тпсб: Studio talk

First emerging out of the dark in 2015 with a record supposedly conceived from files discovered on a secondhand hard drive, the corrupted club works of Russian artist тпсб have since found their way to labels like Cologne’s Noorden and London’s now retired Blackest Ever Black.

It’s the latter who released his debut LP, Sekundenschlaf, early last year. A ten-track episode of ghostly techno and jungle impressions created somewhere beneath the fog, the record caught the attention of smoky clubbers worldwide, placing тпсб and his murky sound experiments next to a pool of visionary producers like Actress, Ossia and Rezzett.

His latest effort comes via Berlin and New York party Climate Of Fear, who launch their label project with тпсб’s Laika’s Revenge, a two-track EP of fuzzy electronica that see the mysterious producer continue to find solace in his own layer of techno gloom.

It’s off the back of this release that we manage to catch тпсб in his home studio, asking for more details on the machines that make him tick, with a few sound tricks thrown in for good measure. Read on below.

(1) KlangBau Koln Rohren VCA

A friend who owed me a favour gave me this. It has a rough sound and the control is hard. If you don’t have modular synthesise don’t buy modular synthesize!! Cool look = friends and impressions, but it’s a lot of money. If you want one then buy a cheap module like dopfer and not 200$ adsr then trust me. You can impress your friends with dopfer. They don’t know stuff and can’t tell. I rarely never use it in a track to be honest. Plus it has cool sounds only for you – you feel knob and touch and like king of music, but other feel this is boring music put beat on it. Best buy invest for creative music = new PC and Ableton.

(2) Theremin and Sample hold

Good for small change and hand control. THE Combination is good for tricks.

(3) Flower pot trick

Noise is good for THE feeling of sound. Without, you end up with sterile music. I learnt these tricks in an old beatles documentary: Ringo said the vocal is harsh on ‘Let It be’. So they asked the engineer for tricks and he made this suggestion. You give the sound a little bit of distortion and earth. They then put the cable direct in soil but I make it better, I put a little towel around. It took 2 weeks to figure out exactly, because you have to get the right level of salt in soil. Only salt water gets electricity. So you have to keep the water in and salt and have a good measure! The cables in and out must be a little close but never touch! Plus the plant dies after 2 weeks most of the time. I use this technique for the master chain on all tracks and this really transform my music.

(4) DJ Mixer

I borrowed this from my friend a long time ago. He made mod for popular mix desk for rotary. Rotary mixers are for posers (in my opinion) and give sound cracks all the time. If you touch the EQ mid on this you can’t hear the mids, terrible. BUT, I started with music because I DJ’d, and I make music for DJs now, so i’ve come full circle. First mixer with rust all over it. I still like it. But need a new one!

(5) Tascam DR-40

I’d say noise is important for feeling. Get a weasel (what we call the fur thing) for wind or it’s not good. Outside there is noise pollute so I record inside or on the balcony in almost all of my songs.

(6) Electro Faustus Drum Thing

I gave my brother this for his birthday and then borrowed it back and never returned it hahaha. You can play with everything: drum sticks or jazz broom, or fingesr or a pen against the wall. Good sound but only with effects.

(7) Wood

Another documentary trick. Learnt only last week because Beethoven is 200 years old this year and they show a documentary on him. It’s an old trick but so great. Everyone knows he was not hearing sound. BUT before he lost it completely he used this trick. He put a gramophone in his ear (aid with high freq) and put wood in his teeth (sorry bad photo but you know how it works) so he could hear low frequencies! It’s interesting because they say in the documentary you can hear with your bone too. I went to the doctor and said I’m sick cough cough 😉 so I could get a piece of wood and some medicine. And it really worked, I put the wood close to the subwoofer and it gave me a good feeling for bass and kick drums. I used ear plugs to cancel other sound. Also, like Beethoven I sometimes only use my eyes for composition because I hear sound in my head.

Laika’s Revenge is out now on Climate Fear.

Buy it here.

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