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Which sequencer did Aphex Twin use on which albums?
Old 11th November 2020
  #1
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MonoTron's Avatar
Which sequencer did Aphex Twin use on which albums?

I've always been wondering a bit which sequencers he used for which albums.

It's generaly known he used a tracker, probably PlayerPro for Mac, for DrukQs, although not sure if he used it for all tracks.
https://vimeo.com/223378825

The last 8 or so years he's been using the Cirklon extensively, hence the tracknames.
In his first years of 'celebrity' he used the MPC60, but did he use that for his first LP's Ep's?

What did he use for SAW1? Maybe just internal sequencer of the SH101 and R8, but what did use to sequence the DX100 and FZ1 sampler?



Who has more in depth info?
Old 11th November 2020
  #2
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🎧 10 years
Notron
Mc 4
Old 11th November 2020
  #3
Gear Addict
 
Brother PDC-100 in the early years

Old 11th November 2020
  #4
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13chroma20's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
According to some of his more recent interviews and comments on his Soundcloud, he used an Atari (with Dr. T software I think) for his earliest stuff, then moved to a Mac for sequencing in the mid-90s. Then he got into using trackers in the late 90s/early 00s for the hectic drum and bass stuff. After that it seems like he used a combo of analog sequencers like the MC4 and normal DAW stuff until he started using the Cirklon exclusively.
Old 15th November 2020 | Show parent
  #5
Here for the gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 13chroma20 ➡️
According to some of his more recent interviews and comments on his Soundcloud, he used an Atari (with Dr. T software I think) for his earliest stuff, then moved to a Mac for sequencing in the mid-90s.
"UT-1 Dot" from Surfing on Sine Waves has some synthesised speech in it that's the spitting image of a text-to-speech program I used to have on my Atari ST, so it makes sense he would have used an ST back then:

Quote:
Polygon Window - UT1 - Dot - YouTube
Polygon Window -- Surfing On Sine Waves 1992 Warp Records Vinyl UK 1992 Electronic Techno, IDM
I've always wondered what the voice says. My best guess was something like "inducing mind waves into the rhythm schedule (?) something inside with electronic techno music controller to manual by aphex twin to all directions", which obviously doesn't make sense, but why should anything make sense?

As one of the comments points out a very similar audio snippet appears faintly in one of the original XBox menu animations, here at around 01:14:
Quote:
Original Xbox Menu Walkthrough - YouTube
Included a 2 minute Xbox Menu Music! Previous Video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVh0J9xOJt0 Discord Server: https://discord.gg/CXsPem8 Primary Channel:ht...
Lord knows how that came about. I've always liked Surfing on Sine Waves. It's a more coherent albeit slightly blander companion piece to the first Selected Ambient Works, slightly more sophisticated but without a single killer track.
Old 16th November 2020
  #6
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varntvar's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Yamaha CS-5 and Quadraverb allegedly on SAW 85-92, pretty sure the Ageispolis opening lead is CS-5 with 0 env times.
I always assumed that the main bass line was Korg MS-20 as I'm pretty sure that was on the album and seems to have the necessary characteristics. I'm less certain about this one though as I've still never played one.
Old 17th November 2020 | Show parent
  #7
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by varntvar ➡️
Yamaha CS-5 and Quadraverb allegedly on SAW 85-92, pretty sure the Ageispolis opening lead is CS-5 with 0 env times.
I always assumed that the main bass line was Korg MS-20 as I'm pretty sure that was on the album and seems to have the necessary characteristics. I'm less certain about this one though as I've still never played one.
He only had an SH 101 and a DX 100 at the time, plus a Casio FZ sampler and a Roland R8 for drums. Definitely a Quadraverb though, or perhaps a Midiverb 2 at least.
Old 17th November 2020 | Show parent
  #8
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varntvar's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 13chroma20 ➡️
He only had an SH 101 and a DX 100 at the time, plus a Casio FZ sampler and a Roland R8 for drums. Definitely a Quadraverb though, or perhaps a Midiverb 2 at least.
Interesting, CS-5 does a convincing version of the staccato lead, 101 doesn't get chippy enough. It's only a tiny blip sound though and I could easily see it being DX or even a sample.

I wonder how he made that bass line though? I couldn't get anything close to that out of my 101 last time I tried, was years ago though.
Maybe FM?, listening now with new ears it seems like a distinct possibility...



