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is it true Go Plastic by Squarepusher featured no computer wizardry?


PhylumZunami
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to your other question, if he said Selection Sixteen was recorded and then 'edited' on tape, sure I believe it because that album sounds very raw to me, sounds like mostly hardware jams. There isn't much if any serious editing that I can hear on the entire album. But even still, it doesn't make much sense to do unless just for the please of the act of cutting tape. It would make more sense to record it all on tape, record it into a DAW and edit it there.

 

it was more than that though I think, it wasn't sequenced at all (i.e. no master clock) (outside of any step sequencers on the synths themselves). just lots of individual bits recorded to tape and cut together, radiophonic workshop style.

 

yeah just basic common sense that doesn't make sense to me at all and just sounds very unlikely on its face. Why wouldn't you use a voltage clock to slave to your other gear? Clearly they are slaving 303s with other machines (namely 606) in that album and not editing it by layering tape. there are many many raw unedited sections of 2 machines synced up to each other. What would make sense (and this still would be harder than just running the machines at once) is to use time code to sync tape up while multitracking (not layering together manually spliced edits). but seriously i can't believe we're even arguing this. have you used musical gear before?

 

I have no idea what studio that is, but i'm confused how is that relevant to the 2 brief shots of cooledit? Are you saying because they show a shot of studio that isn't tom that means its stock footage?

 

All this footage provided for me was potential confirmation of what I've always believed to be true, that Tom probably dabbled a bit in Cooledit pro all the way back during the Go Plastic era.

 

well if they show some stock footage of some random studio, why wouldn't they show some random footage of some pc software? there's nothing in the video to suggest that it's his pc.

 

i will concede that its possible its not him using cooledit in that video, however back to what i originally said long before i saw that video i had just always assumed Go plastic was a combination of Cooledit/ Reaktor/ Eventide and probably edited for completion on protools or something equivalent. and i still believe it . before i had used anything beyond an H3000 i didn't entirely believe the eventide part until i used more powerful machines. It was seeing Vytear play a live set using a midi fader box to control an eventide which finally made me realize how much that sound was on Go Plastic (the difference is Vytear would probably admit he would have to edit and stitch together sections of it to make sound anything close to go plastic)

Edited by John Ehrlichman
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not having used one this is only a theory, but i believe it s possible with an Orville since it has 8 channels/banks to have something like 8 different effects algorithms loaded up together and just switch between which one the audio is passing through without it pausing or delaying. this is just a total assumption after briefly glancing at the manual. it would still surprise me though if he figured this out back in 2000 though tbh

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ok, I seem to be conflating two things there, he mentioned somewhere else using tape editing, but those tracks maybe just used his bass->midi into an 4/8 track probably.


 

interesting quote about selection sixteen:

 

 

 

Once again, there is a difficulty of definitions. Although you may interpret a given track as being "live" or "accoustic", there may well be a high degree of programmed material in a "live" track. Also, there may be a high degree of "live" material in what sounds heavily oriented towards programming. For example, "square rave", "tomorrow world" and "mind rubbers" from "selection sixteen", although they might sound like it, have no programmed( i.e. sequenced) material in them at all. You might verify this by attempting to perform a BPM count on them - they do not at any point have a precise tempo. I played all the parts live from a bass guitar using a bass>midi converter (including drums). "Iambic 9 poetry" is all programmed apart from the drums, which I played in two parts, and then spliced together to form a continuous backbone. It is too difficult to describe my music in the actual details of how it was constructed. This is why I am happy for any differing interpretations of my work to be made, because to provide an definitive account of how it was all done would probably take me the remainder of my life to do - something I currently have no intention of doing. In any case, what use would it be? Presumably so that could people could learn techniques from my work. If there is anything to learn from me it is that your imagination is good a guide to composition as any "account of an approach to composition".

 

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yeah just basic common sense that doesn't make sense to me at all and just sounds very unlikely on its face. Why wouldn't you use a voltage clock to slave to your other gear? Clearly they are slaving 303s with other machines (namely 606) in that album and not editing it by layering tape. there are many many raw unedited sections of 2 machines synced up to each other. What would make sense (and this still would be harder than just running the machines at once) is to use time code to sync tape up while multitracking (not layering together manually spliced edits). but seriously i can't believe we're even arguing this. have you used musical gear before?

 

 

yeah, I have, though only playing around with other people's gear, my stuff has been entirely pc based. there's nothing impossible about what I described though, I mean that's what the radiophonic workshop and others were doing in the 50s/60s (pretty sure that was before time code sync as well). of course there are easier ways to do it, but surely the point is to deliberately put constraints on yourself . like I said in my last post though, I was mixing up two separate things he said in different interviews, so not actually sure what role the tape editing did have, the non bass>midi tracks on there could easily have been your standard hardware jams.

