A solo modular and voice performance from the Vancouver studio of the Crack Cloud member.

Peace Chord is the solo alias of Daniel Robertson, a Vancouver artist who is also a member of sprawling musical collective Crack Cloud. On his debut self-titled solo album, released last month, Robertson crafts a personal collection of songs that combine voice, piano and synthesiser.

On this week’s episode of Patch Notes, recorded in the shed and studio where Robertson recorded much of the album, he performs a session with a Buchla 200 clone system that he built during the LP’s recording, a modified Marantz PMD-221 as a tape delay, a Prophet 6, a Rhodes MKII and his old upright piano.

“In terms of the synthesis patch used for this piece, here are some of the key ideas,” Robertson says. “I use the 296 Programmable Spectral Processor to process vocal loop layers, giving each layer a specific resonant frequency range. I use the first 9 steps of the 248 MARF as a sequencer, which is clocked by the Prophet 6 arpeggiator in order to create an unpredictable pattern of harmony between the Prophet and the Buchla. The remaining 7 steps of the MARF act as a rudimentary wavetable oscillator. The 208 Stored Program Sound Source provides a complex oscillator, low pass gates, and a preamp to connect my voice, the modules and the musical ideas.”

“I find it important to work with a limited amount of variables, in order to maintain a musical conversation with myself. At the root of my synthesis process, it’s still more about songwriting for me; songwriting as a means of processing, reflecting. I also play synthesizers (among other instruments) in the art-punk collective Crack Cloud. Peace Chord might seem somewhat antithetical to Crack Cloud. Peace Chord is steeped in interiority, quiet, and derived from solitude, whereas Crack Cloud is communal, vibrant and vibrating with energy. But they both feel necessary for me.”

Peace Chord’s debut album is available now on his Bandcamp.

Watch next: Patch Notes: Dasha Rush

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