Improvisation #109: Prophet ’08 Organ Patch

You can purchase some of my material on Bandcamp:
https://themusicalsynthesizer.bandcamp.com/

This patch from the Prophet ’08 isn’t intended to perfectly emulate an actual pipe organ, but only to resemble one. As different as it is, the patch allows me to play liturgical organ music, or an improvised prelude type piece such as this one. I’ve always thought the P’08 served superbly well as a substitute for a true organ.

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

Bass:
DSI Prophet ’08 Module
Hammond XPK 200L Pedalboard

Effects:
Reverb from Lexicon MX 300

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

All music property of THE MUSICAL SYNTHESIZER, 2022

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Improvisation #108 for Poly Evolver Keyboard and Prophet ’08

You can purchase some of my material on Bandcamp:
https://themusicalsynthesizer.bandcamp.com/

This piece is a more expansive improvisation from the previous session and follows some of the same musical ideas. The Prophet ’08 pair provide a flute chorus type patch, with the pulse slightly off from a strict square position and slightly modulated. The Poly Evolver provides the string patch. Oh yes, there are bass pedals used this time. There must be bass pedals!

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

Bass: Hammond XPK 200L Pedalboard
DSI Prophet ’08 Module

Effects: Reverb from Lexicon MX 300

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

All music property of The Musical Synthesizer, 2022.

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Improvisation #107: Prophet ’08 String Patch

You can purchase some of my material on Bandcamp:
https://themusicalsynthesizer.bandcamp.com/

A lethargic piece using a dark warm string patch from the Prophet ’08. No pedals, but only a single keyboard.

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

Effects:
Reverb from Lexicon MX 300

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

All music property of THE MUSICAL SYNTHESIZER, 2022

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What Child Is This?

You can purchase some of my material on Bandcamp:
https://themusicalsynthesizer.bandcamp.com/

I seem to record this composition every few years – whenever I have some new equipment. Well, this year I’ve got a new recorder and two new Odysseys, so I’ve definitely got an excuse to record it yet again. And the main reason is that I think the tone of the Odysseys is sweet and lovely and does improve on the older rendition of this piece.

This is a fairly easy piece to play, but there are quite a few buttons, switches, and sliders to adjust as I’m playing. Now I’m really paying the price of using non-programmable synthesizers! Meanwhile, keeping those left-hand arpeggios moving smoothly and evenly is nearly impossible. So, I’m aware of the occasional unevenness.

The organ arpeggios are played on the Poly Evolver Keyboard, the sawtooth and square solo patches are played on the Odysseys controlled by the Prophet ’08 keyboard, and the ending strings come from the P’08s.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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

Bass:
Hammond XPK 200L Pedalboard
DSI Prophet ’08 Module

Effects:
Reverb from Lexicon MX 300
Delay from Zoom MS-70CDR

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

All music property of THE MUSICAL SYNTHESIZER, 2021

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Improvisation #106 for Poly Evolver Keyboard

You can purchase some of my material on Bandcamp:
https://themusicalsynthesizer.bandcamp.com/

The patch used in this experimental improvisation consists of a string type sound with a slow attack and a long release. In addition, an LFO slowly and deeply modulates the filter cutoff frequency. This means that playing the notes quickly will trigger notes at their darkest filter setting, but playing them slower will allow the LFO to open the filter. Hence, simply by means of keyboard technique, you can control the filter. This, together with a touch of a modulation wheel, controls the dynamics of the piece.

The music sounds unsteady because, rather than playing sustained chords, I’m actually playing non-stop arpeggios throughout. With the exception of the occasional melodies, the piece consists of constant sixteenth notes.

I’ve used a patch almost identical to this on the Prophet ’08, but today I decided to try it on the PEK. Personally, I think the P’08 version is better, but maybe I still need to refine the PEK version.

Instrumentation:
DSI Poly Evolver Keyboard
DSI Poly Evolver Rack

Bass:
Hammond XPK 200L Pedalboard
DSI Prophet ’08 Module

Effects:
Reverb from Lexicon MX 300

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

All music property of THE MUSICAL SYNTHESIZER, 2021

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Musical Imperfections

I’ve always considered a musical mistake to be the most dreaded thing – the scourge of any performance. That’s a difficult standard for someone like myself of only moderate playing ability. Regardless, in the past I would throw out or erase any piece of recorded music that bore the unpardonable sin of even a single erroneous note. Well, that attitude has changed, to the point that I now find a minor mistake a pleasant thing, a comforting signature of warm breathing humanity.

