Music

diNMachine – "Failing All Charms" (audio) (premiere)

Recalling both the playfulness and primitive nature of early synth music, diNMachine's latest tune, "Failing All Charms" exemplifies Michael J. Schumacher's organically adventurous style.

diNMachine is a project led by experimental composer, Michael J. Schumacher. Recalling both the playfulness and primitive nature of early synth music, diNMachine's latest tune, "Failing All Charms", slated for the band's upcoming full-length, due in 2018, exemplifies the maestro's organically adventurous style.


Schumacher, more generous with his creative insights than most, says that the tune began, as most of his compositions do, as a loop with synth and drums. He built the drum part via a Vermona DRM1 which was subsequently set through a bit crusher called the Biscuit. Moving on to the synth part, he turned to a modular system containing Verbos, Make Noise, Expert Sleepers and Intelligel modules.

"I'd usually begin with a bassy synth part that I'd cull from recordings I'd made jamming on the modular," Schumacher recalls. "I'd figure out the tempo and add a simple drum track. Later I'd work out the drums in more detail, then give the part either to Alex [Goldberg, drums percussion], who interprets and records his version using his kit, or to Jake St. John who tweaks it inside the box."

Schumacher adds, "I'm constantly recording myself playing the modular, so I have many hours of sounds to sample and I'll often drag and drop previously recorded synth parts into the current session. Other times I'll process the lines with Melodyne software, which is usually used for pitch correction but is basically a very sophisticated pitch detector. Melodyne 'extracts' what it thinks are the pitches the synth is playing and creates a score. The problem is that the synth is not a violin or piano and the tones are not easily transcribed to equal tempered notation."

He says that the first few minutes of "Failing All Charms" presented rather easily. The problem, he notes, "became how to continue or to end". With a basic groove in mind, he still wanted a second section. He dragged a foreign file into the picture which he discovered worked as a contrast to the A part. "It also happened to be in the same key," he recalls, adding, "it needed some development, so I improvised a piano part, which I played back mixed with Chipspeech, speech synthesizer software made by Plogue."

The final moments of the tune, which includes a sound that Schumacher describes as "a cross between a snorting horse and a dying tractor trailer" was like "passing through a new place, with scattered memories of the main riff, so it feels more like an evolving journey than a typical song form."

Of the conclusion, its author says, "This last section is like passing through to a new place, with scattered memories of the main riff, so it feels more like an evolving journey than a typical song form."

With the journey complete, the listener can return to the place they started and perhaps know it for the first time.

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