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“!

10 Years of Kalte

LanthanideCoverOctober 1st 2018 marks the tenth anniversary of the release of the first Kalte album, “The Lanthanide Series“, so we thought that we’d mark the occasion by sharing some of our experiences as Kalte (and SubZeroArts) by looking back at some of the work that we’ve done over the last decade. We want to tell you a little bit about how we do the things we do, and we also want to thank the awesome people that we’ve been able to work with over the last ten years. Every day in October we’ll be posting something new to celebrate #10yearsofKalte, and we hope that you’ll join us as we walk down memory lane.

Come back tomorrow to find out more about the early days of our collaboration leading up to the recording of The Lanthanide Series…

Waitasec, what do you mean you’ve never heard “The Lanthanide Series”? No problem! For all of October you can stream it or pay what you can download on Bandcamp, and if you like what you hear you can send your email to and we’ll send you a copy of our latest release “Covalencies” free!

Kalte at Audio Bleed in Toronto on October 25th

Audio Bleed Oct 25We’re very pleased to announce that Kalte will be performing at the Roland Inspiration Centre in Toronto along with our good friends dreamSTATE and Hozerz as part of the latest installment of Audio Bleed on Thursday, October 25th.

We’re particularly excited about this performance as October marks the Tenth Anniversary of our first release “The Lanthanide Series“, so we’ll be diving deep into the Kalte songbook to mark the occasion.

We hope that you’ll be able to join us as we celebrate a decade of making mysterious abstract music.

RSVP to the Facebook event to keep updated about the show…



Kalte_Covalencies_cover-1000x1000Covalencies is the latest release by Kalte, new music inspired by Kubrickian geometry, abstract forces, and cold fusion. It’s a voyage through unfamiliar terrain, a trip through new spaces and environments defined by ghostly chemistry and dark physics.

Available now from Bandcamp.

Kalte at National Drone Day 2018

Drone DayWe’re very pleased to share that Kalte will be performing at the Roland Inspiration Centre in Toronto on Saturday May 26th as part of Weird Canada‘s National Drone Day 2018 event.

Our friends dreamSTATE and DJ LP will also be performing, and it promises to be a very Drone-y evening filled with sustained tones and rumbly sounds and long lost radio transmissions. We may also bring popsicles…

Please RSVP to the Facebook event to let us know you’re coming!


Quiet Drones 9

QuietDrone9We’re very pleased to announce that Kalte has a track on the new compilation Quiet Drones 9 from Paper+Sound!

Bringing together subarctic temperatures and abstract mathematics, “The Bergschrund Equation” is a brand new track from Kalte in advance of our forthcoming new release.

Quiet Drones 9 is available now from Bandcamp at


Kalte live at Nite Comfort on Sunday November 5th

Nite Comfort We’re very pleased to announce that Kalte will be performing at the 50th edition of Nite Comfort at Handlebar in Toronto on Sunday November 5th. It’s our first time playing this event, and we’re very pleased to be sharing the stage with Murr, who is very awesome.

The current plan is to perform material from our latest release “The Bailey Sessions”, which is currently available from Crime League, along with a selection of new stuff inspired by our recent experiments in cryogenic suspension, and of course all of the beloved Kalte hits that you’ve come to expect at our live shows.

It promises to be a very exciting evening, and we do hope that we’ll see you there…





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