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Boris de Vries

Syro period interviews

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Strange (and refreshing) to hear him be so open and honest.

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Guest jasondonervan

On the swinging piano:

 

‘It sounded incredible. I wasn’t sure how it was going to sound. I was hoping for a Doppler effect in the sound, because of the swinging piano. The pitch really went everywhere, especially if you were standing close. The composition was chosen perfectly; for the best results you need long chords. Only then do you really hear the notes being bent. On the stage it was just like all the notes were coming at you and passing each other in different speeds: first the high notes, then the low ones. You could almost see them flying through the air. It was mental.’

 

I felt privileged enough to be there on the night, and Richard's description nails how it played out... probably one of the most tangible moments I've had when experiencing live music. A shame that the recording on the night wasn't up to scratch for inclusion on Syro, but then I think it would always play second fiddle to the experience of hearing it live. Having a version where he plays it at home seems more appropriate, somehow. I can't wait to hear it round off the album.

 


Thanks, fantastic interview! The translation sounded pretty smooth to me. The bit about figuring out how to pitch feedback through a parametric EQ was especially interesting --I'll have to scout out that performance as I've only seen the swinging piano portion.

 

 

(Might want to turn down your speakers/phones, it's pretty loud)

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what a fantastic interview !

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Thank Koen Poolman / OOR for the great revealing interview though :)!

 

It's a bit sad to see how Grant and Richard went about that LP deal. I agree that it would've gotten him so much more cash if he'd openly spoke about it, but on the other hand, he didn't want that (not typically Rephlex fashion so I can see where Grant's coming from) so it's weird Richard is putting it out in the open like this.

 

I was hoping the Kickstarter money was to keep the cashflow of Rephlex going (in other words, more releases), but alas... It was the least we could do though! I owe Grant for a huuge part of my taste in music.

 

The irony is that we helped Rephlex go out of business with our donations: not enough during its lifetime, but plenty on its deathbed.

 

What!? :S

Edited by goDel

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Guest Phonejack

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Edited by Phonejack

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On the swinging piano:

 

‘It sounded incredible. I wasn’t sure how it was going to sound. I was hoping for a Doppler effect in the sound, because of the swinging piano. The pitch really went everywhere, especially if you were standing close. The composition was chosen perfectly; for the best results you need long chords. Only then do you really hear the notes being bent. On the stage it was just like all the notes were coming at you and passing each other in different speeds: first the high notes, then the low ones. You could almost see them flying through the air. It was mental.’

 

I felt privileged enough to be there on the night, and Richard's description nails how it played out... probably one of the most tangible moments I've had when experiencing live music. A shame that the recording on the night wasn't up to scratch for inclusion on Syro, but then I think it would always play second fiddle to the experience of hearing it live. Having a version where he plays it at home seems more appropriate, somehow. I can't wait to hear it round off the album.

 

Thanks, fantastic interview! The translation sounded pretty smooth to me. The bit about figuring out how to pitch feedback through a parametric EQ was especially interesting --I'll have to scout out that performance as I've only seen the swinging piano portion.

 

 

(Might want to turn down your speakers/phones, it's pretty loud)

Couldn't you rig up a set of speakers on a small platform, suspend from a J-hook and chain from the ceiling, feeding the wire up the chain, and then set it in motion and play the track? Wouldn't that produce close to the same effect?

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Thank Koen Poolman / OOR for the great revealing interview though :)!

 

It's a bit sad to see how Grant and Richard went about that LP deal. I agree that it would've gotten him so much more cash if he'd openly spoke about it, but on the other hand, he didn't want that (not typically Rephlex fashion so I can see where Grant's coming from) so it's weird Richard is putting it out in the open like this.

 

I was hoping the Kickstarter money was to keep the cashflow of Rephlex going (in other words, more releases), but alas... It was the least we could do though! I owe Grant for a huuge part of my taste in music.

 

The irony is that we helped Rephlex go out of business with our donations: not enough during its lifetime, but plenty on its deathbed.

 

What!? :S

 

We didn't help Rephlex go out of business: we helped to make plenty (to at least break even) on its deathbed, but it should've been possible to get a lot more (and enough to last a longer life). Surely there would've been more / other options for Rephlex to make a 'quick buck' then just selling two or three unique records?

