Sunday, June 5, 2011

Terramecha Part XI - Expo

Robots have appeared on the surface of the planet Terramecha to retrieve the wreckage of the fallen spaceship. On the outside, Terramecha is a rocky wasteland, with no evidence of life. Inside Terramecha is a totally different matter. In today's song analysis, I am going over Expo, which explores the vast world inside Terramecha, a sort of audible "fly-through" of the robot world.

The live version below is a very early version, most likely the second or third time it was played. I'm not even sure where this was played, but I'm assuming it was at the Collins Pub, where Kevin Hoole and myself kept a residency for about a year. I like digging up these old recordings because I don't remember half the things I played, since the songs usually evolve over the years. For the most part Expo is intact, but parts like the seemingly-random bassline and those techno stabs I have no memory of playing. I don't even think those parts exist in the more current Ableton files I work with, so I would have to dig for older versions to retrieve those parts. I have actually done some recent work to Expo, so the piece is now a bit more refined, and has considerably more percussion parts. I would also argue that it's more "tribal" too, which is the overall vibe of side C/Rust.

I initially saw Expo as opening up the Rust half of the album, an exposition of a planet inhabited by robots of of all shapes and sizes, but eventually felt that Retrieval was a better option for opening Rust, with the salvage mission taking place on the surface. Following the robots back underground (with spaceship in tow), Expo is basically a fly-through observation of Terramecha, a sort of futuristic, underground cityscape, with robots hard at work building, computing and doing whatever it is that robots do (It's really not that important, since I couldn't possibly convey that musically). If there's one thing I'd like to convey, it's that Terramecha is huge and over-populated. As far as the "plot" goes, the robot inhabitants are working on a plan to colonize another planet, for Terramecha has become too crowded and resources are dwindling. Perhaps by examining the spaceship, they can find new ways to safely and efficiently colonize another world?

Expo is another song from the early batch of Terramecha creations. Reaktor was used extensively to create most of the parts, but which ensembles, I have no idea. Limelite was definitely used for some of the beats, and generally remains my drum machine of choice when beginning songs. As I mentioned before, I have been working on Expo recently, and have been implementing Native Instruments Kontakt in conjunction with midi generators and Ableton midi effects to create new beats and percussion parts. There's also some use of a great old VST plug-in called Supatrigga, which mangles loops by randomly chopping up sections, and messing with things such as pitch and direction. I mainly apply it to a sort of gnarly bass pad, but the results are quite cool.

Ok, I'm out! Enjoy Expo, and feel free to leave me some feedback!

Terramecha: Expo - live 042906 by Gel-Sol

Yer Pal,