Exclusive Premiere: Aiden – Gebruikerssporen LP (Cinematique)

Artist: Aiden
Title: Gebruikerssporen LP
Label: Cinematique
Cat No: CIN102
Formats: Digital (incl. exclusive bonus track) / Ltd Edition CD
Release Date: 28th August 2017 on Beatport (Digital) and Bandcamp (Limited Edition CD)

The most intriguing artists are those who step away from the crowded centre ground, those who boldly surf their own distinctive wave of originality, and bring something unique to the party. Rotterdam-based DJ/Producer, Aiden, avoids producing music with certain genres or formulas in mind, preferring to paint a unique variety of sounds and textures into his work. His adventurous debut artist album for Cinematique (home to the widescreen of electronic music) boldly defies simple pigeonholing of style and genre, revealing the essence of what makes his music immediately so intellectually and physically stimulating.

Ahead of this superb release from Aiden on Cinematique, Decoded Magazine spoke with the artist where he described how the album came together and how each track was created… So, Aiden over to you…

This album came together as a bit of a collection of tracks where some of them might have been started almost 5 years ago now. After I collected all the tracks together, they had just working titles like: bam1, bam2, tech3, mix5 etc. One of the first tracks I made already had the name ‘Gebruikerssporen’, which I think is an interesting Dutch word that translates into English as ‘signs of use’. After this, I decided to give all the tracks names of Dutch words that I find interesting and as ‘Gebruikerssporen’ was the mother of this idea, it also became the album title.

01. Prelude
The opening track ‘Prelude’ is an obvious choice to start, which in English is also ‘Prelude’ of course… The funny thing is that this was the last track I made for the album and it was made to be the first… I had an idea to put water in my mouth and record the sound of it going around and make some funny noises. Then I processed this with some FX and maybe pitched it down in the FL-studio sampler on the monophonic mode, so it gets a bit of a robo-sound. The bells type sound that goes up and down throughout the whole track is a recording of my vibraphone (for kids), which goes through some filters and has a pitch LFO on it that causes it to go up and down. The upcoming synth pad comes from the Waldorf Pulse 2 with some detuning and delay on it. Finally, I just played in live the short synth stabs that make it a bit haunting – I think this part came out of the Z3TA+ VST plugin.

02. Arboretum
On the 2nd track ‘Arboretum’ (which is the same in Dutch and English) I tried to make all the basics of the track with the Waldorf Pulse 2 synth. I started off with the kick drum that is a very low bass sound with a very short filter decay. The hi-hat/shaker sound that gives the track more drive was also made a bit like this, but with more of a noise oscillator. During this production period I was trying to work out tracks with more patience for the build-up, so this is why it became a long, perhaps crawling, piece of music.

03. Tunneltraverse
‘Tunneltraverse’ is a track that I made after Jamie (the Russian Linesman) made a shout out on Facebook, saying he wanted demos for a new compilation on his Loki Recordings label. He even approved it, but the compilation never saw the light of day, probably because his excellent ‘Eysenck Suite’ project became a priority. Anyway, there is a happy ending because this track fits perfectly on my album. I always thought tunneltraverse was a common Dutch word for the before and after road of a tunnel. But it was just recently that I found out while Robin (Cinematique) and myself were having some drinks (after a press shoot), that tunneltraverse was in fact DE (the) Tunnelstraverse – which is the only one in Holland and lies in Rotterdam (the city we live in). I remember making this track when it was around Easter time, because I squeezed a bag of Easter eggs to record the clap/snare sound. The synth line was recorded in one go, then I shifted the formants in Melodyne (auto-tune) and that is what gives it a more de-tuned obscure sound. When the whole track was completed, I put on my mic and just played around while the track was playing – as you can hear this plays softly in the background of the track.

04. Honderdduizendteller
As long as I make music I will always have these periods where I have this idea in my head of making a long mix, with loops and ambient transitions, mixed together in one hour or more… ‘Honderdduizendteller’ (one-hundred-thousand-worth – which was the name of a big playing marble when I was a kid) is a track born from one of these projects, where I used my Memory Man guitar delay to make the loops by putting the feedback up high and just punching in sounds. It was very interesting to see what kind of loops and sounds came out – I think ‘Honderduizendteller’ is the proof of this.

05. Houdje Touwtje [ft. Hermione Green]
‘Houdje Touwtje’ is one of those tracks where I started off with a simple chord progression, then played a small melody over it with the same synth and recorded it for 8 minutes, automating the filter cut-off and resonance on the fly. After this I recorded this thin guitar line, which was simple, because I don’t really know how to play guitar! Afterwards, I added the beats and some sounds, but was still missing something and I decided it needed vocals. I asked my soon-to-be wife if she was up for this and we started writing. I came up with the sentence “got my love on a wire” (don’t ask me why) and my girlfriend started singing and after a while came up with the rest of the lyrics. After recording everything, I tried to make some harmonies in the auto-tune by copying every sentence and stacking them in chords. Then, after this, I put them in a slicer, so you can play every slice as a note on the midi-keyboard, which, after some playing and moving around, became the punchy vocal bit that goes on throughout the track. The original Dutch expression is “houtje houwtje”, which means something like “rope and wood” (and is mostly used to describe the buttons of a trenchcoat that are made of wood and go through these little wire loops). So “touwtje” stands for the “wire”, and “to love” in Dutch is “houden van”, which created “Houdje” (with a d) = “Houdje Touwtje” (I hope this is in a way understandable?)

