lundi 18 septembre 2023

Dague de Marbre on Likeness of the Offender

Antoine Kerbérénès est la voix de Chrome Corpse, l'entière énergie de son projet solo null split et maintenent le cerveau derrière Dague de Marbre qui associe ces éléments à une base d'instruments classiques échantillonnés pour un résultat des plus intéressants.
Il nous explique dans cette Kitchen Notes comment il fait des trucs avec sa bouche, comment il ose interrompre un film en plein visionnage pour collecter les sons constituant la pâte unique de son album Likeness Of The Offender et c'est passionnant.

Antoine Kerbérénès is the voice of Chrome Corpse, the whole energy of  his solo project null split and now, the brain behind Dague de Marbre that associate these previous elements to a base of sampled classical instruments for a very interesting result.
In this Kitchen Notes, he explains us how he did stuff with his mouth, dared to interrupt a playing movie to collect sounds assembling the unique pastry for his album Likeness Of The Offender and it's fascinating.

Gears and software

What gears/softwares did you use for Likeness Of The Offender ?

The instrumental section of the album was entirely done using VSTs within the Reaper DAW. In particular, I made extensive use of an emulation of the Kawai K1 called Nils’ K1v, which I find excellent. DDX10 is another good one I used for FM type, metallic sounding basslines,basically a DX7 emulation with a simplified interface (as compared to Dexed for instance). I used TAL Bassline for either more mellow or acid sounding bass sounds. Then it’s mostly samples, played using Reaper’s basic sampler.
I used many classical instrumentsand choir samples from the Sonatina bank, but they tend to lack texture and articulation. To find texture and articulation to lay on top ofthese sounds, I sample orchestral pieces by myself, looking for single instrument parts (I have my go-to composers and pieces for this). I also sampled from recordings of a (pretty well known)traditional and ancient music orchestra, for richer and more rhythmic or narrative samples.
Finally, I used a very cool Aston Origin microphone to record my vocals. It’s probably my first full release since I got it, so it’s a good time to thank my friend Youssef Futur for the recommendation!

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

Not necessarily the ones I use the most, unfortunately. I love my octatrack and my Behringer MS-1 (Behringer’s SH-101 clone), which I use way too little because I lack the room and furniture to keep a permanent setup. VST-wise, I’m a fan of anything by Rurik Leffanta, an indie developer also known as Xoxos, who’s made a plethora of cool weird plugins to make anything from animal sounds, surface rubbing sound, engine noises… any sort of noises really. I used some of his stuff, combined with samples, to make metal hit sounds, background noises and textures in the Dague de Marbre album, but I use them even more extensively in null split, my other industrial music project.

Any evolution in your setup ?

Not really, except for the addition of Nils’ K1v, which is employed in every song, and a much wider use of orchestral and traditional music sampling compared to my work on null split.

Sound Design

Do you use/tweak presets  ?

I mentioned that Likeness of the Offenderrelies heavily on an emulation of the K1, which is not a synth that allows for a lot of tweaking. In general, I start from a preset which I do tweak, if only to decrease the attack time and sustain level, because I’m such a sucker for plucky sounds. I also feel that when you work with FM synths/VST, tweaking and automating the modulation is an absolute must as it’s the source of the awesome expressiveness of those synths.

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

I very often use recorded sounds as the basis for an instrument, and I nearly always layer bass, pluck, and pad sounds with samples to enhance their textures. You’d be surprised how many of the sounds I use are made with my own mouth.

Writing/composing method

What would be your main writing/composing method ? Do you start classical rythm/bassline then arrange around it ? Do you already have structure in mind ? Do you improvise, record sessions then select ? ...

For Dague de Marbre it was varied so I can’t generalize. Several tracks started with selecting various samples of orchestral or traditional music recordings, then cutting them and arranging them to create something interesting, that was at least the case of Baptisms, Naked in the Winter and the introduction to Towers of Mankind. The verse part of The Truth that binds you was salvaged from, if you can believe it, an old cover of Front 242’s Headhunter…

Producing/mixing method

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

I mix entirely in software, and almost always with dedicated mixing plugins, rather than using the VST’s settings. I use distortion a lot to enrich the original sounds and make them slightly dirtier, although, in Dague de Marbre, I did less of that than in null split.

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

Making these tracks was way easier and quicker than any null split project, because the intent was clear, the set of influences was well delineated, it was consistent.
My ordeal these days with both projects, is writing verses -both music and lyrics. I may find a catchy intro and chorus quickly but getting the song from one to the other is a pain. Nobody says tracks should be structured like songs but that’s what I’ve been going for lately. Sometimes I must be doing it wrong or in the wrong order because things don’t flow that naturally.
I used to hate mixing, and now I love it. It can be frustrating because it forces you to deal with your own bad arrangement decisions… or (usually) the inability to make these decisions and keep focus. Mixing on Dague de Marbre wasn’t so difficult because the sound isn’t very crowded, and each instrument has a clear function. At the same time, I enjoy losing myself in fine tuning filters, eqs and compressors, kinda puts my mind in the same place as drawing or folding paper, a very soothing place.

Antoine's Tips

My current mindset is dominated by working on the next null split album, so the tips will be more relevant to that than to Dague de Marbre… but that’s what I care about right now, so I guess it’s the best I can give!
Get used to recording sounds in everyday life, which begins with having a shortcut to the recorder on your phone. As a true cinephile, you, Popman, will hate this but I would advise to be on the lookout and ready to hit pause when you’re watching movies too; that is, get audacity and set it up to recording using stereo mix… Just sample away!
Although I use samples to reinforce the textures in synth sounds, what’s really key to me is that the sample has rhythm, different phases and tells a little story. I know that kontakt-style sample banks will not give me that, although they will give me texture. The“narrative” kind of samples usually come from things happening in real life, other music, from movies. They are more of a source of inspiration that gets something going, than a resource used selectively to achieve a desired result. It’s typically the case of the main sample in the introduction to The Towers of Mankind in the Dague de Marbre album.

Contact info

Instagram : @sternest_descent, @daguedemarbre, @nullsplit


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