Judson "Tettix" Cowan describes Finest Designs
, his new album of electronica, as a 'throwback' to his own earliest work. To those mostly familiar with game-influenced stuff like TKOEP
and his fantastically savage remix of Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring
, the surprise comes just a few seconds in, when Tettix's trademark staccato percussion and bleepery is joined by new wavey vocals not heard since Conformatigmatic
"It's a strong departure from my usual style," Cowan said. "I felt like I owed to myself to explore singing on another album. It was easy to get complacent making video-gamey stuff, because it's so easy to get attention on the internet with that sort of sound."
In tracks like Simple Devices, Flicker and Finest Designs, there's a warmth and presence that often feels forced in modern electronica, but here it's well-blended with the hardness of the underlying sound. Though the lyrics (and their delivery) are languid and reverberant, that's not to say this is a downbeat LP: there's a lot of fun to be had in Fucking Robots (a collaboration with Dana Swanson) and Hothlanta, a driven techno-pop number that recalls everything good about the 1980s, from the Human League to shoot-em-up soundtracks by Chris Huelsbeck.
"It's a scary thing, putting your voice into a song for everyone else to hear. It's always been much easier for me to put an instrumental in front of someone to listen than it has been a vocal song. Closer to the heart, perhaps? More personal?""
Cowan's process is likely familiar to people who create music without a large budget: his simple set-up is a Mac, a MIDI controller keyboard, and a mic connected via a firewire interface: "I work solely in software. I used to have a bunch of hardware -- a triton, a JP-8000, a Microwave XT - but I scrapped it all when I got Reason," a powerful music-making program by Propellerheads.
Reason was recently joined by a companion app called Record, together creating a suite useful both for creating electronic music and recording real-world vocals and instruments to go with it.
"For once, I could do everything in the same place, which made way for creativity," Cowan said. "Less hassle means that it's easier to dive right in. So I just plink around on the keyboard for a bit, building a synth that sounds nice, then sing along while I work out the melody. I program it all into the sequencer, then hop in the laundry closet and record some vocals."
It usually takes him a night or two to write a song, but weeks to tweak and master it until he's happy with the results.
Finest Designs, like Tettix's previous work, is free of charge to download and made available under a Creative Commons license. You can donate at Paypal at the Download page
Gulzada Ryskulova’s musical version of the Manas epic — a folkloric tale usually recited by Kyrgyz men — is nothing short of amazing, as is the tale itself, which was preserved through furtive oral tradition during the Soviet era, in which it was suppressed.
Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Donkey Kong, Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and countless other videogame masterpieces, sits in with Questlove and The Roots.
I can’t wait to finally see Gimme Danger, Jim Jarmusch’s documentary about Iggy Pop and The Stooges!
The Black Friday Mac Bundle 2.0 is one of the Boing Boing Store’s best-selling Mac bundles yet, and it’s about to come to an end. If you don’t get your copy now, here’s what you’ll be missing:This bundle comes packing 9 top-rated Mac apps in one package, at the hugely discounted price of just $23.99. […]
The Boing Boing Store’s Gift Guide is full of ideas for pretty much anyone in your life like hipster ice cub trays, Xbox controllers, Halo Boards, and even diamond necklaces. As always, all products in the Boing Boing Store come at great discounts, too. Shop by price bucket starting at under $20. Under $20:Bloxx Jumbo Ice Trays […]
Unlike traditional lighters, the SaberLight features an electronic plasma beam that’s both rechargeable and butane-free. This sleek lighter is even approved by TSA, so you’ll never be stuck buying lighters you’ll just have to throw away partially used. For some people, like me, this is a pretty big game-changer. The SaberLight’s beam is actually both hotter and cleaner […]