Archipel is proud to supply you with an emotional sonic journey for our 12th Live Podcast. For this, Offthesky, managed to dig through his sound collection and come up with a re-edition of a previously recorded unreleased ambient arrangement. Fascinated, our team at Archipel decided to ask him a couple questions about this recording history and how it holds a special place for Offthesky. We drank his words like water and would like to share these with you.
Archipel: Who and What is Off The Sky?
Offthesky: “off the sky” was the moniker variation for the previous stylistic iteration of my solo ambient project. That particular artist handle predates the “Form.Creek” release on 12k’s term netlabel. With the “Form.Creek” EP, I decided to evolve the moniker as well as the sonic aesthetic of my project as I never wished for this project to remain as a monochromatic sound forever. To me in life, the evolution of style and aesthetic change is good – they keep a project flowing and my music making endeavours interesting. I just can’t do the same thing over and over. So in turn, I decided to create a portmanteau out of “off the sky” – combining the words to form a new unique word, much in the same way clouds form together across the sky every second. Doing that, however, did create some confusion for labels and review writers over the years but I feel that conceptually it creates for an interesting social effect surrounding an artistic project.
Specifically, the production style or sound of “off the sky” represented a more synthetic, glitchy, dub, space ambient palette using mainly vst/daw based transmogrified melodies whereas today’s current iteration of “offthesky” focuses mainly on drones, acoustic instruments, field recordings, some analog synths, slowly evolving composed effects, and generative production ideas using max for live, reaktor etc. Overall both projects consist of a somewhat “pop” ambient sound although lately I’m exploring more dissonant, noisy atonal spaces with “offthesky”.
This podcast, however, does contain some of the first generative percussion experiments I ever undertook (using reaktor patches I built).
A: What is the focus of the project?
O: The focus for “off the sky” was always to create melodic ambient music with minimal rhythms. As time went on (and closer to 2005-2006) I became bored with exploring the same ideas over and over and so I began to explore beat structures in ableton vs.5, since live is so conducive for beat oriented music (although you can really create any kind of music with it; I’m currently creating orchestral score video game music in ableton).
Ultimately I had to decide to split these experimental percussion tracks off into new moniker/project collaborations such as my group with Pheek known as “Social System”. Actually many of the sounds and ideas used in the more beat oriented tracks in this podcast were remixed and used in some of the early social system releases.
A: Please tell me about this recording’s history?
O: Some of the songs in the podcast contain elements that date all the way back to sketches I created in ’99-2001 – when I first started experimenting with the PC software “buzz”: A modular tracker that let you wire up effects and synths a little like reaktor. I had been using 8bit tracker music making software as a teenager on a 386SX PC since ’94 but didn’t really start to hunker down and put in allot of time into experimenting with more serious music software until ’00 (I had a ton of free time when I got pneumonia and lost my job that year).
A: Why have you chosen this one in particular to re-edit?
O: Well originally I didn’t want to release it – I thought it was too dated and didn’t represent my current sound. However, after reading some interviews with Aphex Twin where he put on display some old unreleased tracks of his to help create a historical reference for the evolution of his style, I became inspired with the idea of releasing this older material that I initially wasn’t so confident about. For me it represents a stylistic fork but also still contains some beautiful moments from my ‘gently down the stream’ spacey pop ambient days.
A: What processes did you undertake for this?
O: This podcast was originally created in cubase SX back in 2005 – and many of the tracks were composed originally back then. The rest of the pieces were remixes of other songs of mine or pre ’06 sketches that I finished up for this back then. Last year I ported the project over to ableton 9 and have utilized allot of EQ’ing and max for live LFOs (and the convolution in M4L) to create additional interesting scapes and textures. The whole sound of it is all pretty busy and texture heavy compared to what I’m composing presently however that ‘maximal’ sound was just something I was heavily into many years back as I was influenced by artists like Vladislav Delay, Kit Clayton, Desormais, and many others.
A: How do you feel about the old and now the newest version?
O: They’re both pretty similar however I decided to truncate this new version a bit – to create more of a concise sonic journey. There were just some sounds I didn’t care for which I decided to cut out of this current version.
A: What was important for you to highlight in this work?
O: This podcast represents a cross road, and like mentioned above, the idea of a stylistic evolution and journey… Where I was deciding to experiment with beats and generative rhythms. Also, it is an account of a unique denser forest of sound from my early production days.
Interview by: PH PARADIS.
Image by: Angelandspot
Main image by: Offthesky