Recently, London's club kid newcomer ABSOLUTE dropped a powerful rave-fueled rework of legendary NY duo Raw Silk's "Do It To The Music" on BBC's Radio 1, taken from his recently released debut mixtape, Wonderland. The inspiration for the remix came from attending a gay party at Fabric where he heard the vocals and saw the crowd go nuts. He released two different versions, highlighting different aspects of 90s club music with the Rave Mix and Feelin '98 Mix. We enjoyed both enough to invite him to break it down in the latest installment of How It Was Made.
Words and photos by Absolute
1. Ableton Push 2
I really got into the Push 2 after doing an idea generation course in lockdown where I used it as a midi instrument for all parts, from leads, chords, and bass through to drums and fx. Fauna was made playing everything directly from the Push 2, sending midi to soft synths via Roland Cloud, to drum racks, or to hardware, like the Moog Sub 37 where that long, warm analog bass comes from.
2. Roland Jupiter X (Which has Juno 106 / Jupiter 8 / SH-101 / JX 8P)
I’m really enjoying using the Roland Jupiter X and previously Roland Cloud VSTs in a lot of my productions, especially the Juno 106 which was responsible for the classic bass in "Can U Still Feel It" and the lead in ‘My Love’ and also the dusty bass on "Convalesce" from Wonderland I also used the Jupiter 8 for the chords on "Can U Still Feel It."
Originally I was using Roland Cloud VSTs found I was using a lot of the sounds from the Juno 106, the Jupiter 8, the SH-101, and the JX8P, so when I saw the Jupiter X hardware had all of these built-in, that was the main reason I picked it up. I wanted to use it as the analog hub of my live show setup. The only downside was there isn’t yet an easy way to get the sounds I had created on the VST’s to the hardware. Unless you’re using the Zenology sounds, which I wasn’t. Be great to see that addition.
3. Roland TR-8S
This piece of kit was the starting point for most of the drum parts on "Wonderland," from ‘Piano Theory," "Can U Still Feel It" and "Welcome To Wonderland," to "My Love" and "Peace In The East." I really like being able to get hands-on with drums and being able to add your own samples has made this a key part of my production flow, and now, part of my live show too.
In terms of sounds, I added in some of my own 909 sounds that had added distortion, as well as some of the built-in 909 sounds, that again I ran through distortion for some added grit. I did the same with some 606 drums, used on the opening track, "Welcome To Wonderland."
4. Moog Sub 37
I use this a lot for basses and sub-bass on my tracks. This is where the long warm, analog-sounding bass on ‘Fauna’ came from as well as the driving bass on "Rave 4 Love" featuring Hard Ton.
5. Korg M1 - Hardware and VST
This is something I use a lot, especially for piano, strings, and organic sounds. I used the piano from the hardware on U4IA and the strings from the VST on "Fauna," "Peace In The East," and the high string layer on "String Theory." I also use the Sax sound from the hardware for the new Rave Mix of "Do It Do The Music," which is coming on the deluxe version of "Wonderland." The VST is another one that I had from when I first started producing, and one that has a huge amount of sounds explore.
6. Native Instruments Kontakt
I really like using organic/classic instrument sounds in my productions and Kontakt, a sample-based synth engine has tonnes of them. I used the flute and organ sound on "Peace In The East" and also a classic live bass sound on my Raw Silk "Do It To The Music Feelin’ 98 Remix"
7. D16 Decimort
This bit crusher is something I use on pretty much everything in various degrees, I like the distorted texture it brings to sounds so I usually dial in way too much then pull it back till it’s in the right spot. This is how I achieved that really crunchy kick drum on "U4IA" featuring Bklava.