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writing/production of "the box"
Old 2nd March 2017
  #1
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writing/production of "the box"

hi paul, hi phil!

thanks for doing this q&a. you're one of the main-reasons i started producing music (and my parents got me some strange lights for my head, when i was younger )

"the box" (let's say the album-version part 1 and especially 2) is clearly my favorite song ever. it was the first electronic song (at least for me) that wasn't just a "track" with some techno-drums and sequences. more like a classical piece.

can you tell something about the idea behind it and the process of writing and producing it? what synths did you use?

thanks in advance and best, andreas.
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Old 3rd March 2017
  #2
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the track started with part one as an experiment with poly rhythm in the style of Steve Reich. it then spun out in to the box part 1 quite quickly. Then a day or so later i found myself on a sunday a bit bored with it! so i went off in a different direction , trying to channel the spy film scores of john barry and the tv themes of things like the Sweany. I did it quickly because friends of mine were DJing that night and i wanted to see if i could get them to play it . they did. the next week we went off on a different direction doing the box ep rather than finishing the insides album as it seemed like the right thing to do at the time! the plan was to do a fictitious score to a 70's british tv spy drama like the avengers or the prisoner .

So, for the more technical side. it was a wavestation for the bells , xpander for the next synth, the pulsing resonant one , emax string samples , a really god dulcimer sample from a friend, 2 diferent samples placed at each end of the keyboard so you can play it like a real dulcimer with a little bit of velocity to filter and start time to make it sound a bit more real. the drums were from a real kit session we did at the strongroom with dave greys drummer Cloon.
the bass in the box part 2 it the jupiter 6
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Old 4th March 2017
  #3
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wow! thanks for the comprehensive answer, paul! always hoped, to see it live. so if you come back to berlin at some point maybe...
all the best and a nice weekend.
Old 5th March 2017
  #4
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Embracing modern DAWs?

Paul and Phil,

Thanks for doing this Q&A. You guys have been pivotal in my lifelong love of electronic music

I'm probably of similar age to you guys and have struggled to fully embrace modern DAWs, preferring to use hardware sequencers and mix straight to 2-track, much as we did back in the 90s. I'm curious as to how, over the decades, you've embraced the computer in the studio (or not). Did the merging of audio recording, MIDI and sampling into one application make sense to you? Did your composition methods change drastically as the software evolved and do you feel like those changes were audible (for better or worse) in your music?

<Moderator Message - threads merged>

Last edited by Reptil; 10th March 2017 at 09:49 AM.. Reason: -
Old 9th March 2017
  #5
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This is some great insight into how you guys created the song, or series of songs and parts that became The Box. It's been an inspiration to myself and music partner since our teen years. The pulsing Xpander sound is so interesting, the way it breaks up. We've tried to recreate it using a Moog MG-1, manually modulating the frequency of a synced second oscillator, and adding a third drone oscillator. Close, but not the same.

You mentioned the Jupiter as the bass in Pt2, what about the timpani-type sounds, was that the Emax too?
Old 10th March 2017
  #6
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Thanks a lot for the insight! They are absolutely marvellous tracks. After all this time I still find myself listening to them on regular basis.
Old 10th March 2017
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soundshaper View Post
This is some great insight into how you guys created the song, or series of songs and parts that became The Box. It's been an inspiration to myself and music partner since our teen years. The pulsing Xpander sound is so interesting, the way it breaks up. We've tried to recreate it using a Moog MG-1, manually modulating the frequency of a synced second oscillator, and adding a third drone oscillator. Close, but not the same.

You mentioned the Jupiter as the bass in Pt2, what about the timpani-type sounds, was that the Emax too?
the timpani type sound is what I'm calling the bass. i think thats what you mean anyway. the big unison thing that goes all the way through.
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Old 10th March 2017
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rozzer View Post
Paul and Phil,

Thanks for doing this Q&A. You guys have been pivotal in my lifelong love of electronic music

I'm probably of similar age to you guys and have struggled to fully embrace modern DAWs, preferring to use hardware sequencers and mix straight to 2-track, much as we did back in the 90s. I'm curious as to how, over the decades, you've embraced the computer in the studio (or not). Did the merging of audio recording, MIDI and sampling into one application make sense to you? Did your composition methods change drastically as the software evolved and do you feel like those changes were audible (for better or worse) in your music?

<Moderator Message - threads merged>
I love computers! hate staring at one all day though. but seriously , being able to do endless audio recording and manipulation alongside midi is fantastic. it was all a bit clunky in the nineties for sure , an atari being little better than an mmt8 but by the time logic audio came about i was very happy. the main difference now is that i can cult a track from many elements over time , incorporating one off analog synth moments with ever changing midi parts and audio mangling . where as in the past it was a case of , make all instruments do a thing , then jam it down onto dat as stereo , no multi tracking what so ever . there are good point to that for sure, speed and happy accidents . but as an artist i prefer to be be master of my tools rather than the other way around , and i can still do a stereo one off jam if i want .
we decide how to do it rather than having to do it a certain way. this can be a problem for some people as they get option paralysis and can never finish because they do have too many options. i think a big skill here is knowing the art of finishing. its a very underrated skill.
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