This improvisation was an attempt to create an atmosphere of mystery and suspense.
At first, it sounds as if I’m using a standard soft string patch, but it’s actually something very different. There are no sustained notes in the piece, accept for the bass line. From beginning to end, I’m playing two-handed arpeggios on a Prophet ’08 patch having a very slow attack, a very long release, and a slow LFO-modulated 2-pole filter sweep that is allowed to overtake the music only when the notes are played more slowly. This, together with the constantly running together of notes, hopefully gives the music a rolling suspenseful quality. Consider listening to it at a low volume level. It adds to the mysteriousness.
Incidentally, for the first 1 1/2 minutes, there is a soft dull distortion. Presumably, this is the P’08’s VCA clicking, due to the long envelope settings and the rapid note-playing. Such are analog synthesizers!
Continuing with the same project, this piece is intended to express a mixture of fear, confusion, and confinement. I must admit that I don’t like the term “dark” and don’t want to devote myself on any level or to any degree to depicting darkness through music. I far prefer the Light. Then again, there are evils in the world that deserve nothing better than that miserable term, for they are, truly, from the darkness.
I’ve chosen the word “macabre” to better describe the present piece. It’s meant to musically depict the combination of an evil deed followed by deep remorse. This is what I find redeeming in the whole project – the twofold affirmation of moral evil and a guilty conscience.
The main patch is played on the Prophet ’08, and consists of a wide slowly twisting pulse width modulation, together with a small amount of slow filter modulation. The combined effect at times sounds like phase shifting; but no, it’s pure synthesizer programming. A second sound is played on another Prophet ’08, and provides only an occasional nerve-racking nasal pitch bend. The improvisation also makes use of the Poly Evolver’s wonderful choir patch, which I’ve tried to use more subtly than overtly.
The improvisation was a challenge to perform, since it required many changes to sounds while being played.
This piece is intended merely to set a subdued atmosphere of wandering melancholy. It was restricted to soft tones primarily in a low register and with slow movement. The Poly Evolver Keyboard offers a soft swirling digital pad, and the Prophet ’08’s provide a string patch and a mellow solo brass tone.
This is a second piece based on the same ideas as #86 below, only using an analog string patch, rather than a digital pad. All the music was played on a single Prophet ’08 Keyboard, supplemented by a P’08 Module. The bass was produced on a second P’08 Module. So, 100% Prophet ’08!
For a particular project, I was asked to create several segments of music, including three approximately ten-minute soft, dark, and somber pieces. This improvisation is the first – a sort of warm-up – and the others will follow, using the same theme and others as well.
Because the patch is dull and slightly caustic, it sounds overly “boomy” when played through mediocre computer speakers. It does sound much cleaner through head phones or decent stereo speakers. Otherwise, it may sound best at a lower volume.
The single patch used in this piece came from the eight-voice Poly Evolver. It was played entirely on the one keyboard; no pedalboard was used for the bass.
This improvisation begins with a gentle digital pad from the Poly Evolver Keyboard that is occasionally broadened into a rather caustic timbre by opening the filter with the modulation wheel. The main melody is played on a Prophet ’08 having a bi-timbral sound; one layer is a dark square tone with a moderately slow attack, and the other is a bright high-pitched percussive tone like that of a triangle instrument. Contrasts often make for fine distinctive layered combinations, but you can easily spend hours searching for the right combinations. The second Prophet ’08 provides a soft square pad. And of course, the conclusion of the piece is played on the classic PWM brass patch of a Prophet ’08 Keyboard coupled with a Prophet ’08 Module. Nothing says “brass” like a P’08.
The music is obviously an undeveloped sketch – just the beginning of a piece of music. But I often use YouTube as a sort of musical notebook for making rough-draft recordings from which more mature pieces can later be developed. So, this is just a crude outline with a few experiments in timbral contrasts.