Studio Elements with Aitor Etxebarria

Basque-based producer Aitor Etxebarria has long embodied the mysterious aesthetic that many technical-focused artists typically lean. While building his EL_TXEF_A project for the last decade, Etxebarria has delivered a strong catalog across innovative labels such as Permanent Vacation, Mule Electronic and Hypercolour. Now back to his cinematic-heavy personal project, Etxebarria is a dreamy blend that fits the ambient stage quite well.

Following the nine-track album on Primavera Sound El Segell label, we wanted to learn more about some of the tools behind Etxebarria’s studio process.

It’s no surprise that mastering the studio takes a firm balance (no pun intended). Etxebarria starts his studio peek with a nod to a collaboration who’s no less precise to the instruments themselves.

Engineering by Jose Lastra and the Raindirk Symphony LN. He sings praise by saying ‘Essential the work of Jose Lastra. He is my sound engeneer for studio recordings and live acts. Watching him work with the Raindirk Symphony LN is adorable’. 40 channels with an EQ you won’t want to miss… what more could an album need?

A quick look around the space reflects the collection of an advanced creative and dedicated audiophile. Given the live nature of the cinematic projects, it’s no surprise to see the classic (yet still unique) instruments that are as fashionable as they are functional.

Spanish multi-instrument player and singer Minteguia and his harmony silvertone guitar. Aitor quickly admits ‘this is another must on my albums. Hannot and his sound’. Somewhere between DIY and just plain vintage, the Kawai Elctrochord is a simple, yet clean keys solution for any tune. ‘I bought this on a second-hand store and I really love the sound and the vibrato. An essential on my studio’.

To wrap up that lineup, the final step in the process must be mentioned. On the monitor side, Etxebarria prefers the Reflection Arts 234. ‘I have recorded my last albums on Tio Pete studios in the basque lands and this Reflections Arts speakers I find them very reliable and pleasant.’

The Urei 1176 LN is a limiting amplifier with an innovative history. The original UA 1176LN was a major breakthrough in limiter technology the first true peak limiter with all transistor circuitry. Etxebarria used it exclusively, mentioning ‘we used for all the vocal and guitar recordings. Good old times’.

Keep your ear out for these elements as you dig through Aitor’s 9-part album compiled over the past five years. When looking for a balanced list of listening, this downtempo approach to live (electronic) production is a must.