How was Merriweather Post Pavilion made?
April 13, 2009 10:30 AM   Subscribe

Electronic music production. How, for example, were the sounds on Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion made?

This is a pretty short question, but I'm wondering what sorts of programs, instruments, techniques, etc. are used to make sounds like one can hear on that album. Is it possible with a MIDI controller and a program like Natural Instrument's Reaktor to do similar things?
posted by invitapriore to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
In short, probably.

Reaktor is pretty flexible. Lots of the stuff Animal Collective does is sample based, though, so it might be a little difficult to create the exact sounds, but with enough synth know-how, it's definitely possible.
If all you're looking for is a way to make cool sounds that are kinda like the stuff on MPP, you probably won't have any trouble at all.
posted by azarbayejani at 10:41 AM on April 13, 2009

What you would really want is a good collection of samples from obscure 80s drum machines and synths, the stock samples and presets just aren't going to cut it.
posted by mattsweaters at 10:59 AM on April 13, 2009

short of replicating a wildly obscure sample or some such, i've found that the reason software is literally capable of creating just about any sound you can dream up and much, much more.
posted by austere at 11:06 AM on April 13, 2009

I recently stumbled upon an MPP-ish sound (kinda like the busy background synths of "My Girls", which I hear are sampled from Frankie Knuckles' "Your Love") by taking Arturia Minimoog, arpeggiating it, and adding some plugin effects like reverb and saturation. Not too difficult. I think most of the "sound" of that album is achieved by consistent production settings.
posted by naju at 11:06 AM on April 13, 2009

I've listened to the new AnCo, but I have absolutely no idea what specific processes and tools were used. I've heard their set-up is more geared toward playing live than gear. Here's a partial, old list of gear they tour with I googled and did not verify (what, did you expect me to call up Panda Bear on my cell phone?)

-Roland SP-404 hardware sampler
-2 Boss SP-303 hardware samplers
-Mackie mixer
-minidisc recorder
-Sp-404 sampler
-digitech vocal effect pedal
-a Kaos Pad was mentioned, I have no idea if it's true, but my boyfriend has one and I can recommend them wholeheartedly
-2 SO-555 samplers
-Juno 60 keyboard

If this question is less about what they specifically used on MPP and more on how you can achieve this sound yourself, my friend Rumtum is a DJ who is constantly compared to Animal Collective. His process is that he takes organically-produced samples he created himself (vocals and guitar, for instance), effects the shit out of them, and layers and layers and layers and loops them into ethereal dreamscapes. This is all done on samplers and in Ableton.

Here's some of Rumtum's gear: guitar pedals & Korg Kaos Pad & Korg Kaoscillator & assorted, close-up of the Korg gear and Behringer Eurorack 1202, Korg padKontrol & Macbook, padKontrol & Dr. Sample, Behringer Eurorack 1202 & guitar pedals.
posted by Juliet Banana at 11:08 AM on April 13, 2009 [3 favorites]

You'd be better off w/ Ableton Live, as the sound you are talking about here is heavily layered melodic elements w/ loops. Ableton is build for sample work, Reaktor can do it - but i's not as slick about it.
posted by bigmusic at 11:09 AM on April 13, 2009

bigmusic: on second thought you're probably right. To get the layers and loopiness, you probably do want Ableton. (it's what i use!)
posted by azarbayejani at 11:17 AM on April 13, 2009

Backing up my shameless plugging of Korg gear in my last post, here's an interview where Mr. Bear discusses his use of the Korg M3, and confirms that Korg Kaos Pads were used on MPP.

I have absolutely no association with Korg, I swear!
posted by Juliet Banana at 11:19 AM on April 13, 2009

the korg is a good choice for a midi device, but you still need samples and sounds to program into it
posted by mattsweaters at 11:23 AM on April 13, 2009

Building onto Naju's discussion of My Girls, here's an article about how they used the Roland SP-555 to achieve that sound.
posted by Juliet Banana at 11:29 AM on April 13, 2009

... this thread is not what I thought it was going it be. I wanted to come here and talk about architect Frank Gehry's work.
posted by jrishel at 11:41 AM on April 13, 2009

If you are so inclined to do the hardware route, I'll reiterate my love for Yahmaha's RS7000 as an excellent beat building device. It's just super yummy.
posted by bigmusic at 11:42 AM on April 13, 2009

I'm not a musician, but I listened to this interview with Animal Collective a while ago, and I'm pretty sure that they at least named some of the equipment that they used on that album. I think it was around two thirds of the way through the interview, but I sort of tuned that part out a bit, and I don't think they went into the amount of detail you want, but I thought I'd throw it out there.
posted by squarehead at 12:53 PM on April 13, 2009

Get a Roland SP-555 or another MPC and hook it up to Reaktor and Ableton. You can do everything in this setup. The hardest part will be collecting and familiarizing your self with thousands and thousands of loops and samples. Don't get hung up on the physical instruments, everything is digital.
posted by geoff. at 1:31 PM on April 13, 2009

they tend to sample live instrumentation and organic sounds, as mentioned above. They've said this in several interviews, IIRC.

They tend to not use sequencers, as well, so you'd be best off getting hardware samplers... something like the roland sp series... the mpcs are a little deep for this... they aren't quite as intuitive and "instrument" feeling as the sp stuff.
posted by Espoo2 at 5:57 PM on April 13, 2009

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