Improvisation #97 for Poly Evolver and Prophet ’08

The music in this piece was performed almost entirely on the Poly Evolver Keyboards. One provides the main string patch, and the other a soft digital pad. The Prophet ’08 provides the bass (as always), as well as a layered sound effect consisting of filter-modulated white noise that fades and is then slowly replaced by a deep filter-modulated bass sound. The patch sounds especially nice with head phones, because each layer is heard in an opposite channel.  But as for its effectiveness – maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t.

Instrumentation:
DSI Poly Evolver Keyboard (2)
DSI Poly Evolver Rack
DSI Prophet ’08 Keyboard
DSI Prophet ’08 Module

Bass:
DSI Prophet ’08 Module
Hammond XPK 200L Pedal Board

Effects:
Reverb from Lexicon MX300

Performed live and recorded directly to a Tascam DR-100 MKIII Linear PCM Recorder

ALL MUSIC PROPERTY OF SACRED SYNTHESIS 2019

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Improvisation #95 for Poly Evolver and Prophet ’08

The Poly Evolver Keyboards offer choir and string patches, while the Prophet ’08 Keyboard/Module pair provide an occasional flute chorus patch played mostly in the upper register.

The main string patch in this piece is played on the PEK/PER pair. Contrary to its common reputation for making complex and bizarre sounds, the Poly Evolver can make a wonderful string patch – warm, sonorous, and full of character. It also maintains its musicality when the filtered is opened for a bright timbre.

Instrumentation:
DSI Poly Evolver Keyboard (2)
DSI Poly Evolver Rack
DSI Prophet ’08 Keyboard
DSI Prophet ’08 Module

Bass:
DSI Prophet ’08 Module
Hammond XPK 200L Pedal Board

Effects:
Reverb from Lexicon MX300

Performed live and recorded directly to a Tascam DR-100 MKIII Linear PCM Recorder

ALL MUSIC PROPERTY OF SACRED SYNTHESIS 2019

Improvisation #94 for Poly Evolver Keyboard and Prophet ’08

One Poly Evolver provides a gentle and softly sizzling digital pad, while the other offers a solo reed patch. A soft reed organ-type sound is provided by the Prophet ’08 and is used for both melody and harmony.

I tried to blend the first PEK and the P’08 in subtle ways during the main part of the improvisation, using only one or two voices from each so as to have them interweave, compliment, and depend on each other.

Instrumentation:
DSI Poly Evolver Keyboard (2)
DSI Poly Evolver Rack
DSI Prophet ’08 Keyboard
DSI Prophet ’08 Module

Bass:
DSI Prophet ’08 Module
Hammond XPK 200L Pedal Board

Effects:
Reverb from Lexicon MX300

Performed live and recorded directly to a Tascam DR-100 MKIII Linear PCM Recorder

ALL MUSIC PROPERTY OF SACRED SYNTHESIS 2019

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Crescendi #2 for Poly Evolver Keyboard and Prophet ’08

This improvisation was intended to demonstrate one method of creating dramatic crescendi with several synthesizers.

The soft digital pad is provided throughout by the Poly Evolver Keyboard. When the filter is opened, the tone bristles and hisses with digital aliasing. The sound that next rises from this pad is a brassy patch played on the Prophet ’08. Finally, the high point is reached with the strike of a gliding resonant chord on the second Poly Evolver Keyboard.

As easy as the piece was to play on the keyboards, the crescendo effect was a different matter. The holding of one chord, the simultaneous striking of another chord, the waiting until it had peaked, the striking of third chord, the release of the keyboards and pedal at the precise moment, and then the return to the initial soft pad – all without any interruptions of sound, required a couple of days of practice. I like the effect, and it demonstrates what wonderful musical dynamics are possible with a one-man synthesizer ensemble.

For the standards of this day and age, the Poly Evolver Keyboard is undeniably a noisy instrument. It hisses, coughs, and grumbles like an old man eating his dinner. Or else, it rattles and thumps like an old tracker pipe organ or a harpsichord. But that’s just a part of the charm of this synthesizer. It handles like an idiosyncratic acoustic instrument, and a part of its character is derived from its imperfections. I don’t mind these imperfections, even when they noticeably appear in the recordings. If we synthesists require such absolute perfection in our recordings, then we desire something that is plainly inhuman. No thanks. I prefer the character, with all of its earthy humor.

Instrumentation:
DSI Poly Evolver Keyboard
DSI Poly Evolver Rack
DSI Prophet ’08 Keyboard
DSI Prophet ’08 Module

Bass:
DSI Prophet ’08 Module
Hammond XPK 200L Pedal Board

Effects:
Reverb from Lexicon MX300

Performed live and recorded directly to a Tascam DR-100 MKIII Linear PCM Recorder

ALL MUSIC PROPERTY OF SACRED SYNTHESIS 2019

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Improvisation #93 for Poly Evolver Keyboard

This patch shows a bit of the caustic side of the Poly Evolver.  With the filter mostly closed, even the most metallic-sounding digital wave shapes can seem fairly soft and sweet.  But when the filter is opened – regardless of whatever help the analog side might be offering the patch – the Evolver’s famous harshness is undeniable and its reputation is shown to be well-deserved.  I don’t often wander into this sonic range of the instrument, except to create an occasional tragic but text-less tone painting.

