The creative process is a very personal thing. While two people might make similar music, their ways of going about it will surely be different. For some, working inside the box is the answer. For others, perhaps a hybrid of external hardware and internal software. Then there are those who have taken their love for hardware to the next level. Such is the case for Per Hammar, a vintage Soviet-drum machine loving, modular synth-playing wizard.
His new album, Pathfinder, is the culmination of over 15 years of producing and showcases his journey through sounds of dub, trance, minimal, and everything in between. Normally, we reserve How It Was Made for EPs, but with such an interesting and impressive studio, we invited Per Hammar to breakdown 4 of the tracks from the forthcoming album, which will be released May 11.
Words and photos by Per Hammar
C2 // If You Have A Mind It Will Wonder
This is one of my favorite tracks on the album. And also one of the latest ones coming in before I decided that the album was finished.
I found a box of cassettes dumped on the street outside my house here in Berlin. Most of it was classical music, but one of them was a French to English language lesson.
I used my Marantz PMD-430 to record it and fuck around with the vocal. I have two of the Marantz recorders, one in mono (PMD-222) and then the 430, which is in stereo.
E2 // Passenger Blend
When this track came together I recently upgraded my rack with a few new modules, and this was the first time I tried out the new modules in combination with its new friends in the box.
All of the sounds come from the DPO. The percussion, the pads, everything. I’m letting the Turing Machine and uScale play the notes. Then together with a lot of modulation from the Maths and other stuff.
I just recorded a take, 2-3 minutes, and looped it once or twice.
F2 // Manchester Lone Star
One of my most random synths. I just came to fall in love with this guy immediately. As a big Yamaha fan, I just had to try this one out when I first saw it.
There's all kinda weird FM sounds in that little answering machine. But also distinct in-yo-face-sounds. And since I’m quite influenced by trance, this one really fits me.
On Manchester Lone Star I let it play the main melody.
B1 // DX-Sport
I used the DX-27 and the DX-7 for the bass and the dubby chords in here. There’s a massive depth in the DX-27 in some of the patches if you dive down deep in the octaves.
The warmth and the attitude in these sounds are just straight up my jam. It’s not a secret that you can find a various selection of Yamaha’s sprinkled all over the entire album.
Another piece of gear that’s frequently is the Vermona Filter Lancet. It just does the trick for me. Simple highpass/lowpass filter with a very handy envelope.
In these times it’s important to recycle, and this filter makes it possible for me to reuse sounds in the same song, but for different purposes. It cuts out the parts of the sound that I need.
And for the entire album
I’m taking this guy with me to the grave. I don’t think there’s one track in here that could hide from the RE-301.