Category: 10yearsofKalte

Make your own Kalte Remix!

kalte-10yearsofkalte-remix-package-vol1Are you a musician, producer or ambient artist? Would you like to remix, re-envision or re-create some of our material?

We thought we’d share a few of our raw samples that we have created over the past 10 years for you to download and have fun with.


Download link (30Mb):

If you do end up producing some music using our samples — perhaps by writing a new piece or incorporating them into your own material — please post them and let us know because we’d love to hear what you come up with!

And don’t forget to tag them with #10yearsofKalte!



GlaciationscoverHaving honed and developed a new work flow for recording that presupposed live performances, we found that Kalte 2 came together really quickly for us in comparison to “The Lanthanide Series”. Songs came together faster and we found that the Kalte ideals were becoming more evident, more fully realized. Even the Naming Ritual proved simpler, with a decision about the album’s name made pretty much the day we finished rough mixes. The new songs all had a strong feeling of Arctic cold and the slow growth of glaciers, so it only seemed natural to name it “Glaciations” in keeping with idea of “Glacial” music that we had worked towards while we were recording “The Lanthanide Series”.

Once we had a title and some names for songs, we were ready to send “Glaciations” out to see if anybody was interested to release it, and our first choice to send it to was Nathan Larson’s Dark Winter net label. Rik had met Nathan a few years earlier when he made the trip to Toronto to perform as part of a label showcase at The AMBiENT PiNG (see what we mean about them building an artistic community?) and he was really impressed by the artists that Nathan had pulled together. Nathan’s own project Samsa, ANGELswing, and Pholde were all really great projects who’s work resonated with Rik thanks to their shared dark and atmospheric aesthetic.

In the intervening time between meeting Nathan and “Glaciations” being recorded, Dark Winter had moved away from being a physical CD label and had set itself up as an online net label, so when we were looking to release “Glaciations” it seemed like a natural fit for Kalte, and we were pleased to find that Nathan thought so too.

“Glaciations” was released by Dark Winter on March 31, 2009, and once again we were very flattered to receive positive reviews from a handful of sites. On the Disquiet site, Marc Weidenbaum said “The result is a murky electronica, whose impact is strong even if — or, more to the point, because — the sounds themselves are mysteriously muffled.” Kirill Platonkin wrote on the Agniworld site that “every track has its history and sense background, and listening to the whole album reminds me of solving a riddle with making juxtapositions, uniting various elements into one conceptual system. For me, this investigation was a true pleasure.” Seeing people write things like this about our work has always meant so much to us, and we truly appreciate everybody’s efforts to help spread the word about Kalte.

We’ve got a special treat for you tomorrow, and then on October 12th we’ll tell you about our first ever show…

For the entire month of October while we celebrate #10yearsofKalte, if you buy a copy of “The Lanthanide Series” through Bandcamp you can send us your email at and we’ll send you a free copy of our latest release, “Covalencies“!

New Music and New Methods

mapsHaving found an audience and received some positive feedback from people about “The Lanthanide Series”, we decided to immediately start working on a new album, which was given the very clever working title of “Kalte 2”. We were both really excited by what we had done with our first release and it seemed like a good idea to maintain that excitement by getting back to work, not only to make some more music but also to develop our processes even further.

Around this time we also started talking about the idea of doing some live shows as Kalte, which added a new element of excitement to what we were doing, along with some new challenges and technical obstacles that we’d have to overcome. Figuring things out in a closed environment without anybody else around is totally fun, but playing in front of other people is a completely different experience that requires a very different mindset. For the most part in the studio you can easily focus on minutiae and detail and you usually have time to get everything exactly the way that you want it, but in a live setting you’re forced to think about the broader strokes of what you’re doing, and you have to exist in the moment to respond to any concerns or issues that may arise. Live performance can be like tightrope walking at times, but it’s a lot of fun to do and we were both really eager to find a way to play out as Kalte.

Among other considerations, one of the challenges we needed to figure out was how to map our what we would be doing live. During the recording of “The Lanthanide Sessions” we used index cards as a system to map out how sounds mingled and meshed with each other and where different actions would occur. The index cards would be laid on a white board and moved around to correspond to changes in the music. It worked well for us when we were in the studio, but playing live didn’t really allow us the opportunity to spread out in the same way. We needed to come up with a way to track the same information in a much more compact and concise way, which led us to develop a progressive mapping system, as seen in the photo at the top of this post. It may not seem like much from a visual standpoint, but in terms of the way that we worked it was a hugely significant leap in our development that allowed us to focus more steadily on what we were doing and easily recreate situations and events. We wouldn’t be amiss in saying that the progressive mapping system was a turning point for us not only in a live setting, but also within the studio.

