The Secret Weapon

Everything related to our favorite Scottish duo.

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New Seed
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Valotonin wrote:
Jonathan Doezesoph wrote:Hey,newb here


I'm calling bullshit on there being any "secret weapon".there is absolutely nothing in BoC's sonic repetoire that would suggest giant,expensive,analog poly.pretty much everything that could be attributed to a synth has sounded like a simple mono-synth to me, ala SH-101.even on Tomorrow's Harvest,a lot of the chords sound like overdubs of monosynths (palace posy,come to dust)

If there is a secret weapon,it's definitely not a synth.it is most likely a sampler or an obscure device for sound treatment.they play a far bigger role in the sonics of BoC than any synths do.


Then again,if i am being completely honest,there really is nothing obscure about what BoC does in production terms.it's just more about how they put it together

Cheap,grainy reverb (quadraverb,Midiverb most likely) ring modulation and frequency shifting (probably a synth with an audio input,i don't see them using moogerfoogers lol and they've been using frequency shifting and ring modulation since the old tunes days),tape treatments,vintage sampler abuse (this is basically 60% of their sound),reamping and "world-ising"


I'm not in anyway undermining what they do.just shedding some reality on the processes (there's nothing unusual about what they use)


Jesus, you came armed and ready didn't you? Happy first post and welcome, I guess. It is interesting you seem to be able to identify so much just from listening. How do you know that your ears don't deceive you ?

No hostility or anything, it's all love x



The filter sweeps on the synths near most always sound identical in all of their stuff and the envelopes that the synths produce are all relatively the same,as is the timbre of the oscillators.the way the stereo image is distributed on their poly parts would suggest overdubbing more than unison e.g CS80.it's not quite as thick as unison,but it has a better stereo correlation (unison tends to sound everywhere where as BoC's has some directionality to it)there's also a sort of a deeper sort of sound impression you get when you double,triple,quadruple track mono parts,that you can't achieve with synths that use unison (they take up too much sonic real estate and you have no real control over their stereo panorama)

Wildlife Analysis's microtonal melody sounds like a self oscillating filter that is remarkably similar to the CEM Filter used in some of Roland's mono-synths

I guess i should provide examples to all my speculations errr

The bassline in Roygbiv has been re-mic'd (the room sound is the give away)

the distortion on the drums in Chinook is sampler abuse (Akai possibly).cooked through the DAC's (op-amp distortion) at a lower sample and bitrate and probably recorded to cassette

The reverb is an obvious one.it was a firm favourite amongst all the warp-sters and the general tonality of their verb has never really changed right the way through to Tomorrow's Harvest (most obvious on Palace Posy and Come to Dust.adds a pseudo unison impression to the mono-synth lines.earlier blatantly obvious example would be, Bocuma)


Analysis aside,i could be talking out of my ass

New Seed
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Ring and or Amplitude Modulation: Oirectine intro sound and throughout that,Olson main sound.Frequency shifting:anytime they do that "outisde of your head" stereo effect which is achieved by playing round with the phase of the left or right channel and a notable use,or rather a more direct use of it i,part of the voice treatments on Telepath. (would of added this to the other post,but it wouldn't let me edit the post again)

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Jonathan Doezesoph wrote:Ring and or Amplitude Modulation: Oirectine intro sound and throughout that,Olson main sound.Frequency shifting:anytime they do that "outisde of your head" stereo effect which is achieved by playing round with the phase of the left or right channel and a notable use,or rather a more direct use of it i,part of the voice treatments on Telepath. (would of added this to the other post,but it wouldn't let me edit the post again)



Enjoying your posts bro. Feel free to post as much speculation as you like!

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Jonathan, are you a musician? Your knowledge of production techniques is impressive. Based on everything I have read in the BoC interviews, your analysis sounds accurate. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

New Seed
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SonicDimension wrote:Jonathan, are you a musician? Your knowledge of production techniques is impressive. Based on everything I have read in the BoC interviews, your analysis sounds accurate. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!



