Karoryfer Lecolds

Gogodze Phu Vol II


Gogodze Phu Vol II

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Our second entry in the KVR Developer Challenge, following 2016's Marie Ork, and second entry in the Gogodze Phu series of the ghosts of drum sounds fading into the mists of history. Gogodze Phu Vol II is inspired mainly by the lo-fi and dead drum sound on Kim Jung Mi's 1973 album "Now".

Not many people really want drums that are that lo-fi all the time, though, so we took the recordings and made a variable-fidelity kit, not by applying typical lo-fi effects but only by messing with the phase, mix and tuning of the seven microphones we recorded everything with. The drums are heavily dampened, so the sound cuts much more than it rings out - we were pleasantly surprised by just how much they can sound like the perfect old-school soul drums for hip-hop.

Because everything was sampled with the same seven microphones - four mics in a Glyn Johns setup, plus three mics in front of the kit to emulate leakage into vocal and guitar amp mics - there are 1701 total samples here, adding up to over 400 MB extracted. Yes, that means even the hi-hat was recorded with the kick mic, though in proper retro style, the kick mic is about a foot in front of the kick, so it does pick up more of everything else than more modern setups would. There's a kick, a snare with sidesticks, center hits and edge hits, three really deadened toms, and a hi-hat with five degrees of openness plus foot chiks.

There are two basic mixes here. The "47" mix does vintage mixes from four to seven mics. It can do Glyn Johns, Glyn Johns plus one mic in front of the kit (generally our favorite sound) and all seven mics. The fidelity knob controls microphone phase offset - in the middle, it is basically the microphones in their real position. Turning it below 50% emulates moving everything except the kick and snare mics farther away, which makes the sound looser and more phasey. Turning it above 50% brings the microphones more into phase, as if the mics stayed in their real locations but the speed of sound was faster than normal. At 100%, everything is perfectly in phase, and the speed of sound is effectively infinite. We're not just violating musical tradition here, but totally disrespecting the laws of physics, too, because we like how it sounds.

The "13" mix is even dirtier, starting with just a very retro Shure SM-55 vocal mic in front of the kit, and optionally adds the overhead and a mic aimed sideways at a wall with big windows. In its case, the fidelity knob controls high-pass filtering on the main mic on the non-kick sounds, and the phase alignment of the other two mics.

Having more mics in the "47" allowed us to add a few more controls. The kick gets a "dirt" knob which basically adds sympathetic snare buzz and room sound. The snare and hi-hat really slip the ornery bonds of reality and get what amounts to supersaw-like detune controls, which tune each mic differently. This makes the snare sound fatter and more electronic, and the hi-hat trashier. Finally, the toms get "thud" which mixes in an extra copy of the same tom sample, transposed an octave down.

Gogodze Phu Vol II requires Plogue Sforzando version 1.933 or newer. Free download, open source and royalty-free for all commercial and non-commercial use, including conversion into other sampler formats and redistribution as part of larger sample libraries.