Over the past decade, Alan Fitzpatrick has managed to achieve the admirable feat of straddling the underground and the mainstream, headlining Berghain while dropping hits on BBC Radio 1. Best known for releasing caustic techno on venerable imprints like Drumcode, Hotflush and Hypercolour, he’s showcased a softer side to his sound in recent years by venturing into disco edits and experimental electronica.
This November, Alan is sharing his first album in a decade. Machine Therapy, released on Anjunadeep, is something of a love letter to his studio. “The time I had in the studio was like a therapy session”, he says. “Particularly with the pandemic, not knowing what the future might look like [...] being able to get into the studio with no time constraints and really pour my heart into making music helped me get through the last year, and keep my mental health in check.”
For our Career in Gear feature, Alan’s taken us on a guided tour of his discography, picking five releases that stand out and giving us an insight into five pieces of studio equipment that inspired them.
Skeksis / For An Endless Night EP [Drumcode]
“This was my first proper big release on Drumcode. It was all done in Reason, no hardware. I mainly used the Maelstrom synth and the Thor. This is probably one my favourite releases to date, I’m sure Drumcode fans would agree that it still goes off today. As a release, I think it demonstrates how powerful Reason can be for making techno, producers don’t need a studio full of gear to make a big hit.
“In terms of studio tools or equipment I couldn’t live without; Reason has got to have a mention. I’ve used it since it was launched, which was around 2002 for me. I know the software inside out and I can’t fault it. I honestly can’t see me ever changing to anything else. I’ve watched it change and progress over the years and morph into the product it is today. As an artist I would say it’s the only DAW I’m fully compatible with. One hundred percent - my discography wouldn’t be the same without it.”
Ultimate Distortion [We Are The Brave]
“This is a collaboration I did with Rebuke. Reuben sent me the base idea and said it needed something to give it that ‘it factor’. It was about 60% there but just needed something else to finish the track off. I loaded it into Reason and layered in a phat, sawtooth reese-style baseline using a synth called Thor. It’s an incredible synth, one of my favourites to flesh out a track and give it that extra flair. The huge bass drops on that track are nuts, the crowds love it. All wouldn’t be possible without the synth – thanks Thor!”
3. Moog Sub37 / Grandmother
Angstrom [We Are The Brave]
“This is one of many collaborations I did with my mate Reset Robot. We’ve worked on a heap of different projects together over the years so it’s always a pleasure to be in the studio jamming with him. He’s another Reason lover! [laughs]
"Although we did use Reason, it was only to sequence the track. The whole release is mainly hardware based. The beats are from Elektron's Machinedrum and most of the synth sounds are from the Moog Sub37 and the Moog Grandmother synth. I’m addicted to synths, they’re so versatile. Collecting them is definitely an expensive hobby.”
4. Roland Juno-60
Sundancing [Hot Creations]
“This track is from Hot Creations collab with Jamie Jones, we were channelling the Ibiza summer mood, picture DC10 terrace sunrise vibes. Gear-wise, this track has Roland to thank. I used my Roland Juno-60 for the main chord patterns.
"The Juno-60 has got to be my favourite vintage synth, I searched high and low for a pristine condition one and finally found one from a guy that had it since it was new. Sat in his loft, his mum bought him it in the early 80's to 'learn piano', and he kept it ever since, admitting he never really used it. What a cool thing for your mum to buy you. I’m pretty grateful it’s been added to my collection.”
5. Roland TR-909
Magnetic Dog [We Are The Brave]
“This is one of my early releases on my label. I made the track using a couple of powerhouse techno-making machines; the Roland TR-909 drum machine and the Roland TB-303 bassline (aka the acid machine). Magnetic Dog uses both of the Roland machines for its main vibe, all being sequenced in Reason. It’s a full-on club banger that I’m very proud of. Was also pretty amazing to have had a ‘Trevino’ from the late great Marcus Intalex; his mix took it to the next level.”