THE MANGLE & DISRUPT DICTUM: Process (Mangle/Disrupt) instruments through analog synthesizers. Lately, I have been using The OutofControl-atron (an analog modular synth I designed and built — with Tom Doty as technical advisor — inspired by the Buchla 200 series, EMS Synthi, and the Stylophone 360s). I RIPPED this technique OFF from Steve Morse of the Dixie Dregs and Brian Eno. In the late ‘70s I saw Steve Morse play his guitar live through a Mini Moog with the Dixie Dregs. Also, I absconded with Brian Eno’s use of “Treatments” (manipulating sounds through his EMS AKS VCS 3 Synthi synthesizer) as a production technique he used through the ‘70s and ‘80s.
THE SHIMMER & SPARKLE STYLE: The use of resonant chambers (pianos, furnace coverings, 12-string guitars, Hemholtz resonators, any kind of resonating room, plate/spring reverbs, etc.) to process instruments. This technique can often lead to a shimmering, sparkling, or a dark, brooding hue to the instrument being processed. Initially I was introduced to the concept of Hemholtz resonators from the studio designs of architect Chris Huston. Upon further investigation, I RIPPED this technique OFF of Hermann Hemholtz’s (19th century acoustician and theorist) On the Sensations of Tone book.
THE TRIGGER/REPLACE ROUTINE: Trigger a sound like a snare or kick with a different sound such as white noise, low sine-wave oscillator tone, anvil hit, and so on. Use this technique to replace or blend in to give a different color to the initial sound. RIPPED this technique OFF from mixer Rob Stevens while I was an assistant engineer on the first Red Hot Chili Peppers record.
THE SLICE & DICE TECHNIQUE: Edit disparate sound elements (jackhammers, pile drivers, guitars, door slams, birds) in succession to make a basic track for a song or composition. I record the sounds on 1/4" analog tape, edit in succession, and make a tape loop to get a repetitive groove. I RIPPED this technique OFF from mid-20th century avant-garde composers like John Cage, Pierre Schaeffer, Pierre Henry, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Earle Brown.
THE USE or LOSE GAMBIT: Use the above track (Slice & Dice) for the basis of a composition and add to it through overdubbing or use the Slice & Dice track for inspiration then LOSE it. This technique was RIPPED OFF from Brian Eno.