Edit: Sorry for massive off topic, this was supposed to be about sequencers, missed that somehow

Last edited by varntvar; 17th November 2020 at 04:32 AM..
Old 17th November 2020 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by varntvar ➡️
Interesting, CS-5 does a convincing version of the staccato lead, 101 doesn't get chippy enough. It's only a tiny blip sound though and I could easily see it being DX or even a sample.

I wonder how he made that bass line though? I couldn't get anything close to that out of my 101 last time I tried, was years ago though.
Maybe FM?, listening now with new ears it seems like a distinct possibility...

he prob runs kick separate and through something else. i would. isolate that thud yo.
Old 17th November 2020 | Show parent
  #10
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13chroma20's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by varntvar ➡️
Interesting, CS-5 does a convincing version of the staccato lead, 101 doesn't get chippy enough. It's only a tiny blip sound though and I could easily see it being DX or even a sample.

I wonder how he made that bass line though? I couldn't get anything close to that out of my 101 last time I tried, was years ago though.
Maybe FM?, listening now with new ears it seems like a distinct possibility...



Edit: Sorry for massive off topic, this was supposed to be about sequencers, missed that somehow
Yeah I think the lead is definitely either DX or a sample. The bass is probably the SH, with the sub loud and the filter cutoff low. But it could possibly be a sine wave patch on the DX, the distortion from the cassette tape adds a lot of low end saturation that makes it a bit difficult to tell.
Old 17th November 2020 | Show parent
  #11
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🎧 5 years
Absolute bull****. He had much more. He even said it in interviews that were not bull****, there are copies of the bill etc. For instance he used an EMS synthi very early on. That "made with just (include archaic gear of choice here" meme is getting old. But, besides all this, what he had most of is talent and lots of patience and sacrifice in doing Sound.
Old 17th November 2020 | Show parent
  #12
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🎧 5 years
Again, you are making assumptions here or falling for his way to troll interviewers. Using the cirklon exclusively? What absolute nonsense. If there is one thing that is to say about his way of working, then it's he's switching things up aloot. Hes having all kinds of different setups good to go.
People like you are part of the problem just blindly buying what artist X apparently used to get this or that sound instead of using what you have and come up with interesting techniques that someone else might want to copy later on (or for the lack of a better word, finds inspiration in).
These truly unique sounds that form an artistic character don't come out gear X or y but out of trying things and thinking about it, ideas, work. True mechanics like autechre or afx can use whatever the fck you throw at them and come up with Seth fresh, because they are true artists towards the matter of sound. It's a state of mind, that you clearly seem to lack talking this rubbish out of your asß. I might come off as ruff here but you are the one that could mislead young artists on their journey. Think about what you're spreading next time you feel the urge to parrot half truths.
Old 17th November 2020 | Show parent
  #13
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macs672's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 13chroma20 ➡️
He only had an SH 101 and a DX 100 at the time, plus a Casio FZ sampler and a Roland R8 for drums. Definitely a Quadraverb though, or perhaps a Midiverb 2 at least.
This I was talking about
Old 17th November 2020 | Show parent
  #14
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macs672's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
And this.

Quote:
According to some of his more recent interviews and comments on his Soundcloud, he used an Atari (with Dr. T software I think) for his earliest stuff, then moved to a Mac for sequencing in the mid-90s. Then he got into using trackers in the late 90s/early 00s for the hectic drum and bass stuff. After that it seems like he used a combo of analog sequencers like the MC4 and normal DAW stuff until he started using the Cirklon exclusively
Old 17th November 2020 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by macs672 ➡️
Again, you are making assumptions here or falling for his way to troll interviewers. Using the cirklon exclusively? What absolute nonsense. If there is one thing that is to say about his way of working, then it's he's switching things up aloot. Hes having all kinds of different setups good to go.
People like you are part of the problem just blindly buying what artist X apparently used to get this or that sound instead of using what you have and come up with interesting techniques that someone else might want to copy later on (or for the lack of a better word, finds inspiration in).
These truly unique sounds that form an artistic character don't come out gear X or y but out of trying things and thinking about it, ideas, work. True mechanics like autechre or afx can use whatever the fck you throw at them and come up with Seth fresh, because they are true artists towards the matter of sound. It's a state of mind, that you clearly seem to lack talking this rubbish out of your asß. I might come off as ruff here but you are the one that could mislead young artists on their journey. Think about what you're spreading next time you feel the urge to parrot half truths.
People think if I use the same hardware as person bla bla bla I'll be as good as him, thats why so many people nowadays produce sh!t. You see this in the module community a lot, it's almost all the same crap, just a lame sequence being played over and over while the "artist" turns a few knobs here and there. Everyone wants to be that guy because he looks so cool with all that gear.

