Tonkyn Pearson - The Kaisenberg Variation

This is a duo I’m in, a three-track ambient release we’ve just put out.

Shanan has a room full of uncool second-hand things. JX-8P, RX-5, CZ-5000, etc. He has a digital 8-track but also bounces a lot to cassette and plays with the varispeed. I think that stuff comes through most obviously in the last track.

I work ITB, using Bitwig on a Windows laptop.

We both make field recordings, which often sit pretty far in the background. I think the main exception on this album is the carwash in the first part of December.

I’m in Wellington, Shanan in Hastings. We work remotely and actually use Slack as our main mode of communicating. :nerd_face:

Happy to talk about the process re: any of it.


Saw this in Martyn Pepperell’s newsletter! Sounds gorgeous! Those higher synth sounds (or is it a v. processed guitar?) in the first track are fucking beeeaauutiful. I love the sound of the varispeed on the cassette too, the wobble really adds a nice tension to everything.

Curious about how you’ve found working via slack? :joy: A friend and I are actually doing something similar via Telegram atm (somehow it’s super easy to send huge wavs to each other with Telegram? lol), so wondering what your workflow was like?

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Hey thanks! We’ve got years of stuff on the Bandcamp if you want to go deep…

Telegram! :laughing: We went with Slack to get away from the one long stream of chat that you get via messaging apps, and I’ve actually found it a pretty good time. I wonder if it’s worth a remote working topic now I think about it? Yeah, I might go do that…

PS - I have to admit to also just using some tape emulation type plugins - AudioThing’s Reels and Wires show up a lot in my contributions. But let’s pretend it’s all the real thing. :grin:


there are some incredible tape plugs out there for sure. UA is worth a mention. ampex etc.

at present using waves J37, just love it. but real tape sat is noticeably nicer.

listening now cheers jet.

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first track february, it sounds like theres some unison width/pitch detune spread going on on the main drone. or is it just me? moments of wandering.

i guess thats the point in this sort of stuff right, the mind wanders :slight_smile: real cool

or maybe the above mentioned varispeed

That’s one of my bits, so I can explain it - definitely not imagining things. :wink:

The drone is a synth part Shanan played, which I loaded into a sampler. So it’s actually made up of heaps of short midi notes playing very fast (all same pitch), and I’m very gradually changing the sample start point to move through the original sample. If you’re familiar with granular synthesis, it’s kind of like making your own granular synth, where each note is a big grain. The notes have a long release, so they’re overlapping, to add to the drone feel.

Then I’m just messing with the pitch of the notes from time to time - from memory I added an LFO that’s modulating the starting pitch of each note, but most of the time the LFO depth is at zero. I turn that LFO depth up to create that hazy detune feel.