Heinali Channels Terry Riley, Ghost Voices on Iridescent Album


True to its title, Iridescent shines bright like a diamond that’s been left to bake in the afternoon sun. Or as Oleg Shpudeiko (a.k.a. Heinali) puts it, “One can think of Iridescent as [a] ‘musical sculpture’… a flickering kaleidoscopic state.”

In the following exclusive, the Ukrainian composer gives us a complete track-by-track breakdown of his second Injazero Records LP right before its official October 12th release….

“Enfold” started as a draft of film trailer music. I work on commercial tracks regularly, slowly building my licensing library. But, as it happens sometimes, this particular draft took a wrong turn somewhere and became something completely different. I decided not to ditch it, but to develop it instead in the direction it wanted me to take. That’s why it’s so different aesthetically from all the other tracks in the album. It’s a nod toward the Bound video game soundtrack I composed in 2016.

Both “Starling Reprises” came to life as a result of evening studio sessions and an exploration of Access Virus synth features. In addition to the Virus, it features Korg MS20 synth, both recorded in layers. As with most other works in the album, it’s very minimalist in nature. I wanted it to be as light and simple as possible yet not lacking in power.

“Iridescence” was recorded in one take on a modular system. As you probably already figured out, the whole album is a kind of a studio diary and most of the tracks are fully improvised. Due to certain circumstances, I had very little time for studio work during last year, so I tried to reorganize my work flow and rely heavily on improvisation. The focus of “Iridescence” is a machine-generated sequence that keeps changing its colors and slowly unravels.

Heinali | Iridescent vinyl

“Shadow Invention” and “Rainbow Folding” both explore the polyphonic capabilities of a modular synth. “Shadow Invention” isn’t strictly polyphonic, as it doesn’t feature full voice independence. Instead, it focuses on an interplay between a machine-generated voice and a processed counterpoint I like to call “ghost voice” because it sounds all hauntological and cool. (It’s a joke.) Recorded in one take on a modular system, the ghost voice was processed by Phonogene and Echophon Eurorack modules from Make Noise and Tom Erbe. One of my favorites.

If there was just one ghost voice in “Shadow Invention,” the “Mist Ostinato” track is basically ghost composition itself, built solely by processing a generated bass ostinato (an organ-like bass melody). And—you guessed it—it was recorded in one take on a modular system.

A reprise of a “Starling Reprise.” It features the same setup—an Access Virus and Korg MS20—recorded in layers during one of those hot August evenings. I initially called it “August Sketch.”

This one is my personal favorite. It continues to explore the polyphonic capabilities of a modular system and features an interplay between independent generated voices. I love polyphony; it has enchanting qualities I can’t really put into words, especially the period from Ars Nova to early Baroque. I even studied basic counterpoint at one time. Not impressive, I know; all composers study it, even self-taught ones like me.

I also like to think of “Rainbow Folding” as a loose homage to Terry Riley’s famous piece about rainbows….