The Signs of the Times

“You know then how to read the face of the sky, but cannot read the signs of the times” (Mt. 16:4).

A piece of irreconcilable contrasts: different timbres, different tempos, different key signatures, and different moods. Trouble is coming.

The soft digital pad comes from the Poly Evolver Keyboard, while the reed organ comes from the Prophet ’08. The “zip” effect at the beginning of each P’08 chord is caused by glide.

A note on the Prophet ’08. I’ve read many complaints about the location of the modulation wheels being above the keyboard, rather than in the traditional place to the left of the keyboard. Personally, I find this location to be much more advantageous. It allows you – as I do constantly, including in this piece – to move the wheels while you’re still holding a bass note with your left hand. It enabled me to easily open and close the filter in this little ditty, without interrupting the music or leaving the keyboard. Whereas it’s much more difficult to do this when the wheel is to the far left. Then you have to do it with leaps and bounds of your left hand. Such is the case with the Poly Evolver Keyboard. I much prefer the design of the Prophet ’08.

Youtube especially spoiled the audio quality of this piece. Try listening with head phones.

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 THE MUSICAL SYNTHESIZER, 2020

Improvisation #101 for Poly Evolver Keyboard and Prophet ’08

The Prophet ’08 provides an intermittent soft flute pad and at the end a bright string patch with a slow filter sweep, while the Poly Evolver provides a warm string patch in which the modulation wheel controls the filter dynamics.

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 THE MUSICAL SYNTHESIZER, 2020

An Autumn Walk

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.

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 THE MUSICAL SYNTHESIZER, 2020

Improvisation #100 for Poly Evolver Keyboard and Prophet ’08

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.

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 THE MUSICAL SYNTHESIZER, 2020

+T+


Improvisation #99 for Poly Evolver Keyboard

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.

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 THE MUSICAL SYNTHESIZER, 2020

+T+

Improvisation #98 for Poly Evolver and Prophet ’08

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.

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 THE MUSICAL SYNTHESIZER, 2020

+T+

Happy Birthday, Dave Smith!

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!

Instrumentation:
DSI Poly Evolver Keyboard
DSI Poly Evolver Rack

Bass:
DSI Prophet ’08 Module
Hammond XPK200L Pedalboard

Effects:
Reverb from Lexicon MX300

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

All music property of THE MUSICAL SYNTHESIZER 2020

Icy Ruins

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.

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

Effects:
Reverb from Lexicon MX300

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

All music property of THE MUSICAL SYNTHESIZER 2020

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

Music Now Available

DSCI1102Finally, my newer pieces can now be heard/purchased on iTunes, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Play, Pandora, Deezer, iHeart Radio, Napster, MediaNet, TouchTunes/PlayNetwork, VerveLife, Tidal, Gracenote, Shazam, 7Digital, Slacker, KKBox Music Island, Akazoo, Anghami, Spinlet, Neoritic Media, Yandex, Target Music, ClaroMusica, Zvooq, Saavn, 8tracks, Q.Sic, Kuack, Boomplay Music, and SimfyAfrica.

CDs can be ordered from Amazon on Demand.

https://www.amazon.com/Improvisation-95-Musical-Synthesizer/dp/B07T3ZHJLQ/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=the+musical+synthesizer&qid=1561846246&s=dmusic&sr=1-2