"Musician"would be stretching the definition a little.naa,more of an extremely, anal sound-analyst/failled musician/bedroom producer (ofsorts)

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Sherbet Head
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skills

New Seed
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Evening peeps.i was pissing around in my D.A.W earlier making sounds in an FM synth (technically phase modulation,but that isn't important)and i made a bit of a discovery.this would also mean that BoC are not AS die-hard analogue as they claim to be,which i have largely suspected for a while

You know how there is about a million,poor iterations of people claiming to do the BoC pitch,tape wobble thing but it never quite sounds like the way BoC's pitch wobble and basically just sounds like someone going ape-shit with the fine tune?????,and if you think about it,that sounds rather daft,pitch is pitch and it should be the same no matter how you modulate it right? well,what if it wasn't pitch that they was actually modulating,and it was rather a by-product of a process that just happens to affect the "pitch"of sounds when you manipulate them/it a certain way?


This is something i have kind of always knew but never thought to applying the methodology to making things sound i guess broken and unstable,but it still has that drift that BoC is more widely known for,and many have poorly emulated

This is just a clip of some classical midi i chucked in to have a baseline to work with.you'll notice that the wobble is not periodic at all and is almost chaotic in both stereo distribution,frequency,distortion and ofcourse "pitch"which you wont even hear on the umpteen plugins that have "emulated" tape at a much,much lower level than what i am capable of or even understand (raises some questions to be honest lol)

I did some other minor things all completely ITB to add additional crust,but i hope and at least i think, it has been done tastefully (i'm such a snob)you may notice tiny fractions of moments in the clip that give the distortion away that it is blatantly digital,that's just unavoidable i am afraid,it's nowhere as bad as most examples of digital distortion though.

PS:I overdid the wobble of the "pitch" a bit (read:a lot) just so you can hear how relatively accurate it is.


Peace

https://clyp.it/4505jd2s

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Telepath
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Good job!

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Eagle Minded
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OK, well, here's my thing, which probably has been mentioned before.

Most BoC songs are around 85-95 BPM, like Aquarius (84BPM), Kid For Today (85BPM), Roygbiv (84BPM), Turqoise Hexagon Sun (94BPM), Everything you do is a Balloon (91BPM) and Dayvan Cowboy (84BPM). However, the more recent you go, the faster tracks have become (in general). I'd recommend to set the tempo at 92BPM, because this is the natural tempo (Radiolab did a good episode on this: http://www.radiolab.org/story/269783-speedy-beet/)
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Eagle Minded
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Their secret weapon is ingested.

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Peacock Tail wrote:Their secret weapon is ingested.


Wonder if the brothers actually ingest "synthesizers" :wink:

New Seed
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How about this? https://soundcloud.com/kranky/justin-walter-its-not-what-you-think This guy is about to release an album basically dedicated to this rare synth called an EVI. http://www.synthmuseum.com/stp/stpevi01.html Very familiar sounds :}

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kftkft wrote:How about this? https://soundcloud.com/kranky/justin-walter-its-not-what-you-think This guy is about to release an album basically dedicated to this rare synth called an EVI. http://www.synthmuseum.com/stp/stpevi01.html Very familiar sounds :}

Oh yeah sounds boccy af!

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Boqurant
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kftkft wrote:How about this? https://soundcloud.com/kranky/justin-walter-its-not-what-you-think This guy is about to release an album basically dedicated to this rare synth called an EVI. http://www.synthmuseum.com/stp/stpevi01.html Very familiar sounds :}



Here's a video https://youtu.be/o161ddNCiyg of him using the EVI, which is pretty fascinating to see and hear if you ignore the loop pedal and iPad.

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Friendly Stranger
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Peacock Tail wrote:Their secret weapon is ingested.


Left Side Drive

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Happy Cycler
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Josh wrote:
kftkft wrote:How about this? https://soundcloud.com/kranky/justin-walter-its-not-what-you-think This guy is about to release an album basically dedicated to this rare synth called an EVI. http://www.synthmuseum.com/stp/stpevi01.html Very familiar sounds :}



Here's a video https://youtu.be/o161ddNCiyg of him using the EVI, which is pretty fascinating to see and hear if you ignore the loop pedal and iPad.


yup, in full agreement with Fredd-E: "boccy af!"
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