Sitka, AK – July 14, 2021 – Indigenous Alaskan artist Nicholas Galanin hails from a small island community of just 8,000 people, but the impact of his multi-disciplinary work has resonated all around the world in prominent art installations; most recently on his latest Ya Tseen indie-based music release for Sub Pop Records, entitled Indian Yard. Using his native Tlingit and Unangax̂ languages throughout his work, Galanin communicates provocative ideas about identity, the active ignorance of indigenous history, and how these topics are perceived and often misunderstood across a range of visual, performance and sonic mediums.
As an artist, Galanin’s work is part of permanent collections at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, Art Institute of Chicago, the Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts and the Humboldt Forum in Berlin, among many others. His new album release on Sub Pop is mostly synth based, with a healthy dose of intimately recorded acoustic instruments. Musically, it is melodically engaging with haunting vocals, pulsing electronic beats and plenty of interesting synth droning and otherworldly effects. It sounds both ancient and forward-facing, casting an open invitation for discovery.
His fully featured studio has an enormous range of sonic options at the ready and has recently been mostly geared toward synths. “My earlier albums were heavily based on acoustic instrumentation, but this has since shifted to a more synthesizer-based sound,” Galanin explains. “I design the sonics with my synths, and I have quite a collection.” While he uses Ableton as his primary recorder, his compositions feature primarily analog based synths so he can ‘move the sonics in different ways.’ His recent acquisition of (3) Flock Audio PATCH units help him work more seamlessly and creatively than ever before.
PATCH: The ultimate tool for creators
As a cutting edge, international artist, Galanin is constantly studying and re-evaluating his creative tool kit — this applies to his sonic art as well, both for his own installations and his work with other musicians: “I am always researching sound technology and trying to make better sense of the studio space that I am building right now,” he says. This pragmatic approach ultimately led him to Flock Audio’s PATCH: “For me, just having everything accessible and interchangeable in a clean, swift way was something that PATCH presented,” he says. “There something I love about the artistic potential that PATCH presents. I have three of them running now, so I can access everything at the computer’s fingertips. I can experiment with inputs and outputs, loop sounds and change them, or try them out with different instruments and settings and effects. Once I hear something I like, then I can capture it on the spot.” Galanin says that since acquiring PATCH, he has ditched his older traditional patch bay.
Interestingly, he uses PATCH primarily to connect his synths and effects, so any sound source can be accessed as and when inspiration hits. Some of the instruments connected directly to his three PATCH units include two Moog Music DFAMs, a Mother32, a Subharmonicon, a Spectravox as well as an Arp 2600, a Prophet 10, a Moog One and a Moog Matriarch among many others. “I have a big collection of Moogerfooger pedals, and this is one reason the Flock has been incredible for my system,” he adds. “I can drag and drop any of these Moogerfoogers in my signal chain and get a completely different effect. That’s really useful.” Other effects and processors he has connected to his PATCH units include several drum machines, a Roland Space Echo, an Echo Fix an a Rupert Neve Portico II Master Buss Processor.
Galanin further explains his routing set up: “Each synth has its own I/O and I can run multiple synths through the different channels and then run them directly to my interface. Using the Flock PATCH app, I can send anything to any channel on my interface, and I’ve got 8 open slots in case I want to patch in vocal mics, drum mics or something else.”
Patching with purpose
Galanin is focused strictly on creating sonic art and songs, rather than mixing or audio engineering: “I am not a sound engineer as far as mixing goes and that sort of thing, we work with other studios to do a lot of that stuff,” he explains. My space is for capturing ideas and songs. With the way it is currently set up, I feel like I can really land on ideas very fast — in part, thanks to the Flock Audio PATCH.”
The most recent album Indian Yard was approximately three years in the making. “We started prior to lockdown and I ended up spending a lot of time building out my studio workspace during Covid,” he says. “My studio space and workflow is constantly evolving, as is my understanding of what is necessary in the space.” Some of Indian Yard was conceived while he was on an artistic residency at the Rockefeller Foundation in Italy. Once he returned to Alaska, he invited several artists to his studio to collaborate and capture ideas.
Moving ahead with PATCH
“PATCH has had a major, positive impact on my workflow,” Galanin concludes. “Once I figured out the interface and the language of it, it made things so quick and swift. It is highly efficient to use and now I can spend more time exploring and working instead of doing other things. I am definitely all-in at this point, there’s no looking back!”
Looking ahead, Galanin has no shortage of upcoming projects: “Now that the new record is done, we are getting ready to perform it at festivals — we have a seven-piece performance band right now that is primarily all live instrumentation,” he says. He says he’s also started working on several other projects including another new studio album and an art project for the Anchorage Museum.
About Flock Audio
Flock Audio Inc. is a pro audio manufacturer based in Kelowna, Canada, founded in 2017. The company is best known for its PATCH System Series, which is a Digitally controlled, 100% Analog Patch bay routing solution for professional audio environments. For more information on Flock Audio and its products, please visit the company website at http://www.flockaudio.com.