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Going to the Dark Side with Synthesizer Obsession

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Skully, Jan 17, 2021.

  1. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    One interesting thing I've noted about synth. They are indispensable to EDM and pop music. But the vast majority of that music is harmonically extremely simple. Sometimes it just stays on one chord. I know there is a lot more avant garde stuff out there....but I haven't really found more advanced jazz harmonies in a synth context. Maybe it's because synth sounds are so rich that overlaying sounds with complex chord structures would create too much cacophony? Anyway, it's just a general observation that it seems that the rich sounds of synth tend to lead to relatively simpler harmonic structures. Maybe it's similar to really heavy metal-- the use of "5" chords-- just root and 5th, because if you add a 3rd or 7th it starts to sound muddy when you are that distorted and heavy.

    I've been thinking about how I might put some synth compositions together that are more harmonically complex, more jazzy, but haven't actually done it yet....not sure how it will work out.
     
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  2. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    The Moog Matriarch! :) Too rich for my blood ($2K), unfortunately.

    I looked into the U-He Diva, but I ultimately went with the Arturia V Collection, in part because of the CPU issue, but also because I'm already invested in/familiar with the Arturia ecosystem, and it explicitly emulates a wide variety of vintage synths, graphically as well as sonically, which makes it easier for me to understand. I have U-He's free Tyrell N6 synth, which does some really cool "Blade Runner" sounds.
     
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  3. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    interesting to read the last few posts , DX7 ,DX5, DX9 TX series FM synth were a bugger to program but it opened a new door to access some thing different than additive /subtractive synthesis, for those inclined.

    I always viewed them as an other hammer in the box no different than how i view the Korg Kaosollator , I have maybe 4Terabytes of virtual synths in my computers, everything from the Arturia set, Rob Papen,sample tank (and all of the associated synth , melotron , libraries ) so many I cant count ,MX4, Mach 5, FX7,korg collection ,PPG waveterm, putney VCS3,cube ,atmospheres , spectrasonics set , motu symphonic. tons of NI, massive, and a massive Reason library 500 samples +. and much ,much more it all rocks , but I like off the wall experimentation , always did , Brian Eno had 6 Kaospads all linked together .

    you can take standard libraries and make them your own with a little ingenuity , I have found there are players and there are inovators , anyone can be a well trained monkey and mimick what you hear but with a little imagination you can rise to the top 5% of creative abilities and really do some thing with it.

    JMHO
     
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  4. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    You can do a lot of harmonically complex stuff with arpeggios, if you put in the work, but I'm not sure how good it would sound, 'cause I never get there. When I think about the challenges, my theory-deficient brain starts to hurt, and I say, "Stick to octaves!"

    I made a video for my work -- not a music video -- that I did the music for. I kept the music simple for two reasons. One, I've found that YouTube videos work better with repetitive musical sequences. You don't want a piece of music that takes you all over the map, sonically. Also, I didn't want to create a big challenge for myself. I recorded an acoustic drum and percussion loop with multiple layers, but the synth was a simple one-finger arp sequence. After I published the video, I thought, "Eh... maybe I could've moved my finger to a second or third key. Oh, well."
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
  5. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    I'm more a trained monkey, or perhaps a monkey with no training. But when I built my sex drum kit in the Emulator last night, first I found the drum preset that I thought had the sonic characteristics I wanted, then I replaced the individual sample components with my own, which were sounds I made with my mouth, multi-tracked, then treated with the EQ I'd use for the instruments they were standing in for (e.g., bass drum).
     
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  6. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    thats exactly what I am refering to for thinking out side the box , that is excellant,
    I built a drum patch in Reason then i replaced all the basic drum sounds with samples that i made using the on board sampler and files i created in MX5 so I did 8 bars od drums , 4 bars of smples, 8 bars of drums , 4 bars of samples etc. now these samples were not your average stock library samples but ons I did my self and scaled to the keyboard , very interesting results and I saved it out as a reason file so I can use it at any time .

    for well trained monkeys I was refering to guys who can play anything but have no imagination to create their own footprint , I used to play flute , I had everything Ian anderson did in JT but it taught me to improvise on the fly , a friend of mine was a concert flautist who playing was impecable and clean , she could not play a note with out a score in front of her ( loved her talent, but dislike her creative juices she had none) and that baffled me to no end.

    any body can play almost any song but can they make that song fly with wings? or better yet write a song that breaks the formulas boundaries.

    one time I took a 3 way crossover for a PA , ran my guitar through it and (and this took a while) set each cross over point to a different digital effect , like deep reverb on the high end , repeat delay for the mids , and synth filters for the bottom end, as i played up and down the neck, the efects would change from one effect to the next , intersting experiment.
     
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  7. loopfinding

    loopfinding Friend of Leo's

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    well, that's the thing i guess...

    i would say that the focus of the synths and drum machines in most electronic styles (electronic pop music is just the tip of the electronic music iceberg) is timbral quality or rhythmic patterns instead of harmonic complexity, or writing "songs." in the same way that say, yoruba drumming music is not really about complex harmony or western arrangement structures. i don't think synthesizers are very well geared towards playing traditional western music. but they're perfect at either pointilistic (stockhausen, etc) or minimal (riley, etc) music.

    i think that getting synths to play standard western music is a bit like getting a les paul through a distorted marshall to fit in a dixieland band. i think we kind of banged our heads against the wall enough on that by the 80s, trying to do it for 30 years. on the other hand, when i see synths pop up in something like Nihiloxica, i think that's a match made in heaven:

     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
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  8. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I like it a totally different approach , very cool!
     
  9. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    Niholoxica is more interesting and complex than the Go Hiyama track, so one could ascribe my lukewarm reaction to it to the limitations of my personal taste, which favors brevity and structure.

    Actually, while a Les Paul played through a distorted Marshall wouldn't exactly fit in a Dixieland band, it might bring some anachronistic freshness to that rigid genre. And, as a fan of Wendy Carlos' work, I'd have to say that synths have at times done a decent job of playing traditional Western music. :) But it's nice to have people pushing the boundaries, so the more mainstream-minded folks can come in there and nick the best of their innovations. :D

    Which reminds me... I've been studying Foreigner "4" lately to understand the way they used synths on the album, which were played by Larry Fast and a pre-fame Thomas Dolby. I'm not a huge fan of the band, or even the album (I put it on mostly for "Urgent," "Break It Up," "Juke Box Hero" and "Waiting for a Girl Like You"), but the use of synths is interesting, often very subtle and, dare I say it, innovative. In addition to providing the obvious sonic flourishes, Dolby also doubled a lot of the traditional instruments on synth. It was produced by Mutt Lange, before he went off the deep end with sequencing and recording individual strings in guitar chords.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
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  10. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    well today i figured out the majority of my bugs in my system and brought it to life , everything fired as it should , yesterday i got 30 patch cables so I'm stoked ........
    bigest bugs were the use of wallwarts and getting enough outlets so I to use my switching power units , all done minus the 2 missing euro rack modules

    P1012461.JPG

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    the missing units

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  11. Cadillac_Mike

    Cadillac_Mike Tele-Meister

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    A lot of people don't realize that 75% of synth parts in 80's songs were done on a big ol' analog synth. Listen to how warm and organic they are in the mix, you can't get that with a cold digital keyboard like a DX7...
     
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