“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!