So armed with our new mapping system, we started work on Kalte 2. In keeping with how we did “The Lanthanide Series” we came together with a stack of new sounds to use, and we started to group them in patterns that we thought worked best with each other, making sure to document the process in our maps. And when grouping was done we started to mix and tweak and process everything into the shape that we wanted it to be, and after a couple of months we had a new set of songs that we could recreate in a live setting when we were ready to do so.

All we had to do was come up with some names, release the new music, and book some gigs…

For the entire month of October while we celebrate #10yearsofKalte, if you buy a copy of “The Lanthanide Series” through Bandcamp you can send us your email at and we’ll send you a free copy of our latest release, “Covalencies“!

ampersand-etcOnce we released “The Lanthanide Series”, we were pleased to find that people were listening to it and liking it. We will always be grateful for that early support, and if you were one of those early supporters we think you’re pretty awesome!

agniworld-logoWe were also very flattered to receive some positive reviews and radio play for “The Lanthanide Series”, and we’d like to especially thank those reviewers and DJs for helping us spread the word about what we were doing as Kalte.

disquiet-logoOur very first review appeared in Disquiet shortly after the release of the album, noting “[t]he pieces each have an admirably through-composed feeling” which we took to be quite thoughtful. “The Lanthanide Series” also received mentions in Ambient Music Blog, Inq, Ampersand Etcetera, Foem, and Agniworld, and was selected as one of 2008’s highlights on the Classical-Drone website. Our track “Shallow Approach” was also featured on the 29th edition of “A Duck in a Tree”, the weekly radio program from :zoviet*france: which was a very pleasant surprise for us.

Finding an audience for Kalte was pretty amazing, so riding on that positivity we decided to record a new album. Join us tomorrow and we’ll tell you a little bit about that process…

For the entire month of October while we celebrate #10yearsofKalte, if you buy a copy of “The Lanthanide Series” through Bandcamp you can send us your email at and we’ll send you a free copy of our latest release, “Covalencies“!

Net Labels

Stasisfield LogoOnce “The Lanthanide Series” was finished, we had to figure out what to do with it. Our initial thought had been that we could release it ourselves, but it seemed more interesting to release it through a net label as we liked the idea of Kalte being part of a group of other like-minded artists. We had already been promoting our individual work for a number of years so we could easily do the same for Kalte, but in keeping with the idea of the AMBiENT PiNG and how they had established a community that inspired our own collaboration, we thought that putting out our first release on a net label would help us connect with even more artists that we could interact with and help us extend our existing community of shared support.

We started reviewing different sites to find a good match for what we were doing with “The Lanthanide Series”, focusing primarily on the idea of musical fit and a community based approach, and we found some really amazing music that was being made. Admittedly we were late coming to the net label party, which rose in popularity hand in hand with the mp3 boom, but in 2008 there was still a very vital culture of labels and artists putting out some truly awesome material. In particular Test Tube, Webbed Hand, and Kikapu were all releasing high quality work that we admired and were inspired by, and we made some really great musical discoveries on each of them.

But the gold standard for net labels in our estimation was Stasisfield. Curated by John Kannenberg, Stasisfield seemed to share a number of ideals with us, not only in terms of sound and community but also from an aesthetic standpoint. The Stasisfield website and releases were presented with a clean design with crisp lines and vivid graphics, and there was a dry sense of humour that ran throughout the site that we really appreciated. We sent a zip file of our tracks to John and we were quite flattered to hear that not only did he enjoy our work, but he was also interested in releasing it on his net label. John also volunteered to make a cover for the album, and when we saw the finished product we were thrilled with what he came up with, not only because it looked awesome but also because it so perfectly captured the sound of what we were doing.

“The Lanthanide Series” was released on Stasisfield on October 1, 2008, and we couldn’t be happier to have been part of such an incredible community of artists. Regrettably, Stasisfield is no longer putting out music and the releases have all been taken down, but we’re proud to be Stasisfield alumni and we’ll always be grateful to John for his early support. We’ve kept in touch with him over the years, and we strongly recommend that you check out his current project, The Museum of Portable Sound, a fascinating curated collection that celebrates the culture of sound, and where we are happy to see that John’s sense of humour is still very evident…

For the entire month of October while we celebrate #10yearsofKalte, if you buy a copy of “The Lanthanide Series” through Bandcamp you can send us your email at and we’ll send you a free copy of our latest release, “Covalencies“!

