gouldian finch 4

San Holo, Duskus, Laxcity & more share inspiration and the tech behind Gouldian Finch 4

San Holo’s imprint bitbird recently launched the astounding 20 track compilation titled ‘Gouldian Finch 4’ featuring a wide range of talented musicians and producers. The fourth installment of the Gouldian Finch series has been out for almost a month and has won the hearts of electronic music lovers and critics as well. To gain an exclusive insight into the process and inspiration behind the album, we sat down with some of the artists from the compilation. All the artists were asked about their favorite element from their track and the tech(plugins/gear) involved in developing that element. Read through the article to know more about our findings!

 

“There’s no compilation like the Gouldian Finch! I’m extremely excited about all the amazing new talent we’re showcasing, time and time again. There’s so much diversity, yet the bitbird feeling is present in every single song on here. It just feels right! Get ready for an exciting emotional journey through groundbreaking new sounds!” – San Holo

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1. Dobi x Azziah – “as we hang up a picture”

“My favorite element of this track is definitely the guitar you hear in the second verse. I had asked Azziah to use her guitar out of impulse to try and jot something down. Because I don’t own a guitar, nor do I really play it, I did my best to take advantage of the time I got to spend with her instrument and I’m really happy with how it turned out. I layered the recorded guitars with some guitar presets in Omnisphere 2 and panned the two of them left and right, it provided a really cool sound for me.”

dobi

 

2. Duskus – ‘Holding U’

“I really enjoyed the chords in the chorus section of the track. I just used serum and put a bend plus on some sine waves. I didn’t use too many effects, mainly just a little bit of vibrato and multiband compression. I then draw the progression out using thirds. It came together really quick and I love how simple the process was”

Duskus

 

3. Flawed Mangoes – ‘ULTRAMAGNET’

“My favorite sounds from ultramagnet are the super distorted bass synths I use throughout, they were mostly made in NI massive and on the Arturia microfreak by using aggressive wavetable oscillators, then tuning filter resonances to emphasize certain harmonics and blasting it with lots of compression and saturation. This gives a chordal quality to the bass note making it sound much more full than just a single synth playing one note at a time”.
Flawed Mangoes

 

4. Pocket x Rohaan – ‘idontwannabeafraid’

“Damn, one fave element is a hard one to pick! One that was real fun to make was the main melodic lead. While Pocket was playing around with the break, I was working out some sounds with my Korg Minilogue. A simple saw patch with some white noise was what stuck. After playing around with some melodies, Pocket recorded me playing it directly into Ableton. We cut up the audio and pitched it to taste (i feel like I’m writing a recipe right now) added some multiband comp + eq and it was done! It’s a super simple but extremely effective lead as it allows the complexity of the break to run free, while the simple but wide melody keeps your focus on track with the progression.”
Rohaan

 

“My favourite element of the song is the strange lead that appears midway through the track. We recorded a really roughly played synth line, then deliberately pitched it around in Ableton so that it was randomised and out of key. From there, Melodyne did the heavy lifting. We pitched the notes back into a coherent key and by doing this so dramatically it introduced really nice artifacts, almost degrading the quality of the synth.”

Pocket

 

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5. Tails – ‘CLOSE2ME’

“My favorite element in the track is the first bass sound you hear in the intro of the track! It was the first element I wrote when I started the demo. Most of my tracks have a vibe-y drawn-out intro so I wanted to try something different with this and start with a bass element. The bass is made with Massive. It’s a super simple patch – A mix of square and saw waves with a low pass filter, some phase modulation, and a good amount of tube distortion. I usually use things like Ableton’s ‘amp’ or ‘saturator’ to dirty things up but I ended up using the ‘crush’ effect in a plug-in called Effectrix instead – distortion set to 100% with 100% wet mix as well. The buzz, flutter, and some filtering come from a Reaktor FX ensemble called VHS. It’s cutting some of the low-end and making the sound feel like it’s being recorded by an old buzzing amp. For some variation on the bass – there are some fills that use Ableton frequency shifter. Automating the ‘Frequency’ knob with the ‘Ring’ mode turned on. A little bit of EQ to scoop out some mids to top it off!”

Tails

 

6. Couros – ‘Untitled21’

“Getting the guitar sound. I ended up running the guitar through a 1940’s film projector amp, they don’t sound like regular valve amps, meant to be more hi-fi but I think the age of the tubes etc. just give it something you can’t really get from anything else.”
Couros

 

7. Phritz – ‘wilmette’

“The usage of chopped-up unreleased demos, weird bleep-bloop sounds are my two favorite elements from the track. Most of my recent songs involve chopping up old/unreleased wips (work-in-progress songs), and I started doing this when I thought to myself: “What can I do to make a unique, interesting sound without doing too much tedious synth patching? (Because I’m lazy)”. I believe it’s almost become a staple element of my tracks at this point. For the ambient bleep-bloop sounds, I used the MOOD pedal by chase bliss audio, which is my favorite gear for producing experimental sounds.”
phritz

 

8. Acloudskye, N33T – “Nothing Else”

“I think one of my favorite elements of our track is definitely the crunchy bass that comes in during the second drop. It was just two detuned and filtered sine waves that got put through a ton of distortion then resampled in Ableton. I think the combination of that element along with the guitar and synths makes for some really cool energy.”
Acloudskye

 

