Sylvan Esso at Moog SoundLab

Sylvan Esso, the collaboration between Durham-based musicians Amelia Meath (Mountain Man) and Nick Sanborn (Megafaun), makes the kind of music that you don’t hear every day. On the duo’s Bandcamp player for “Hey Mami” one commentor posted, “When the bass drops, it’s like ‘OMG.’”

That’s pretty much exactly right. You how it was when Paul Simon recorded Graceland back in ‘86 and all of a sudden, like out of nowhere, there was Ladysmith Black Mambazo mixing their vocals and rhythms in with Simon’s American folk-pop? And it was strange and wonderful and perfect? “Hey Mami” is like that, only add three decades and electronics and this sort of club feel, with hints of MGMT or Purity Ring or maybe even ‘90s-era Deep Forest remade in a modern vision.

Anyway. Sylan Esso recorded a Moog SoundLab session, which came out on SPIN. Or you can check it out on YouTube.

About this version of “Hey Mami,” The folks at Moog added these notes:

“How’d they get that sound?
· Amelia is singing through an MF-104M Analog Delay and live looping her voice to create all of the harmonies.
· Kick drum was created using the filter resonance and overload on a Slim Phatty
· High Hat is a Voyager Rack Mount and Nick is tweaking the Filter Cutoff to change the pitch of the high hat
· Snare Drum is created with a Voyager Rack Mount- a combination of noise with the input being driven and processed through a 500 Series Analog Delay
· Nick is using Ableton Live to record and trigger all of the live samples. The entire MIDI sequencing of all the Moog gear is coming from Ableton, but all of the automation is being done manually by Sanborn
· The harmonic bell-like sounds are from a Sub Phatty
· Bass lines are a Minitaur bass synthesizer. An MF-104M Analog Delay is turned on and off as he adjusts the pitch on the fly throughout the song.”

Find more Moog SoundLab videos here.


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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall has lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. She is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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