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How It Was Made: Danny Goliger - Sustain EP [Dirtybird White Label]

Danny breaks down his latest release on Dirtybird's new off-shoot.
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Utilizing a mostly hardware studio, a producer, DJ, and audio engineer, Danny Goliger effortlessly blends a wide range of musical styles to create the genre-bending eclecticism he is known for. With years of experience as an engineer in commercial recording and contributing drums and keys to live shows as a seasoned instrumentalist, it comes as no surprise that Danny Goliger has released captivating original tracks and remixes with labels such as clipp.art, Art | Werk, Tokimonsta’s Young Art Records, Hot Boi Records, and Moving Castle. 

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Danny Goliger - Sustain EP

Danny Goliger - Sustain EP

He recently released his Sustain EP which weaves a tapestry of sound and emotion across four pieces of unique, left-field electronica, bringing a whole new vibe to the one-of-a-kind White Label series on its 4th release. Inspired by the sounds of Four Tet, Floating Points, and Bicep, Danny incorporates elements of house, techno, IDM, and breakbeat into the release.

Words and photos by Danny Goliger

Danny Goliger

Danny Goliger

1) Elektron Analog Keys

This is an absolutely amazing 4-voice, analog polysynth from Elektron. It has 4 tracks for sequencing the voices independently, and this synth is fully multi-timbral, which means all four voices can be set to completely different sounds (with direct outputs for multi-tracking them separately).

It’s incredibly versatile, and you can hear it all over the EP wearing so many different hats. It plays the bass sounds on Inchoate and Deliverance, long flowy leads on Inchoate, as well as strings, blippy FX, and noise-y percussion on Venality. I love this thing, it's an absolute workhorse and one of the centerpieces of my studio. It even has a track dedicated for CV/ Gate sequencing so I can use it to send voltage to my modular!

Elektron Analog Keys

Elektron Analog Keys

2) Elektron Octatrack

The Octatrack is my main sampler, as well as a very powerful MIDI sequencer. It has 8 tracks for audio samples, as well as 8 tracks for MIDI, with very powerful Elektron sequencing on each track. I keep a large sample library on the CF card and use it on basically every song that I produce.

On this record, the Octatrack is my main drum machine. I used it to sequence one-shot samples to program the drums on Inchoate, Fog, and Deliverance, as well as using it for chopping and effecting breaks on Venality. In addition, I like to use it for programming long evolving drone pads. It’s really powerful for creating an evolving midrange, like the pads you can hear on Venality and Deliverance. You can use internal LFO’s to modulate the sample start times, and set very slow, polyrhythmic sequencer lengths in order to create these layered drones that are constantly evolving over time. Once you have that setup, you can basically record the pads forever and they morph constantly, never sounding the same twice. Sorta like taking Brian Eno’s tape loop techniques for ambient music and adapting it to a modern sampler :)

Elektron Octatrack

Elektron Octatrack

3) Moog Slim Phatty

This is a really simple analog mono synth from Moog. It was actually the first hardware synth I ever bought, and I’m really attached to it. It has a beautifully rich, fat sound, very characteristic of Moog synths. You can hear it on bassline duties in Venality. Although it sounds great for simple, vintage-style synth patches, it has some modern features that actually make it fairly programmable from a sequencing & sound design perspective. All the components are digitally controlled, which means they can be sequenced via MIDI CC. That’s why I have it sitting on that stand right above the Octatrack. I love to send MIDI to the Moog from the OT while using the Octatrack sequencer to control the oscillators, filter, and envelopes on the Moog. I used this to create the lead sound on Venality, which has that lively, rhythmic modulation.

Moog Slim Phatty

Moog Slim Phatty

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4) Make Noise 0-Coast

The 0-Coast is a really weird semi-modular mono synth from Make Noise. It incorporates elements of Moog style East Coast synthesis, with some Buchla style west coast techniques (hence the name 0-Coast). This was my first foray into the modular world, and it was a great synth for learning to wrap my head around the modular synthesis. It has a great voice that is

purely additive (no filter) which definitely gets you to think about synthesis in a non-traditional way. You can hear it play the 2nd lead sound that appears towards the end of Deliverance, but I also used it extensively on this EP to patch into my Eurorack, using the envelopes, LFO, and low pass gate in tandem with my other modular gear.

Make Noise 0-Coast

Make Noise 0-Coast

5) Eurorack Modular

I have always been interested in modular synthesis and finally started building out a Eurorack case a couple of years ago. Collecting modules is an insanely addicting habit, and I recently got a bigger case which is why this one is half-filled. I used the modular all over the place on this record. You can hear it in the two Arps on Inchoate, the main lead on Deliverance, the bassline on Fog, as well as making drone-y sounds and random blips/bloops throughout the EP. I also like to run tracks that I have recorded into Ableton back out into the modular to see if I can freak them out with some additional processing. I love using my Mutable Clouds clone module to create weird reverb textures, granular glitches, strange delays, or complete drones out of tracks from Ableton. Then I record it back into the computer and layer it with the pre-existing tracks to add some texture and sound design interest.

Eurorack Modular

Eurorack Modular

6) Rack Gear

UAD Apollo 8 + Plugins: The Apollo is my main audio interface. I use it to record everything into the computer. It has a decent amount of I/O so I can multitrack quite a few things simultaneously. I also absolutely love the UAD plugins. I often record through them on the way into Ableton and use them extensively when I mix.

Hardware FX: I have a weird old Pioneer spring reverb, plus a really crappy cassette deck that I love to record through, or use for processing when I’m mixing.

Rack Gear

Rack Gear

7) Guitar Pedals

Guitar pedals: I’m a huge fan of guitar pedals to build effects chains while recording and mixing. One of my housemates is a guitar player, so between the two of us we have a decent amount of delays, reverbs, and modulation FX to choose from. Pictured is the delay pedals that we have :)

Guitar Pedals

Guitar Pedals

8) Ableton + Plugins

Ableton + Other Plugins: Ableton is my main DAW. I use it for editing, arranging, automation, and all that good DAW stuff. I have tons of VST plugins that I also use for mixing/mastering duties. Too many to name. But I’d say that plugins from Soundtoys, Izotope, Fabfilter, Waves, UAD, and Valhalla get used on basically every track.

Ableton + Plugins

Ableton + Plugins

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