Production duo Brecon talk us through their debut release, track by track.
A lot of the tracks on this EP stem from ideas that have evolved over a long time, however ‘Half Light’ is fairly new and came together pretty quickly. It’s hard to pick a favourite from the EP but this track definitely does a good job of showing what we’re about and has established itself as the EP’s lead track.
The building atmosphere in the background for the intro is made from layers of time stretched samples, pitched all over the place and then sent through one of the Micheal Norris plugins which gives a feeling of sunrise.
The track started with the drums and bass and we then added multiple layers of percussion and snare elements, played at different pitches to create a melodic phrase.
There were loads of previous versions of the main melodic parts that didn’t quite work. However, after the skippy feel of the drums had been established, the rolling and delayed broken-chord arpeggiated synth parts came fairly naturally. The majority of the synth parts came from twisting samples in Izotope’s Iris with harmonics and dirt coming from the Ohmicide distortion.
The chord progression, bass line & melodic elements came first and were established early on. However, the drums changed countless times during this track’s evolution. We really wanted hard-hitting drums with lots of energy but wanted to avoid the obvious.
The warped lead synth line that comes in during the breakdown came from bouncing the main melody to audio, cutting it into sections, drenching it in reverb and adding some Ohmicide grit. We found driving it to the point of clipping gave an extra edge to some of the peaks in this part.
Scarp is a geological term which is slightly too technical to get into but it’s basically a specific type of erosion. After the intro, when the beat drops it feels like everything is falling away to make way for something powerful. The drums and some of the melodic phrases also have this ‘falling away’ effect.
This is the one track from the EP where we could not resist programming a four to the floor drum pattern. The percussion samples add a give a bit of clock ticking effect though it’s actually a pitched sample of a door closing with lots of pitched side stick sample. This part inspired the rising and falling cyclic melodic parts. The plodding kick pattern seemed more than enough to keep it all moving. This is definitely the most DJ friendly track on the EP.
Adverse actually started off as a remix of a completely different track a few years ago. We were really happy with the sounds that we had created in the original so we decided to use them as a template for a separate original track. Our main aim with this track was to maintain as much explosive energy and movement from the drums but keep them rolling at half time.
The bass line and drum patterns were laid down but it wasn’t until we’ had added the main cutting percussive lead element that the track really found it’s voice. This main cutting percussive lead element is just a one hit sample taken from an old school rave sample pack but pitch-spread across a keyboard and played like a melodic instrument emphasising fourth & fifth melodic intervals.
The kick and bass of this track was revised at least twenty times over many months. It’s such an important part of the track that it had to be just right and huge. The shuffling hi-hats wide in the stereo image keep the track rolling along and the moment of glory has to be the cheeky edit at 3.37.
Scattered has evolved significantly over the years, being born out of a messy late night writing session after a disappointing club night. The track was raw and powerful when it was first written but we felt it needed more depth. After several different versions over many years and a lot of different melodic lines, we came up with the main arpeggiated lead that elevated the track into the raw and emotive piece we are finally happy.
After having established the incessant, straight hi-hat pattern and broken drums, we felt the triplet feel of the arpeggio and lead line sat nicely across the mix.
Subside is by far the oldest of the tracks and has hardly changed since it was written. As with a lot of our tracks, we started with the drums and bass and found that their relationship with the melodic parts was working well but also as if they were fighting each other. This is exaggerated in the breakdown section where the lead line is warped almost out of recognition with automated pitching and delay time changes.
The first synth line that is heard is reminiscent of a minimalist composition approach with lots of rhythmic repetition and slight displacements in the variations. Most of the synth sounds in this track were created using an old VST by Vember Audio called Surge. The main synth sound is a call and response created by using a one hit sample with very short delays and then a dry hit of the same sound that answers back.
With all our tracks there is a flurry of writing where we begin and craft the main ideas together. Then comes months of back and forth of editing alone… adding new ideas, deleting each other’s parts, being really brutal with what we don’t like about each other’s sound. After this process, we work together to further refine the tracks. Our main aim when collaborating is that unless we’re not both happy with each element, it’s not good enough.
Brecon’s ‘Cairn EP’ is out now on Max Cooper’s Mesh imprint. The live video for Half Light is out now.