Renmei

Renmei

When my synthesizer recordings started becoming good enough to share without apologising for their amateurishness - a result of my increasing competence & confidence - I decided that rather than continue to release them under my own name I could create a 'band' to do so. One of the attractions was in breaking the direct link between myself and the resulting works, I have a fair idea of what I like but who knows what this new entity would pursue & produce? It's a common failing (or fear) of mine to be too close to my creations to objectively assess them so crediting them to a third party, even a fairly abstract one, will (hopefully) give me a bit more critical distance.

Renmei is a transliteration of the Japanese word 連盟 which translates as Federation, alliance or union. I first came across it in the anime Haibane Renmei ('Confederation of the charcoal feathers') where it refers to a strict, formalised & paternalistic organisation who turn out to be highly caring & supportive towards their charges and dedicated to seeing them fulfil their potential. As my own creative process often feels like a turbulent interaction between different aspects of my personality this felt like a nice simile - multiple 'players' with the invocation of a higher (but not controlling) overview. And it's a great sounding word.

At some point I'd like to use a more literal interpretation and collaborate with other musicians - I've always enjoyed providing accompaniment or backing - but that remains a future plan for now.

The Renmei project is an article I wrote in 2023 looking back at the process & results of this project.

Recordings

Since starting the Renmei project in the summer of 2017 I've produced a series of albums:


An interesting (and unplanned) aspect of my creative process is that I've ended up recording most albums with just a single synthesizer. From Stavro to Witness I used the Waldorf Blofeld (with some use of my Kong Volca units), Intempate, Lux, and Tintinnalogia were made with the Modal Argon 8, after which came Microfreak (Arturia Microfreak), Play (Waldorf Iridium), Eden (ASM Hydrasynth), and Corpus (Aodyo Anyma Phi). For Crafted and Beneath I returned to the Argon 8. On Migrant I used the Iridium.

Equipment


Curly Flat Studios, June 2022

My current setup consists of:

Waldorf Iridium synthesizer
ASM Hydrasynth synthesizer
Modal Argon 8 synthesizer
Arturia KeyStep Pro sequencer

In the past I've also used:
Aodyo Anyma Phi synthesizer
Arturia Microfreak synthesizer
Waldorf Blofeld synthesizer
Korg Volca synthesizers (Keys, Bass, Sample, & FM)
Arturia BeatStep Pro sequencer

I use a Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 to provide an audio interface into a MacBook Pro, where I use GarageBand for recording & mixing.