“I have created a very complex mixing, routing system within
AudioMulch. This mixing system includes a total of 48 (and sometimes
more) different channels of FX that are all very different from each
other and all routed to each other in a special way”.
Turkish musician and composer Erdem Helvacioglu
has an international reputation for his electroacoustic music, and is
perhaps most well known for the way he combines solo guitar with live
electronics. As well as releasing critically acclaimed albums, Erdem
composes for film and theatre, and has been part of the lineup of
Turkish punk band Rashit.
Erdem is a long time user of AudioMulch, and we were keen to learn more about how he uses it.
How does AudioMulch fit into your sound design and production process?
Erdem: I can say that Audiomulch is one of the most important sound
design tools for me. I use it in every aspect of my work: film music,
electroacoustic composition and pop music production work. For pop
production, I process things like the drum tracks and vocals in
AudioMulch and export these new processed files for use in the final
mix of the song. For my film and electroacoustic work, I create more
complicated setups. These setups may involve the use of tens of
plug-ins at the same time and automation of hundreds of parameters.
Similar to my pop work, I export these sonic creations to be used
within the final mix.
How do you use AudioMulch in live performance?
I use Audiomulch with my acoustic guitar setup. This setup includes
an Ovation custom legend 1869 electric-acoustic guitar, a Sansamp
acoustic DI, a Carl Martin compressor, a Behringer FCB 1010 MIDI foot
controller, a TC Electronic Fireworx hardware multi effects processor
and a small analog mixer. The guitar signal is routed to the
compressor, the acoustic DI and then finally to one of the mixer
channels. Through the two aux sends, this signal gets routed to
AudioMulch and TC Fireworx. The outputs of AudioMulch and the Fireworx
get connected to the mixer too. This allows me to send these two
different systems to each other for more interesting sonic results. I
have created a very complex mixing, routing system within AudioMulch.
This mixing system includes a total of 48 (and sometimes more)
different channels of FX that are all very different from each other
and all routed to each other in a special way. These FX include the
DLGranulator, FrequencyShifter, Nebuliser, DigiGrunge and lots of VST
plug-ins. Besides this complex routing system, I also control selected
parameters in real-time either with a MIDI controller, the Metasurface,
with the mouse or as automations in the timeline.
A screenshot of Erdem’s AudioMulch patch for “Shadow My Dovetail” from his album Altered Realities.
Click for a closer look
What are your studio and live performance setups?
Besides my software setup, I have a big collection of hardware
equipment. As a composer, I definitely believe that one should have
access to both unique hardware and software gear. I have many electric
guitars, a unique handmade Togaman violguitar, many analog pedals
including the whole Moogerfooger collection, Zvex, MXR and
Electroharmonix pedals. For hardware FX units, I use the Eventide
Eclipse, TC Electronic Fireworx, Lexicon MPX100, Lexicon Vortex and
Korg Kaoss Pad. For synths and drum machines, I use the Access Virusb,
Waldorf Blofeld, Korg n5, Korg er1 and Machine Drum. I use Cubase,
Soundhack, Metasynth, Soundforge besides AudioMulch.
For my studio work, I use a combination of this equipment with the emphasis being on AudioMulch for creative sound design.
For the live acoustic guitar and electronics work, I use the setup described above.
I also have a live guitar and electronics setup that is completely
hardware-based. This setup includes my Les Paul electric guitar, a
Marshall JMP-1 pre-amp, an Eventide Eclipse, a TC Electronic Fireworx,
a Lexicon MPX100, an Eventide TimeFactor and various analog pedals.
I have a large collection of instruments including an Iranian santoor,
a Turkish bowed tanbur, an ud, a lapsteel, a mandolin, and various
percussion instruments that I record for my film work. I recently
bought a new violguitar built by Jonathan Wilson in LA. This is a
futuristic, hybrid instrument that is played by a bow. It is one of the
most inspirational instruments that I own and it is such a great tool
for creating interesting textures and film work.
Do you have any favorite VST plug-ins?
