ML 032CD ML 032CD

Robert Henke presents VLSI under his Monolake alias. In the late 1970s, a series of significant enhancements in technology further accelerated the evolution of the digital age. Graphical interfaces, networked computers and new software tools allowed the design and manufacturing of integrated circuits with tens of thousands of functions on one chip; a process called Very Large Scale Integration - VLSI. The structures became so complex, that for the first time computers were needed to build the next generation of even faster computers. As a result of that evolution, the heart of a computer could now be put onto a single chip - the microprocessor was born. Amongst other developments, it enabled the creation of completely new electronic musical instruments: digital sound generators, drum machines, samplers and effects. Most of the signature sounds on VLSI were programmed using early digital synthesizers; machines built by individuals or small teams of adventurous engineers and music enthusiasts during the 1980s. VLSI is sonic archeology. Tiny artifacts of the instruments used have been carefully excavated and brought to new light. What was once perceived as limitation and dirt can now be experienced as character, color and patina. The interaction with these machines guided a minimalist and structural approach to sound and rhythm, expanded and re-contextualized into a futuristic soundtrack, utilizing the recording technology of 2016. The result is inspired by early techno, UK breakbeat and dubstep, African dance rhythms, future glitch, ambient and a variety of academic computer music. The concept for VLSI emerged during an artist residency at the Center for Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford University in 2013, which helped Henke understand not only some deeper technical aspects of his trade, but also the social and cultural peculiarities of Silicon Valley. Thus, VLSI is also a reflection of social, economic and political topics driven by high tech companies more powerful than governments, hence the dystopian undercurrent. Some of the "historic" instruments used: Alesis Quadraverb, Dynacord DRP-20, E-mu Systems SP-12, Turbo Ensoniq ASR-10R, Eventide Eclipse H3000, Lexicon PCM-80 480L, Korg DDD-1, Linn Linn Drum NED Synclavier II, Oberheim Xpander PPG Wave 2.3, Quantec Yardstick, SCI Prophet VS, Yamaha DX27 DX7. VLSI marks the endpoint of a series of six EPs, released between 2014-2016. "Pio" is co-produced by Electric Indigo. Mixed by Mark Ernestus and Robert Henke.