Mat Jarvis is currently celebrating 15 years since the first release of his seminal album ‘Gas 0095’. In February of this year he released a new E.P, Sounds of Earth under the name ‘High Skies’. I recently got a chance to ask him a few questions about it:
S9: Tell me a bit about the recording process.
MJ: Recording and mixing was done pretty much all in the box (inside the computer), I don’t use many softsynths at the moment, although sometimes I will sample an analog synth or noise and put it in a softsampler. I have a few external effects and old delays and phasers, so some sounds go through four or five generations being sampled and resampled through this old gear to take the edges off, and sometimes become unrecognisable until I finally get the sound I’m after, which was a lot of processing for the percussive bass sound on the track ‘Sounds of Earth’.
High Skies – Sounds of Earth
How different is the process now compared to when you recorded ‘Gas 0095’?
Completely different and exactly the same.
I still think in the same way; imagining a track in my head, then try to recreate it by cycling around different parts and building it up until I have enough to arrange it. I guess now I tend to mix as I go along, rather than write a track, then mix it.
Technology is totally different. Gas 0095 was sequenced on an Atari ST computer which triggered all parts live, which fed into a mixer, then into a DAT tape recorder. For Sounds of Earth, nearly everything was recorded into the computer like a giant 300 track tape recorder, mixed, then rendered to a 24bit stereo file. For the Gas track ‘Microscopic’, the sampled astronaut voices where spun in live from a CD player during mixdown, whereas for Sounds of Earth they were layed down on to tracks, which was a lot easier.
Where do you see the future of electronic music production with the recent emergence of devices like the iPhone/iPad?
At the moment the screen is too small to replace a full computer, so it’s more of a notepad for ideas or an app for tuning your Minimoog etc. The iPad has a larger screen, but then there are touchscreen netbooks with more power and options and you’re almost back to laptops. I can see the iPad being useful almost as a secondary wireless screen for controlling external gear or plugins.
You can find Mat at: microscopics
And the new Ep and Gas 0095 re-issue Here
Read part II of this interview Here