06. Gebruikerssporen
As I already pointed out, the album title track ‘Gebruikerssporen’ is the first track I made for this album. I made it when I had just got the Arturia Microbrute, which is a small and easy to use analogue synth. At the time, we lived in a very small house where my studio was on a 30” table top and I was sitting on a bar stool, so I only bought small gear! I used the MicroBrute to make the bassline, which was very on beat when I recorded it in MIDI, but when I recorded it as audio and placed it under the beat, I put it in the wrong place, but happily, this made it very groovy and offbeat, so I left it this way. I also discovered the audio input of the MicroBrute and the things you can do, like running my computer through the filter, envelope and the Brute Factor knob – a kind of feedback distortion. So most of the sounds are a bit raw because of running through this.

07. Calandlijn
The ‘Calandlijn’ track was made in the same period as ‘Arboretum’ when I was making very deep, crawling, maybe a bit emo techno. I could tell a story here that I was going through a dark period in my life, but this was quite the opposite, if I remember correctly? We had just moved to a bigger house and installed the new home studio, so I was very happy then. I remember having quite a lot of fun making this track, as I had just bought some drumsticks and this lined-up woodblock thing (I’m not sure what they its called?). This created the rattling sound all through the track, which I pitched up and down on the fly. I think I also recorded some percussion when my girlfriend was watching her favourite TV series, so you can hear a TV sound in the background. This happens a lot actually, and I don’t mind, because it makes the sounds unique! ‘Calandlijn’ was a Metroline I use to take to travel from the south of Rotterdam to the centre. They changed the name now, but I still like it!

08. Parterre
‘Parterre’ again is a word that means the same in English as in Dutch, as from the ground floor you can only go up (forget basements). This is a straight uplifting track that just came out of me. There weren’t a lot of special tricks – it was all about just letting the whole track run in loop and playing around with volumes and effects. I’m not a big fan of making real arrangements, I automate everything so it becomes more organic – sometimes this can lead to big chaos and even can kill a track, but then I’ll just start a new one. Luckily this one survived!

09. In Den Soos
‘In Den Soos’ is a posh way to say “in the leisure centre”. I came up with this name because it sounds a bit like a song played at a bingo-party or when drawing lotto numbers. This track is light-hearted and easy going in comparison to the others, so it’s like the break in the middle of the album where you can get out of your chair and get a snack, check your phone and just stretch your legs for a bit. I had a lot of fun recording the percussion for this track – lots of shakers and chimes, as you can hear.

10. Balsturig
‘Balsturig’ means wayward, which in English is also a great word I think? I discovered this guy on Facebook who did circuit bending – he had some really cool bending kiddy keyboards for sale. I bought one, of course, and even the paint job was brilliant as it is orange with black and spacey speckles. For ‘Balsturig’, I connected this to a guitar amp and just got this nasty sound. I recorded a couple of seconds just hitting random keys and then put it through a slicer. The cool thing is you can put an arpeggiator on this so it starts to play a random selection of slices which creates its own melody. I looped this melody and automated the delays and reverbs over this so it slowly opens up as it goes. This track started off as a beatless ambient piece, but later I decided it was a bit too boring, so I added a kick, high-hat, snare roll and a breakdown in the middle, to make it more climactic.

11. Polderwolf
‘Polderwolf’ is me just randomly spitting jibber jabber, again, made into chords and sliced and pitched up quite a bit. It gave me an oriental feeling from the start, so the melody in the break is a bit oriental as well. Some of the percussion is recorded from tapping a can of Pringles – it has a really nice sound! Polderwolf is a wolf that crossed our borders a couple of years ago, and as there are no wild wolves left in Holland, this was quite a lot in the news. Unfortunately he left us.

12. Koude Acquisitie
‘Koude Aquisitie’ = cold acquisition, and is actually two 80’s disco tracks sliced and chopped up, then rearranged to become a dark, banging finale! I made this track in about an hour, so this is really something that just poured out of me.

13. Valsplat (Digital Exclusive)
‘Valstplat’ (a term cyclists use for going up a small long hill – a false flat). I started off recording myself going through the presets of the Pulse 2 synth, then chopped this into tiny bits and played these bits randomly. After playing around with pitch of every bit, it created these awesome R2D2 noises. After this I added some melody and it was done! This track will be a digital exclusive, as the album already had enough tracks for the CD. I still really wanted it to come out, because I just really love the sound and energy of this track.

Decoded Magazine would like to thank Aiden for taking the time to describe his LP in detail and we hope you enjoyed the music.

About the Author

Director and DJ, Ian French (Naif) is passionate about every genre of music from Breakbeat, to Drum & Bass, to Techno and House. A man that lives in a world of beats and bass, and total confusion about life!