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Ian Boddy talks about the making of qd14, with a glimpse inside his wonderful studio - and half price ends this Friday x

Hi friends - hope all good :)

Thanks so much for the support for qd14 - it’s such an honour to share Ian’s music and I’m so happy you gave it such a warm reception!

Half price digital finishes this Friday and CD stocks are getting very low if you’d been thinking about picking either up.

Ian was kind enough to share a lot about the process and equipment behind modal operandi at the listening party, so I asked him if he’d like to say a bit more.

Luckily for all of us, he did, including some pictures of his wonderful studio.

What’s with the modes thing?

There are so many possibilities in music that it’s sometimes good to give yourself constraints. To limit your choices. To focus in on a certain idea or way of working. It’s totally unnecessary for the listener to understand anything about musical modes or scales to enjoy the album. This was just a system I applied for this project that I thought would work well. For those with a smattering of music theory it’s a simple idea of each piece uses as its melodic framework one of the seven modes based on a root of C Major with each of the seven tracks using one of these modes. The titles of the tracks are the names of these modes which gives them a very abstract feeling. I felt that this would allow each listener’s imagination to interpret the music how they perceived it.

What’s with the field recordings?

The next choice I made was to base each piece and its feel around a field recording but I would treat each of these through analogue hardware FX to give them a surreal quality. So we have analogue phasers and flangers from the Roland System 100-M. Spring reverbs of various sizes - I used four different ones in total. Tape echo from the Echo Fix EF-X2. Analogue delay from the Moog MF-104M. Really weird delay from the Wilson Analog Delay in my Serge system as well as the Ring Modulator in the VCS3. All of these treatments gave these ambiences a slightly other-worldly feel.

What about the synths?

The final choice I made was to stick with the 100% analogue thing. Not because I’m making some grand gesture that analogue is better than digital. I’m not, and it isn’t. It’s just I have a lot of very lovely vintage and modern analogue gear and I wanted to imbue the album with a warm, slightly lo-fi, hand played organic vibe and for me, that’s the way to do it.

So a quick run down of some of the synths used on the seven tracks.

  1. Ionian. The two solo lines are from the Moog Matriarch drenched in spring reverb which has given them a rather brass like timbre.

  2. Dorian. The fluttering arpeggios are from the Buchla Easel Command with the drone chord in the background from the Moog Matriarch.

  3. Phrygian. This drone is from the Serge with 4 VCO’s tuned in this mode gradually being morphed and cross faded. Toward the end they all go crazy as they are interconnected in a FM chain.

  4. Lydian. One of the things I wanted to do with this album was to have some tracks not quiet at all. Yet mixed in a way that all the little background details could still be heard. This brooding sequence line is from my Eurorack system using AJH oscillators and my Chance Delay modules to bring notes in and out. It’s then swamped in a sonic wall of echo & reverb.

  5. Mixolydian. A very dark track with the Moog Voyager doing the bass drone. The pitch drops on this are actually me tweaking the tape in the Echo Fix manually. Out of the darkness I wanted a siren voice to lead you back into the light. This is provided by my favourite keyboard, the Analogue Systems French Connection, which mimics the playing style of the Ondes Martenot. The sound source is the Make Noise O-Coast.

  6. Aeolian. The fabled VCS3 is a nightmare to keep in tune but this is exactly what I’m doing here playing a meandering, improvised solo line on it with the Moog Matriarch doubled up underneath.

  7. Locrian. I wanted the album to end on a hopeful note so I reference my Berlin School heritage with several interlocking sequencers from my Eurorack system as well as the Roland System 100M and the Buchla Easel Command.

Huge thanks again to Ian for his incredible music and being so generous with sharing these insights - as I’ve said before it takes a real talent to have such a deep and thorough understanding of synthesis, and have the creative mind to harness them in such a beautifully musical way.


Now some shout-outs and links:

The British Library! The lovely people in the Sound Archive have asked for quiet details to be included in their collection - what an honour and now all qd releases past, present and future will be preserved for posterity.

So support the British Library and also your local one too if you can - sadly so many have shut or are planned for closure - the more we support them the more likely we are to secure them for the future.

Chuck Van Zyl reviews qd14 on Star’s End and plays a track this mix (also closing with a track from qd12 zakè)

Chris Kuborn with a Beyond the Barrier show inspired by qd, playing tracks from qd11, qd12, qd13 and qd14 - big thanks to him for that!

Brad Rose at Foxy Digitalis chats about qd14 on his podcast

Bepi Crespan Presents Episode March 2, 2024 and includes Aeolian from qd14

Kevin Press including qd14 in his The Moderns Friday Five

Kirk Reynolds playing Aeolian on his The Luminous Chord show

Richard Heinemann playing qd14 on his E-Lodie show

Mike Sirofchuck supporting qd14 on KMXT FreeForm Radio

DJ BLeeK playing qd07 arovane on Slings and Arrows

What a bunch of legends - as always support the writers and DJs, they do so much for often not enough love, support or pay :)


Thanks again friends and more soon!


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