MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index
 FAQ & Terms of UseFAQ & Terms Of Use   Wiggler RadioMW Radio   Muff Wiggler TwitterTwitter   Support the site @ PatreonPatreon 
 SearchSearch   RegisterSign up   Log inLog in 
WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

Building a setup for an early industrial sound
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next [all]
Author Building a setup for an early industrial sound
WhatADay
I'm planning on building a small pedal and synth setup for early, primitive industrial type stuff; think Throbbing Gristle, very early Cabaret Voltaire. I'm a guitarist first and foremost, so at the moment I'm using guitar, bass, voice, monotron delay and a cheap/crap multieffect pedal. I want to build an analog setup that will get me closer to the sound I'm after while still utilising the guitar and bass.

I'm a bit of a beginner when it comes to gear, so I'm looking for some relatively inexpensive pedals to mangle the guitar, bass and vocals, along with a rudimentary synth and drum machine - the Korg Monotribe seems like it would have been perfect for this, but I've never seen one come up used near me.

What would work well for this? I've posted a few examples below, and I can hear fuzz/overdrive, filtering, various modulations and delays. I know the gristleizer is a big part of the TG sound, but it's very distinctive, and I wouldn't want to veer into copyist territory.

Throbbing Gristle
Cabaret Voltaire - Treated Guitar
Not synth based, but the odd distortion on the guitars here especially - Mars EP
coolshirtdotjpg
I'd start with a cheap delay, maybe a bucket brigade with long delay times. Some sort of extreme bandpass filter would add to that as well. Honestly that and an 80s distortion would get you a good portion of the way there. Add some feedback to that process and you can start to get those tones. Most of industrial were just using normal, basic gear that was available, and abusing it. There were exceptions, like SPK, who had an EMS AKS, but in the case of TG it was cassette players for samples, gristleizers, a Roland modular system, cheap guitars/basses, Roland Jazz Chorus etc. all recorded live probably overloading the microphone. I'd also suggest playing the guitar with things other than a pick, especially metal objects.
CF3
When I think of 80’s industrial, I think samplers.

Whole albums were made with something like the EMU Emax 1
wiperactive
Maybe over budget, but my Soma Lyra 8 often takes me right back to being at a live TG event (Manchester circa 1980) with the "wall of sound" effect. Maybe a now discontinued and cheaper second-hand Lyra 4 would do, though that lacks the external audio input of the 8.

Similarly, a DSI Evolver Desktop synth would deliver many possibilities in itself, and as a very potent guitar processor. Both of these can get into that sonic feel/area without being too directly 'copyist'.
Monotremata


Lots of old Roland. A rack of car stereos rigged up as samplers. Add guitar/bass/trumpet and lots of effects pedals. The Gristleizer circuit is a big part of it too.
calaveras
Cabaret Voltaire and TG as well as a lot of other early electronic-industrial acts used DIY synths culled from the pages of electronic hobby magazines. The Gristlizer is a descendent of one of these magazine projects.
A lot of these acts gravitated towards the Korg MS10 and MS20 synths. Cabaret Voltaire used the Roland SH09 TG is using a SH2? SH5? I forget which one that is.
But they all also were heavy into tape loops and cut up techniques. Most certainly using open reel tape decks. But you can reproduce a lot of this on cassette decks.
The sampler era of industrial was more the 2nd wave stuff like Skinny Puppy, Ministry etc. There had to be 'affordable' samplers like the Mirage and Emax first!

This had been brought up in similar threads about coil and Skinny Puppy. But a lot of what made those bands so unique was the approach they took. Aside from dangerous relationships with drugs, they had no qualms about throwing away song structure and other musical tropes. It' s educational to compare Skinny Puppy and Ministry. As they shared some personnel and similar productions. The former pretty much did anything that occurred to them and a lot of their output is very non-linear non-songs with no verse or chorus discernible.
Al Jourgenson OTOH is a songwriter at heart. Even in his most intense noisy albums he is still writing with pop song structures. Verse Chorus Verse chorus guitar solo, etc.
Jason Brock
WhatADay wrote:
I know the gristleizer is a big part of the TG sound, but it's very distinctive, and I wouldn't want to veer into copyist territory.


