Last month, Kentucky-born and Los Angeles-based artist, DJ and producer Amtrac released his sophomore album ODDYSSEY. The album built on the disco-flecked deep house that he had developed over the previous decade and expanded into bubbly indie dance and indie rock. The full project sounds organic and rich as synths, guitars and drums mix together in ways that we haven’t heard from Amtrac before. There is some 2000’s indie rock on “Stratego,” bubbling deep house and outstanding indie dance like “Radical” with Totally Enourmous Extinct Dinosaurs.
To get a better idea of how this album was put together, Amtrac takes us into the studio for a How It Was Made feature to show off the gear that made this album. From his Brave Little Toaster (Virus Ti Snow Desktop) to the Elektron Analog, there was a lot used that helped make this album sound so good.
Listen to Oddyssey now below and get your copy here.
1. Virus Ti Snow Desktop aka Brave Little Toaster
I’ve had this synth for close to a decade now. It’s trickled on every track on the record, some more than others. Insanely versatile, from screeching leads, warped arps, beautiful expanding pads and lush stereo sonics, it really has it all. The main pads on “Radical” and “My Bad, Your Fault" came from this sidekick for life.
2. Moog Little Phatty aka Paulie
This guy handles some pretty wicked arpeggiators, especially on the track “Replica.” There are a lot of sounds that come out of a Moog that simply can’t be mimicked by anything else. It’s also one of the synths I used to write my first album back in 2011 — we have a little history.
3. Yamaha TX81z aka The Black Box
This is a crazy piece of kit. I initially picked this up for the famous “Lately Bass” patch, but found out it offers so much more, especially the SFX section — some wonderfully weird stuff in there. The whooshing white noise waves on “Oddyssey” came from this FM multitimbral powerhouse.
4. Yamaha Reface DX aka Runs On Batteries
I absolutely love the reface series; massive bang for your buck. I’ve found the feedback parameters are so fun to play around with. On “No Place" featuring Lali Puna, you would think that it's a guitar creating the distortion, but its just this little beast going above and beyond, plus a bonus that you can set it on your couch and fool around with it — highly recommend.
5. Elektron Analog Heat aka The Sauce
I ran almost anything and everything through this unit. Even if it’s subtle it adds so much to the feeling of the sound. I strive to get the richest signal I can come into the box, the less effects and eq’ing I have to add later, the better. Also if it’s raw bad boy distortion you’re looking for, this thing can beat out most. I used this on the movie score like ending to “Madness To Mayhem.” It added that lovely bit of grit to a couple of the synths in play.
6. Pedal Effects aka The 3 Amigos
I really started tinkering around with music when I was in bands in high school. I think ever since then, guitar pedals have had a special place in my heart. These three, although the timeline is a new addition, all really do something special. Strymon really blew me away with the BigSky; there is nothing quite like running a synthesizer pad through its beautifully massive space. I’ve had a DD-6 for a very longtime. It has a timeless digital delay and very straight forward. These are used on pretty much every track.
7. Studio Electronics SE02 aka Mad Mike
Big, big sound. I’ve fallen in love with everything I’ve ever played from Studio Electronics. There’s loads of sub-bass on the album from this guy. I also added the EXT Box, which gives it a bit more drive. Although it’s monophonic, the beef it brings to the table is undeniable. This was used on the bass line for “Oddyssey.”
Honorable Software/Plugin Mentions
Ableton Live, Voxengo Stereo Touch, Valhalla Vintage Verb, FabFilter Saturn & Nomad Cosmos.