bahia mansa

Bahía Mansa is a solo music project that creates hazy evocative electronic soundscapes, through the use of soft, expansive drones and haunting pads.

Release process

When I compose, I add certain details using various techniques, VSTs, patches, or whatever feels intuitive at the moment. Sometimes, it's done very lightly. So, in this diary, I wanted to try some things anew and extend the exploration for some of them. It was a good opportunity to delve deeper. To achieve this, I used my modular system along with two VSTs I often use, Permut8 and opsix, and a 2hp Bell module that you will see stands out in some of these tracks. I originally planned to go back over some tracks only once, but most of them were captured in 1 or 2 takes, to keep the spirit of sonic exercise. The names for each of those track are related to the first word it came to me when composing, and/or based on general ideas around the track. Hope you enjoy!

For Mara, I used a couple of patches I was working on for the opsix, along with a simple modular patch. Each track was processed with AberrantDSP Digitalis to generate some digital artifacts, so my main goal was to change the character of the songs via media corruption.

For this track, I was aiming for a more percussive sound. I started pinging filters and noticed that the Qu-Bit Prism has this very particular texture, especially when you manipulate some of its parameters, like the comb filter and bitcrushing. It goes through Beads, where I modulated almost everything possible, giving these organic clicks, possibly due to the size of the buffer changing rapidly. There's a soft FM drone underneath, adding some bell sounds after. It felt very tribal to me, hence the name.

Dia is a track that started out strange. The drone sounds are produced by an ebow on the guitar, generating similar but equal frequencies that result in these volume fluctuations or beats as they’re called. I wanted to add a little more ambience by using some soft pads with an electric piano going through Hainbach Wires, and again, bell textures going through Tensor.

I love it when textures go through a subtle tremolo. Rain is a hybrid of textures with guitars and synths, giving it an organic feel, plus some melodic voices wandering quietly.

Textures based on Doepfer A-111-6, processed in parallel by a patch I made in Permut8. At some point, I accidentally moved the pitch control, but it was so subtle that it integrated perfectly into the flow of the song.

Vhs drones
I enjoy playing with digital textures. You can hear some accidental ducking, giving it a somewhat percussive sound. There are some sequences that go over and over again that were captured in Beads, controlled the pitch using the keyboard. I was watching some documentaries on VHS, hence the name.

I had a Moog Subharmonicon a long time ago and got to know the world of subharmonics. I sold it later, but sometimes I miss it, so I researched and emulated the logic using Maths and the STO. I also played with some textures and added small melodic details.

Not piano
A lot of bitcrush and a lot of use of Permut8. I'm a big fan of glitch, although I don't use its techniques as much as I'd like. I wanted to make an exception for this track and give it a try.

This track was my farewell to the Mother 32, processed with Pladask Dradd. Layers of bells with portamento, pings in an SEM filter modulating the frequency – I couldn't help but imagine bubbles.

Something childish that reminded me of my daughter. I thought Felt Instruments Ciemno was perfect for this. Playful sequences that seems to hide one from the other.

A melody I composed when the family dog (a little toy puddle that lived with my mom) died by accident one week before Christmas. A year later, I found it and wanted to work on it a little more. It's an innocent and simple melody, just like her. I only used Ableton FM and Impact for the base melody that I then processed by modular.

Again, I wanted to use subharmonics. The Doepfer A-111-6, practically a modular SH-101, plays bass here. Beads are turning the melody up an octave with the size all the way up to give it an organ-like sound.

Studio tour

Process: 6 questions.

What is your favorite time of the day in the studio?

I'm definitely a night owl. It doesn't hurt that at night I can work uninterrupted so that's for creative flow I guess.

Can you name one piece of gear essential to your process?

I'd say any degrading-audio tool in any of its variations and formats: a bitcrusher module, a tape plugin, a lo-fi pedal. It really can turn a somehow boring sequence/pad into something interesting that I can work with. I may be a little too addicted to nostalgia.

Do you have a track composition routine?

It changes from time to time. I'm currently working with samples. There's some stuff I made and never got published, so I reimagined some of it and started whole new compositions from there. That's enough to get me going, sometimes I don't even have the initial sample/sound in the final version, I think it's more of a creative trigger.

Any imposter syndrom?

I try to not think about it. I focus on what I like and hope it can get appreciated by other people too! Makes me feel connected to something bigger than all of us.

Favorite book?

Lots, but as of lately, Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea.

What's inspiring you right now?

Family and nature mostly. It's love, and I think the world now more than ever needs more of it. I'm trying to share these sentiments any time I release music.