Danish electronic artist Trentemøller released his new album Obverse this past Friday, September 27. His first album in three years, following 2016’s Fixion and his fifth overall, Trentemøller carried on his tradition of eclectic, leftfield synth-heavy electronic music. It spans more ambient compositions to vocal collaborations and darker, glitchier tracks. Obvsere is done in homage to the Nordic environment around him and that darkness and contrasting light can be heard on the LP.
With the album now out, we can examine how it was put together and how Trentemøller created his new record. We asked him to let us know how it was made and explain the various pieces of gear he used on this record.
Stream the album as you read along and get a copy here.
SansAmp Classic Pedal:
It’s originally made for guitars and bass, but I don’t use it for guitars at all. I do use it for nearly everything else-- drums, vocals, synths, bass, etc. It’s great for beefing things up, adding color and even EQ stuff, especially if you play with the phase in your DAW. I mostly use it in parallel so I mix in a bit of the SansAmp underneath the dry signal.
I also use the rack version of it, but somehow I prefer the pedal. I recently discovered a plug-in by Nembrini Audio which emulates the SansAmp and it does a very convincing job, so often I also just use that. It was used on the kick drum on “In The Garden” to give it that extra bottom end. Also the bass in that song was recorded straight into the sans amp pedal. I do that with all my bass recordings.
Nearly all my instruments and machines go through this fellow. I just love tape sound and how it glues things together in a very natural and musical way. I also use a lot of tape plugins and they sound fantastic. They don’t sound like real tape but that doesn’t matter. I like how the plug sounds about as much as the real thing, just in a different way. When I feed the tape and preamps, it overdrives and distorts in a very nice way. It’s really hard to recreate something exactly like that in the digital domain. The track “Foggy Figures” has a lot of old vintage synths in it and they were all recorded straight into the Revox. The whole mix was later also run through it. It glued it all together very nicely and gave the mix all that warm tape saturation sound. I fed the tape quite hard just until it didn’t distort.
Korg Micro Preset:
This is a synth that’s all over the place on Obverse. I saw Beak, one of my favorite bands, play with it live and it sounded amazing, so I bought one on eBay. You can still get them from time to time. It’s monophonic and I love the pitch knob. I use it all the time just for a little detuning here and there. The synth is always run through a lot of different effects pedals, depending on what kind of sound I’m after, but a wobbly tape delay always sounds amazing with this one. You can hear it on a track like “Church a Of Trees”-- it plays the synth theme throughout the song. I put a bit of slap delay on it and that expands the wow/flutterish effect when you tweak the fine-tuning a bit here and there. The Korg is also featured in the synth theme on “Try A Little” together with my Juno 60.