Assembling the tools...
The ethos of Drosophelia is to make music by any means necessary, which implies that any sound source is considered an instrument.
While Drosophelia's music features both acoustic and electronic instruments, it also revolves around the use of handwritten audio processing software, often built for the occassion.
These sources form a palette from which a single "aural painting" can be created, unifying all the individual layers regardless of whether they are organic or synthetic in origin.
...and making the music
Apart from being neurotic about details such as the placement of individual percussive sounds, Drosophelia is an eternal student of unorthodox scales and time signatures, all to gather more functional tools.
Each release may feature specific types of equipment more than others, or is written having a specific sound in mind.
As such, these are often built around a specific sound; whether it is an instrument, newly created processor or a tonality, the sum of the parts combine to voice a human element such as anger, paranoia or chaos.
Track by track
Individual tracks from several releases are highlighted here:
- 6581 features algorithmic generation using the Moorish Phrygian scale, where the patterns are performed by an Elektron SID Station for the chip sounds.
- Objector provides an alternate take on a traditional dub by using 7/8 time and the Hungarian Minor scale, giving the FogPad reverb plugin the lead in providing a suitably diffused reverb ambiance.
- Detractor features the custom-built Transformant plugin, processing both modular synth (Mutable Instruments Plaits sequenced by Rebel Technologies' Stoicheia) and the Leploop Arpopone arpeggiator.
Imago is the first release to feature custom plugins, in this case the Regrader delay which is audible throughout the album.
- Equinox uses the Promotheus Napolitan scale and is in 7/4 time.
- Echelon (like its predecessor Numen) is a vertical composition in which the same motif is present throughout where layers are added and removed to build intensity. The song starts with Arabic Qanun (played on MIDI guitar), proceeds to feature Mayan flutes and finally moves to a reggae rhythm implied by off-beat synthesizer stabs.
- Vexed features algorithmic generation using the diminished scale in 5/8 time, with the synthesis from a Ploytec PL-2 providing a suitably distorted sound for added menace.
- Bok Globule features multiple time signature shifts where the choruses alternate between 5/4 and waltz time while the verses use odd bars of 7/4 to constantly push and pull the rhythm.
- Botfly uses the augmented scale as it lacks a sense of resolution and thus ends the album open-ended. Ploytec PL-2 for bass and both Make Noise 0-Coast and Elektron SID Station for frenetic arpeggiation.
The majority of Pupa introduces the Ploytec PL-2 as the go-to bass synthesizer (though Ganymede features bass guitar instead) and the combination of acoustic and electronic sounds with modular synthesis.
- Scutterblotch uses synthesis from a Make Noise 0-Coast for the additional PWM layers, a sound which would feature more on Imago where it would become the lead synthesis instrument.
Take a gander
You can catch a glimpse of the current music making process, instruments and tools by taking a glance on Drosophelia's Instagram page: