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Pulse Emitter Interview

Pulse Emitter: Euphoria of the Capacitor

words by James Harrington 

I want magical entities, vibrating vehicles to prolong to be to it abyss, like fish of a timeless ocean. I want jewels, mechanics as perfect as the heart, womb-ships anterooms, rebirth into other dimensions. I want rockets complex and secret, humming-bird ornithopters, sipping the thousand-year-old nectar of dwarf stars. I affirm that next to the soul the most beautiful object in the galaxy is a spaceship!  - Alejandro Jodorowsky

Nature does not know extinction; all it knows is transformation. Everything science has taught me, and continues to teach me, strengthens my belief in the continuity of our spiritual existence after death. - Wernher von Braun

The always incisive Keith Fullerton Whitman perhaps made the most pertinent observation regarding the inexorable rise of the synth odyssey in recent years, describing it as “an immaculate birth from the ashes of the noise scene”.  He’s quite right, and of course while the hardware synthesiser never went particularly far away from the modern musical consciousness, particularly in techno and house, its renaissance and revitalisation as the ne plus ultra of musical instrument fetishisation was undoubtedly driven by those artists who were originally found emerging firmly within the wider American noise infrastructure: cassette labels and home pressings, small scale “floor-core” performances taking place in dingy crevices of the postmodern metropolis, all heavily investing in the lure of off-the-shelf consumer polysynths (and in the process significantly inflating their prices on the second hand market) to unashamedly revel in the mind-bending qualities of raw, unadulterated voltage-controlled-oscillation. Listen to the first half of the touchstone Physical Memory by Oneohtrix Point Never and you might hear that what on first listen appears to be a wall of noise and static is in fact a bottomless, creamy density of analogue harmonic structures; so thick and layered are the sawtooth waves that their individual buzzing lines take on a new kind of perceptual quality to exhibit an all-encompassing, fluid and physical mass of psychedelic sound pressure.

It’s no coincidence then that London’s Second Layer Records and No-Fi put on a European tour with Japanese noise veteran Pain Jerk and youthful synth-overlords Emeralds sharing the billing in 2009, just before the tide really broke and these new breeds of cosmic, noise inspired musicians began receiving the blanket blogosphere coverage the likes of which they do now. At the London night in Kilburn’s sadly defunct Luminaire Club, Kohei Gomi, replete in Borbetomagus t-shirt, spent most of his set screeching and howling through some kind of home-made-contact-mic-noise-‘guitar’ type affair that looked something like a musical instrument crossed with a mop, and which was ‘played’ using a scouring glove made of metal fibres. Directly after this bristly explosion, Emeralds took to the stage and very gradually sank everyone into a gently pulsing analogue tide of all-enveloping drone. The sonic contrast couldn’t have been sharper but somehow they ‘harmonised’ together, and it made a lot of sense conceptually in that particular moment of time, at least historically and ‘scene-wise’, if not at all on the level of the music itself. 

But it was over the last couple of years that a string of genuinely sublime releases by the Portland based Pulse Emitter, aka Daryl Groetsch, really caught my attention; the undeniable musical sophistication of these records and cassettes standing out like a beacon amidst the endless ocean of new-age pastiche, latched arpeggios and Tangerine Dream beatification that was exploding all over the place. What was particularly intriguing about these records was that for several years, beginning with releases in about 2002 or 2003, Pulse Emitter had been prolifically providing the world with a fast-moving stream of analogue noise music; monolithic and oppressive slabs of modular-synthesis (the paragon of which is perhaps best heard in the roiling, alienated pressure-waves of the Decaying Ships LP, but you can take a cross-section at random through this period and easily get a feel for the universe he was busily constructing) created almost exclusively through the use of a home-made analogue modular-synthesiser that had been built by hand using the chops Groetsch gained while studying electrical engineering. In any case, during this phase of his recording career he uncannily evoked a singular and murky noise-cosmology set against a backdrop of Asimovian hard sci-fi and saturated with something of a pre-postmodern and technologically arcane atmosphere. 


Orbiting amongst strange images and atmospheres, these violent and throbbing releases were evocative (for me anyway) of a dark, retroactive, alternative soundtrack to partially obscured technological strata like Bell-Labs, the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, 1950s cybernetics and HAL 9000, rather than anything at all streamlined, space-age or light-speed futuristic. The sounds make me dream of space junk, deranged artificial intelligences and middle-aged scientists and technocrats in suits and fedoras funded by the shadier sectors of modern governments doing elementary things with boolean circuits, vocoders and punchcards on room-sized IBM mainframes boasting less memory than a modern toaster; boffins and MIT geniuses simultaneously discovering synthesis and managing to create a totally raw and mesmerising kind of electronic music. Sometimes even coaxing computers to sing at the lowest level of computational abstraction possible.

However, beginning around 2007 there was creeping evidence that something had shifted in the Pulse Emitter musical calculus. As if the dense sheets of drone and gaseous clouds of static were suddenly and blindingly being pulled aside to reveal spacious and harmonic landscapes of organic cosmic beauty; deep-space tearjerkers conjuring up mysterious feelings of science and nature, growth and form, galaxies, electricity, life and death, man and machine, abandoned wreckage, spirit and matter. This new music was sometimes melancholic and desolate in its feel, certainly, but then just as often it was euphoric, hopeful, fascinated and (perhaps most of all) honest.

Honest in the sense that what seems to me to be one of the most significant things about Groetsch’s universe is that despite the overtones of the “cosmic” that are so explicitly on display, he goes about connecting to these ideas through a far more original musical language than the raft of newly minted kosmiche artists who have emerged to build up the synth underground in recent years. Instead of evoking such galactic or spacey sentiments through a set of signifiers, ideas and motifs that were set into motion by prog-rockers or German artists, radicals and hippies from the 1970s, Pulse Emitter’s cosmos is more personal, designed and self-contained; more vivid and alive in all of its dimensions, both sonically and conceptually. Consequently, there’s a complete lack of nostalgia-modulated semiotic labour in evidence. This is refreshing. 

The inflection point of this change is perhaps most dramatically incarnated in the release Meditative Music I, an hour long composition (subsequently followed up by three further instalments) that Groetsch created to aid and soundtrack his wife’s professional massage practice.  In stark contrast to the blasts that had come before it, Meditative Music seems to resonate with a mathematically pure and crystalline formal beauty that rests beneath the surface of its roughly textured analogue and frequency-modulated timbres. Just three voices: two harmonically rich drones in fifths counterposed against a glassy four-note motif that rings out periodically (“crystal pools of sound” as the composer himself puts it), puncturing through the space.

It might appear a simple formula, but throughout the hour-long piece, these three elements reciprocally interact and modulate amongst themselves in an unpredictable and subtle way, so as to manifest a phasing, shimmering, psychoacoustic, mirage-like dance of overtones; limited, certainly, when broken up by analysis into its parts like this, but then also constantly drifting and meandering within the definite parameters of the system that is set up by the sounds. For me, it’s up there with the best examples of ‘automatic’ ambient music, alongside Steve Roach’s Structures from Silence and Eno’s Discreet Music.

Since breaking that ground, Groetsch has been resolutely and rapidly speeding towards the outer and inner horizons of this sound, unfolding a whole new musical logic and emotional range through a procession of  compelling releases that have seemed, in some strange way, to be not unlike reading a long, all-enveloping story; each release that arrives builds on the sounds and compositional ideas that went before, but then always offering new feelings or themes, new timbres and textures, new images and scenery, finally ending up at the beautiful, spiralling climax of Nebula on 2011’s Spiritual Vistas (“ending up” only so far, as there is a new LP imminent this month.)

I was lucky enough to hear Daryl play his live show at a tiny venue way out in the boonies of Madrid in late 2011. Even though there were only about fifteen people in attendance that didn’t stop him from spinning out an amazingly magical set with just a MIDI keyboard and a portable version of his home-made modular synth. After the show we had a pleasant chat during which he was extremely polite and forthcoming in discussing with me the minutiae of his discography, and because I was distressed about the almost total vacuum of information out there on the subject of his work I proposed this interview, which took place over email for some months spanning the new year.

JH: I wanted to start in what is perhaps an obvious place, with that extremely unique and highly personal relationship you have been engaged with with your instrument, your home-made modular synthesiser, for however many years it has been now. Although I’ve read that you have recently been using it less for the more melodic material you have been composing, seeing you play live with the reduced version of it, and considering your whole recording history, for a listener, the dynamic interplay between you and this machine is really fascinating; you designed it, built it, maintain it, play it and all the time develop with it. So, from the outside, it seems to have been a critical axis through which the definite character and personality of your work flows. Would it be right to say that the counterpoint that arises in the zone between you and your synth is the relation that constitutes the core of “Pulse Emitter”?

DG: I think you are right, that my relationship with my modular synthesizer is an important aspect to this project, originally anyway. I mean, the project began right after I built the first module. That was in 2002 and it’s been a complete instrument for years now and I feel quite familiar with it, I still use it on almost everything I do. I was really enamoured in the beginning with the idea of building a low-fi analog machine that had a bit of a mind of its own and to almost consider it a member of the band. And now, while I am indeed using keyboard synths for the bulk of the work, I sequence them with MIDI and let them run, and program the synths so that they partially act on their own. Different tracks are recorded at different BPMs so things don’t sync up like a normal piece of music would, which is kind of how the modular functions. I like that automated approach, but where unpredictable things happen.

JH: Yes, what I liked most about the show I saw was the way you worked so closely with the instrument, constantly making very small adjustments and then stitching your own melodic playing together with the textures the synth was producing. It was a really compelling unity and it seemed like you weren’t afraid, if the patch started doing something complex and unpredictable, just to let yourself stand aside for a while and for the machine to have a little solo. I think you talked about this kind of autonomy in the documentary People Who Do Noise.[1] But, it seems to me there is a paradox at work; you give the machine a kind of mind and talk about “taking the human element out of music”, and manage to trick us all into thinking someone is playing the machine when it’s playing itself, but then the music is so deep, so cosmic, so emotional! I like the way this undermines some humanistic preconceptions (or maybe clichés is maybe more accurate) about art, machines, intelligence vs AI, music, the author, ‘authentic’ feelings and so on. I don’t mean this to seem overly intellectual however, because for me your music is so visceral and emotive, which is why I like listening to it so much and why I find it fascinating that it brings up these kinds of ideas.

DG: I see the paradox although I hadn’t quite noticed it before. The thing is, even though a musical system is put in place to perform largely on its own, I spend so much time getting it just right, from composition and synth programming to recording and mixing. The emotion and meaning goes into it during this process. When I finally hit record and play back the parts, I still feel like I’m playing it, and in fact I often am tweaking things as it’s playing back, so it’s really isn’t always playing all by itself. There is still always some uncertainty as to how the final product will sound and that is a beautiful thing; always a lot of serendipity. So regarding what I said in People Who Do Noise, I suppose I really no longer have an interest in completely removing the human element from music. That was a few years ago and things have changed. But my inspiration and subject matter is still more from nature and science-fiction than human drama sort of topics.

[1] “I want to start taking data from nature and patching it into my synthesiser. I have done that a little bit with photocells, you know, I can stick it out of the window and the sun setting will go from a higher voltage to a lower voltage and it can control the synthesiser. But I want to be able to take a topographic map of Mars and convert it into a voltage… and then have entire pieces of music based on data. I just like the idea of taking the human element out of music. Lots of times when I play at home especially, I’ll set up the synthesiser so that its playing by itself. Really complex patches, using really slow oscillations, that aren’t synchronised with one another so that they change over time really slowly, and it kind of creates this long- form type of piece where you could listen to ten minutes of it and never realise that no-one is touching the instrument.”

