“Washed Out” was made using the same circuit bent Casio MT-240 that I had previously used on “It’s Warhol Actually” (see GetLoFi.com article here). However, this time instead of focusing on the Casio’s more abrasive/disorienting/random sounds I used the string patch and flipped a switch every time a chord was played (via MIDI) to make it sound like the keyboard was dying.
Here is a screenshot of the final “Washed Out” mixdown file (no, my projects are never usually this organized, but I try to bounce down tracks and clean things up before mixing). Couple interesting notes… The stereo out from the circuit bent Casio MT-240 is on channel 1 and 2. The “LowBD” track is actually a bass drum sample from The Flaming Lips’ track “What Is the Light”. The “Shaker” track is a sequenced sample of me playing the front foot of a Giraffe Band Quartet toy (photo attached). Finally, the “Paul Drum Machine” track is my friend programming, performing, and improvising with his pocket drum machine (Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator Drum Machine PO-12) in real-time. I then went back and took the most inspired moments and created parts from there.
As for the song itself, usually I have a song (or several parts) loosely written before I start recording. However, with “Washed Out” I recorded the dying synth lines and had no song to attach it to for the longest time. Then last winter, I went through a Lou Reed-phase and got the idea of a spoken word-type verse and the song quickly fell into place. Finally, last fall, I became obsessed with Bon Iver’s “22, A Million” album and really dug the pitch shifted/sped up/slowed down vocals – so I tried taking small snippets of the verse and goofing around with them just as a way to emphasize lines and (hopefully) keep the song exciting, interesting, and weird!
I’m doing a second CNC Building Class. More to come.
“Obviously, the best feature about the Casio MT-240 is the MIDI function. To record, I would basically loop the parts and experiment with flipping the switches until I got something that I thought sounded cool and workable. Everything was recorded in stereo. Other sounds/samples that work their way into this track include David Bowie, Daft Punk and Meatloaf (yes, Meatloaf). 😉
Couple things about the mods… the outputs on the back are a left and right 1/4″ stereo out. The switches up by the volume control turn on and off each speaker (left and right), the third button below makes it go from stereo to mono. The red button on the back is the “kill switch”. All switches are “off” when they are pointed in.