Richard Devine
Intention and Accident

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Devine also discovered the work of John Cage, particularly his “Variations” series. “I loved Cage’s contention ‘that noise belongs to the realm of musical sound,’” reflects Devine. “Cage’s work introduced me to the methods of composition, which are based on chance, both in the process of composition and in the performance.


“Being exposed to Cage forced me to expand my consciousness and enhance my appreciation of the sounds — intended or accidental — that are always around us, and helped me compose works that use conventional and unconventional instruments alike. All sounds are acceptable musical materials,” he adds.

“Stockhausen’s compositions brought the idea of movement to me, how he used the direction of the sounds and their movement in space as aspects of form,” says Devine. “It was another totally new concept to incorporate into my music — this idea of surrounding the listener with sound, to actually imply movement.”

From Punk to Electronic Music
Early in the 1990s, when techno was becoming more popular, Devine started to get interested in electronic music. He’d enjoyed hip-hop and aggressive punk music in his early adolescent years, listening to everything from Dead Kennedys to Public Enemy, Minor Threat and Fugazi.

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“When industrial music came out, it kind of fused both of those elements together. It was this new form of music that combined the hard-edged elements of punk mixed with these low bit digital sounds of hip hop and digital sampling,” says Devine. “And for me, it was the perfect hybrid… a nice transition from what I’d just come from.

“As the industrial scene was coming in, and the scene of the late 80s started to die out, I was hearing interesting things happening in Canada and England with techno music and with groups like Meat Beat Manifesto and Coil. So I started getting more into experimental music,” he reflects.

“It was another totally new concept to incorporate into my music — this idea of surrounding the listener with sound, to actually imply movement,” says Sonic Mayhemist Richard Devine.

Law & Order “So, that kicked off everything for me in the beginning. I kept trying to take it from there, from the early hip hop and the punk scene, industrial into techno, into what I’m doing — discovering the Warp Record label from back in the early 90s and kind of keeping the evolution going from there,” he adds.

Warp Recruited
While taking some summer classes in 1999, Devine got a message on his answering machine from Rob Mitchell, one of the owners of Warp Records. “I never sent Warp anything,” he says. “But I got this message saying ‘We’re looking for Richard Devine. We’d like to get in touch with him, please.’”

Before he knew it, Warp enlisted him into the ranks to propel the Warp name into the new millennium, putting out tracks, touring and doing remixes for other Warp artists.

Designing Tweaky Sounds
Devine also started doing sound design work for Native Instruments in 1999, creating highly complex and intensely programmed sound banks for virtual instruments like Absynth.

Next page: Enter Computer Synthesis

Richard Devine

1. Architect of Aural Mayhem
2. Intention and Accident
3. Enter Computer Synthesis
4. Where Sound Galaxies Collide

Using Everything
For sound design, composition, remixing and producing, Devine uses everything he can get his hands on. “I use Logic Audio quite a bit, Reaktor, Supercollider, Cycling 74’s Max/MSP and Pluggo, GRM Tools, CDP, Soundhack, Soundmaker, Bias Peak, Metasynth… Symbolic Sound’s Kyma.” He has a full Pro Tools system at his studio, with a hard-disk recording and mastering setup, a dual-processor Power Mac G4 with a SuperDrive and two top-of-the-line Apogee D/A converters.

“Sometimes different DSP applications affect sound in certain ways that other programs can’t. It was just the way that the programmer designed it and implemented certain functions and, lo and behold, you get a whole different sound characteristic or personality, which makes that program totally unique,” he says. “I always use everything, and keep my sound generation possibilities open.”

Useful Links

Record Labels
Warp Records
Schematic Records

DAW Software
Emagic Logic Audio
MOTU Digital Performer
Steinberg Cubase SX and Nuendo

Virtual Effects & Instruments Software
Cycling ‘74 Max/MSP
Cycling ‘74 Pluggo
Native Instruments’ Absynth, Battery and Reaktor

Sound Design Software
Symbolic Composer
Symbolic Sound’s Kyma

Audio Hardware
Digidesign Pro Tools
MOTU 896

Sound Design Hardware
Symbolic Sound’s Kyma

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