The Naming Ritual

kalte_logoOnce we had recorded some music, it seemed like a good idea to come up with a name for what we were doing, along with some song titles. That might seem like a really easy undertaking on the surface, but any musician will tell you that coming up with song titles is hard, and coming up with a band name is exponentially harder.

Band names need to encapsulate an ideal, a sound, an image, a style, all in one, two, or three words. And not only does it have to capture all of those things, it also has to be memorable, unique, catchy, and instantly recognizable. And perhaps most importantly, it really should be something that you’re okay with being identified with, because whatever name you choose is going to stick with you for as long as your band does. And that’s important to remember when everybody has had a couple of drinks and you’re all laughing at some pun that seems really clever at the time, but isn’t really that clever at all.

Having spent so much time talking about our sound and coming up with a vocabulary for what we wanted to do, we were able to narrow down our choices for names for our project pretty quickly, and there wasn’t a pun or a regrettable choice in the bunch. Glacial was a strong contender for a little while, but it didn’t quite work. Pika was entertained for about an hour, but it seemed like too much of an in-joke to really appeal for very long. Cold was a front runner for a while, that one seemed very sharp and applicable to many of the ideas we had been working with, but there was still something lacking. And then hidden amid some production notes we had been trading back and forth about the songs we were working on, one of us suggested Kalte which is the German word for Cold, and immediately we knew that’s what we wanted to be called. From that day on we stopped talking about what we were doing as “the project” or “our new project”, and we started talking about Kalte, and that felt pretty good.

Ten years on we’re happy to report that we still feel pretty good about being called Kalte.

Choosing song titles was a little more straightforward. Taking a cue from how we had each developed a series of sounds independently while we were recording the album, we decided to do the same thing for song titles, promising to mail each other ten possible names inspired by the vocabulary we had been using (heretofore known as the Kalte Vocabulary). And it worked. We each listened to the tracks we had been working on at the time and came up with titles that were in keeping with what we wanted to do and what we had been influenced by at the time, ultimately resulting in a cohesive through line that connected all of the tracks.

We’ll spare you having to read a list of all of the song titles that we came up with, mostly because we ended up using all of the best choices, but we wanted to share the following list of names that we put together for the album title;

1) Taiga

2) Lagomorpha

3) Inertial cavitation

4) This cat is important to me…

5) Lanthanide Series Volume One

Thinking about it now, we should probably take note of “This cat is important to me…”, that sounds like a really great name for the new album that we’re currently working on.

Anyway, you probably know by now that we ended up choosing “The Lanthanide Series” as the name of our first album. For those of you who are interested, the name is taken from a group of 15 chemical elements known as the Rare Earth Elements, and this idea of chemistry and elements and a series within the Periodic Table really seemed in keeping with the kind of things that we had been talking about while we were planning the project that would eventually become Kalte. It was a title that seemed to touch on a variety of reference points for us, and because of that we knew that it was the perfect name for our debut album.

So we had a name, we had music with some great song titles, and we had a great album title. All we needed to do was figure out what to do with all of it.

Come back tomorrow to see what we did…

For the entire month of October while we celebrate #10yearsofKalte, if you buy a copy of “The Lanthanide Series” through Bandcamp you can send us your email at and we’ll send you a free copy of our latest release, “Covalencies“!

The Recording Process

carrotsAsk anybody that’s ever made an album, and they’ll tell you that having the right snacks is just as important as having the right reverb or the right VSTs. You can find yourself working on stuff for hours without any breaks and when you get into the right groove you’re almost guaranteed to miss meals, so you need to have something low maintenance ready to nibble on when your tummy starts to growl.

Our first album (and most of our subsequent albums) was fueled almost entirely by carrots and hummus. So much so that we seriously debated calling it “Lagomorpha” before we settled on “The Lanthanide Series”.

You have no idea how many carrots we’ve eaten over the years…

For the entire month of October while we celebrate #10yearsofKalte, if you buy a copy of “The Lanthanide Series” through Bandcamp you can send us your email at and we’ll send you a free copy of our latest release, “Covalencies“!