Modern music – especially of the synthesizer genre – is exceedingly robotic in its technical precision because it is robotic in the literal sense. Most often, at least some aspect of a piece or song is triggered with an inhuman precision by a sequencer, looper, or drum machine. This pushes “perfection” in a cold and dispassionate direction, one which seems especially misplaced in music.

Yes, classical musicians will exhaust themselves with endless hours of practicing, in striving to “perfect” a performance. But the result is still only a relative perfection that is in no way perfunctory or mechanical. It still will breathe with such elements as rubato, accent, dynamics, and other spontaneous aspects of interpretation. But machines can’t interpret; as mere inanimate objects, they lack nuances, unless those nuances are pre-programmed. And a pre-programmed nuance is just that.

Like every other serious musician, I practice in order to avoid making mistakes in a performance or recording. But here and there, a tiny little imperfection appears. It might be a slightly delayed key strike, or a subtle wrong note that could be excused, say, as a grace note. My point is, in my own music or someone else’s, if the imperfection is slight enough, it now has the appeal of evidence that such music was made by a human being – a warm, breathing, thinking, feeling, loving, and most imperfect human being. And I really like the charm of that evidence. I despise the perfections of machines and computers, the exacting rhythms and note strikes, the flawless scales and arpeggios. I prefer music that breaths with a familiar and forgivable humanity; that is, a sentient musician whose very minor errors warm the cockles of my heart.

You can purchase some of my material on Bandcamp:
https://themusicalsynthesizer.bandcamp.com/

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Improvisation #105 for Poly Evolver Keyboard and Korg ARP Odysseys

You can purchase some of my material on Bandcamp:
https://themusicalsynthesizer.bandcamp.com/

I don’t normally post two samples from the same session, but this is an exception. This second piece is darker and more tragic than the previous one, and has a different EQ, which makes it substantially mellower. Hence, the very different photograph.

Again, the Poly Evolver provides a string patch with an LFO-swept filter in the 2-pole setting with high resonance. Two Korg ARP Odyssey Modules, controlled by a DSI Prophet ’08 Keyboard, provide a sawtooth solo patch.

Instrumentation:
DSI Poly Evolver Keyboard
DSI Poly Evolver Rack Korg ARP Odyssey Module (2) controlled by a DSI Prophet ’08 Keyboard

Bass:
Hammond XPK 200L Pedalboard controlling a DSI Prophet ’08 Module

Effects:
Reverb from Lexicon MX 300
Delay from Zoom MS-70CDR

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

All music property of THE MUSICAL SYNTHESIZER, 2021

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Improvisation #104 for Poly Evolver Keyboard and Korg ARP Odysseys

You can purchase some of my material on Bandcamp:
https://themusicalsynthesizer.bandcamp.com/

The Poly Evolver provides a string patch with an LFO-swept filter in the 2-pole setting with high resonance. Two Korg ARP Odyssey Modules, controlled by a DSI Prophet ’08 Keyboard, provide a sawtooth solo patch.

Instrumentation:

DSI Poly Evolver Keyboard
DSI Poly Evolver Rack
Korg ARP Odyssey Modules (2) controlled by a DSI Prophet ’08 Keyboard

Bass:
Hammond XPK 200L Pedalboard controlling a DSI Prophet ’08 Module

Effects:
Reverb from Lexicon MX 300
Delay from Zoom MS-70CDR

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

All music property of THE MUSICAL SYNTHESIZER, 2021

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Improvisation #103 for Poly Evolver Keyboard and Prophet ’08

Two starkly contrasting patches. The Prophet ’08 opens the piece and plays the theme with a heavy string patch, using the 2-pole filter, lots of resonance, and the usual heaving modulation. Parallel fifths give a somewhat ancient character to the music.

The Poly Evolver Keyboard fills the interior space with a complex patch I call “Vector.” It’s an admittedly poor imitation of the old Prophet VS with its vector synthesis. Since the PEK does not have a joystick, I’ve imitated one by modulating the volume of several digital waveshapes, so that they rock back and forth, constantly changing the timbre, overtones, octave pitch, and volume of the patch. These musical sections are full of unsettling augmented fifths.

Instrumentation:

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

Bass:
Hammond XPK 200L Pedalboard
DSI Prophet ’08 Module

Effects:
Reverb from Lexicon MX 300

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

All music property of THE MUSICAL SYNTHESIZER, 2021

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