Node just released the brilliant album ‘Singularity’ through DiN records. Read about Node (how did they ever come together), the background of those special Node sounds and the inspiration of the Node members.
This text is kindly reproduced from the Synthspotting website. Words are (c) from Dave Bessell.
How did Node come about?
There were two important moments that lead to the creation of Node. Firstly, I have known Ed since he was at school and we jammed a lot on whatever equipment we could get our hands on. There are probably a few early tapes of that still in existence that people would recognise as in a formative Node style. Then many years later Ed and Flood shared a management company and at one of their Christmas parties Ed and Flood hatched a plan to go into the studio with their big analogue synths and jam to see what happened. Gary Stout, who was engineering for Ed at that point, and myself got roped in and Node was born.
Did you take influence/inspiration from anything during the creation of Singularity?
Not really, except perhaps that we deliberately set out to inhabit the spirit of early Krautrock. In other words there were no musical boundaries, improvisation was key and experimentation was our priority rather than any fixed goal. In that sense Node are probably closer to Can than any of the other Krautrock bands. Node often get compared to Tangerine Dream but we never set out to copy that sound, in fact sometimes we tried to avoid it. We just shared a similar working method and had a lot of the same gear so I can understand why people make that connection.
What synths are used in Singularity?
That almost impossible to answer! We used a huge pile of vintage analogue modulars, Moogs, Roland, ARP and others plus vintage keyboards such as Mellotron, Fender Rhodes etc. That’s one of the reasons Flood and Ed got together in the first place because they both collected analogue modulars at a time when they were still very unfashionable (mid90’s) You can see some of it in the pics
What other instruments were used?
I used heavily treated guitar as I have better guitar skills than on the keyboard. Plus, I had a long-standing interest in blending the guitar with synths in a seamless way. During one rehearsal I recall the engineer coming into the room and saying he couldn’t hear my guitar – so I deliberately played a few wrong notes to make it stand out and he commented oh that’s the guitar?!
Tell us a bit about the production techniques used on the album
Despite the involvement of several world class producers the production technique was almost none existent in the conventional sense on the early Node sessions. We played and sequenced everything live and recorded straight to two tracks. So, what you hear is exactly what was played. We edited down some things to make the length manageable but apart from that it’s all live to two-track. So it’s not even mixed in the conventional sense, we balanced our own levels as we played. The whole thing ran through a compressor just to prevent any over enthusiastic levels going into the red. I suppose you could say choosing to work in that way is the production technique.
When synth supergroup Node first surfaced with their eponymous album in 1995 they, more than anyone else, nailed “that sound and vibe”, which had become the obsession of so many others. They seemed to encapsulate the very essence of the early German electronic music pioneers such as Tangerine Dream but with production values to die for courtesy of Node founder members Ed Buller & Flood, who were of course internationally renowned producers in their own right. But it was another 19 years before their follow up album appeared on DiN as “Node 2”, to be closely followed (by Node standards), with their live concert album performed at the Royal College of Music, London.
Up to that point that was the total canon of their work except for the EP “Terminus” recorded at their infamous Paddington Station gig. Surely they must have more material hidden away in their vaults and indeed this is exactly what the album “Singularity” is, the legendary “lost” Node album. Recorded at the same time as their original sessions in 1994 this has DiN stalwart Dave Bessell join Buller & Flood alongside original member Gary Stout who was later replaced by Mel Wesson for the two DiN releases. Presented here for the first time, mastered to modern standards but otherwise untouched and in its original form and recorded to two track with no overdubs. As a bonus the track “Terminus”, mentioned above, is included in the release.
The music is a snapshot in time 29 years ago when Node were first powering up their huge banks of vintage modulars and sequencers to create a tapestry of electronic sound. At times raw and almost out of control and at others delicate and ethereal this quartet of fabled musicians can create atmospheres and soundscapes like no other. The crackling energy of the sounds they coax out of these steam driven behemoths positively pulsates with life and organic energy and will be a real treat for aficionados of the Berlin school style of electronic music.
Another great release from the DiN imprint released in a beautiful Digipak CD edition with a special 8 track booklet with photos taken at the time of the original recording sessions.
- Released March 17, 2023
- Dave Bessell – disguised guitar, interactive phrase synthesizer, atmospheres and keys
- Ed Buller – monster moog, sequences and keys
- Flood – sonic interventions, sequences
- Gary Stout – ring modulated trumpet, atmospheres and keys
The legendary lost Node album. Recorded in 1995 in the same sessions as the first album but largely unheard until now. Over the intervening years one or two things intended for the album escaped into the world but the majority of the material on this recording is previously unreleased. Presented here for the first time mastered to modern standards but otherwise in its original form – recorded straight to two track with no overdubs. These recordings include original member Gary Stout who was later replaced on more recent Node recordings by Mel Wesson.
Node wish to thank all those who were involved in the Node project over the years, too many to list but you know who you are!
Cover photos from the collection of Hans Jenny (1904-1972) who coined the term Cymatics to describe the patterns made by soundwaves on a sand covered metal plate.