Meshing glitch with live-cut vocals on this OP1 banger

Hey all,

For me, the beauty of the OP1 is in the absolute brutal restrictions it places on you. As a long-time DAW user, the 4-track recorder really made me reevaluate what was necessary in my production, and also trimmed the fat from my process - I used to spend ages agonising over MIDI drums, but not any more!

I’ve just put out a track called Made U Look that I really used to try and push the OP1 as far as it could go within my workflow. Here’s a Bandcamp link, but it’s on all platforms (with all proceeds going to charity):

The entire instrumental of this track was created within the OP1 by using the radio and sampler engines - these do the glitchy/stuttery vocals chops, as well as the weird triplet-feel baseline. The arrangement was tracked live by dividing the track into several sections in the tape and moving between them with some mutes/solos and tape-tricks along the way - with my favourite being the massive tape-drop/pitch-bomb at the end. The output of the OP1 was route through an Octatrack simply as a reverb: all of the reverb “bursts” are by using the crossfader to smash the Dark Reverb. This then went into a Roland Bitrazer for filtering (you can hear the resonant HPF creating a “wow” type sweep), a Korg KP2s Mini for stutter/glitch freeze, and finally a humble Boss RE20 for delay and reverb. It was tracked in a single take as a 2-track into Ableton with no multi-tracking at all.

The vocals were cut at the same time as the instro - the main vocals being a live-take in the studio. A Roland VT4 was used for pitch manipulation, vocoding, formant shifting, and reverb, then run into a Strymon Deco for subtle saturation and slapback/double-tracking sounds. Recorded as a 2-track into Ableton.

I had to do a bit of work to “massage” some of the sounds out a bit: particularly the kick drum, which was being swamped and didn’t have the impact I wanted. I used some gating tricks to extract the kick from the 2-track and layered a new sample over the top and blended it in to match the vibe. There’s some double-tracking and layering on the vocals too, to create the multiple layers and harmonies at times. There’s also some other post-production work on it: some filter automation in the post-chorus, some panning automation in the intro, and some swirling ambisonics in Verse 2 thanks to the free Ambeo VST. Then mastered in Ableton.

I’m really happy with the end results, and really think the OP1 pushed me in a way different direction to what I would normally add. Just having the radio samples as the main harmonic flavour of the verses is something I’d never ordinarily do as they’re not “proper” chords, but I think it works in a weird way. I think it’s also pretty complex sounding for essentially an 8-track (4 tracks Op1, 1 track kick, 3 tracks vocal)!