Just use whatever you can get, they did it. I would take a Pyramid sequencer over any other sequencer.
Old 17th November 2020 | Show parent
  #16
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by B_and_W ➡️
People think if I use the same hardware as person bla bla bla I'll be as good as him, thats why so many people nowadays produce sh!t.
OTOH, having the right hardware, and knowing how to program it can expose the cracks in what was previously "mindblowing" music. There is something about electronic music when you don't understand where the sounds come from and how its made, and the inherently interesting nature of the sounds themselves that hides the fact that many tracks are actually rather half assed and don't hold up so well over time (after the novelty fades).

In a more positive light -- all it takes is some interesting sounds and maintaining a cool vibe to make compelling music.
And still it is rare. I spent a lot of time in my life searching out music of some certain vibe. Finding 2 tracks on an album that had it would be a triumph.
Old 17th November 2020
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
The CS-5 mentioned above is available to buy here. Play nice and form an orderly queue kids...

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Yamaha-CS...9ee8%7Ciid%3A1
Old 17th November 2020
  #18
Here for the gear
 
I believe he mentioned using a Yamaha QX21 sequencer early on for making some of the Phonic Boy On Dope tracks. I imagine it may have gotten some use when creating some of the tracks for SAW I and beyond.
Old 17th November 2020 | Show parent
  #19
Deleted bb510e5
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by B_and_W ➡️
People think if I use the same hardware as person bla bla bla I'll be as good as him, thats why so many people nowadays produce sh!t. You see this in the module community a lot, it's almost all the same crap, just a lame sequence being played over and over while the "artist" turns a few knobs here and there. Everyone wants to be that guy because he looks so cool with all that gear.

Just use whatever you can get, they did it. I would take a Pyramid sequencer over any other sequencer.
Can we not do another one of your rants about modular users? Do you have to go on about it in everywhere?
Old 18th November 2020 | Show parent
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted bb510e5 ➡️
Can we not do another one of your rants about modular users? Do you have to go on about it in everywhere?
You see this in the Italio Disco community a lot, it's almost all the same crap, just a lame sentiment being played over and over while the "day trader" sh!tposts here and there.
Old 18th November 2020
  #21
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MonoTron's Avatar
I'd say saw1 was made with not much more gear than mentioned above, 101, dx100, r8, Quadra verb, casi fz1. It has a very coherent sound all through the album.
I'm not so sure he already had a vcs3 at that moment. Even can't really hear the ms20 although I do think he used its ESP to filter the watmm sample for instance.

Also love his recording methodes, playing live to tape, manually tweaking aux sends to reverb and riding the filters and envelops.

Sometimes his recordings failed due to tape munching or recording to loud. This can me heared on Sam's car, which is a beautiful track, but couldn't be released because of the tape munch muffled sound it has at a certain point.

I wonder which tape machine he used. Could be a very simple tascam for all we know.
Old 18th November 2020 | Show parent
  #22
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MonoTron's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by varntvar ➡️
Interesting, CS-5 does a convincing version of the staccato lead, 101 doesn't get chippy enough. It's only a tiny blip sound though and I could easily see it being DX or even a sample.

I wonder how he made that bass line though? I couldn't get anything close to that out of my 101 last time I tried, was years ago though.
Maybe FM?, listening now with new ears it seems like a distinct possibility...



Edit: Sorry for massive off topic, this was supposed to be about sequencers, missed that somehow
No worries, all afx production discussions are interesting
Old 18th November 2020 | Show parent
  #23
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cane creek's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by B_and_W ➡️
You see this in the module community a lot, it's almost all the same crap, just a lame sequence being played over and over
When I see quotes like this it’s reminds me of the days when guitar music was the dominant force and if you used a synth you weren’t really a musician, the UK press hated Gary Numan just because he used synths, rock bands would pretend they didn’t use synths to keep those in denial happy and even when synths finally got accepted folk still said anybody can make electronic music all you do is hold down a button and something stupid like that.