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the BBC radiophonic workshop was making music at a time when they didn't even have real sequencers, i think rhythm machines were around but that was about it so of course they would have to rely on tape loops for stuff like that. The premise you describe though sounds super cumbersome and painstaking with very little payoff. Even multitracking onto tape without very good timecode syncing mechanisms with voltage synced hardware is a pain in the ass, drift is a big problem. there is virtually no reason why anyone would actually edit tape these days unless they want to get some sort of lofi effect like William Basinski or something. If you're just running a 303 and a 606 through some spring reverb into an analog mixer straight to tape that can sound pretty lofi and raw already, so to NOT sync those two together and instead record each one individually and then splice tape loops of them on top of each other would be like building a functioning car out of legos (you can probably do it by why would you?). I know that Tom did record a lot of his earlier stuff to tape, there is a video where he plays back some of Hard Normal Daddy on the original multitrack tape recording and adjusting the post recorded levels. Even with that though he clearly recorded it all at the same time just on different tracks.

Edited by John Ehrlichman
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i think the real crux of this debate can be pretty quickly solved with the knowledge of someone who has used Eventide gear more advanced than an H3000 or Eclipse. If someone can answer this question (with experience) either Yes or NO then the debate has been solved

Question: Can an Eventide effects processor that's not an H3000 and an Eclipse allow for fast (1/8th / 1/16th note) program changes with no noticeable delay?
If the answer is no then the follow up would be:
Can something like an Orville hold many different effects algorithms (instead of just 2 like the eclipse) inside one 'preset' where you can route the audio through the same inputs 1 & 2 and get 8 different effect algorithms switching back and forth on outputs 1 & 2?

if the answer is yes and tom used something more advanced than an eclipse or h3000 I suppose it is possible he figured this out back when Go Plastic came out. Now im not saying that Tom isn't smart enough to figure out/dial this in back then, but in that same video all it shows him doing is using a midi fader box to control an effects processor (im assuming an eventide). This is the only real evidence to see of how he used this thing, which kinda means he probably edited together midi fader box controlled passes.

So while the question doesn't prove if Tom was being totally truthful or not, it would just prove that it was technically possible to do what he described at the time with certain equipment

Edited by John Ehrlichman
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No idea.. I remember when Ed DMX was having trouble with VSIG (on Facebook), he was direct to this thread on Muffs... maybe you could pose the question over there? Ed has the last post on there BTW.

 

https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=1096141&sid=b2d2f83078964d521ee128d215583442

 

Would love to see your Go Plastic tribute.. that's an insane project.

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i must make it clear that it won't hold a candle to Go plastic at all. im going a much easier route, using only the stated Tom eventide technique on live acid lines and because i'm not as brilliant as tom I will be relying on generative jungle break techniques rather than inputting every note in manually.

I'll check out that thread. Someone else i just remembered who is very tech savvy has an Orville too, I will ask them

Edited by John Ehrlichman
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Good luck with the tribute set though, you weird, weird fucker.

 

 

LOL

 

 

Is it possible the only point that Tom was making was that there are no computer sound sources (softsynths, soft samplers, soft sequencers) on Go Plastic? Not necessarily that it had never TOUCHED a computer? I mean, to a certain mind-set, “I didn’t use a computer” could mean that, right?

 

I mean the latest James Taylor album probably didn’t involve James operating Nuendo, but I bet it was recorded to a computer as a DAW.

 

I dunno, I think there’s a sneaky thread here of TJ being very cagey about his working process from many years back. I mean, I understand the quotes about Selection 16 and whatnot, but it’s not as if “oh, some of it was a bass pickup” actually EXPLAINS how fucking wild that album/era is. Same with the fact that Shobaleader One was a “band”, Ultravisitor was “partially recorded live”, and all that stuff. If you think about it, there is a theme here of the Squarepusher working method being a bit opaque and perhaps occasionally something of a disinformation campaign. Anyway, it’s interesting.

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there is a theme here of the Squarepusher working method being a bit opaque and perhaps occasionally something of a disinformation campaign. Anyway, it’s interesting.

 

well you've said in a much more polite and eloquent way than I was ever able to. I'll try to dial down the offputting pen and teller bullshit vibes and try your approach more often. My theory is that around 2001 technically speaking a lot of people would have been able to (if they had the chops) recreate something like Go Plastic entirely in a Daw, but nobody else did. The KFW interview i think reveals actually the opposite of what maybe people gleaned from it originally, I get the sense that KFW doesn't even really believe him fully but he only pushes back a little bit making Tom admit an eventide is a computer.

