What is The Deep Code...?

The solo rock opera by synth wizard, Ffej. This diverse collection of songs, style ranging from techno pop to noise punk to experimental, propels the listener through a gripping narrative about a young man finding his calling in a not so distant future.

I got the idea to do this in the Spring of 2004. The basic story idea was something I had been working out for a few years before that. I had been going through a phase where I figured I'd try to write a novel. It seemed to me like it might be a fun thing to do at the time. I never really got any writing down for it and whenever I tried, I always came to the conclusion that literature was not my strongest medium anyway. When it finally occurred to me that I should tell the story through music, I made an outline of fourteen songs that I've pretty much stuck with throughout the process. To be fair, it might be a little of an over statement to call it a "rock opera" since it's only me up on stage singing the songs. It's really just a very narrative concept album. But what do you call a concept album before you get around to recording it? One term for it that I've considered pushing was "song novel", but I guess I'm not feeling so audacious as to try to coin a whole new term. I got to admit to getting a little cheap thrill calling it a rock opera anyway.

The Deep Code was composed entirely using my Nord Lead 2 synthesizer and my Akai MPC2000 sequencer/sampler. I've had both pieces of gear for a little over seven years now. As well as this whole project being notable for its narrative quality, you could also say that it represents the culmination of possibilities that the two instruments represent when used in conjunction, at least as far as I'm willing to take them.

With the obvious exception of vocal samples, all of the samples coming from the Akai are synthesized, mostly on the Nord but also on my old analog Yamaha CS5 as well. Many of the songs feature synth parts that where fully improvised takes that where recorded as MIDI sequences.

I always try to achieve things through synthesis over samples these days. Whenever I was done with a song, and I had a voice slot to spare on the Nord Lead, I would use that voice for the "cymbal crash" because I found that it made for a more organic sound than when I used a sample of it. You may hear, occasionally throughout the show, that cymbal-like, white noise sound cut out as the long release exceeds the Nord's 16 voice polyphony. Fortunately, it actually sounds kind of cool when it happens. You gotta' love those happy accidents!