Bonkwave Remixes! – How I made my track

The latest Bonkwave compilation is out now and if you haven’t checked it out yet, I highly recommend giving it a listen. It is a very fun one for sure. This is the first new release of a compilation on the dedicated Bonkwave Faircamp site. This time around us Bonkwavers decided to do remixes of tracks from previous releases.

I was approached by Rochard ‘Dock’ Bunson about doing a remix of their track “Long Distance Transmission” from Volume 2 they released as ArtFED and I thought it was a great idea. Their track was a collaboration of sorts as it was a reimagined version of an Ether Diver song. So, in a way my remix is the third version of this song that started with Ether Diver and was manipulated by ArtFED next. My track on the compilation is called “Etherdiver y ArtFED – Long Distance Transmission (attks th drknss – Short Interval Conveyance Remix)” and is track number 7.

The original is a glitchy, pulsing instrumental piece with lots of alien communication vibes going on. It is described as “One of hundreds of recurring transmission fragments recorded between the Earth and Mars. Unknown origin and intended recipient; untranslatable at this time. Possibly extradimensional origin.” It is great for doing some active listening in a darkened room. The ArtFED version takes that, reverses bits, creates its own groove, and adds in dialogue from public domain recordings of someone talking about the CIA’s MK Uktra program and how they experimented on people with LSD and other drugs.

I decided to take my remix in a dancey direction by chopping it up and putting a four on the floor beat behind it all. I did the entire production on my SP404 MK2 from creating the patterns all the way to performing it for the recording. Along with the full track loaded to a pad I started by importing samples of a Roland TR-909. If I was going to be making a dance track this seemed like a great place to start. I previewed the samples and got the drum sounds I wanted loaded onto a set of pads.

After selecting the drum sounds I created two sets of chops of the original track. For this I used the auto feature on the SP404 to have it create a full set of sixteen chops and divide the entire track evenly across them. This way I had two sample banks of parts of the songs. On each one I did some envelope adjustments to make sure I didn’t have any clicking at the start or end of the chops. Next, I took one bank of chops and pitched them up seven semitones and left the other alone. This gave me some flexibility in the vibe I could go for in each pattern plus with the BPM of the track being 125 the pitched up bits seemed to move and groove better to me.

From here I could start making patterns. The first one was actually just the full track of the original as a one shot so it wouldn’t repeat. The second pattern was just the four on the floor drum beat with kick, snare, and hi-hats playing. This way I could have the same intro as the original and then bring in the drums while the original plays underneath the drums and chops for the first couple of minutes of the remix.

Any time I worked on the track I tried to keep things moving and to just get things down. It is an approach that has been working for me creatively lately and I’m liking the results of trusting my instincts. Plus, I think it is making me better at making music, especially stuff I am passionate about.

With the base pattern set up I created different variations by sequencing the chops to create patterns out of the dialogue. The only instrumentation on the track is the original song, the chops, and the drum samples. There isn’t anything else playing, so beyond the effects I wanted to create many possibilities of patterns to have options for creating the track.

Overall, I created sixteen different patterns and they all get used on the track. About half were done via the step sequencer and the other half had the patterns of the sample chops played live. Those ended up being the more chaotic sounding ones as they make the sounds wash over each other and blend together. The last patterns I made have more of the percussive samples added in to make things much busier.

As I had the patterns made I put my focus to how to get the track started and setting a general approach for the initial section. That came together quickly, so I thought about effects to use next. For those I landed on use of the Cloud Delay, Scatter, Isolator, and DJFX Looper.

Cloud Delay and Scatter were things I used for quick moments of creating extra texture and ear candy bits while Isolator was something I turned on for a couple of bars in some cases. DJFX Looper was something I used mostly for the looper functionality to create stutters.

As I played around with the patterns and effects I began to think I should add in more samples to create more instruments. But, I realized this could quickly lead me into an analysis paralysis mode and I might not ever finish the track. So, I set that idea aside and got ready to record.

With my SP404 plugged into my recorder I got the levels set and went for it. I did the first few bits I had planned for the start of the track and after that I let my imagination run the show. I checked a couple times to see where I was at as far as time was concerned. I didn’t want the track to be too long, but I also wanted to have a good time with it. I did one take and that is what you hear on the compilation. The original by Ether Diver is 59 seconds long and the ArtFED version is 2 minutes and 7 seconds. It was fun to have that as a base for my track to build upon and take it in a new direction and let things groove for a few minutes more.

I’m very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the Bonkwave community and to get to work with and alongside so many talented artists. All of the remixes sound amazing and the whole record is really fun. If you are interested in being a part of the Bonkwave community please visit our forum. Anyone is welcome to sign up there to be part of future releases, chat about music, or just chat about whatever that may or may not be related to Bonkwave. You also don’t have to be a musician to join is as with any project we can always use help with things like artwork and lots of other stuff.

If you are interested in learning more about Bonkwave don’t hesitate to leave a comment here or reach out. I hope you enjoy the remixes as much as I do! If you do enjoy the music pease consider donating to the Radio Free Fedi Infrastructure Fund.


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