Medieval bestiaries depicted strange and mysterious creatures, allegories from distant new lands filled with wonders. Today, these new worlds lie inwards; so this musical bestiary maps a perplexing mindscape, shapeshifting organisms painted in sound, a sonic surrealism. Like the liquid forms that populate the paintings of Yves Tanguy or Joan Miró, each sonic event takes on the qualities of a living thing; yet each appears evanescent, unnameable and foreign.
Bestiary is rhythmic, energetic, bizarre and very glurpy. It's filled with mutated electronic textures from the MOTM analog modular synthesizer, granular synthesis, chaotic feedback systems and formant filtering, and peppered with twisted contributions from Forrest Fang, Andrew McGowan, and Haroun Serang. Cover art is by John Bergin.
Many of the sounds on Bestiary come from the MOTM modular synthesizer by Synthesis Technology. The album actually started with the intention of making a second ACID loop library for Sonic Foundry, following Liquid Planet. I started developing a library of extreme analog sounds, which could only have come from a modular synth. As the synth began to grow, I became more enchanted by the range of timbres it could produce. It sounded so much better than the modular synth that I had built back in the seventies, yet the working method was still visceral and familiar. At a certain point I decided that these new sounds should form the backbone of my next solo album, so I stopped working on the ACID loop concept and began structuring the sounds into compositions.
I assembled the album as one continuous piece, with all of the crossfades and transitions built into a single 53 minute file in Cubase VST32 on a Macintosh G3. Actually, I only used the audio features of Cubase. MIDI played a very small role, since I performed most of the parts directly to hard disk from the modular synth. Most of the additional parts came from processed acoustic sources, often mangled with time-domain algorithms in Tom Erbe's SoundHack or a strange utility called Argeiphontes Lyre. Other methods included feedback techniques similar to those that I used on Troubled Resting Place and Below Zero. I recorded and mixed the album at 24 bit resolution, through the Mackie d8b digital mixer, and downsampled to CD at the final stage of mastering.