 

It didn´t help that Richard had enough with the label, so maybe they just didn´t bother anymore (which is worth noting that they have had an amazing run all those years, maybe they decided it had just run its course and money wasn't the only thing holding them back).

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WITHIN THE FAN COMMUNITY, groups and forums alike, there are already heavy discussions whether the ‘Manchester track’ and ‘Singapore track’ would be on Syro: Minipops 67 and PAPAT4. First mentioned was already filmed in 2007 during a gig in Manchester. Richard: ‘That track took me three years to complete, so that only makes it six years old’. Finishing track Aisatsana is already known from a YouTube video recorded in the Barbican (more on that later). It’s a Satie-style piano piece like on Drukqs, other tracks are akin to the style of The Tuss. His personal favourite is the jungletrack Earth Portal Mix, it’s no coincidence that it was the last track made for Syro. For someone that always kept a distance to the drum & bass scene he keeps the elements of the style surprisingly close to him.

 

‘That’s probably because I still haven’t made a decent drum & bass track’, says Richard, who spends hundreds of pounds on old school jungle 12-inches on Discogs every month. ‘I keep going until I don’t fuck up. For that last track I used the right hardware, really old samplers. I’m interested in the process: how did they make that back in the day? It’s really fucking hard to program anything on those old machines. Only a few used the AKAI S950 [the second professional sampler by AKAI from 1988] for a long time; not much later the S1000 appeared and that one was a lot easier to use. But from 1993 to 1994 the S950 was thé sampler and every good jungle record was made with that. I get a kick out of that, to completely dissect that machine, analyzing every sample until I know the machine through and through.’

 

Can't wait to listen to the jungle track.

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Guest Toastmann

Your translation is so much better to understand then anything I could ever have typed ;)

How long did it take you?

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I want to thank Herr Jan for the translation of a great interview and I want to thank Richard for introducing me to Mr Fingers (I get the feeling everyone else already knows about him...).

It's weird to read about his divorce again because I realize how much of his life I just make up in my head based on little snippets. Like when the first Syro-interviews came out and it talked about how he lived in the country with his "wife" and kids I imagined that the earlier talk about divorce was just an internal joke ("-Look honey! I told them we are divorcing, haha! -That's not funny you jerk!") but now I know what really happened. And now I feel like a weirdo talking about it... A-hem I'm gonna focus on the music...

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Your translation is so much better to understand then anything I could ever have typed ;)

 

How long did it take you?

Haha, thanks. I see some small errors but it's doable. Think it took about 4 hours, on and off.

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love this part

 

Squarepusher recently did a record with a robot band. I thought it was one of his weaker albums, I reckon if he had more time it would have a lot more potential. The robots weren’t his; he probably had them for a limited time. When I have them sitting on the couch at home! I have all the time in the world to get to know them. I’ve done loads of recordings with those robots that I haven’t done anything with yet. I would like to release them, but I’m afraid there’s not a big enough audience for it, so it’ll probably end up on a 12-inch.’

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is this part available in full?

 

Then Richard suddenly rants about stalkers, the murder on John Lennon (‘the CIA, of course’), Putin (he’s been made the enemy’), chemtrails (another conspiracy theory, try and google it) and that the war-hungry capitalism will end with the apocalypse. ‘I fear the world could end tomorrow’, he concernedly speaks. ‘That feeling is getting stronger and stronger. That we are all collapsing into chaos. That’s why I’m trying to enjoy every minute of my life.’

 

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spot on about squarepusher alright. i mean its nice n all but......

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is this part available in full?

 

 

 

Then Richard suddenly rants about stalkers, the murder on John Lennon (‘the CIA, of course’), Putin (he’s been made the enemy’), chemtrails (another conspiracy theory, try and google it) and that the war-hungry capitalism will end with the apocalypse. ‘I fear the world could end tomorrow’, he concernedly speaks. ‘That feeling is getting stronger and stronger. That we are all collapsing into chaos. That’s why I’m trying to enjoy every minute of my life.’