Pulse Emitter - Vent


JH: Right. It’s really interesting the way you have mediated the problem. There is a kind complexity that emerges between composer and automation as the function of creating a system rather than being manifested in a score, which doesn’t really make any difference because if you invest as much time in building a semi-automated, generative system, rather than just composing an actual score note-for-note,  that requires an equivalent effort, concentration and art. It’s clearly a perfectly valid strategy for composing and something that resonates with many of the most prominent ideas of 20th century Western music; from twelve-tone rows, to Cage, to early Morton Feldman and then onwards to Eno, of course. I’ve read that you have a degree in composition, so I was wondering what you studied during that time. Was it the full gamut from Classical, Baroque, Serialism, “minimalism” and so forth? Are there any particular traditions or ideas that you particular draw inspiration from now? Were these ideas about randomness and systems a part of that?

DG: The school covered Medieval through 20th century Western music. I was most inspired by 16th  counterpoint and 20th century music theory. I was also introduced to electronic music in college, we had a lab, and I was simultaneously starting to listen to electronic music on my own at that time. Aphex Twin, Tangerine Dream, and lots of ambient music. I don’t think music school impressed many ideas of “automatic” or chance music upon me, I had to get most of that on my own. We learned about Cage for sure, and also covered the “minimalists” whose music I connected with a lot. We studied 12-tone rows, whole tone scales, microtonalism, all the basic of 20th century theory. It stuck with me well. I also spent a lot of time playing in jazz bands, I played bass back then.


JH: You have a pretty eclectic musical background then. Was jazz a big influence? Are there any particular jazz touchstones, players or records that are significant for you? Also, I think this is interesting in terms of the way your noise practice seemed to be very improvisational in nature. Was there a link there?

DG: I’m sure playing jazz helped me to be more comfortable with improvisation, even though it’s such a different style. Lately I have thought of Pat Metheny because i’ve been trying to write long melodies, he’s good at that, and I’ve always been completely blown away by electric period Miles Davis.

JH: Talking about other music in general, something I really like is that I find it very difficult to actually pinpoint any clear musical references for your own music, it’s very singular in its sound, which is a rare quality in our saturated, cultural capital driven, digital mediascape. You mentioned Aphex and Tangerine Dream earlier and I can figure those into the equation fairly easily. But could you tell me about some musical reference points that you situate the Pulse Emitter project in relation to and that have been personally important to you and your musical development over the years? And, just for good measure, what have you been listening to lately?

DG: That’s nice to hear, thank you. Let’s see, where to start… The form and ambition of prog rock has been important to me for a long time; Yes’s Close to the Edge. Gentle Giant is one of my favourite bands, I think they are just unbelievable. Magma are incredible. I like Rush a lot too. Steve Roach is a big influence on me, the magical ambience he is able to achieve. I like a lot of synthesizer ambient and New Age, Vangelis, Iasos, Paul Ellis, The Orb, Heavenly Music Corporation, Steve Hillage, Steven Halpern. In terms of noise, Throbbing Gristle was important to me, and Bastard Noise, and Space Machine. Melodic 20th century classical music is inspiring for my recent works. Holst’s The Planets, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Vaughn Williams. Bartok’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta is a favourite. Also Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time. Lately I’ve been listening to Cirith Ungol, Michael Rother, Micah Blue Smaldone, Black Uhuru, and a bunch of old new age tapes a friend gave me.

