Montano - Subtitled (100% Mulch ambient album)

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jet jaguar
jet jaguar's picture
Joined: June 23, 2009

Please give this a crack if you're interested in laidback / ambient music.

As with our first album, the tracks are almost entirely made from one field recording per track. There are a few exceptions this time, but almost all of the sounds are processed from things like trimming a small piece of voice or birdsong to use as a tone.

There is some use of MIDI sequencing VSTis to write melodies.

Happy to answer technical questions if you're interested.

One small trick I like is automating the tempo at the start and end of 'Sedative' while a LoopPlayer is playing, which creates that lurching tape speed feel.


paradiddle's picture
Joined: June 24, 2009

Cool. It's very easy listening. Be wanting to get myself a field recorder also.

Ray's picture
Joined: June 12, 2010

Beautiful stuff! I checked out the first Montano release awhile back when I was looking atyour website. I loved it, nothing else like it. Very happy to see a new release! Went again and ordered a copy.

I'll pry into some technical information. I love how you guys use fairly untreated field recordings as compositional matieral. How much editing goes in between the field recordinga and what we're hearing? Is there any kinds of special EQs and compressors or whatnot?

By 100% Mulch, you really mean there's no outside programs? If so, that's amazing! How do you go about laying out the tracks and developing changes in a way that's not too headachey? 

You also said you used a MIDI sequencing VSTi to write melodies. Which do you use? To be honest, I've not had much luck with the ones I've found. 

If you have any kind of .amh file that gives a bit more insight into the process I'd love to see it. I know you mentioned the tempo automation trick which is pretty cool. Is there any other kind of tricks you've picked up?

I probably have a billion questions but I hope that's enough for now!

jet jaguar
jet jaguar's picture
Joined: June 23, 2009

Thanks for the comment - I was expecting email notifications and I didn't get one, so apologies...


I'm now wondering if "100% Mulch" was a bit of an overstatement, because we did use audio editors (e.g. Audacity) not just to chop and normalise / lightly limit the volume on the field recordings, but also to slice and tweak bits that we wanted to work with.  Mostly this was filters/EQs & transposing sounds to isolate a tone or percussive hit, which would then be loaded into a Loop Player or Drums contraption.  But none of the FX were anything particularly special, IMO.  We use Mulch's built-in EQs a lot.  Depending on the sound, normally EQing out some low end is a good thing with field recordings.


I also just remembered the melody from 'Undertones' was sequenced in a soft sampler inside a DAW outside Mulch.  But it could've just easily been done inside with a VST sequencer and sampler.


Some of the melodic bits came from isolating something close to a note and then saving it at different pitches, which were then loaded into Drums to write melodies.  Multiple Drums presets, changing via automation, means melodic variation.  

A lot of harmonic parts were created from a starting "riff" that we'd then send to something that might transpose it again, e.g. Scrubby VST (with constrained pitch) or a Nebuliser.   Sometimes these are left in the Mulch document, and other times we exported a chunk and listened through for our favourite bits, which would then be fed back into the track using a Loop Player.  

There's one track where Shanan loaded a sound back into the LoopPlayer with stretch on and the bar length at some weird amount so it pitched everything down a fifth.  Then we put a SouthPole in the way, so it would gate all but say the first beat of every 2 bars.  Since the loop is not in the same tempo is the song, it's unpredictable which note comes through.  I think that then goes into a string of SDelay contraptions each with zero feedback, the net result being that each snippet of sound loops for exactly two bars, then changes.

I was using Phrazor as a MIDI sequencer.  It's not great, but I've got used to it.  Looks like it's no longer distributed anymore.  Shanan was using a very very light / basic one, but I've forgotten the name of it.

Both of us are very used to working with automation.  Lots of either switching presets or changing audio paths (crossfaders, matrix mixers, etc.) to make changes.


Winstontaneous's picture
Joined: October 25, 2011

Listening to the album right now and enjoying it.

I'm currently working on an art installation based on field recordings of a particular place in my town, your approach is giving me some good ideas!

jet jaguar
jet jaguar's picture
Joined: June 23, 2009

Thanks Winstontaneous, glad you're enjoying it. :)