As a teenager learning guitar, David Helpling was drawn to experimentation with various effects and signal processors to create illusions with sound. Now an award-winning ambient/electronic recording artist, Helpling effortlessly expresses himself through a language of spontaneously generated waves of shifting sonic textures, with ethereal melodies that seem to emerge from a beautiful dream. Having enjoyed critical acclaim for his solo releases and for his collaborations with fellow musical artist Jon Jenkins, Helpling has released his latest solo album entitled A Sea Without Memory. Each track on the album was created with a single guitar through effects recorded live to two-track. In the following piece, “Waiting for the Wind,” David used TimeLine and BigSky in the production of the track’s evocative sounds. After the video, read on as David describes in his own words how he created these sounds. Then, download his custom presets and try them out for yourself!
But first, the video for “Waiting for the Wind.” What better imagery to accompany this transporting music than breathtaking timelapse video of the aurora dancing under the Milky Way?
The image below shows the knob settings and parameters for the TimeLine preset “Wetish.”
Like all of the music on A Sea Without Memory, “Waiting for the Wind” is a live improvised piece recorded in one take with minimal post processing. Recording in this way means careful attention to effect settings like decay times, wet/dry balances, and tonal variances. I’ve been using modulation delays and reverbs since high school and my first rig was the size of a small refrigerator. The TimeLine lets me have TWO very colorful modulation delays in the palm of my hand. Having these panned Left and Right is the key – not a Ping Pong effect, but two independent delay lines sharing a single LFO. This is huge to have in one pedal! Since I run in BPM mode, the character of the LFO changes all the time. Having dedicated speed and depth knobs is so cool and lets me dial things in while playing to get that perfect deep modulated sound at any tempo.
The image below shows the knob settings and parameters for the BigSky preset “Lo 5th.”
Send [the signal from TimeLine] into the BigSky using the Shimmer machine (without the Shimmer) and things really start to become beautiful. By using the Shimmer algorithm and only tuning down, the reverb is playing the lower harmony, leaving the original signal clean…this is very cool and multi-dimensional. If Strymon hadn’t included the “Lo End” parameter this would be a mud fest. Lean toward the higher register and play sparsely to leave room for the magic. Not everything you play is going to work with these low fifths, but when it does, it’s incredible.
Thank you Strymon!
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