Mixing Eskmo’s "The Light of One Thousand Furnaces"
I love the possibilities that UAD Powered Plug-Ins open up for me, and I keep finding more and more uses
Eskmo (AKA Brendan Angelides), is a Los Angeles-based composer and performing musician who's 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 new Showtime series starring Emmy and Golden Globe winners Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis. The series debuts January 2016. Eskmo is also one of the founding members of the LA-based artist collective The Echo Society. Their sold out shows, taking place in unusual locations, have featured 10-20 piece chamber ensembles mixed with electronics and featuring 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.
In this Producer’s Corner, I'm dissecting a breakdown from a section of a track "The Light of One Thousand Furnaces" from my recent album entitled Sol. This material was inspired by the Sun and the idea of working with harmonic tones and warm saturation to evoke the sense of something pushing and living.
I recorded a small string ensemble for the album, and part of the challenge was working them into a balanced space with the electronics — both sonically and aesthetically. This track was all written on a very simple setup, in Logic, on a laptop, running the UAD-2 Satellite Quad DSP Accelerator.
Sitting the Strings
My friend Satoshi Noguchi helped me record the strings at a friends studio. We just had a simple left/right room mic set up, as well as individually miking each instrument.
Here are the strings dry:
And here are the strings with UAD processing:
I wanted the strings to sit in a place that was soft, yet powerful, and able to balance out the dry, warm 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 as well as some gentle air.
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 a number of busses. The Precision Multiband plug-in was needed for the main channel because of how hard I pushed the automation settings. 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:
By automating the levels being fed in — as well as the actual Culture Vulture controls — it really helped to bring this part to life and add some exciting instability.
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:
The combination of those plug-ins give this minimal, eighth note phrase, a lovely a uniform feel.I love the possibilities that UAD Powered Plug-Ins open up for me, and I keep finding more and more uses everyday!Photo credit: Trevor Traynor.
— Brendan Angelides
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