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

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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

 

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.

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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