To mark their 10th release, Crisis of Man has recently released the 10 track VA album Core Values Vol. 1. We asked the artists to run through how they made their contributions which includes a kick drum made from an unborn child’s heartbeat.

‘Core Values Vol. 1’ consists of a variety of artists. Label boss Selective Response brought onboard a who’s who of ‘industrialised boorish techno’. The album features a variety of distorted, melodic and morphing techno that should keep the dancefloor going for days on end.

Crisis of Man

Buy Crisis Of Man’s album Core Values Vol. 1 on Bandcamp.

Rave Syndicate – ‘I Will Lead You Astray’

The production of this track started when I was travelling and heard a song lyric about someone being led astray. I was inspired to create a relatively sinister tune called I Will Lead You Astray as we all get pulled in different directions in life. Sometimes the direction can be a good path and sometimes it can be destructive. I wanted to capture more of the latter. 

The track was kind of simple to produce. All of our tracks are created in Ableton and we tend to keep things minimalistic. We layered kicks, ran through Simpler, with a slight rumble via effects. The lead sound was created with a bass synth in combination with additional effects to replicate an ‘alarm’ sound.

We used filter work to bring the lead sound alive gradually and manipulate the intensity throughout the track. There is also a delay and panning effect via return tracks that increase or decrease throughout. At this point, we added a few sinister vocal shots from our library that we have built up over time and added some grain delay to change the overall sound and make it a bit robotic.

Snare shots, percussive shots, and 909-claps fill the body of the track up to add to the movement and intensity. We used some re-sampling techniques to make the last bridge kind of stretch and slow down, then snap back with additional elements to finish out.

EAS – ‘Beautiful Thing’

Perhaps my absolute favourite quote from Luca Guadagnino’s 2018 remake of Suspiria, “today, we need to break the nose of every beautiful thing” felt like a perfect fit for this track. The lead and the ARP that functions as a pad (both are a practice in ugly dissonance), and the saturated snare that hits throughout the arrangement is a mainstay in the discipline of boorish industrialised techno music.

“Beautiful Thing” consisted of a series of happy accidents, it really felt like the pieces of the puzzle came together quickly. Perhaps the most significant thing that happened in the process of creating this one, was the final changes I made to the kick. It suddenly created an extremely appealing groove between the kick, the bassline, and the percussion that really drove the project toward a better direction.

It’s this aspect of the track that I’m the proudest of. I hope everyone enjoys it!

Pleasures – ‘Nervous’

Inspired by artists like Niki Istrefi’s detuned leads and DJ Disrespect’s speed and crunchy percussion, I made Nervous with the intention to fit it into my fast, intimate late sets. The percussion and textures are usually made with Eurorack synths and modules by Erica synths and Intellijel. The lead was made using Diva, a u-he plugin that is great for modelling old polyphonic synths

Lindsey Herbert – ‘Cosmic Interference’

My track Cosmic Interference came to life during the peak of lockdown when everyone seemed to be itching for faster BPMs and harder sounds. I don’t always go into making something with a specific intent, but I aimed to create the toughest, spaciest, trippiest track that I was capable of making at the time. A goal for a lot of my music is disorientation or causing people’s minds to wander while listening. 

For this particular track, I remember using 2 instruments from the virtual modular VST, Buchla Easel V, in search of something totally spaced out and alienesque. I ended up using the instruments ‘Cling to Hope’ for the rolling synth that first comes in, and ‘Army’ for the higher frequency “bleep-bloop” sounds.

The delayed snare and perc are the track’s main elements and can be heard every few bars. They are meant to grab your attention and help to drive the track. The repetitive, trippy and high-energy elements in Cosmic Interference really put the listener in a trance. 

Annika Wolfe – ‘Electro-q-shun’

Electro-q-shun was made to blend electro and some elements of techno. I wanted to make something that reached those high bpm speeds that people are into right now but didn’t want to lose the bounce. I really wanted to make something that was fast, funky and full of force.

I made this with a hybrid hardware/software approach. The drums are coming from my TR8S, the bassline was made with a Korg Monologue x Digitone Collab, as well as the Massive Software (my fav).

Emptyshell – ‘Chemical Urgency’

I’m mostly an in-the-box producer and the main lead sound was created using Hive (my desert island plug-in). I started with a dub-style screamer arp. I wanted the sound palette to be dirty, aggressive, and lo-fi. To achieve this, I added iZotope Trash2 to distort and delay the signal.

The track needed to evolve, so automating parameters such as the distortion amount and reverb was key to bring this shadowy synth forward and turn it into something that can’t be ignored. I approached this project with a ‘work clean first and destroy it in the end’ mindset.

What this song represents to me, in terms of my artistic work, is a deep reflection of how I view the world and what I value. I’m very excited about being back on Crisis Of Man. I love what the label stands for and I’m happy that Chemical Urgency has found the right home. 

Selective Response – ‘Lick The Knife’

This is one of those tracks that came together fairly quickly but then sat for a while as I couldn’t get past that final 10%. Sometimes, all you need is a new kick drum and once I got that replaced, the track was done. It only took a few months… On the technical side, it’s mostly all samples, which is rare for me these days, with a few recorded bits from my RYTM mk2 and Pro 3.

The lead is a sample that I did some heavy processing on and placed into a Simpler so I could play it. I loved the sharp piercing nature of it, so the name Lick The Knife was fitting. 

Zeltak – ‘Failed’

This track was made in the box, as it was during my beginnings. I had no more than a MIDI Keyboard and Ableton at the time. The track was done in one session because that’s the way to get into the flow that you can hear later on. Working only with Ableton felt very natural and it still does, but I’ve since added external synthesizers to my setup, which resulted in my tracks having an even more exciting feel. – ‘No Regards For Humanity’

No Regards For Humanity was inspired by sounds from the early 00s with a modern warehouse stamp. I wanted to make something that was more on the pounding side, with a touch of emotion while still maintaining my raw groove.

This was made in the last mini lockdown which was filled with a lot of media corruption and lies from the government, hence the title which stems from a working-class view.

Innestemme – ‘Heartbeat’

I was roaming Reddit when I saw someone post a video of their unborn child’s heartbeat from an ultrasound on r/techno. He said the heartbeat reminded him of a techno banger, so I thought it would be fun to use it as the foundation of a track. I layered it with a kick-drum that matched the sound and added some samples from my library.  

I added a Prophet 6 for the arp, and a Korg Monologue for the bass and made a 30 min loop so that I could jam the melodies out. I mix into my mastering chain which starts with 16 channels on my Summing Mixer, Neve 8816

Then I have a Thermionic Culture Vulture on the aux in. I set it to medium crunch on Triode setting and dialled the mix back to ca 50%. Next in the chain is an SSL Xlogic compressor, that I set to only 1db reduction, as things were already pretty glued. 

After that, I have a BAX EQ that boosts the lows and highs. At the end, I have a Bettermaker Limiter that clips the signal beautifully, I also used a Roland DEP-5 as a reverb-send for the whole track.

Buy Crisis Of Man’s album Core Values Vol. 1 on Bandcamp.

While You’re Here…

If you like this article you might enjoy our book The Secrets of Dance Music Production. It is available from the Attack store!

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9th March, 2022

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