Stretta: Analog Synthesis For The 21st Century
By James Grahame
Long-time RT reader Stretta writes, "I recently released a new album rendered entirely with a modular synthesizer. While modular synths are undergoing something of a renaissance these days with dozens of manufacturers producing interesting new modules, there aren't a lot of examples of pure modular synth music made today that transcend the banal.
'A Funneled Stone' is a pure modular synth release, tracked in the old-shool, 1970's way: one monophonic line at a time. Every sound you hear was created, patched and recorded for that moment in time. When a new sound is needed, the patch is torn down and a new one is built. Polyphony is achieved by tracking each voice individually.
A modular album is, by definition, unapologetically synthetic. I also tried to take a more minimalist approach to orchestration, so the individual sounds can be more fully isolated and appreciated. I spent much of the final month of production taking elements out, and editing for length. Sometimes this results in the remaining elements merely hinting at the underlying harmonic movement.
As you can imagine, this process is very time-consuming, but fun. I hope you enjoy the results as much as I enjoyed creating it."
It's easy to get stuck in the past with vintage technology, but Stretta manages to push the boundaries of analog sound in a decidedly modern direction. Aided by a modern digital recording setup, his multilayered compositions range from moody soundscapes like the sharpest function to the rushing glitch-inspired rhythms of the future never spoke that make me wish for a long, aimless drive along a lonely stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway with the stereo cranked.
You can download A Funneled Stone in exchange for a tweet, or buy the album from Amazon, iTunes or Bandcamp. Stretta has also launched a kickstarter campaign to see if it's possible to collect enough pre-orders to fund a limited edition 180g vinyl release.