Land of Light is a new production duo consisting of Jonny Nash, one of ESP Institute’s founding members, and Kyle Martin, who also records as Spectral Empire. Their self-titled debut album, which landed on ESP Institute late last year, featured all sorts of slo-mo disco and Balearic sounds, made, presumably, with some interesting bits of studio gear. We chatted with the North London pair to see just what went into the album’s making.
The EBow is a small electronic device that allows you to get a tremendous amount of sustain out of your electric guitar. Essentially, it moves the guitar string due to the electromagnetic field created by the battery-powered device. They are pretty commonplace and easy to find, but not that many people seem to use them these days. It’s all over the album… “Bell Rock Outpost” is an example of us using it in combination with long-tailed digital reverbs to create a wall of background noise. It can go from being really gnarly to very delicate. What’s great about it is the expression that you can get from the device.
My Roland D-50 synthesizer
This is one of our favorite synths and we used it a lot on the album. It isn’t the most versatile of instruments, but it’s great at what it does. It can sometimes be challenging to get it to fit in a mix, but it really has a certain sound. We tried out a lot of digital synths whilst making the album, but this is the one that we really fell in love with. Pretty much on every track, we often layer our lead lines with a few different D-50 patches for added depth and movement. The lead piano line of “Isle of Tears” is a prime example.
My Doepfer Dark Time sequencer
The Doepfer Dark Time is a great analog step-sequencer that we use in combination with the Juno-60 as a key part of our live set. When connected with the arp trigger of the Juno, it allows you to get the best out of the synth, in our opinion. It seems to get a lot of attention from gear heads when we play live, as quite a few people have the Juno but don’t use it in this way. It has a maximum of 16 steps and is really hands-on. The random mode also allows for an abundance of magical happenings—the essence of good live music!
In addition to using it as a step-sequencer with the arp for the Juno, we have also connected it to the filter of a few synths to give a really subtle stepped effect to held chords or basslines. If you listen carefully to the bassline of “Strange Attractor,” you can hear it in action.