June 06, 2014, by PSW Staff
Nick Franglen, best known as founding member of the British electronica duo Lemon Jelly, makes regular use of Metric Halo’s classic ChannelStrip plug-in in the development of new material.
Franglen has also recorded three albums on XL Recordings that sold half a million albums worldwide and earned him and bandmate Fred Deakin nominations for the Mercury Music Prize and the Brit Awards. “Lemon Jelly’s style is electronic music that doesn’t sound particularly electronic,” explains Franglen. “We’d pull together sounds from a wide range of genres to see what would happen when we mixed them up. They could be sampled or played – it really didn’t matter where they came from – the more diverse the better.”
Although Lemon Jelly is currently on a happy hiatus, Franglen maintains an outrageously busy schedule – as he always has – that feeds his creative need to keep things fresh and interesting. “Creativity is all I’m interested in. I hate repeating myself (I get bored very quickly) so I’m constantly challenging myself into innovation. I like being out on a limb – that’s where the exciting things happen.”
Franglen’s talent, prolificacy, and affable nature have earned him a lot of friends and work in the music industry. He’s provided keyboard and beats programming for Björk, Hole, Primal Scream, Pulp, and Blur. In addition to all the Lemon Jelly records; has produced albums for John Cale and Badly Drawn Boy and remixed Mark Mothersbaugh (Devo), the Pet Shop Boys, and Coldcut; and has written and produced tracks with artists as diverse as William Shatner and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) and regularly plays live with John Cale.
Further, as musical director of the Nico tribute show, he’s worked with Mark Linkous, Mark Lanegan, Kim Gordon, Mercury Rev, Yeasayer, and many others. Reflecting thirst for the novel and creative, Franglen has also performed and recorded electronic gigs down mines, on submarines, and in abandoned government test facilities. And as a composer, he has worked on films with Ralph Fiennes, written music for BBC-TV series, and composed commercials for BMW, Cadillac, Ford, Coca-Cola, Caesar’s Palace, Nordstrom, and many others. “I like to keep busy,” he summarizes simply.
In addition to myriad other side projects and jobs, Franglen’s current passion is a solo album that will be released under his own name. “I’ve been developing this material over the past couple of years,” he says. “It’s quite complicated stuff, both conceptually and sonically, and I’m enjoying the challenge.”
As noted at the outset, he’s a user of ChannelStrip. “I was with ChannelStrip from the very beginning – I had the original version,” he notes. “It was the EQ that first got me. It could do things that no other EQ could do, and that remains the case today.”
Franglen continues with an example: “For a while I was really interested in mixing very different samples from very different sources, it could be jazz with punk with something orchestral, whatever. I had to capture the essence of a source and still preserve audio clarity when it was mixed with something else, and Metric Halo ChannelStrip let me do that without having the composition turn to mush.
“Basically, ChannelStrip’s Q is precise and perfect. I can nail a filter or EQ band to within a few Hertz, enhance the fundamentals and then cut out everything that doesn’t matter while preserving the sample’s character and life. That’s a critical part of what I do and it’s my secret for maintaining audio clarity even when I have a lot of different sources all playing at once. And shortly thereafter I learned the value of ChannelStrip’s dynamics section. It’s so versatile. I use it all the time in combination with the ChannelStrip gate to bring looped drums to life.”
For work on his solo album, Franglen is also using Metric Halo’s Production Bundle of plug-ins, which includes ChannelStrip 3, Character, HaloVerb, Multiband Dynamics, Precision DeEsser, Transient Control, and Multiband Expander.
“I’ve found that with Character and Transient Control, I can breathe life and soul into my studio recordings,” he explains. “The effect is subtle, but undeniable. The reverb is also fabulous. It has a huge range of sounds, and the smoothness of the tail is beautiful and transparent. It just disappears into the background. When I apply it to individual instruments, it gives them their own space and surrounds them with warmth without ever overpowering them.”