using the exact same physical model string patch on every track as well as those BFD sampling library sounding clean studio drums he puts underneath some of them. The sound choices work sometimes but i feel like he needs to switch the palette out a little more.

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Am I right in thinking he claims that it's all sampled from real instruments and there's no physical modelling despite the fact it sound 100% like the plucked sting physical modelling that anyone who's experimented in that kind of synthesis has heard ?!

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when he did his presentation he was basically going through his career chronologically while having ableton live on a projector and clicking on clips (this is also how he does his live sets)..

 

he was mildly dissing "electronic music" for sounding artificial and machinelike; he said something along the lines of "yeah i used this waldorf synth for a while and really knew it inside out and now i don't find this sort of stuff interesting anymore".

several people (including me) asked him to elaborate on this, because, you know, he had been going on about processes and stuff for an hour. but he was starting to get pissed and thought everyone was missing the point when he was asked about the technical processes he's using nowadays. kinda lol.

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Guest Zelmo Swift

hmm. That's fine I suppose, but there was more sonic variety in the older So and before stuff. Even though it all had a similar density and noisey quality, no songs sounded as identical to each-other as they do on his newer works.

 

I really think my main problem is that he's using the exact same physical model string patch on every track as well as those BFD sampling library sounding clean studio drums he puts underneath some of them. The sound choices work sometimes but i feel like he needs to switch the palette out a little more.

 

I agree. His older stuff had a much wider variety of textures. I mean, within an album there wasn't a whole lot of variation, but from album to album, you knew he was working with a new set of samples/loops. Like Dok to Process to Commers, the sounds and the approach were markedly different. He seems to have plateaued after his comeback album, O. It's all intricate plucky weird melodies and programmed "free" drumming.

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Guest Zelmo Swift

when he did his presentation he was basically going through his career chronologically while having ableton live on a projector and clicking on clips (this is also how he does his live sets)..

 

he was mildly dissing "electronic music" for sounding artificial and machinelike; he said something along the lines of "yeah i used this waldorf synth for a while and really knew it inside out and now i don't find this sort of stuff interesting anymore".

several people (including me) asked him to elaborate on this, because, you know, he had been going on about processes and stuff for an hour. but he was starting to get pissed and thought everyone was missing the point when he was asked about the technical processes he's using nowadays. kinda lol.

 

There's a short documentary featurette on vimeo that shows him working on stuff in his apartment. That might give you some insight into his new process.

Here it is:

 

He does seem to come off as being up his own ass quite a bit.

Also, I read somewhere that he screwed over the guys he started the project with.

It was a trio, and then he just started releasing stuff by himself as Oval? Can anyone verify this?

Edited by Zelmo Swift
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Im a huge fan of the early stuff -- 94 diskont is one of my all-time favorite albums, and szenariodisk, commers, process, etc. are all golden.

However I don't like the new stuff. It's too arbitrary and aimless. He's been using a basic "template" to generate a thousand tracks that are essentially the same although they may be superficially different.

Good music isn't easy to generate, it's difficult and it can't be changed in a thousand tiny ways without destroying it. Everything on O for example is completely forgettable.

There were a few really nice new tracks on OvalDNA, here's one of them:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcX1qeOInqg


 

He does seem to come off as being up his own ass quite a bit.

Also, I read somewhere that he screwed over the guys he started the project with.

It was a trio, and then he just started releasing stuff by himself as Oval? Can anyone verify this?

 

Yes, that's correct. This interview with ex-member Frank Metzger tells the story.

 

http://www.meso.net/oval/metzger.html

 

 

 

Strictly speaking, neither Sebastian nor I actually "left" oval. In the summer of 95, it became clear that Markus had very different goals for oval than I did. Increasingly, he wanted to professionalize oval.
For him, it was no longer so much about the music, and the fun that went along with it, than it was about strategical condsiderations and marketing. I wrote a letter to Markus regarding this, which he has not answered to this day.
With Sebastion, the situation was similar. He saw on the television that he was no longer an oval member. In a piece on the Japanese tour of mouse on mars/microstoria/oval that was broadcast by the German music television station VIVA, there was a subtitle in a video clip of one of the oval pieces, which read: "This video was generated on the computer by Markus Popp and ex-oval member Sebastian Oschatz." It’s pretty likely that Markus was responsible for this subtitle. And Sebastian also no longer has any kind of contact with Markus.
Edited by Joseph
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Am I right in thinking he claims that it's all sampled from real instruments and there's no physical modelling despite the fact it sound 100% like the plucked sting physical modelling that anyone who's experimented in that kind of synthesis has heard ?!

