Laszlo talks about his new Electronica album ‘Radial Nerve’

Laszlo talks about his new Electronica album ‘Radial Nerve’

Being influenced by classical artsists like Claude Debussy and Igor Stravinsky to Ryuichi Sakamoto or Frank Zappa or modern experimentalists like Aphex Twin, Akufen, Venetian Snares and Matthew Herber, Laszlo aka Aaron Wheeler started a big career in different styles. He tries to combine electronic sounds with organic sounds by playing piano, guitar, mandolin, bass, drums, Vocals, Low Whistle, Dulcimer and percussion. The multitalent presented us his new album at the beginning of the year and gives us a little insight into the story behind his moody album 'Radial Nerve' that we truly fell in love with.

Many of the tracks from the album started their lives as solo piano pieces. I always like to compose music that can still hold it's own as a piece of music in it's own right when played on a single instrument. When I have something that works on a single instrument then I can really get into playing around with twisting sounds, creating interesting rhythms and processing sounds with plugins. I have chosen to use organic instruments like pianos/mandolins/flutes and twist them by using modulating and warping the sounds into something different. One of my favourite techniques to create pads and sound textures for this album us to use granular synthesis on native instruments reaktor. Using this technique I can take a split second of any organic sample and create really interesting textures that keep the overall timbre of the original sound but at the same time twist the sound into something completely new and original. I am very much a music theory geek, I love to switch time signatures and mess around with switching modes and scales. My main scale of choice which I have a great love for is the Lydian mode, (hence the name of the label).

Zeitgeist

I created the crackle sounds by tweaking the sound creator patch on native instruments reaktor. The percussion was created by sampling various taps and hits on the body of a Spanish guitar in exs24. The high frequency shaker type sound is me beatboxing. Then the melodic element as the track builds is the sound of specific sampled piano chords using random pentatonic notes. These were sampled then processed by time stretching them at various speeds. Then I built a riff out of the samples by playing the notes on exs24.The main riff is spanish guitar layered with piano and mandolin, cut up sampled and randomly time stretched.

Nrv

The ambient intro is designed to replicate the sound of a river. I used a piano sound going through a native instruments spectral delay plugin and played improvised cascading piano notes going down the Lydian scale. The bass sound was created by reversing slapped electric bass. The drums are made up by a mixture of an 808 kick, real hand claps and a sampled shaker. The vocals are 5 different male/female vocalists including myself layered many times. Percussion in the vocal breakdown is made up from group handclaps and foot stomping, A mandolin is going through heavy stereo delay and is playing in a west African muted percussive style in the Dorian mode. It is accompanied by staccato piano going through the pap nitro plugin which creates a wha effect.

Dulcimer vs Musicbox

Halfway through writing the album I realised that many of the ideas I had were very 'composed' and structured, which is all fine and good, but I felt that I needed to have a track on the album which is written from a totally different conceptual angle. I wanted to experiment with one shot take improvisation. I wanted to record on the fly performances to create an improvised musical conversation. To do this, I chose 2 main instruments with very different timbral qualities, the small dulcimer and a small musicbox. The other atonal percussive sounds I used to support these main elements were, my car keys a piece of A4 paper, a spring drum (thunder maker) and a couple of extra odd secretive sounds that I'd rather keep to myself.

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