It's basically a tremolo/ring mod, many pedals and synths can approximate that sound. But in addition to that effect, I agree with everyone else's suggestion about samplers. Any cheap sampler is a great start.
calaveras
Another common production trick was to use a rack delay with a very short setting highly modulated. Skinny Puppy, TG, Coil, Swans and many others were fans of this. It’s kind of the vocal sound of industrial. Some pedal delays sound better at this to me than the cleaner more precise rack units.
coolshirtdotjpg
CF3 wrote:
When I think of 80’s industrial, I think samplers.

Whole albums were made with something like the EMU Emax 1


Yeah, good point, by industrial do we mean, late 70s or early 80s?
Phil999
ring modulator and frequency shifter are effects that really change guitar sounds, but at the same time quite expensive.

The Cabaret Voltaire 'Treated Guitar' example was probably a simpler signal chain. Something like an MS-20 or similar synth/module with audio input, modulated with envelope follower, and of course the BB Delay at the end.

When you begin doing industrial I think it's difficult to know what pedals and effects are best (and not too expensive). Building a small Eurorack with weird DIY modules is probably the thing I would try first. This system can be controlled with self-built pedals (potentiometer, some wood, metal with a hinge).
kwaidan
Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire used early Roland drum machines, so the Cyclone Analogic TT-78 Beat Bot might be worth a look. It’s based on the Roland CR-78.

The Sound On Sound article below focuses on some of TG’s equipment. According to it, they actually made a sampler by interfacing a keyboard to a series of small Walkman cassette decks!

TG Equipment

Someone once gave me a Rams Head Big Muff Pi, and from what I remember, it was pretty good for Post Punk/No Wave treble assault like Mars and Lydia Lunch.
Chopper
coolshirtdotjpg wrote:
CF3 wrote:
When I think of 80’s industrial, I think samplers.

Whole albums were made with something like the EMU Emax 1


Yeah, good point, by industrial do we mean, late 70s or early 80s?

I believe we are talking early industrial, as in the british pioneers (TG and Cabaret Voltaire, not late 80s sampling...

-pedals (the crappier the better)
-analogue delays
- I know you said no synth, but as previously mentioned, you really want a Korg MS20....
-Shitty old school analogue drum machine.

Again, sampling was unaffordable to us at the time, against our diy ethic, and, well, tape is part of "the sound" ... Welcome to making your own tape loops.
Technologear?
I played for years in a band inspired by this stuff. Our approach:
- bass - more genk and clang the better. Fresh roundwound strings medium gauge, play with a pick, boost mids on instrument and amp. Octave- based fuzz (whatever you can get) is good
- guitar - if it still sounded like a guitar then it needed more effects. The more bolder and extreme fx the better. Fx pedal chains for guitars took us ages to setup as we always changed them around to find new sounds. Multiple delays chained with different delay settings.
- simple looping pedals that we purposefully made off time unsynchronized loops with, that was our secret weapon
- never play direct through a desk to recording device - play through amps and pa speakers in whatever rooms you have access to, and use room mics / distance micing. The room sound is critical, the trashier the better.
- experiment and try anything unusual - with gear, recording, your body and mind.
- no presets, no GAS (gear lusting), no fancy gear
- have heaps of patch cables, leads, and quality power supply for pedals
- record to tape if you can
When it works out, being in The Zone and creating wonderful noise is one of the best feelings ever.
GuyaGuy
Don’t forget the contact mics. TG used modular which they recorded and played via tape in live shows.
https://www.soundonsound.com/people/throbbing-gristle-hamburger-lady
Monotremata
Isn't Chris a member here?? I know he's over at Gearslutz. Maybe he'll chime in and give some hints direct from the horses mouth if you want specific gear. Otherwise you just need an apocalyptic post-punk type of fuck all attitude that wants to do whatever it is YOU want to do without anyone telling you. Really they just used what they had laying around. If Gen had the cornet or the synths he would have ended up the horn player or the synth guy, but instead he had a bass.
thetwlo
Phil999 wrote:
ring modulator and frequency shifter are effects that really change guitar sounds, but at the same time quite expensive.

