Just a dreamy improvisation that recalls an easy saunter through the woods towards the end of the fall foliage season. I love the bright autumn colors in New England, but I love even more the weeks after the leaves have turned pale or fallen, yet before the first snow. There is no quieter time for a hike, since all the leaf-peepers have returned to their cities and their busy lives, abandoning the woods to those of us who never leave them.
My wife took this picture, unknown to me, after we had spent a lovely Sunday afternoon by a swamp. Yes – Sunday by a swamp. I sure know how to show a girl a good time!
This piece makes use of similar patches on the Prophet ’08 and Poly Evolver Keyboard. The improvisation begins with a bi-timbral sound on the former and then changes to a swirling digital sound on the latter, and so forth throughout the music. The piece consists mostly of descending parallel thirds and sixths, which represent the falling leaves. At the end, both patches are combined for the chord progressions.
This improvisation is an experiment with a patch that appears only at the end of the piece. It uses two different digital sounds from the Poly Evolver Keyboard, and a third sliding string sound from the Prophet ’08. The latter patch has a wonderful effect, but it’s quite clumsy to use.
There are so many fabulous new synthesizers available theses days; and yet, here I am still twiddling around with my old Poly Evolver Keyboard. Well, it makes perfect sense, because the PEK is still an astoundingly beautiful sounding synthesizer that holds up beside the latest and greatest new instruments.
The pad in this piece is made on the Poly Evolver Keyboard/Rack combination, and the dynamics are controlled by the modulation wheel. Although during the darker portions of the music the patch is quite warm and analog-ish, there are actually two higher-pitched digital wave shapes that are heard when the filter is opened . The bass is provided by the Prophet ’08 and played on the pedal board as usual.
I’m operating at a musical minimum these days, having sold a Prophet ’08 Keyboard and a Poly Evolver Keyboard. Hence, the lack of new pieces. I’m hoping to build up the set up again, but for obvious reasons, the synthesizer world has been moving slower than normal.
Anyway, here’s a slow dreamy piece to accompany the misty mountains. The main patch was made on the Poly Evolver Keyboard. The Prophet ’08 Keyboard was used only for the white noise/bass sound effect, which is a single patch, and which I’ve used before. But in this improvisation, I wanted to bring the sound to the fore.
This week was Dave Smith’s seventieth birthday. Dave is the genius behind DSI/Sequential. His Prophet ’08 single-handedly encouraged me to get back into synthesis in the significant year of 2008. Therefore, I thought I’d make a humorously solemn version of “Happy Birthday” for him, as a tribute to a man who’s talent and work I profoundly respect. The melody is has been rhythmically augmented and arranged in a minor key. Thank you, Dave!
While recently hiking, I discovered these ruins – presumably of an old mill – and I immediately imagined the sort of music that might suit them. This simple little piece is the result. Every sound, note, chord, and effect (except for reverb) is pure Prophet ’08. In spite of its having now taken a humble second place behind the Rev2, I’m still discovering the power and majesty of this little masterpiece of an instrument. As long as I work hard at the musical composition, performance, and sound design, it never disappoints me. It seems to speak with my own native musical accent.
The patch is complex and requires the tweaking of five parameters during the performance. It consists of a layered four-voice sound employing eight oscillators of pulse width modulation, two octave tunings, filter modulation by wheel and lfo using two different waveforms, audio modulation, at times resonance, and both 2 and 4-pole filter settings. The sample and hold effect represents falling rocks.
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.
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.
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.