Mixing Eskmo’s "The Light of One Thousand Furnaces" with UAD Plug‑Ins

Mixing Eskmo’s "The Light of One Thousand Furnaces"

Learn How Brendan Angelides Used UAD Plug‑Ins to Fuel an Epic Synth Soundscape

Eskmo (AKA Brendan Angelides) is a Los Angeles‑based composer and performer whose multi‑genre works have been featured on influential independent record labels like Ninja Tune, Warp Records, Apollo, and Planet Mu. He is the lead composer for Billions, the Showtime series starring Emmy and Golden Globe winners Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis.

Eskmo is also one of the founding members of the LA‑based artist collective The Echo Society. Their sold out shows, often taking place in unusual locations, have featured 10‑20 piece chamber ensembles mixed with electronics and local and international guests. Eskmo is also involved with social outreach through FeelHarmonic, where he works hands‑on with kids at deaf and hard of hearing schools, enabling them to experience music and communication in new ways.

Here, we’ll breakdown a section of the track "The Light of One Thousand Furnaces."

Sitting the Strings

My friend Satoshi Noguchi helped me record the strings at a friend’s studio. We just had a simple left/right room mic setup, as well as individually mic’d instruments.

Setting the Strings

Here are the strings dry:

And here are the strings with UAD processing:

I wanted the strings to feel soft, yet powerful, and able to balance out the dry synth saturation happening in front. I ran the close cello mic fairly hot through the Studer® A800 Multichannel Tape Recorder plug-in and all the strings and room L/R sent to a bus with the EMT® 250 Classic Electronic Reverb plug-in — I love the tone of the EMT 250! I also placed the Pultec Pro Legacy plug-in on the violins which brought out some nice body and a bit of air.

Synth Treatment

Synth Treatment

For the main synth line, my focus was dancing around certain frequency ranges and playing with the distortion harmonically. To that end, I used heavy automation and significant bus processing. Pushing the automation settings required use of the Precision Multiband on the main channel. I then sent the synth to the Softube® Bass Amp Room, the MXR Flanger/Doubler and the lovely Thermionic Culture Vulture plug-ins.

Here is the synth part dry:

And here is the synth with UAD processing:

Automating the levels feeding the plug-ins — as well as the actual Culture Vulture controls — really helped to bring this part to life and add some exciting instability.

High Synth Blend

High Synth Blend

The last example is the high synth line that blends in and out with the string part. The original line was more complex than the simpler one I ended up using. Here is the part dry:

It was very important for this part to sit well in the track. I ran it through the EMT 140, Studio D plug-in, and the old UA DreamVerb Room Modeler.

Here is the synth with UAD plug-ins:

This plug-in combination gives this minimal eighth note phrase a lovely, uniform feel.

UAD Powered Plug-Ins open up endless creative pathways for me, and I keep finding more and more uses every day!

Photo credit: Trevor Traynor.

— Brendan Angelides

Read More