DJ/producer Will Saul shares an eerie compilation of field recordings run through a 1950s plate reverb.
London-based DJ/producer Will Saul took a break from being the boss of Aus Music and Simple Records earlier this year to release his first album since 2005, and his only album under the new alias of CLOSE. Combining traces of house, techno, pop and soul, the project made use of an old 1950s plate reverb that Saul just happened to have lying around his studio - so, naturally, he's used it to distort the sounds of random objects falling and sent us the result for our Found Sound series. Click here to grab a download of the resulting eerie audio, or stream it via the play button above.
Hi, CLOSE! Tell us about this found sound.
Saul: "It's a series of recordings of largely innate objects hitting different surfaces - all done in our London studio. We recorded bunches of keys being dropped onto a metal surface and a handful of pens being dropped onto wood and other odd bits and bobs hitting things. We recorded it all with an old 60s portable tape machine that had a built in mic which would have been used to record interviews for TV back in the day. The tape machine had different speeds of playback, so if you slow the reordings down you get very different sounds to the intial recording. The keys sounded like bells and so on….There were also things coming out in the recordings that we hadn't planned to capture, such as me coughing, which sounded weird and spooky, almost like an animal growling, which we ended up using as well - happy accidents. We then ran these slowed recordings through an old 50s plate reverb and then further edited the sounds into the rhythm that makes up the intro on 'Wallflower' and underpins a lot of the rhythm structure for the song. Hopefully it all lends a unique weird and eerie feel to the track that would be difficult to capture in other ways…at least I hope so as it took bloody ages to do!"
How did you acquire a 1950s plate reverb, and did it get much use on your recent album, 'Getting Closer'?
Saul: "It belongs to Niel in the studio above us! I have no idea where he got it but we helped him move it into its purpose built room (it's huge and took five of us to lift) next to our studio so he let Tam Cooper (my production partner for most of the CLOSE album and owner of the studio) drill through into the reverb room and run some cables in so the reverb is permanantly plumbed into Tam's desk. This is an absolute result as very few of these things exist. It sounds amazing on vocals and we used it wherever possible on the album."
Whose use of field recordings in their music do you admire?
Saul: "Well Herbert is obviously the absolute master of this - he's made entire albums just using themed found sounds. DJ Koze is perhaps the best at injecting humour into tracks with his found sounds…I love the way he records something funny or weird, lets you hear the recording in full so you know what it is and then somehow catches a part of the recording and turns it into a part of the rhythm…it's very very difficult to do this well and his tongue in cheek humour really shines through."
What other founds sounds (if any) did you include on your album?
Saul: "There aren't really any others on the album that I can remeber to be honest, but Tam and I do like to try and record instruments that carry a resonance in a way that isn't strictly playing them in a traditional sense and program them into a rhythm. On Time Fades we lay an acoustic guitar on its back and then hit the strings with different objects and cut up the recordings to make the rhythm at the start of the track - I think this almost sounds like a basketball player's feet sliding and squeaking on a court surface…that would be a good found sound to record actually…"
!K7 will release Wallflower along with remixes from Kyle Hall, Deetron, Huxley and Quantum Entanglement on the 14th October 2013.