Croptal – Works 2020-2022 | Psychedelic experiments with sound
Croptal is a really interesting project by Tal Yaniv, a music producer and keyboard player. He is one of the producers for the band ‘Avitpus’. A very talented music producer that takes sound design and arrangement to another level. His composition is very psychedelic yet tasteful. He is a visionary artist with a unique style of music that bleeds experimentation. These works are psychedelic experiments with sound!
The first track mission is one of the most appropriately named tracks I have come across in a long time. It is a very surreal track that acts as the perfect introductory track to this collection of tracks. Mission is a brilliant example of Croptal’s exquisite sound design and amazing arrangement. A soundscape that takes you on a journey until a bass-line just makes you question what it is you are listening to right now. The track takes a tribal twist toward the end and is all the more effective in making the listener get up because of the long introduction. It also gives you an insight into the thought process of the artist and his idea of a musical journey.
The second track on this album made me sit up and check the name of the artist again. ‘Impressed’ is a really cool track that starts off with a basic bass-line and slowly transcends into an astral plane of sonic pleasure. The sounds take you on a deep and psychedelic journey but are also impressively soothing at the same time. The later part of the track sounds like something out of an “Infected Mushrooms” album.
This album has been really interesting so far with a style being established so far, or so I thought. Croptal surprises the listener yet again with a very industrial yet foresty bass-line in the third track ‘Long Haul’. The bass-line is complemented by some really hypnotic sounds that create a very psychedelic atmosphere. The mix at some points is absolutely amazing with a spiral of synth leads and piano keys paired with a powerful bass line and some percussions that surprisingly fit in very well.
‘Dim Dum’ takes the bassline from ‘Long haul’ forward but this time with a darker atmosphere. The modulation on the lead is a really nice touch to the track that gives it a lot of movement. The atmospheric keys are eerier this time with a more organ sound. A haunting vibe with some really cool leads that just seem to be bouncing all around you. The percussions are just in the right place, and it makes me question how he manages to make it fit so well into the mix.
‘Piano trek 1 and 2’ are the highlights of this album. Visionary music that teleports you to another world altogether. ‘Piano trek 1’ is a slow dive into a portal to another dimension. As you make your way through you realize the intensity of the experience you are having. An awareness brought about by the impacts that Croptal has craft fully placed in the arrangement. The piano riff is nothing short of breath taking, especially when the time effects on it make it ripple all around you. ‘Piano trek 2’ on the other hand is much more cheerful and starts off with a bassline. In the interview below, Croptal explains the story behind these tracks. The second part has some amazing atmospheric sounds that just wrap itself around you. There is some really creative use of shakers not only as a percussion but also as a sweep that marks a transition in the track.
‘Minimalist’ comes back with Croptal’s attention to detail when it comes to introductions. It has now become clear that he makes sure that every track has a solid story line that can stand apart on its own. ‘Minimalist’ starts off with a repetitive arpeggiated melody that slowly intensifies with some really well-placed risers. The arpeggiated sounds are slowly modulated to create a story line which starts to take off when a subtle bassline is introduced. Here on, it is as if I’m sitting at the edge of the world, looking into nothing, mesmerized by the depth of the experience I am having. The track suddenly transforms when the bassline pops out in front. What amazing creativity! How does one even think of something like this?! Just as I ask myself this, he throws in an even more intense segment into this track with banging percussions and much more industrial sounds
‘Xtasea’ is the perfect end to this beautiful album. It is an exhibition of Croptal’s musical experiments. A track that has sounds that you would never consider musical but somehow fit right into the mix. Croptal’s amazing ability as a sonic architect is evident here as he creates a beautiful world within your head. There is a guitar like lead that plays towards the end and it just makes my thoughts spiral into each other. How do I even pick a favorite?
An interview with Croptal to give us clarity as to how someone can create such a unique style.
1. Firstly, what does Croptal mean? What meaning does it hold with respect to your style of music?
Croptal is a vague translation of my Hebrew name to English. In an agricultural sense, Crop is the English translation of my surname, so it’s Crop Tal. It’s short and easy to read and pronounce, and since it has no meaning by itself, I find it perfect as a stage name.
2. Your album ‘Works – 2020-2022’, I am assuming is a compilation of tracks you have created during this period. The style of every track is almost unique. What is the thought process behind these tracks?
There are a few creative journeys in the album. I sometime start with a riff, something I play on the piano or a synth. Then I try to imagine how far it would go, what should be the rhythmic accompaniment and the overall atmosphere that it takes me to. In a few cases the original riff was just a scaffold that was later removed. There are two motivations behind my approach: musicality – making sure that the music foundations are strong: harmony, rhythm and melody, and soundscape – making sure that the listener is not bored. I work very hard to make every music bar somewhat different from the previous and the following ones, while still maintaining receptivity and memorability.
3. Which track in this album would you say completely represents your style?
The favorite child trap, isn’t it? I love them all. I think that Minimalist represents not only my style, but also the virtues I am striving to achieve. As its name implies, it starts with a repetitive, minimalist theme. You can hear such themes in many musical pieces, from Prokofiev’s second movement of his 5th symphony, through Steve Reich, Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass and many other great musicians, classical and contemporary. I travel this theme both through a musical journey – notes are gradually added and changed, and through a soundscape one – notes are prolonged and shortened, and sounds are metamorphosing just the way the music does, through filters and other manipulations. It gradually evolves and then transferred into a more rhythmic and then a Techno-like part, where I bring in a heavy duty riff played on a distorted, analog synthesizer. It encapsulates a few styles, and this is how I like to think of myself, as being open to a few influences. In a sense, most of the tracks in the album reflect this aspiration.
4. Piano trek 1 and 2 have a lot of differences in style. Could you give us an insight into these tracks.
Sure! In 2020 I booked a recording session in a great musical studio that hosts an expensive grand piano. The goal I set for myself was to record a few riffs, notes and samples that would set a ground for a few musical pieces. I had no specific idea in mind. Piano Trek 1 and 2 are the result of that session, each uses a totally different sample from that session. By the way, the solo piano in Long Haul was also recorded in that session, on the same piano. The musical style is rather different between Piano Trek 1 and 2. In 1 – I recorded myself playing a tremolo riff on the entire keyboard, bass to treble, note after note. In the exposition I used mostly the somewhat eerie decaying sounds of each sample, and gradually added the tremolo samples. I then manipulated the piano sound even further, cutting and chopping it into a rhythmic loop. This is something I really like doing and drives my creativity – using one recording or riff to create a totally different listening experience. Piano Trek 2 starts with a repetitive note, quite similar to Dolly Parton’s “Working 9 to 5” song, but then transferred into a totally different world. In both tracks the piano was just a creative excuse to search boundaries and move beyond them. 5. When it comes to producing and arranging, do you have a set plan in your head or do you just go with the creative flow? Sometimes I have an exact plan, I envision the final atmosphere, melody and harmony and go with it, and sometimes I work totally blindfolded, experimenting with sounds, rhythms and notes. Interestingly enough, even if I have a clear idea of the final result, in most cases it ends up far away from what I planned for it, and that’s beautiful. The triggers for production and arranging are different. I can hear a musical piece and tell myself that I want to do something similar, and the result always falls far from the original.
It’s almost as if every track is a separate experience. A slow mellow intro that builds into a peak and slowly fades out. Absolutely impeccable style of electronic music. Hats off to this masterpiece of an album/compilation.