Ring mods are cheap. Freq Shifters are not, I doubt they had much access to freq shifters
wiperactive
thetwlo wrote:
Phil999 wrote:
ring modulator and frequency shifter are effects that really change guitar sounds, but at the same time quite expensive.

Ring mods are cheap. Freq Shifters are not, I doubt they had much access to freq shifters


I believe, in TG's case, stuff that was too expensive for them at the time was accessed on hire. This applied particularly to Eventide harmonizers which played a substantial role in the sound.

Cabaret Voltaire seemingly had access to an EMS AKS (at least for a time in the early years) which often served as a processor for guitar and other devices. When I saw them play live Chris Watson had an EMS Synthi Hi-Fli on stage... much of their equipment at that time looked low budget but networked together for their special and, still to this day, unique sound.

A big part of all this, I think, was an attitude and presence of mind which transcended equipment issues.
calaveras
While we keep talking about early industrial as if they were super broke and could only afford the cheapest possible gear, If you look at Cabaret Voltaire's early stuff there are a few tracks using the EMS Synthi. Which may have been rented, or just cheaper than a minimoog. Likewise I know they used Nagras or portable Studer open reel decks. This is gear that we consider outlandishly expensive, but back in the late 70's this was not collector gear yet.
Also, spring reverb is evident on many tracks, as well as super short high feedback echo used as a reverb.

I'd also noticed that all the amps I've seen these acts use were solidstate. Not sure if it was a conscious decision, or just what was cheap and reliable.

Seconded on the ringmod. EHX makes several affordable ones. As do many other pedal brands. This is also the key to the early Devo sound as well. Who are certainly kissing cousins of Industrial. Drawing on many of the same post modern, dadist and surrealist influences as TG and CV. They just opted to inject humor into it being the irreverent Americans they are.
wiperactive
calaveras wrote:
... This is gear that we consider outlandishly expensive, but back in the late 70's this was not collector gear yet...


I remember going to a shoddy rented flat somewhere in Manchester around 1980 to view an EMS Synthi AKS, which obviously needed a bit of attention, and turning it down because the seller had the front to ask £200 for it. I saved up for a bit longer and landed a new Korg MS20 instead. I still have it... this was the poor man's ARP 2600! Completely fleeced me at a time when I could barely afford to live in a bedsit.

The MS20 was often the chosen one for the more experimental outfits like DAF, Liaisons Dangereuses, Der Plan etc, and works well in an 'industrial' context.
coolshirtdotjpg
Chopper wrote:
coolshirtdotjpg wrote:
CF3 wrote:
When I think of 80’s industrial, I think samplers.

Whole albums were made with something like the EMU Emax 1


Yeah, good point, by industrial do we mean, late 70s or early 80s?

I believe we are talking early industrial, as in the british pioneers (TG and Cabaret Voltaire, not late 80s sampling...

-pedals (the crappier the better)
-analogue delays
- I know you said no synth, but as previously mentioned, you really want a Korg MS20....
-Shitty old school analogue drum machine.

Again, sampling was unaffordable to us at the time, against our diy ethic, and, well, tape is part of "the sound" ... Welcome to making your own tape loops.


Plenty of industrial in the early 80s, used samplers, even the british and australian folks who invented the genre, it was a matter of replacing tape loops.
WhatADay
Thanks everyone for the excellent suggestions. I'll have to look into some affordable analog delays and perhaps a ring mod; they seem to be crucial. Something like an MS20 would be a bit out of my budget, but it's something to aim for!

