samedi 27 novembre 2021

Kitchen Notes : Circumpolar on Awaiting the Dawn


La dernière grosse découverte du label Alfa Matrix est sans conteste le duo suédois Circumpolar qui après 2 magnifiques EP a sorti son premier album Awaiting the Dawn confirmant une identité sonore sombre, envoutante et unique.
Patrik et Jonas ont bien voulu nous faire partager les joies données par les machines de chez Elektron, l'arrivée de l'overbridge et confirment que Reason est probablement la STAN la plus utilisée par les artistes derrière les chefs-d'oeuvres les plus appréciés du podcast.

The last big discovery from Alfa Matrix label was with no doubt the swedish duo Circumpolar who, after 2 wonderful EPs, just released their first LP Awaiting the Dawn, attesting a dark, bewitching and unique sonic identity.
Patrik and Jonas were kind enough to share the joy they had using Elektron machines, the associated overbridge release and confirmed that Reason is probably the most used DAW by most of the artists behind the masterpiece we apreciate on the podcast.

Gears and software

What gears/software did you use for Awaiting the Dawn ?

It's a bit difficult to remember all the gear that we have used on this album, due to the fact that all songs have taken quite some time to finish (approx. 1,5 years).


Behringer PRO-1, Roland TR-8, Roland JV-1080, Modal Argon 8M, Elektron Analog 4, Elektron Digitakt, Elektron Model Cycles, Yamaha A3000 sampler, Access Virus C, Behringer DeepMind 12D, LXR Drum Machine, DSI Mopho, Eventide Blackhole Reverb, Mackie ProFX 30 Mixingdesk. KRK-Rokit 8 G2 Monitors and KRK-10S2 Sub-bass.


Reason 10, Soundtoys 5, Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2, u-he Repro-5, Native Instruments Reaktor 6, D16 Decimort 2, iZotope Ozone 9 and u-he Presswerk. The last 2 for mastering duties.

Your favorite gear(s)/software(s) ?

All of them! ;-)

We recently purchased a Korg Wavestate, so that is our favorite right for the moment. It will for sure be used on the next album.


Any evolution in your setup ?

Sadly.. software! (laughter) no, but really. Elektron Overbridge was a fantastic 'evolution'. We used it quite a lot in fact. It will certainly be very useful when we will be playing live in the future as well. It is the perfect solution/combination between hardware and software. Never ending possibilities with this one..and it can never go wrong.

Sound Design

Do you use/tweak presets  ? 

Sure, probably 5 out of 10 times we start with a preset that we find appealing and then tweak it until we like it. Why start from scratch to try to build a patch if you find a preset close to what you want from the start? We don't see a point in that…

Do you design you own sound  ? On which synth/plugin in particular ?

Absolutely, we are layering samples to make fat drums (low/dark toms for the most part), or making pads/samples that sticks out in the mix. Usually we use samples that we sampled ourselves. Any hardware sampler or software sampler will do. It really depends on what sound we are working with, and what role it has in the song that we are working at that moment. We often use many drum machines and trigger multiple sounds at the same time and then re-sample it.

Personal synth story

Our "first date" with the Elektron Analog 4. It was instant love from the first day! And we nailed the baseline for the song The Rain Will Burn, (from our first EP) in minutes after we got it. From then the Analog 4 has become a true workhorse for us. We also like to use the internal sequencer to sequence other hardware as well. It works really well for sequencing drums or any other drum machine. One of the early memories of this machine is that we programmed 'Murderous' by Nitzer Ebb, just to see if it could do it..and it definitely could!


Producing/mixing method

Do you produce/mix in the box or do you use mainly external gears (effect/comp/eq...) ?

All mixing is done in the box, and we use Reason 12 for that task. Mastering is also done in the box, and we mainly use iZotope Ozone 9. However, we have tested a few hardware compressors and eq´s but we was never really satisfied with the result. The main advantage when mastering with software is that you can automate things any way you like.

Producing is a little bit different. It could start with a synth-bassline or a drum loop, a sample we really like or whatever, and then we build the track from that. We really like both hardware and software. As long as we get the result we want it doesn't matter if it is software or hardware, really. Although, hardware is a bit cooler…

What is your most painful / enjoyable step in track production ? Sound design, arrangement, mixing, mastering ?

Pain: Mixing and mastering.
Joy: When a song is finished.

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