Inge Weatherhead Breistein Has Made an Electronic Album Entirely out of Sax and Piano Sounds
Inge Weatherhead Breistein is a saxophone player and electronic musician from Bergen, Norway. All of the compositions on his upcoming album "Flying High Collage" are made entirely out of samples of piano and saxophone. We decided to take a closer look and asked Inge to guide us through the process, using his song "Refraction" as an example.
— What inspired the whole sax and piano thing?
— I guess what generally inspired me first was listening to my friend Norvald's solo album. The sound of the recording and the piano playing is really nice. I also listen a lot to music by musicians like Nils Frahm, Jon Hopkins and Floating Points. They are great sources of inspiration when I make electronic music.

For this particular track I think it all started with creating percussion parts. The percussive sounds you can hear in the intro of the track are sampled from the end of one of the piano pieces where Norvald closed the piano lid after he had finished playing. So first I chose to introduce the sound by a simple loop, then I used it to create the faster sequenced percussion parts with the sixteenths note subdivision that kicks in a bit after. The sampled piano piece also ends on a major chord, right before the piano lid is being closed. I flipped the major chord backwards, then I added a fairly large amount of saturation and some reverb. The rest of piano-samples and the melody got added later.
— How did you record the sounds?
— I recorded the saxophone myself in my home studio. For this project pretty much everything was done in Ableton Live. The saxophone ended up being an important source for sampling in this track. The drone-bass in the song is a long tenor saxophone tone that I pitch shifted down a lot without time stretching. Then it became super long and I decided to just keep it that way without changing the note or anything through the song. The idea was to get a bit of an analog synth feel to it. It's also sidechained to the kick for rhythmic effect. I also pitched and layered this tone several times for harmonies. I flipped them backwards and just let the samples play out, which can be heard around 3:00.
— How did you manipulate the recordings?
— For creating the drums I used large amounts of drive/saturation-tools, pitch shifting, resampling, and shaping using ADSR in Ableton live´s simpler. There is also some delays automated in and out on the percussion parts On the album in general i´ve been using a lot of granular synthesis-based plug-ins, like GRM-tools etc. But for this particular track it's less of that. There is a fairly large amount of wet/dry-automation of big reverbs on the ambient piano sounds. Logically enough it's also a lot of heavy filtering and EQ work on the piano-samples. I have also used a lot of volume and filter automation to create different dynamics, fade ins, fade outs etc. For example I've automated the cutoff frequency on the kick and on the ambient soundscape parts.
— How long did the process take?
— I'm not sure exactly for this song alone, but I've worked on and off the album for a year. There have been few concerts and gigs because of covid19, so the album has been a nice "home office"- project. All the sound design took a little extra time and made it take longer to complete the album than I first thought it would.
— Thank you for the interview!