I'm also going to look into making tape loops out of some old cassettes - seems like a lot of possibilities there.

kwaidan wrote:
Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire used early Roland drum machines, so the Cyclone Analogic TT-78 Beat Bot might be worth a look. It’s based on the Roland CR-78.

The Sound On Sound article below focuses on some of TG’s equipment. According to it, they actually made a sampler by interfacing a keyboard to a series of small Walkman cassette decks!

TG Equipment

Someone once gave me a Rams Head Big Muff Pi, and from what I remember, it was pretty good for Post Punk/No Wave treble assault like Mars and Lydia Lunch.


The TT-78 looks perfect. I wouldn't have thought to use a big muff for that sort of overdrive sound - always thought it would have too much low end. I know someone who has one I can borrow so I'll have to try it out.

Technologear? wrote:
I played for years in a band inspired by this stuff. Our approach:
- bass - more genk and clang the better. Fresh roundwound strings medium gauge, play with a pick, boost mids on instrument and amp. Octave- based fuzz (whatever you can get) is good
- guitar - if it still sounded like a guitar then it needed more effects. The more bolder and extreme fx the better. Fx pedal chains for guitars took us ages to setup as we always changed them around to find new sounds. Multiple delays chained with different delay settings.
- simple looping pedals that we purposefully made off time unsynchronized loops with, that was our secret weapon
- never play direct through a desk to recording device - play through amps and pa speakers in whatever rooms you have access to, and use room mics / distance micing. The room sound is critical, the trashier the better.
- experiment and try anything unusual - with gear, recording, your body and mind.
- no presets, no GAS (gear lusting), no fancy gear
- have heaps of patch cables, leads, and quality power supply for pedals
- record to tape if you can
When it works out, being in The Zone and creating wonderful noise is one of the best feelings ever.


I hadn't thought about distance micing etc, but that makes perfect sense. What sorts of pedals did you find useful for processing the guitar?
Chopper
Crappy analogue delays, "velcro" fuzz, ring mods, oh, and spring reverbs, again, not just for guitars. I used to love wahs as well back in the days. In nasal position. Somehow guitars are not my favourite tool for the job, but hey. I would say it's more in the way it is played than the sound itself as well. Oh, and feedback is your friend, of course . Again, experiment. The usual diatortion-delay-reverb might not be as interesting as reverb-delay-fuzz .... See your guitar as a noise generator. Forget the conventional approach and you'll get there. Enjoy.
calaveras
It easy to forget how guitarish TG and CV were at the start.
Like you say, they started with guitars and amps, but then modified the tone drastically. Wah pedals dont have to be whacka-whacka-wow-wow. They make great fixed tone controls. Dunlop even sells a pedal that is just a wah circuit with a knob instead of a pedal, for that purpose.
And yeah CV especially has that Mini-Pops/Compurhythm sound all over their early records before they got all electro, and then house.

There is also an acoustic instrument aspect that is often overlooked. A lot of acts like Neubauten and SPK had tons of percussion in their set ups. This was also a big part of 2nd wave industrial acts like Beatnigs, Grotus and of course Skinny Puppy with the 'drumasaurus'.
But also they were using clarinet, kazoo and other reed and brass instruments.
There is the cover of that one Einsturzende Neubauten LP with all their gear arrayed out like a captured cache of weapons. And there are a few crude looking horns in addition to the HVAC ducts and metal pipes.
Shit, I might take up French Horn again, just to spite my deadbeat dad.
crawling wind
What's funny about that pic, is they were trying to get an endorsement from Roland, who would have nothing to do with them at the time.



Monotremata wrote:


Lots of old Roland. A rack of car stereos rigged up as samplers. Add guitar/bass/trumpet and lots of effects pedals. The Gristleizer circuit is a big part of it too.
Chopper
calaveras
Kollaps is the album with that picture at the back, if i remember well. Amazing album indeed.
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next [all]
Page 1 of 3
Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group