Ready to learn all about how “Elegiac City” was made? I’m here to reveal all! Since this one is not modular, these aren’t patch notes; instead, you get production notes. (Same idea, but no patch cables necessary!)

Here’s an embed, so you can listen while you read:

The only instrument sounds on this track are from the Soma Terra. It’s a remarkable instrument, and really great to play. The night I made this, I needed to unwind and playing the Terra is great for that. So I did. I liked some of the sounds I was getting so I decided to try to use Loopy Pro to make a track with it. I had been meaning to spend some time with Loopy and this seemed like a great opportunity. It was.

A photo of an iPad running Loopy Pro, a loop-based DAW

I did have a number of false starts using Loopy, which *almost* killed my momentum but then I remembered that manuals exist, and these days you can search thru most of them. So I did that and got my issues, mostly related to starting and stopping the loops recording when I wanted/needed them to, resolved in almost no time.

Within a few minutes I had some nice layered parts going. After two or three layers I switched engines on the Terra and added some additional layers with a new timbre.

An iPad running the Fluss app, a granular processor from Hainbach/Bram Bos

At that point I set the Terra down and decided to see what kind of nonsense I could get up to on the iPad. Loopy Pro is a full featured DAW for the most part, so it’s easy to add all kinds of stuff. I ended up settling on Hainbach plugins, specifically his granular app Fluss and one of his test equipment inspired apps called Dials (a kind of compressor/distortion/modulator combo platter). One track got Fluss, one track got a wild Dials preset that was doing all kinds of tempo-synced modulation.

A photo of an iPad running Dials, a signal processing app from Hainbach and Audio Thing

Then I put another instance of Dials on the master bus (using a preset called Master Bussi) to glue it together, and finally a few less distinctive apps for some more typical delay effects (Dubstation 2 and Bleass Delay for my fellow iPad musicians) to add some more variation and space.

From there I just played with a few settings and then performed a couple of live mixes until I felt I had a handle on it before recording it. I recorded into the AKAI tape deck (TDK SA tape) moderately hot and then to a handheld Zoom recorder. From there the file was transferred to my PC where I used Audacity to high pass filter any subsonic gunk out, compressed it just a bit and normalized it. Then it was shipped fresh to you!

The name came from my bank of track names, which is like 30-40 names deep at this point. The track has a pretty plaintive, melancholic vibe, so the name “Elegiac City” jumped out at me as I scanned my list.

If anyone has any questions, I’m happy to answer them (leave them in the comments, or come find me online and ask me there!). Otherwise, enjoy the track, and let me know what you think.

Finally, here’s that embed again, in case you didn’t click play at the beginning but are curious now, but also too lazy to scroll up:

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