Gábor Lázár has established himself as one of electronic music’s most radical young auteurs, with a discography stretching from high-concept sound art to the screwface intensity of gabber, grime, and electro. As well as collaborations with luminaries like Russell Haswell and Mark Fell, the Hungarian artist has released four albums of increasingly intense sound experiments, starting with 2014’s ILS, which found a home on Lorenzo Senni’s label, Presto?!.
Lázár has continued to refine his ice-pick rhythms, lazer-guided synths and bone-dry textures into a totally idiosyncratic style. His latest album Source, released on Planet Mu this year, is his most buoyant work to date, swapping intricate IDM for the manic fringes of rave culture.
Returning to the endless possibilities of additive synthesis, Gábor’s sketch demonstrates his unusually formulaic compositional system, a process he’s described as “trying to give different answers to my own questions.” Combining swooping modulations with a disjointed 2-step rhythm, the basic elements seem to burst into color, like a beam of light shot through a prism.
Listen to the sketch below and read on to learn how it was made. You can also grab all of the stems from Gábor’s sketch here – then remix, reuse, and repurpose them however you like.
I’ve heard you’re a big LazerBass user – is that what’s going on in the sketch?
I used LazerBass for my sketch, I’ve been using it for years. I like messing around with the filter modulation possibilities and I have a few presets which I use repeatedly. I remember my mind was blown when I first encountered it about 10 years ago. If there could be only one instrument then I would choose Lazerbass.
What does sketching normally mean to you?
Usually I try to find a balance between a rhythmic pattern and filter modulations which together articulate some interesting quality. For me, sketch is a strange word because it means something like trying to manifest an idea. Of course I have some kind of idea, but many times I just look at my idea as a starting point and then I let the technology change it. So basically my idea is an input for the environment in which I’m working, and then there is an output which carries out the idea and the properties of the technology itself. This way I think there is a better chance to end up at musical situations which are not predefined.
Is that what you achieved with this sketch?
I’m not sure if I achieved anything with my actual sketch. It’s more like an applied music where I present some of the compositional elements I usually use.
Could you pick out a favorite sound or musical element from the sketch?
I don’t differentiate the elements from one another. They all together create a feeling of a whole for me.
Do you have a typical workflow for taking an idea from sketch to finished track?
Usually I try to modulate the sounds of the synthesizer with filter envelopes. This way the continuous synth sound will have a temporal behavior. I like shaping time by not just structuring percussive rhythmic elements, but by articulating time with the synth between the percussive elements.
And finally, can you tell us what’s the best production advice you’ve ever been given?
I was never given production advice and I never really looked for it. I just have my own taste about how I think my production should sound or what kind of solutions I should apply when it comes to music technology. I think it’s important to be independent because these things have a direct impact on the result. I just don’t want the same results that other people want.
Words: Chal Ravens