JH: That you single out being particularly inspired by counterpoint is really interesting and definitely makes a lot of sense in light of your newer compositions. I think particularly of Cosmic Images which seems so intricately conceived and balanced. Not just musically, in the relations of parts and melodies, but also in the way that the modulation of timbre becomes a voice all of itself; with the musical information providing the platform for a deeper exploration of texture through thousands of subtle shades of modulation. Just to pick out an example, there is that kind of barely suppressed chaotic patch in the background of Jupiter which hints of Xenakis to my ears and adds so much to atmosphere of the piece. Do you have any particular ideas or a kind of working “philosophy” about the way you conceptualise the interplay of counterpoint and timbre, or is it more of an instinctual process? In terms of the way you work on a project, how did you go about developing something as intricate as Cosmic Images?

DG: Working with counterpoint that doesn’t sync up predictably I have to think ahead. I am aware of filling the frequency spectrum, that is, always having a bass voice, something up in the treble range, midrange voices, and not too many voices competing in the same range. I like to have long sustained sounds, faster parts, and silence as well. Same goes for tone colour, contrast is good, and I always try to have the sounds change or morph throughout the piece. As for the compositional process, I have a method that i developed for myself in the past couple of years. It begins with conceptualization, the subject matter is decided for the album and for each track. Then a selection of notes or scales are chosen for each song. I compose each part on staff paper, program the synths and effects, do MIDI sequencing, and finally recording and mixing. Each album is a concept album, not just a collection of songs, but composed as one.

JH: Right, so could you describe the concepts or stories that generated Spiritual Vistas and Cosmic Images in your imagination at the beginning of this process?

DG: Of course; for Cosmic Images, I had picked up this book of space photos. I chose some of the images that moved me the most and I based a piece on each of them. I put the book on a music stand so I could look at it throughout the entire process, and musical parts directly reflect aspects of each image. The titles are named after the photos: Eagle Nebula, Triangulum Galaxy, etc. It was a really deep experience
staring at those images while working on the music. Spiritual Vistas is more emotional, having to do with the feelings associated with inspiring scenes, remembered and imagined. I’m really happy with how
that record turned out.

JH: Your first release, Polyakov,[1] is interesting to listen to as there seem to be quite different elements in play from what your music has developed into. Could you tell me a bit about what your musical ideas and thoughts were when you first started the Pulse Emitter project? I mean, the sound of that release is different as it seems the noise phase has not quite formed itself entirely; Fru for example almost has something of a Ryoji Ikeda, or an Autechre feel to it. What was the background of your life and work like then? Was the modular still a work in progress?

DG: I was coming from a time when I was making experimental and IDM type stuff. At the start with Pulse Emitter I was really excited to be playing analog modular synth in an improvisational way, where my previous work was more composed and arranged on a computer. I was using pattern generating modules I had built and the outcome is a lot more rhythmic, more techno. I still like that recording because it’s pretty cosmic and has a variety of styles going on, and the sloppiness of it works for me.

JH: Was there anything in particular that happened that made you move away from the ideas you expressed in People Who Do Noise? It seems to me that Meditative Music was something of a watershed moment for you. Although there were always flashes of illumination that hinted at the deep, melodic style that was to emerge (say for example on the second side of Decaying Ships and part two of Mankind Behind), after the sudden appearance of Meditative Music I felt like maybe something apocalyptic had happened to you; that you had been in a car crash or had joined a cult or something. I was a bit worried. Was it as abrupt as it seemed or had the development been brewing for some time? What circumstances and feelings pushed you towards that?

DG: That’s hilarious. This really gets me thinking though. You’re right that the first Meditative Music album was a watershed moment. I didn’t know how people would react, but it went over really well. It was an experiment, I still did some noisier works after it before realizing that it had something I wanted to embrace and develop. It was actually made for my girlfriend, now my wife, to use for her massage practice, and I have to say, meeting her contributed to the change in my music. It relaxed me a lot. She’s so supportive and good for me all around. Noise music seemed to loose some relevance. But it wasn’t just me, something else happened in the scene, i know numerous other noise artists who mellowed out around the same time and started making more “musical” music. Call it zeitgeist.

