Boomkat Product Review:
Buchla synth repairman and artist Richard Smith aka Shasta Cults get right under the hood of a rare Buchla Touché model on an incredible follow-up to the ‘Configurations’ CD and participation alongside Sarah Davachi and Christina Vantzou as part of "open sourced” music project Daughter Produkt. Very highly recommended if you’re into Eliane Radigue, Sarah Davachi or ELEH.
As the go-to guy for repairs on rare and cranky old Buchla models owned by everyone from AFX to Suzanne Ciani and Morton Subotnick and Mills College, we’re really playing down Richard Smith’s behind-the-scenes importance to swathes of modern electronic music. Following his shift to centerstage on the recent ‘Configurations’, an exploration of the Buchla 700’s unique fidelities, Smith now meticulously investigates the sheer timbral properties of the only full-functional Buchla Touché; a model developed in the early ‘80s by Don Buchla with software programmed by David Rosenboom, which features waveforms generated internally by 24 digital oscillators and uses FM synthesis techniques along with sophisticated hybrid analog/digital signal processing to produce complex timbres.
'Shasta Cults' is a reference to Mt. Shasta and the UFO worshipping cults of the cascade mountains in Siskiyou County, northern California. Its 6 tracks find Smith coaxing out a series of glistening panoramic soundscapes that radiantly render the Buchla’s Touché potential for creating exquisitely fine grained tones. From intoxicatingly sonorous, almost olfactory sensations in ‘Prologue’, his ‘Console’ piece coruscates with a gripping dissonant edge, while ‘Incline’ surely emulates the sweeping contours of his home in Vancouver. In that sense it’s fair to say that the darker tone of ‘DA3’ connotes the feeling of nightfall picking out distant, jagged horizons, and ‘Fourgan’ recalls the more brooding organ invocations of the likes of Antony Pateras or Randall Dunn, before ‘Chinook’ (literally meaning 'a warm wind in winter') rises as the final peak in the landscape so beautifully limned by Shasta Cults.