Topline synth, The Knife Like a pen

Hi :slight_smile:

I grew up listening to this sticky beast of a song,

I’m very interested to gain any insight I can get, for the production of the song, but especially regarding the constantly changing topline?

I’ve read that Olof Dreijer was using the MD + MnM, so I figured he might have used the MnM to create the topline, but now I’m thinking it could also have been programmed in a DAW

The variations seem random in a very beautiful way, so I used to think that he probably was using a tool of some sort (perhaps one of those magic silver boxes) to help out with this, but now that I’ve studied up a little bit, I’m not so sure anymore,

Any info would be greatly appreciated, as I have been fascinated by this song for over a decade:

I also love that track. The Knife were one of the reasons I bought a Monomachine.

That line (the driving rhythmic one) certainly sounds like it could be the Monomachine. It has a certain digital synthetic vibe that matches and the way it evolves is easily achievable with the MnM (having 3 LFOs) - though it could easily be external midi control as well.

I know they used software and some Nord gear as well but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s MnM (+ processing). I’ve never tried to reproduce that tone though… maybe I’ll have a go…

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I forgot to ask - do you think it was created by using arpeggios?

I’d love to hear the results, that would be cool :wink:

No, I think it’s just detailed programming. P-locks on certain notes for longer decay etc.

Just having a little play. I’m not going to nail it without putting in more time than I have, but I’m reasonably convinced it was the Monomachine because the Ensemble machine playing a fifth interval with chorus and some SRR (sample rate reduction) is pretty close. The amp envelope work alone is really complex!

Well, now I’m not so sure. I’m less convinced that the hissy white noise on top is from the SRR and the chorus doesn’t quite sound like the built-in chorus on the ensemble machines. I do think it’s a digital synth of some description though. And it’s possible that they were sequencing it externally with the MnM in multi trig mode (with a couple of sounds layered).

But I think you can hear some of the character in this:

(Digipro Ensemble machine, using one of the Immortal Waves waveforms)

So maybe. Inconclusive! Sorry!


Same here! (Only reason actually, wasn’t familiar with Autechre and the like back then, for example.) :slightly_smiling_face:

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I think there’s surprisingly little “confirmed” info about the production on the Silent Shout album. Of course this adds to the mystique of the band and the album… That’s an album I’ve loved for 15 years and a big reason I eventually started writing electronic music. Although Shaking the Habitual was a more difficult album, I still really liked that one as well, and it’s sad they disbanded after that… Also like both Olof and Karin’s solo work, especially the first Fever Ray album.

Some guesstimates in this GS thread. I think I’ve also seen a thread on the old Elektron-users forum about The Knife.

And one fairly recent thread on here as well. More questions than answers, still.

All this makes me miss my MnM which I’m borrowing to a friend for about six months… Knew this would happen but it’s also meant to be a GAS killer so that when the MnM returns, it’s almost like me getting a new instrument.


yeah I still stand by my comment in the linked thread. it’s MD and FM8, and a pro studio.


wow, this is amazing man :smiley:

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No worries, I mean it’s miles off the record but the sonic signature is similar enough that I wouldn’t be surprised if it was MnM that was used. It was fun to have a go at it anyway.

One interesting thing is the timing, at first I thought it must have been externally sequenced but I managed to get it pretty close using swing trigs.

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