Your comment about the modular or as you called it module community, just says to me that you just don’t get it, but maybe one day you will.
Old 18th November 2020
  #24
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Tomás Mulcahy's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by MonoTron ➡️
That's fantastic! I wonder how much the quirks of that system influenced the composition? He is so good at making the gear work for him creatively. He's spoken a lot about setting up different studios, as he puts it. Philip Glass described Richard's process in the same way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by orangecaruption ➡️
Brother PDC-100 in the early years
Yes I've read that too, although he's also said he started with the Yamaha QX-21. Has said both were ****e, especially the Yamaha. His noise-composer buddy on Twitter (can't remember name right now) blogged that interview, I have a pdf somewhere...
Quote:
Originally Posted by 13chroma20 ➡️
he used an Atari (with Dr. T software I think) for his earliest stuff, then moved to a Mac for sequencing in the mid-90s.
Not earliest I would think, but at some point yes. I remember another interview where he claimed he decided to stop using Cubase because he overheard some yuppies discussing its merits in a restaurant. May have prompted the move to trackers
Quote:
Originally Posted by varntvar ➡️
...pretty sure the Ageispolis opening lead is CS-5 with 0 env times.
I used two CS5 and a CS10 for years. Envelopes at 0 only gives a click. CS5 square doesn't have a pulse-width control only PWM. CS10 can nail it. As would I imagine pretty much any synth with variable pulse width. Probably a bit difficult to get on an FM synth, but certainly possible.

@ macs672 you appear to be contradicting yourself. You say this
Quote:
Originally Posted by macs672 ➡️
Absolute bull****. He had much more. He even said it in interviews that were not bull****....
Then you say this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by macs672 ➡️
Again, you are making assumptions here or falling for his way to troll interviewers.
Then there's this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by macs672 ➡️
People like you are part of the problem just blindly buying what artist X apparently used to get this or that sound...
But you've missed the point which is:
Quote:
Originally Posted by MonoTron ➡️
I've always been wondering a bit which sequencers he used for which albums.
Not sure how you get from "wondering a bit" to "blindly buying"?
Old 18th November 2020 | Show parent
  #25
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MonoTron's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomás Mulcahy ➡️

Not sure how you get from "wondering a bit" to "blindly buying"?
Hah, you havent seen my studio. 2 days and his old cs5 will be mine.
I will bring it to the studio driving Richards old tank that I've bought 2 years ago.
I also tapped the sewers at elephant & castle for a few years while he was living there, so I could recycle his excrements in my ganja growing field.
I've had lucid dreams ever since
Old 18th November 2020
  #26
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Infidel's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
this one

Old 18th November 2020 | Show parent
  #27
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MonoTron's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Infidel ➡️
this one

Thanks, that was in the OP but somehow couldn't embed the video
Old 18th November 2020 | Show parent
  #28
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Tomás Mulcahy's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by MonoTron ➡️
Hah, you havent seen my studio. 2 days and his old cs5 will be mine.
I will bring it to the studio driving Richards old tank that I've bought 2 years ago.
I also tapped the sewers at elephant & castle for a few years while he was living there, so I could recycle his excrements in my ganja growing field.
I've had lucid dreams ever since
thank you, post of the week
Old 18th November 2020 | Show parent
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by MonoTron ➡️
Also love his recording methodes, playing live to tape, manually tweaking aux sends to reverb and riding the filters and envelops.
Does he talk more about this somewhere, perhaps in an interview or something?

Also, do you specifically mean this about SAW 85-92 era? Because I'm assuming that the earlier stuff used the live to tape approach, but later everything is automated and tweaked.

Anyways, this is something i've been thinking about lately — production technique with respect to different approaches like MIDI automation ± micro-editing versus more of a performance with everything running to tape and tweaked in real time, either live to 2-track or individual "live" performances multitracked. Something to be said about the live to tape approaches of the past (Pan Sonic recording live to DAT comes to mind as well).
Old 18th November 2020 | Show parent
  #30
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MonoTron's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BAK ➡️
Does he talk more about this somewhere, perhaps in an interview or something?

Also, do you specifically mean this about SAW 85-92 era? Because I'm assuming that the earlier stuff used the live to tape approach, but later everything is automated and tweaked.

Anyways, this is something i've been thinking about lately — production technique with respect to different approaches like MIDI automation ± micro-editing versus more of a performance with everything running to tape and tweaked in real time, either live to 2-track or individual "live" performances multitracked. Something to be said about the live to tape approaches of the past (Pan Sonic recording live to DAT comes to mind as well).
Yeah it's mostly early SAW Era he did that. I can't remember reading something about it, but you can hear it in his early work and I guess some jam recordings weren't good enough to release and ended up in the SoundCloud dump.

I use this method to record stems quite often, it just gives more of a human feel to otherwise "roboticly sequenced" Electronica.
Big difference is I record to a digital multitracker or renoise instead of to tape. Should do that to get that nice fatty saturation..
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