JH: Zeitgeist indeed. It’s been fascinating to see the synthesiser taken up in a noise context to become a vehicle for a more emotional and musical language. For me it makes a lot of sense because I’ve always found it fascinating about electronics is the way a waveform is a shape, or an envelope is a set of curves, spread out over time. An elemental, geometrical form, and when it is sonified the brain interprets it as a texture, but in the abstract it’s described as a figure that is set into oscillation. This is a pretty fundamental and Pythagorean idea: that acoustics is geometrical. But, its hard to actually make music or art that brings attention down to this non-semiotic level and make it perceptible. I really value this feeling whenever I come across it because it seems to indicate an artist who is really getting down to the plasmic substance of, well, the cosmos, in some sense; the raw stuff of sound, electricity, feelings and the elements that compose the world. Do you feel like the synthesiser is a privileged, or ideal vehicle for yourself in accessing these kind of invisible cosmic landscapes? Do you compose for any other instruments, or have any plans to do so? Do you think you could you translate the same kind of ideas and feeling using acoustic sounds?

DG: I know the feeling you’re talking about, and it’s interesting that synthesizers are what achieve it, but for me nothing else will do. Perhaps that fact that it’s an electronic instrument has something to do with it. We are bioelectric beings after all, and when those electronic waves hit the eardrum it’s just a direct connection, like a form of shock therapy or something. They are perfect at portraying alien worlds because they are capable of so many new and bizarre sounds. I really don’t know if i’ll write for acoustic instruments again, I’d like to, but I think I want to keep Pulse Emitter a purely synthesizer project.

JH: I really like that your sci-fi references are from quite unfashionable “hard sci-fi” sources like Asimov and so on. They are pretty resolutely non-postmodern and old school, where the cosmic is very much intact. And even your releases that have been inspired by more earthly nature, the Mediative Music series, Forest, Mountain, Valley, and even Spiritual Vistas, seem to take an idea of nature and make them otherworldly in their emotional power and ability to evoke a vastness and sense of human co-ordination within the cosmos; that the cosmos is not just outwards but inwards also. Can you talk a bit more about your inspiration from science-fiction and nature in this sense and how you try and embed it in the work?

DG: You nailed it. Being in nature makes me think about the cosmos and to feel a part of it. Nature is cosmic, and you can see the stars so much better away from the city. I’m really connected to the Pacific Northwest, where I live. I love Carl Sagan, and Star Trek. The possibility of life on other worlds. I think about this sort of stuff all the time. It’s where my music comes from. I’m really glad you brought it up. As for embedding these things into the music, I get inspired, and then when composing, each synth line usually represents an aspect of an image that I have in mind. It is very visual for me, and emotional, as well as mathematical. Although it needn’t translate exactly; it will be interpreted differently by each listener, which is as it should be.

JH: The interpretation of image and emotion and its translation into music in this way is clearly really important to you. You dedicated Longing Thresholds to Michael Whelan’s cover art for Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series for example. What did those paintings evoke for you and how did you transmute them into those amazing, cascading, long-form pieces?

DG: When I was a kid in the 80’s I used to wander around the book store and was really drawn to the science fiction book covers, they were so captivating, so well painted, they really moved me. I wasn’t even capable of reading them yet but I knew I wanted to. Those two particular covers that I based that tape on were so striking to me, they really sucked me in. I fell in love with that girl pictured on Second Foundation, and something about that guy on Foundation’s Edge, standing in ruins, staring out at a massive spiral galaxy; both of them have a feeling of longing for me. So, there was a lot of nostalgia involved. It was also an experiment to use only one synth for an entire record. I had just acquired the Oberheim OB-8 and I sequenced it and as the sequences were running I made a lot of gradual knob turns, so each sound is constantly changing. It’s a technique I still use all the time.