9. On Planets x Flaws – ‘Better Than’

“I don’t think I have a specific ‘favorite element’ in our song ‘Better Than’ but in terms of sonic approach I’m really happy with the way we managed to combine acoustically recorded instruments like glockenspiel and guitar with electronic elements like sample-based drums and synths, capturing ‘best of both worlds’. This actually all came together quite organically because originally had a demo that consisted of mostly acoustically recorded instruments, which was later essentially ‘remixed’ by On Planets, who had more of an ‘in-the-box’ type approach in the case of this song – adding drums, synths, FX, and essentially revamping it into something new and fresh.”
Flaws

 

“My favourite element of this song is the main body of 16th note chordal plucks, which has three layers: clean electric guitar, dirty electric guitar, and my Chinese guitar called a daruan. Each layer has 1-4 voices, each voice a single note recorded in stereo doubles, which make for a very “tall” and “wide” final chordal structure and stereo image. The clean guitar plays the middle of the chord voicing with a pretty straightforward signal chain—some dynamic expansion to emphasize the percussive sounds, then a cassette emulation (Reels by AudioThing) which bunches up the mids nicely while rolling the top and bottom ends off, and then a big EQ boost around 550 Hz to keep focus on that part of the sound. The dirty guitar plays the root note with a muffy kind of fuzz tone that compliments the actual bass track—I recorded DI through my Hairball Audio Bronze preamp (this is hands down my favourite preamp of all time) using the -20 dB pad to run it quite hot, then boosted EQ around 100 Hz before hitting some gritty compression (TDR Molotok) and then through Soundtoys Decapitator on “T” mode (Culture Vulture) to give it even more hair. The daruan layer is the cherry on top and carries most of what the listener hears in the mix—the instrument is kind of like a baritone acoustic guitar with flatwound strings and scalloped frets, and it has a really beautiful understated tone. This layer I recorded through my Telefunken CU-29 into the Hairball Bronze, and has a couple of moving notes and a ton of fret/string noise to give some melodic and textural information to latch onto (the other two layers are more diffuse and supportive). The signal chain starts with some surgical EQ to smooth out the pokey resonances, then has a very short room reverb for dimension (Valhalla Room) and some various EQ cuts and boosts between 800 and 3.5k Hz to bring out the strumming noise and brightness. The final result of the three layers put together is a big impossible chord that sounds like a daruan mariachi band accompanied by octopuses playing double-necked electric guitars.”
On Planets

 

10. Mystk – “Together In This Cold World”

“My first Bitbird single ‘Lost’ featured this sound everyone called a flute (that isn’t actually a flute at all!) which became a pretty iconic part of the track, so I wanted to include a similar sound in this one. Since the vibe is much darker though, I made this sort of unstable, super loud flute that sounded like thunder ripping through the atmosphere to me. It’s basically a flute sample I warped like crazy and ran through a bunch of delay, Valhalla room, overdrive, RC-20, saturation & compression. I love Ableton’s stock plugins, they can be so powerful if you know how to take them out of their comfort zone.”
Mystk

 

11. Laxcity – ‘Daydream’

“My favourite element in the track has to be everything in the orchestral intro. The intro was created by mixing synth-based strings (soundfonts) and sample-based strings together to make them seem realistic. I like limiting my process this way because I end up creating something much more memorable. The process of writing this track started out with me doing some sound design in a free plugin called Vital. I was part of the beta testing phase in this plugin and had a lot of fun messing around with it. It’s like a cross between Serum and Phase plant and you can modulate almost everything in the plugin. I started with a few repeating notes while vital automated a higher harmonic note in and out to create this sense of a trance. After that, it was a matter of putting the rest of the track together step by step. This was one of those songs that helped me get into the flow state very easily and push it towards completion!”
Laxcity

 

12. Bonjr x enesai – “to change perspectives”

“I specifically love the addition of my own vocals during the build up (3:12 – 4:06) and it wasn’t that difficult to create! I just used my mic to record the vocals, touched them up with some reverb (ValhallaShimmer) and used another really cool plugin called dearVR MICRO for placing it in the mix. As for the composition itself, well I’m not much of a singer so I just hit the notes that I could and hoped for the best LOL”
bonjr

 

13. San Holo, Taska Black, Mystk, Flaws – “when ur around”

“Funnily enough I had already thought a little bit about what I’d do if I got to write a mega collab with San & friends in the past, so I remember having this amazing deja-vu moment when San asked me to be part of this one. Softer musical parts can be so emotionally raw for me so I knew I wanted to make the intro/outro of When Ur Around. I was messing around with some eastern scales a couple of years ago and found this one that just gave me chills every time I heard it, so I’ve been sneaking it into tracks ever since. It just sounds so Mystk you know? I’ve got a serious thing for harps too so I hopped on my Nord Stage 3 and started looping the scale through different sounds until I landed on the one you hear in the final track after some basic processing in Ableton. I sent programmed midi to my Nord and re-recorded it back in while playing with some parameters to give it a more analogue touch. All in all it’s quite simple but I love what it adds to the track!”
Mystk

 

“Working on ‘when ur around’ was quite a fun experience because we all used the same building blocks as a starting point before everything was ultimately pieced together into a finished song. I started off by taking the initial demo by San (piano and drums) and decided to start chopping it up & rearranging it into a new thing. For this technique, I used a plugin called ‘Dr. Octo Rex’, which essentially chops / slices any imported audio into multiple small bits that can be triggered and rearranged using MIDI. I often use this technique as a way to ‘recycle’ ideas into something new.”
Flaws

 

Make sure to check out the compilation “Gouldian Finch 4” down below:

 

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Image Credits: bitbird

 

Hemant has been actively involved in the dance music industry with over 2 years of experience. Currently working as a Project Manager and heading the We Rave You Tech division. Get in touch via email or Instagram

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