 

Only the bit about the chemtrails (see the OP of this thread for a link to that, it's OOR Bonus Beats #2). The interview could've been a few pages longer with stuff like this or about the marketing campaign (for example, Aphex didn't know anything about the blimp) but a line had to be drawn somewhere...

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spot on about squarepusher alright. i mean its nice n all but......

 

It's crazy how underwhelmed people are by those compositions. I thought that album solidified him as one of the great composers of the last/this century. Probably something to do with how style/production-focused most listeners are.

Edited by Zephyr_Nova

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amazing interview! thanks a lot Herr Jan!

funny how they talk about Just Want Another Chance. the kind of whistle-ish sound (not the classic reese bass) appears in Synthacon 9. did Richard use it again in a track in Syro?

 

http://forum.watmm.com/topic/78664-old-electronic-music-tuss-like/page-3?do=findComment&comment=2010280

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amazing interview! thanks a lot Herr Jan!

funny how they talk about Just Want Another Chance. the kind of whistle-ish sound (not the classic reese bass) appears in Synthacon 9. did Richard use it again in a track in Syro?

 

http://forum.watmm.com/topic/78664-old-electronic-music-tuss-like/page-3?do=findComment&comment=2010280

 

Dude you nailed it!

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On the swinging piano:

 

‘It sounded incredible. I wasn’t sure how it was going to sound. I was hoping for a Doppler effect in the sound, because of the swinging piano. The pitch really went everywhere, especially if you were standing close. The composition was chosen perfectly; for the best results you need long chords. Only then do you really hear the notes being bent. On the stage it was just like all the notes were coming at you and passing each other in different speeds: first the high notes, then the low ones. You could almost see them flying through the air. It was mental.’

 

I felt privileged enough to be there on the night, and Richard's description nails how it played out... probably one of the most tangible moments I've had when experiencing live music. A shame that the recording on the night wasn't up to scratch for inclusion on Syro, but then I think it would always play second fiddle to the experience of hearing it live. Having a version where he plays it at home seems more appropriate, somehow. I can't wait to hear it round off the album.

 

Thanks, fantastic interview! The translation sounded pretty smooth to me. The bit about figuring out how to pitch feedback through a parametric EQ was especially interesting --I'll have to scout out that performance as I've only seen the swinging piano portion.

 

 

(Might want to turn down your speakers/phones, it's pretty loud)

Couldn't you rig up a set of speakers on a small platform, suspend from a J-hook and chain from the ceiling, feeding the wire up the chain, and then set it in motion and play the track? Wouldn't that produce close to the same effect?

 

You would get Doppler effect but re-amping a piano is very different from recording it in motion (and Doppler is easy to achieve with a combination of pan, pitch and reverb anyway). The way the swinging strained the entire mechanism, the notes emanating from and resonating in the body of the piano and the creaking of the entire frame as it swung would be lost that way.

 

It's one of those performances that you can't really record, even a decent binaural set up probably couldn't communicate the aural experience of being there.

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OOR. Best interview with Mr. James....ever ! Thanks.

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Man, that would have been awe-inspiring to experience first hand. (the feedback-disco ball thing I mean... interview would have been interesting to see first hand, but not quite awe-inspiring. Quite good maybe.)

Edited by Zephyr_Nova

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spot on about squarepusher alright. i mean its nice n all but......

 

It's crazy how underwhelmed people are by those compositions. I thought that album solidified him as one of the great composers of the last/this century. Probably something to do with how style/production-focused most listeners are.

 

for me the composition wasn't the problem it was how he utilized the timbres of and the recording methods he used on the robots. I was actually pretty shocked about how soft rock the drums felt, like they were intentionally mixed to be very light and background elements. Feels like a giant missed opportunity for one of the greatest amen break programmers in the world to stiff us on robot breakbeats to such an extent

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That's sort of what I meant about listeners focusing on the style/production. I agree he could have done more with the timbers and recording methods, but it seems like the focus was meant to be on the melodic composition/rhythms rather than some Go Plastic style beat fuckery, and in that regard I don't think anything really touches it (for sure there are compositions by other artists that are impressive on a similar level, but none that are particularly comparable in that style. He brings a lot to the table in terms of melody and chordal structure.)

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