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Richard Devine: The Bonus Interview

September 26, 2016

A frequent flyer, cultural sponge, roving documentarian and the subject of an October EM feature, Richard Devine is a sound designer with a pocket full of patch chords and an ear for the abstract. Typically online extras are excerpts from/a continuation of the projects featured in print, but Devine works so quickly it seemed more exciting to highlight new, exclusive production previews. Just as this was being compiled it was revealed he contributed MIDI programming to Hexagon Highway, a warped percussion and heavy bass expansion for Native Instruments Maschine created in collaboration with Twisted Tools. The following, however, are capsule walkthroughs of typically expressive, genre-blurred endeavors.

Devine has recently had a work included on the Touched 3 compilation, a massive collection of 417 tracks sold to benefit British charity Macmillan Cancer Support. The lush ambient composition can be previewed on SoundCloud, and here Devine explains how he routed the samples, custom-assembled “Eurocrack” modules and processors involved:

“The track originally appeared on my Instagram feed, and was one of my first experiments using the new Qu-Bit Wave 4 voice sampler Eurorack module. I created 16 different chords sampled from my old 88-key Fender Rhodes, which was processed with different plug-ins. I also sampled some of my Indian bells, and resonating string/spring sounds from the Electr Faustus EF110 BlackFly Metallic Swarm Generator. The celestial sine tone sequence was generated by the intellijel Metropolis running into one of my intellijel Dixie oscillators plucked with the MakeNoise Optomix. All signals where running through a Strymon BigSky and Eventide H9 pedal [Devine’s external effects processors of choice for his ongoing modular performances/recordings].”

Never caught without a pocket recorder, Devine is always looking for esoteric sample fodder. Here he chimes in on capturing the pitches and timbres of some naturally occurring bell sounds:

“In August I was booked to play at the DAT Conference in Missoula, Montana, about two hours away from the mysterious Ringing Rocks in White Hall, Montana. I was fascinated by this natural oddity, and had to get some recordings of them myself. I spent the entire day recording this beautiful, desolate rock formation, trying to capture each rock as best as possible. I used a Sony PCM-D100 portable recorder and captured all the sounds at 24 bit/96 kHz. I decided I would also make these available free to everyone and posted a short musical track I made just using the rock samples on my SoundCloud page, along with a free Kontakt kit that is downloadable f

rom the track description.”

Devine is always working his way through how people interact with motorized, short, repetitive patterns in the ambient environment, and at https://soundcloud.com/soundmorph/mechanism-soundpack-preview he shares an example of how he treats the waveforms of heaving components and the full servo spectrum for a sound bank:

“In November 2015 I went up to Montreal, Canada, to meet with the folks at the BioWare video game company. I did a lecture on my sound design techniques and tools and presented to the entire sound design team there. It was a really fun experience to show everyone what I use and also see how the sound designers there create their sounds for games like Mass Effect, etc. I was given tours on everything from how they where making new weapon sounds to vehicle sounds. On that same trip I visited my friends from sound effects company SoundMorph, and we decided to book some time at Technicolor's Foley stage in Montreal for a few days to record this super high-res collection of tiny gears and mechanisms using the Sanken C0-100K microphone [which Devine likes for its ‘extended range up to 100k that gets an incredible amount of high-end detail’]. I recorded everything at 24-bit 192 kHz with the Sound Devices 788T recorder, and also used a pair of my Sennheiser MKH-8040ST’s in a X/Y configuration to record some of the other sounds. It was an action-packed collection of various micro-mechanical sounds. The result is ‘Mechanism,’ which was also made in collaboration with Sweet Justice Sound, who contributed a ton of sound effects to the collection. It’s basically a steampunk-inspired collection of gears, contraptions, metal, impacts and, of course, mechanisms.”

To read our complete October interview with Richard Devine, click HERE.

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