Making sounds…

KaltediscsAfter we had built a vocabulary to describe what we wanted to do, we decided to make some sounds that reflected that vocabulary and the scientific ideas that we had been thinking about. We also decided to do this independently of each other because it would speed up the creative process and give us double the material to work with, along with reducing some of the technical burdens that we had already been dealing with. And to make things a little more challenging, we set some restrictions on the kind of sounds we could make, not only to stay within the scope of the project, but also to push our own boundaries a little further and make the new project even more distinct from our individual work.

Restriction #1) Every sound that we made had to start from an organic “real” sound. No sine or saw waves, no synth arpeggios, or classic analog gear, it all had to start with something “real”, some sort of naturally occurring sound or an actual instrument.  We agreed that everything could be processed or warped or changed by cutting it up into a million little pieces, but we had to start from somewhere “real”, and if there was any question about the processed/warped/changed/cut up result, we had to be able to provide the original “real” sound for inspection to confirm that, yes, the processed/warped/changed/cut up result was in keeping with our rules.

Restriction #2) No beats or percussion. We wanted big “Expansive”, “Xenomorphic”, “Kubrickian”, and “Glacial” sounds that could fill up the soundscape, and if we were doing things right there wouldn’t be any room left for beats and percussion, but we both agreed that pulses were alright, and even welcomed. It should be noted that we’ve relaxed a little bit on this restriction on percussion in recent history, and we’ve been known to lay down some phat beats from time to time, but ten years ago we were adamant about the “No beats” rule.

Restriction #3) Everything had to be new. We wanted to make sure that everything we were doing was in keeping with the ideas we’d been talking about, so we both committed to the idea that we wouldn’t recycle any old sounds that either of us had made for our individual projects. Everything had to be new and fresh and inspired by the vocabulary we’d created or the theories we’d been discussing.

With those rules in mind, we each took a couple of weeks and started to make sounds. Deane recorded a cat hissing and Rik sampled creaky floorboards, and we both had a lot of fun coming up with new stuff that met all of the criteria that we had set for ourselves. And when we got together again to listen back to everything, we were both really surprised by how well it all meshed together. Listening back to what we had done we found a consistency in all of it that clearly demonstrated that we were both on the same track about what we were doing and how we wanted our new project to sound.

So we started grouping all of our sounds together with the idea of creating big expansive spaces to explore, glacial soundscapes, all those things we’d been talking about. And when we were satisfied that our groupings all worked together, we started loading the sounds into Live where we manipulated them even further, bending and reshaping and tweaking them even more, mixing them all up and adjusting sound levels and warping them to the point where you’d never be able to tell what they had been originally. And after another few weeks, we had some songs that fully represented what we wanted our new project to sound like.

We’d like to point out that because we did all of this ten years ago, we burned all of our sounds onto compact disc because that’s what you did in 2008 when you were trading sounds. It was really quite natural to do so, but it seems rather quaint now, doesn’t it? You may be interested to know that those are some of the actual discs we used for our first album in the picture at the top of this post, we still have them all and they’re carefully stored and protected in a hermetically sealed vault for later inclusion in our planned museum retrospective “50 years of Kalte” in 2048.

Join us tomorrow and we’ll tell you a little bit about recording life…

For the entire month of October while we celebrate #10yearsofKalte, if you buy a copy of “The Lanthanide Series” through Bandcamp you can send us your email at and we’ll send you a free copy of our latest release, “Covalencies“!

Building a vocabulary…

VocabularyOnce we had decided to work together following a string of shows at the AMBiENT PiNG, we had to come up with a way to actually do it.

Making electronic music isn’t really like bringing your guitar over to your friend’s house and jamming some riffs over a sick beat. There are a lot of system issues related to getting software to talk, you always have to engage in the debate of Mac versus PC, and there’s always the hassle of finding file formats that can cross between Digital Audio Workstations. For those of you who are interested, Deane was an early adopter of Ableton Live, while Rik was a big fan of Reason and Acid. It should also be noted that Rik has only recently switched over to Ableton within the last couple of years.

Anyway, there was clearly a lot of stuff that needed to be done before we could actually do anything musically. But while we were working out the technical side of things, we were also talking a lot, trying to figure out some parameters for what we should sound like. We didn’t want to sound like a blend of our individual projects, we wanted to do something new and different that we hadn’t done before.

And while we were having this discussion, we found ourselves moving away from the idea of styles of music and instead turned our attention more towards the idea of creating musical spaces for discovery, aural landscapes where the listener would find themselves surrounded by sounds. We wanted to make musical environments where you could look around and explore and potentially get lost for a while, spaces with big expansive sounds paired with minute details that could be blended together seamlessly. And the more that we talked about this idea of creating a space, the more that we started thinking and describing our music in terms of the visual rather than the aural, the more excited we got about what we were doing.