JH: That’s a great story. I like how the seed that was planted so many years ago suddenly blossomed into concrete existence from your feelings and became the music and idea of that release; the interacting mysteries of time, memory and causality! I can definitely see what you mean about the ideas of longing in those paintings, but what did you actually mean to express with the phrase “Longing Thresholds”? I have always found the “thresholds” part quite enigmatic…

DG: Well, both images have a large archway in them that the character could pass through. And maybe because the images themselves are a portal that one can never really cross into. I can’t completely explain it; those two words came to me and I put them together and liked the way it sounded, I’m glad it’s enigmatic!

JH: The Pacific-northwest seems to have a real alchemical magic to it; in the landscape that is echoed so much in your work, but also in Portland and its community. I don’t really know too much about it in any concrete way, but, you have a real embarrassment of musical riches out there in the area (I guess so much so that it has almost become a cliché in recent years). Some of my favourite musicians in anything are working in the area; Thrones, Daniel Menche, Grouper, just to pick just a few from a pretty long list. Is there something in the water out there? And speaking of which, what’s the lowdown on those Princess Dies cable access shows? That’s some pretty heady stuff!

DG: Portland is a town that is very conducive to being creative. it rains so much you have to stay inside a lot. It’s a smaller city, tremendously isolated, and it has a history of weird arts, so it just attracts outcasts. And, of course, the influence of being surrounded by so much spectacular nature is influential, to some of us anyway. Perhaps living so close to volcanoes has something to do with it. Yeah, the Princess Dies videos, so fun. Ashby Collinson comes up with the entire concept, I just do the music. She’s always filling me in on her ideas and inspirations so when we get to the studio I have a good idea of what I’m going to do, but it’s still pretty loose. I love collaborating in a multimedia fashion live like that.

JH: Talking of collaboration, Daniel Lopatin did the art for Cosmic Images didn’t he? How did that come about, and were you pleased with the results?

DG: He had invited me to do a CDR for his label Upstairs. I sent him the master for Cosmic Images even though I didn’t feel quite like giving it up for a CDR release. I wanted a million copies, I was so happy with it. He understood that and I mentioned that I had been really excited about him doing the art for it, so he suggested he could just do that and I could put it out myself, and that’s what happened. I like what he sent. I had a lot of copies made. It’s a release I do not at all mind having a lot of copies of. I am totally proud of it.

JH: I wanted to ask you about your current live show. What is the process like for that? I felt that it seemed to have structured elements of composition that then deliberately play off against the complexity produced by the synthesiser. Is that the case? Does playing live demand certain compromises, different ways of thinking and playing, whilst also being a source of generating new material?

DG: Yeah, it’s always somewhat thought out beforehand and also improvised. It’s a funny time to ask me about my live shows, because I’m taking a break from performing for the winter to focus on recording, and when I start up again it’s going to be totally different. Before it was modular synth and a keyboard synth, the modular could do drones and pulses and spacey sound effects, and I can only play slow lines on the keyboard, so it was kind of limited as to what I could do. Sometimes I’d bring a tape with an arpeggio on it for a bit more movement. I got tired of it; always improvising melodies on the keyboard while on stage, and not enough variety of sound. Too drone based, which I’m not that into anymore. So, I have just got this somewhat modern synth that has a 16-track sequencer in it and I’m going to actually be able to play music from my albums live. It will be really different for me, but the outcome should be more polished. We’ll see how it goes. I’m excited about it.

JH: Finally then, what’s in the pipeline for Pulse Emitter and indeed, for Daryl Groetsch in general in the near future? Do you have any other projects currently at large that we might look forward to seeing or hearing?

DG: There will be an LP on Aguirre early 2012. I’ve been recording like crazy this winter for some other LP projects in 2012 that I am very excited about; my best material yet. Some of my music was recently featured in a film, Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters, and I would love to do more film work. I’m having a t-shirt designed right now. Other than that I’ll just keep taking walks around town and try to get out into nature as much as possible.

[1] This download has been authorised by Pulse Emitter himself for your enjoyment dear reader.

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