This is a hard question to answer since I use so many different VST
plug-ins and most of them are unique in their own way, but I guess I
can state that some of my favorite VST plug-ins are Delaydots Spectral
Pack, Antares’ Filter, GRM Tools, Fishphones, Izotope Spectron, PSP
plug-ins, Soundhack Spectral Shapers, AbVST and plug-ins by
I used two different approaches for these two albums. Altered Realities
is an album of solo acoustic guitar and live electronics, whereas
Wounded Breath is an album of electroacoustic tape pieces.
For the Altered Realities album, I used the complex routing, mixing
setup that I described above. Many of my guitar and electronics records
are based on either long or short loops that control the main structure
of the pieces. But on Altered Realities, there is no use of loops at
all. Rather than using loops, I tried to create long textures that
change, evolve over time using many different FX parameters and complex
Listen to an excerpt from “Shadow My Dovetail” from the album Altered Realities
On Wounded Breath I used a similar system, but involving exporting
sounds for re-processing and final mixing.
The sounds I created were mostly long textures that evolve spectrally
over time. The single hits and short sounds were created and processed
within Cubase. For a single sound, I would sometimes use so many
different contraptions and automations that the CPU usage on my machine
would hit 90%! Creating the pieces on the Wounded Breath album live
would mean a hundred MacBook Pro machines running simultaneously at max
CPU! So my process was iterative: after creating the textures I would
mix a part of the piece, export that segment and process it again
The piece “Below The Cold Ocean” on the Wounded Breath album is a very
good example of this working method. This piece also received a prize
at the prestigious Luigi Russolo Electroacoustic Music Composition
Listen to an excerpt from “Below The Cold Ocean” from the album Wounded Breath
What are the main features of AudioMulch that you tend to use?
The main features of AudioMulch I use are parameter control and
automation, the Metasurface, the LoopPlayer, FilePlayer, FileRecorder,
DLGranulator, DigiGrunge, FrequencyShifter, Nebuliser, BubbleBlower,
and occasionally the LiveLooper for looping some of the FX returns.
Do you have any favorite contraptions or techniques?
My favorite contraption is the DLGranulator. It is a great granulator,
and I have used it for both my live electronics and electroacoustic
sonic design work.
If you had control of Ross’ development schedule, is there any feature you’d make him add to AudioMulch?
I would very much like Ross to add LFOs (low frequency oscillators),
various envelope and sequencing contraptions that can be assigned to
any parameters. In combination with the automation and the Metasurface,
this would make AudioMulch an even greater tool for sonic processing in
real-time. Also, it would be great if AudioMulch could be used as a VST
plug-in within sequencer programs such as Cubase and Protools. That way
we could have the option of using the program either as a stand-alone
application or as a VST plug-in within those sequencers. Besides these,
I also definitely need a feature where we would be able to create sub
patches. My patches are so dense; sometimes I begin to lose sight of
what is connected to where. Being able to create sub patches would
really help users like me who create dense patches with lots of
You’ve been quoted as saying:
“For me, the compositional process involves the guitar and the
electronics equally. It’s not like I have a musical idea, and then try
to find electronics to go with it. Or that I find a cool patch, and
then try to play music using it. I start with both simultaneously—much
like one might compose parts for a chamber orchestra.”
What do you mean by “simultaneously” here? Does that mean you spend
time jamming with AudioMulch (or other software) with your guitar as
live input? Or some other process?
I mean that when I start composing a live electronics piece, which
may involve any kind of instrumentation, I start to write basic ideas,
harmonies, and techniques on paper while creating the electronic part
too. The live electronics part that I create within AudioMulch involves
not just various contraptions and routing systems, but also complex
automation of various FX parameters. In that sense, besides the written
score, the mixing environment and the automation timeline become my
score. Just as how a composer writing a symphony would be aware of
every detail on the score, I also need to be aware of every detail
within the FX parameters and the automation timeline in AudioMulch.
With the help of this system, I can create sophisticated pieces in
which textures evolve spectrally over time.
Erdem has also kindly consented to answer a few questions from the community.
If you have any questions for Erdem click here to ask them in the Forum.
 Interview with Erdem Helvacioglu, Guitar Player Magazine, August 2007
original : http://www.audiomulch.com/articles/interview-with-erdem-helvacioglu