After I decided to do an album with old pre-MIDI synths only (and guitar and drums) the first step was to record the sequences. For this, I could use the huge Moog 55 modular system that belongs to Dazzlinj.A modular with some history, since it once belonged to Johan Timman and was used on his Trip Into TheBody album. The sequences were recorded during two days. The modular gave me quite a hard time, it ishardly possible to keep it in tune. Once tuned the sequencer and starting the recording you just hear itslowly (or not that slowly) gettin out of tune again. So, a matter of patience and keeping it’s fantastic massive sound in mind. During the first recording day, I could also use Dazzlinj’s ARP 2600 torecord some soundeffects. The rest of the album was done in around 6 weeks at my studio at home.There is always plenty of old analog’s around to work with. :-) Besides that I was lucky to have kept all the
soundeffects and the arpeggio (2nd half of PART 5), done with a Memorymoog that I had on a loan for months long ago, in 2007. For the first time, I recorded acoustic drums in my studio.
I have to be thankfull to my neighbours for not complaining about the drumvolume during the days I recorded them... |
- Part 1 [12:08]
- Part 2 [11:55]
- Part 3 [15:14]
- Part 4 [11:08]
- Part 5 [10:27]
In Dazzlinj’s studio: Sequences recorded on January 30 and May 21, 2016. Soundeffects ARP 2600 recorded on January 30.In my own studio: Memorymoog recorded in 2007. All other parts recorded from May 23 until Juni 30, 2016.Mixed and mastered during the first week of July, 2016.
Photo’s and photoshopping by Gert Emmens
Cover design by Gert Emmens
Many thanks: Jeroen, for allowing me to record the sequences with his Moog 55 modular and soundeffects with hisARP 2600 synth. Keeping in mind also that he offered two of his weekend days having me around.Ruud Heij, for being there during the recording days at Jeroen’s place, to assist with patching the Moog, and helping to start up and tame it.Pierre Steltenpool, for giving me one of his Memorymoogs on a loan for many months.Ron Boots, for the support, distribution and confidence in my music.Laila, for all the love.
I would like to dedicate this album to all my fans who keep supporting me. It means much to me.
The latest Gert Emmens release, "The Last Alien", contains 5 eponymously titled tracks recorded using analog equipment and live drums. The first part opens with an atmospheric section filled with all kinds of effects and bass drones. After a couple of minutes, a fat bass Moog sequence starts, as well as mellotron sounds (including flutes). There's no mention of mellotron in the credits, so I guess it's fake mellotron but it does sound like one anyway. This is classic Berlin School sound, as we all know and love. After 5 minutes, drums come in, as the tension bui lds. Nice organ pads give a vintage feel to the proceedings. Typical reftective melodies in Gert Emmens style appear for a more pastoral atmosphere. As a point of reference, the track has something of an "Ages" (Froese) feel to it. Before we notice, it's over and back to the atmospheric soup. 12 minutes passing like a few seconds is a good sign for sure.
Organ chords welcome "Part 2", soon joined by a subtle bass sequence. The chords disappear as we are left with the sequence and effects. The chords return only a couple of seconds later, together with a very nice reflective and "romantic" solo. This is extremely warm and enjoyable. Then there's a nice deep synth sound similar to a tolling bell. Another symphonic lead sound somehow reminded me on Vangelis' "Blade Runner" score, especially "Blade Runner Blues". We can definitely hear that Gert's decision to move to a strictly analog setup worked big time on this album. The sound is sparse, minimal and quite moody, leaving only essential components and pure emotion in.
Another dark soundscape heralds the coming of "Part 3". We can hear an electronic pulse and reflective e-guitar chords, giving a vaguely space rock feel, a bit Floydian even. A rapid bass sequence forms underneath, threatening to burst through. Drums join the ride, as the Moog sequence keeps mutating. Chords and solos quickly join in, taking things to stratosphere. String stabs remind on Tangerine Dream circa "Pergamon". The sequence then subsides for a moment, as the solo shines in all its glory. More melodies appear for a rich, symphonic pastiche. I should also mention the excellent work Gert did with fx here - really unusual and great sounds. Another rich, epic atmospheric part closes this monster of a track.
Heavier and more aggressive effects at the beginning of "Part 4" is something new for Gert but it does work very well. A jolly sequence quickly joins in, as well as great, great melodic chords - fantastic Berlin School music! Everything is perfect about this track - the fat sequence from real modular Moog, the chords, the effects... It's quite a trip. It also has a darker edge, something I often favor in music in general and I certainly do in Gert's case.
The closing part opens with deep, cavernous drones and an echoing sequence entering the scene almost immediately. This is another track with drums and it's got an absurd amount of tasty synth sounds. The melody, for some reason, reminded me on Kraftwerk a bit. Perhaps it's the nocturnal nature of it that brought up images of "Trans-Europe Express" in my mind, of maybe the chord sequence itself sounded somewhat "Home Computer"-ish to me. Anyway, great stuff. The atmospheric part in the middle, on the other hand, has some Schulze-like qualities to it in its use of melancholic shords and floating analog leads. The music flows freely on top of a repeating arpeggio - serene, beautiful, but poignant. This is stuff to let your mind fly to the farthest reaches of space where the only limit is your imagination.
I urge all fans of analog synthesis and good EM in general to check out this fantastic opus.
2016. Artemi Pugachov / Encyclopedia of Electronic Music