If that one amazing 'kid 606' song really is mostly KFW, he was literally one of the only people besides Aphex and Tom who actually could pull off a similar sound at the same time period (and for the last 13~ years I thought that song was kid606 the whole time!)

 

Edited by John Ehrlichman
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^ a reminder that technique doesn't really matter if there's not good song writing and programming underneath. (see also: Steinvord)

But what made steinvord stand out is the fact it had the good song writting and programming as well.

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Despite this, Squarepusher claims that the album was not produced using a computer but rather by utilizing a range of hardware including the Eventide DSP4000 and Orville digital effects processors, BOSS DR-660 and Yamaha QY700 sequencers, Yamaha TX81Z and FS1R synthesizers, and an Akai S6000 sampler.

 

The source seems to be a "Rockin' On Magazine" 2004 issue interview, but the wiki link redirects to Squarepusher.net

 

that's all very plausible, but you can't stitch together tons of mini effects passes with an Akai S6000 unless you wanted to drive yourself completely mad, a computer DAW editing setup would speed up this process 10 fold. Imo the Daw/Cooledit or whatever wave editor he used is the entire crux of what makes go Plastic sound so goddam good. He could have also just used protools or something more typically found in a studio than Cooledit, but again there are videos of him using Cooledit pro 2.0. He also did a lot of DAW micro editing on Music for the Rotted One Note using what sound like similar methods

 

What video are you referring to that show him actually producing on cooledit? I think the only footage of him using it at all was him playing live at Coachella and the like, in which he just hit play on his already previously recorded music, so it would make sense he'd use something like cooledit to play shit. But maybe I'm wrong and other footage/pics exist that I'm not aware of.

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a few tidbits from interviews relevant to this thread, I guess:

 

 

 

I try to implement this principle at all levels of the music -making process. In terms of instrumentation, I like to see what atypical methods of playing can be explored. (It is interesting to note here that sometimes, though a sound has been very torturous to generate, it may end up sounding entirely conventional. An example of this is "Square Rave" from "Selection Sixteen", where although it roughly speaking sounds as if it was sequenced using conventional methods, it was in fact all played at half speed from a bass guitar >midi converter and then the overall piece's structure was made by splicing sections of tape together. In this way many experimental methods are disguised from seeming as such.) Of course, this spirit also applies to compositional detail -it is perenially interesting to put together seemingly clashing elements to see what new light might be shed on conventional compositional approaches.

 

 

6) Budakhan mindphone - first album to use bass >midi converter.

7) Selection sixteen - first album to incoporate analogue tape editing.

8) Go plastic - first album to use home programmed DSP algorithms doing live sound processing controlled over midi.

9) Do you know squarepusher - first album to use a PC.

10) Ultravisitor - first album to use music recorded at live shows, recorded in US and UK 2003.

11) Hello everything - first album that doesn't require the listener to be a total boffin.

 

 

 

 

- In "ULTRAVISITOR", you revived the authentic Squarepusher sound by integrating the free jazz approach in "Music is Rotted One Note" and laptop originated sound in "Go Plastic", "Do You Know Squarepusher". Would you say that having recorded "ULTRAVISITOR" had a positive effect on "HELLO EVERYTHING"?

 

First of all, I didn't use a computer on "Go Plastic". It was made with a Yamaha QY700, TX81 and FS1R, an Eventide DSP4000 and Orville, an Akai S6000 and a Mackie 16 channel desk. Second, precisely what is the "authentic Squarepusher sound"? Although you seem to have made up your mind, I would be entertained to see if anybody agreed with you or each other! Certainly if there was a consensus, I would feel like I had failed to fufil my primary objective which is to rubbish the notion of the static artistic persona. The tendency to develop and change ideas, musical or otherwise is a hallmark of an active and intelligent mind -yet it is not prevalent in the sphere of music. Once musicians establish their "style", it appears that many feel compelled to take the safe option of sticking to it. The ironic thing is that repeating the same ideas over and over again gets pretty uninteresting and inevitably leads to stagnancy; thus their career is sabotaged by these very attempts to safeguard it. For me, to stick to some sort of style is to prematurely throw your artistic potential down the drain. Thus I assert that nobody could coherently state what the "Squarepusher sound" is.

After recording the "Ultravisitor" material, I felt it was time to shift the compositional focus to simpler ideas.

Edited by pizza
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I have also used tape editing techniques - it is interesting that you pick "Cronecker King", as this piece uses a lot of tape splicing edits, performed on my small reel 8 track recorder. Other pieces that exemplify tape editing are "Deacthlon Oxide" on "Maximum Priest" and various pieces on "Budakhan Mindphone" and "Selection Sixteen".
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there is a theme here of the Squarepusher working method being a bit opaque and perhaps occasionally something of a disinformation campaign. Anyway, it’s interesting.