I'm not sure, but even weirder not a single reviewer dis-believed his premise, that they were potentially actual guitar recordings.

 

when you search for 'physical modeling' and oval or oval's new album titles and physical modeling on google all you get are threads of us discussing this on watmm.

 

If those drums were recorded live, they were recorded and processed in such a way to make them feel very much like a studio sampling library recording. It's actually not very easy to get clean drum recordings that sound that sterile, if his goal was to make them sound 'live' , maybe rhythmically they do, but in terms of the timbre and quality of them they sound waaaay too clean and generic.

i like this track a lot that you posted Joseph, definitely one of the best tracks off DNA (which i admittedly barely listened to)

 

 

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Guest Zelmo Swift

Did anyone mess around with the OvalDNA Player that was released alongside the CD/DVD release of OvalDNA?

Any luck importing the huge library of classic Oval Sounds into it?

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Guest Zelmo Swift

I messed with it long enough to get SOME of the samples from the DVD to work with it, but the controls for it were really buggy and imprecise. The worst thing about it is the wav export which seems to only export a random slice of what's in the workspace. smh.

it could've been awesome, but they half-assed it, and i'm assuming it's never going to be updated or "iterated" again.

http://ovaldna.com/

I was really impressed that Markus was so done with his old sound that he released all the source material from it and even software to mix it in 90's Oval fashion, allowing anyone to kick out the 90's Oval jams at their local coffee shop.

Can Ableton do what the OvalDNA player should be able to do?

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"yeah i used this waldorf synth for a while and really knew it inside out and now i don't find this sort of stuff interesting anymore".

 

There's a short documentary featurette on vimeo that shows him working on stuff in his apartment. That might give you some insight into his new process.

Here it is:

 

 

funny. according to the video, he not only uses the same waldorf microwave xt but also one of the closest vst-clones of microwave xt — vemberaudio surge. so he's still in the area of wavetable synthesis. and now I began to doubt that he uses any physical modeling techniques (except cabinet simulation).

here is quick and dirty example:

WT (just simple 1 osc patch + renoise's cabinet simulator)

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He does seem to come off as being up his own ass quite a bit.

Also, I read somewhere that he screwed over the guys he started the project with.

It was a trio, and then he just started releasing stuff by himself as Oval? Can anyone verify this?

 

 

Yes. One of the Oval ex-participants is Sebastian Oschatz, creator of vvvv and MESO.net

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i've never heard a Microwave XT come close to being able to produce those sounds. An FS1R or Nord maybe, but wavetables alone can't produce those timbres. If he is using Tension in Ableton Live (which is what it sounds like to me) it probably wouldn't be very wise to admit that you made an entire 3 album series using it (hardware sounds a lot cooler for one)

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i've never heard a Microwave XT come close to being able to produce those sounds. An FS1R or Nord maybe, but wavetables alone can't produce those timbres. If he is using Tension in Ableton Live (which is what it sounds like to me) it probably wouldn't be very wise to admit that you made an entire 3 album series using it (hardware sounds a lot cooler for one)

 

Well in the playground video posted he's clearly fidgeting with a guitar going into some garish looking guitar fx vst (not sure which one, maybe amplitube) in ableton, so I guess that's basically his setup. It sounds so bad though, and those fucking drums, really dislike his new aesthetic. Terrible.

Edited by Gocab
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Just to add something about the discussion about Marcus himself- he added me on facebook and we talked a bit, at first more asking him about some old stuff I missed out sadly. It was kinda strange- there was an official MP3 of the first Oval installation in 1991 floating around the web (given out by Sebastian or Frank) and I lost it sadly on a harddrive. He reacted rather pissed about my request to pay him something for a proper file of it and it seemed he had some anger about his ex-working partners still.

I then took another route and asked him about the Kessy Lux Oval tape (which was to buy also officially) and he responded: "Don't ask me about it- I don't have it. Ohh, and please do not show me a link how it looks like. Please do not!"

 

He got a bit relaxed as I told him that I liked his Squarepusher rework- he told me it was done with about 15 stems and extensive wavetable synthesis. He offered me to send me a screenshot of it (which would have been nice) and said it would may be released for free on soundcloud so people can make their own remix of the remix.

 

Back to topic: yes, his older stuff is miles better than the new things he produces.

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that's cool you talked to him on facebook

 

After all I guess it's hard to have a topic he feels comfortable with. The past seems to be some kind of border you better not pass.

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