The patch makes use of all four oscillators, pulse width modulation, and a slight amount of slow LFO-generated filter modulation which, even in the softer sections, pushes the digital oscillators slightly into their discordant timbre.

The photograph is of the Alcott barn in Concord, Massachusetts, USA.

Instrumentation:
DSI Poly Evolver Keyboard
DSI Poly Evolver Rack

Bass:
DSI Prophet ’08 Module
Hammond XPK 200L Pedal Board

Effects:
Reverb from Lexicon MX300

Performed live and recorded directly to a Tascam DR-100 MKIII Linear PCM Recorder

ALL MUSIC PROPERTY OF SACRED SYNTHESIS 2019

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Prophet ’08 Organ Patch

This piece showcases the Prophet ’08 performing in church organ mode – something it does extremely well.

The music is the accompaniment for the Easter Sequence, a beautiful chant called “Victimae Paschali Laudes,” which is sung before the Gospel at the Easter Vigil.

+T+

Instrumentation:
DSI Prophet ’08 Keyboard
DSI Prophet ’08 Module

Bass:
DSI Evolver Desktop
Hammond XPK 200L Pedal Board

Effects:
Lexicon MX300

Performed live and recorded directly to a Tascam CD-RW900 Mk II.

ALL MUSIC PROPERTY OF SACRED SYNTHESIS 2019

The Soul of the Betrayer

A musical glimpse into the mind of Judas Iscariot the betrayer – erratic, dissonant, tormented, lost.

This improvisation is 100% Evolver.  The nature of the subject demanded a harsh digital waveshape, and so it had to be performed on a Poly Evolver Keyboard.  The main pad uses an envelope having a slow attack and long release.  Nearly the entire piece is played as an elaborate series of steadily moving played arpeggios, with only the highest note sustained.  This is meant to give the music a confused restlessness.  The filter is opened by means of the modulation wheel.

A second Poly Evolver Keyboard is used for the eerie bending note.  A note or chord is sustained on the lower PEK by means of the VCA Level – a tremendously handy parameter for a one-man ensemble.  Meanwhile, on the upper PEK, a single note is held in which the filter is slowly opened and closed by means of keyboard pressure and the pitch is simultaneously bent using the pitch wheel.  At the point at which the filter is fully open, the tone is full of caustic digital aliasing.

+T+

Instrumentation:
DSI Poly Evolver Keyboard (2)
DSI Poly Evolver Rack

Bass:
DSI Evolver Desktop
Hammond XPK 200L Pedalboard

Effects:
Lexicon MX300

Performed live and recorded directly to a Tascam CD-RW900 Mk II.

ALL MUSIC PROPERTY OF SACRED SYNTHESIS 2019

 

Improvisation #91 for Poly Evolver Keyboard and Prophet ’08

This piece was an experiment with the Poly Evolver’s sawtooth solo patch. I was so pleased with this sound on the Prophet 12 (as in the previous video), and I’ve never been happy with the same sound on the PEK, so I thought I’d make another effort to improve on it. I don’t know if it’s exactly a tie, but it’s at least close. The key apparently is in using four oscillators – rather than the usual two – and panning them in pairs for a stereo effect. So, this is some consolation for ultimately missing out on the P12.

In this improvisation, the Poly Evolvers offer the sawtooth solo and accompanying string patches, while the Prophet ’08 provides a sharply contrasting soft flute patch.

The solo patch is the sort that sounds very simple, but actually requires great precision in a number of areas, including the tuning of the oscillators and the setting of the VCA envelope. It also requires a substantial amount of delay. In the case of this patch, the delay comes from the Evolver itself.

+T+

Instrumentation:
DSI Poly Evolver Keyboard
DSI Poly Evolver Rack
DSI Prophet ’08 Keyboard
DSI Prophet ’08 Module

Bass:
DSI Prophet ’08 Module
Hammond XPK 200L Pedal Board

Effects:
Reverb from Lexicon MX300

Performed live and recorded directly to a Tascam DR-100 MKIII Linear PCM Recorder

ALL MUSIC PROPERTY OF SACRED SYNTHESIS 2019

Improvisation #90 for Prophet 12 and Poly Evolver Keyboard

Unfortunately, no, I didn’t buy a Prophet 12! This is a recording I stumbled across from last summer when I borrowed a P12 for a month.

The Prophet 12 first provides a choir-like patch. After almost three minutes, the Poly Evolver Keyboard replaces it with a string sound, and the Prophet 12 comes in with a sawtooth solo patch using the two sets of outputs panned for a rich stereo effect.

Two comments. First, I wasn’t at all satisfied with the P12’s ability to produce a synthesized choir. This was the best I could extract from it. The PEK’s choir patch, which I’ve used in many other recordings on this channel, is far superior to it. Second, however – as if to make up for it – the P12’s sawtooth solo patch was the best I’ve ever heard from a DSI synthesizer. I admit to being shocked that such loveliness could come from digital oscillators. I loved it and only wish I had been able to buy the instrument before it was discontinued. Such is life.

+T+

Instrumentation:
DSI Prophet 12
DSI Poly Evolver Keyboard
DSI Poly Evolver Rack

Bass:
DSI Evolver Desktop
Hammond XPK 200L Pedalboard

External Effects:
Lexicon MX300

Performed and mixed live and recorded directly to a Tascam CD-RW900 Mk II.