 

well you've said in a much more polite and eloquent way than I was ever able to. I'll try to dial down the offputting pen and teller bullshit vibes and try your approach more often. My theory is that around 2001 technically speaking a lot of people would have been able to (if they had the chops) recreate something like Go Plastic entirely in a Daw, but nobody else did. The KFW interview i think reveals actually the opposite of what maybe people gleaned from it originally, I get the sense that KFW doesn't even really believe him fully but he only pushes back a little bit making Tom admit an eventide is a computer.

If that one amazing 'kid 606' song really is mostly KFW, he was literally one of the only people besides Aphex and Tom who actually could pull off a similar sound at the same time period (and for the last 13~ years I thought that song was kid606 the whole time!)

 

 

 

Kid606 had some pretty good rollin break programming going on circa the Kill Sound Before Sound Kills You era. I saw him live around then and he basically played a super loud continuous hi-tech jungle set. It was great.

 

But yeah, the story of who Vatstep DSP is `by' is a weird one.

 

Anyway, do you really think Go Plastic is a huge technical accomplishment? I don't really see it that way. I think there are plenty of producers who can program really great flowing breaks, but the Go Plastic innovation is how the arrangements take everything over the top in a completely insane way.

 

Like, any jungle producer with chops could have decided to put together a fragmented, paranoid, insane-sounding album like Go Plastic, but none did. And especially none did in the trademark Squarepusher aggro/cheeky/menacing/hardcore way like TJ did. But that to me is more of a musical accomplishment than a technical one.

 

I guess maybe I agree with you: everybody had the ingredients for Go Plastic on hand. I actually don't think the ingredients are really that complex, it's all in the execution.

Edited by Ascdi
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That is crazy. There seriously must've been something in the water in the UK that got all these brilliant stoned/drunk lads to crank out tunes of the future with equipment that had no business making those sounds/sequences and making them more complex and detail oriented than 95% of music.

 

Aliens.

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I guess maybe I agree with you: everybody had the ingredients for Go Plastic on hand. I actually don't think the ingredients are really that complex, it's all in the execution.

 

thats pretty much what i was trying to say. that a ton of other people in 2001 (that was pretty much the year that laptop electronic music exploded) had the exact same tools more or less that Tom was using. Maybe Reaktor 3 at the time wasn't able to produce high quality effects like an eventide perse but you could still go manually into programs like Protools, Cooledit or Soundforge and just do effect edits on the parts you want with more or less the same sounding result (in fact there aren't many moments on Go Plastic at all where tom is using something that *has* to be an Eventide effect besides maybe a reverb that doesn't sound like something you could have done on most wave editors with effect suites). I still think he used a computer though, ha

Edited by John Ehrlichman
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Here's another quote from that FM interview that related to the last points being made...

 

I don't do endorsements and I don't do interviews with technology mags because I don't want to be showing what's in my studio and saying 'you've got to have this to make the cool new music'. I used to be super secretive but now I don't care any more because - more than ever - I'm convinced that 'the secret' is something that I can't actually give away… I'd love if you emphasized that. That's why I've been reticent to do this kind of interview for years. You have to remember: it's all about how you approach the gear, not the gear itself.

 

Also...

 

 

People talk about 'retail therapy'. And I have the opposite. I have "retail depression'. After I've bought something for a couple of weeks I'm like 'Urggh...'. For me owning a new instrument is a responsibility. I'm absolutely committed to exploring it so whenever it arrives there's a big job at hand.

 

Which is very evident in how he's mastered the QY700 and gotten deep into the Eventide boxes.

 

In the other interview posted on xltronic he touches on how it's hard to share patches for the Orville/DSP4000 and that "ones who can afford it have no interest in using it as a synthesizer".

 

Edit - I just thought that last bit was interesting... not saying that because he could afford an DSP4000 he had the upperhand. I agree that it was about the execution and his creativity. I remember when Go Plastic came out.... nothing else compared to it besides Windowlicker.

Edited by weakmassive
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Just being a dork and reading more interviews...

 

Here's a bit from 2002:

"I don't use Logic Audio Platinum. I hate computer editing, and I hate computer sequencing. The music I am into comes from using multitrack tape recorders and dubbing for composition. Once you've edited on tape, computer editing is a piece of shit. It is so much more of a vibe to cut up tape and line things up using your ears, not your eyes. Now I make a composition from start to finish instead of making a track and editing it afterwards".

 

It also had a gearlist:

 

Akai S6000 sampler
DRX 1066 compressor (2)
Eventide Orville Harmonizer (2)
Rackmount PC with various virtual-synthesis software programs
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