It wasn’t long after that when we started to talk about our new project in more cinematic terms, describing sounds as being “Kubrickian”, “Expansive”, “Xenomorphic”, and “Glacial”, and that led us to come up with a project vocabulary. Developing a vocabulary that we could use to describe our plans was a big step for us, and as abstract as the words in our vocabulary were, they were still words that were able to gave shape to our previously amorphous ideas. Even now we still use that early vocabulary to describe sounds and ideas (although admittedly we’ve added a few more words along the way) and it’s become a key part of our work flow. It’s an easy way for us to share ideas, and a familiar starting point to define the scope of what we’re doing.

Along with a shared vocabulary, we also found ourselves drawing from science while we were figuring out what we wanted to do. The inventions of Nikola Tesla, the Periodic Table, Geological Formation, and many other ideas proved a fertile ground for musical inspiration, and we soon found ourselves making connections and forming theories that would further our plans.

And as time went by, this creation of a vocabulary and this scientific influence went a long way towards bringing us into a completely new head space about how we should work. By thinking of music in non-musical ways, we found ourselves unencumbered by our individual past musical influences, and we were free to focus on something that was completely new and different for us both. It was really amazing to find ourselves in a new creative space that we had created, and that’s when we knew that we were really onto something.

Now if only we had some music to show for all of this thinking we had been doing…

Join us again tomorrow and we’ll tell you a little bit about our first forays into making sounds.

For the entire month of October while we celebrate #10yearsofKalte, if you buy a copy of “The Lanthanide Series” through Bandcamp you can send us your email at and we’ll send you a free copy of our latest release, “Covalencies“!


pinglogoPrior to working together on Kalte, we had both been playing music around Toronto for a number of years. Circling around the same Goth/Industrial and Electronic scenes in the mid 90s and early 2000s we were both aware of what each other was doing but we hadn’t actually met in person. Deane was performing as Akumu at the time, having already released a number of abstract electronic albums and performed at Montreal’s esteemed Mutek event, and Rik was making melodic ambient as mara’s torment, doing shows and releasing albums. But despite any similarities in our styles, for whatever reason our paths hadn’t ever crossed until a chance meeting outside of Queen Video in early 2001, when our mutual friend Chris Alexander finally introduced us. Immediately recognizing some shared interests, we soon booked an Akumu/mara’s torment show at The AMBiENT PiNG for later in the summer, and that was pretty much the beginning of us working together.

For those of you who aren’t already familiar with The AMBiENT PiNG, we’d like to take this opportunity to tell you about Toronto’s long running ambient showcase, because it really is a pretty amazing event. The PiNG began as a regular weekly concert series in the Kensington Market area of Toronto bringing together performers in a variety of different styles and disciplines that were focused primarily on Ambient, Electronic, Drone, and Abstract genres among others. Hosted by Scott M2 and Jamie Todd of dreamSTATE, the PiNG continues as a regular event to this day and during the length of its history they’ve presented countless local and international artists who have come through Toronto, including Aidan Baker, Zoe Keating, Falling You, Robert Rich, and more.

Just the act of maintaining an event like this for so long is impressive in itself, but even more impressive is the community that Scott and Jamie have nurtured around the PiNG, a group of artists and listeners who have supported each other in a balanced synergy for years now, and has also directly inspired collaboration between artists that’s resulted in some pretty amazing stuff. Aidan Baker’s project ARC began one night at the PiNG when audience member Rich Baker just walked up on stage and sat in on drums. Frequent attendee Heiki Sillaste has been working regularly with dreamSTATE for a few years now. And Kalte is another project that also sprung from the PiNG community. That first show we booked together in 2001 led us to book another Akumu/mara’s torment show in 2002, and a third in 2003, and pretty soon it became an annual event for us to play together at the Ping. And following the success of those shows, we eventually asked ourselves, “Hey, we’re well matched on stage, why don’t we try making some music together too?” And that was the starting point that would eventually become Kalte.

Join us again tomorrow as we discuss the themes that would define our work as Kalte…

For the entire month of October while we celebrate #10yearsofKalte, anybody that buys a copy of “The Lanthanide Series” through Bandcamp can send their email to and we’ll send them a free copy of our latest release “Covalencies“!

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