Improvisation #91 for Poly Evolver Keyboard and Prophet ’08

This piece was an experiment with the Poly Evolver’s sawtooth solo patch. I was so pleased with this sound on the Prophet 12 (as in the previous video), and I’ve never been happy with the same sound on the PEK, so I thought I’d make another effort to improve on it. I don’t know if it’s exactly a tie, but it’s at least close. The key apparently is in using four oscillators – rather than the usual two – and panning them in pairs for a stereo effect. So, this is some consolation for ultimately missing out on the P12.

In this improvisation, the Poly Evolvers offer the sawtooth solo and accompanying string patches, while the Prophet ’08 provides a sharply contrasting soft flute patch.

The solo patch is the sort that sounds very simple, but actually requires great precision in a number of areas, including the tuning of the oscillators and the setting of the VCA envelope. It also requires a substantial amount of delay. In the case of this patch, the delay comes from the Evolver itself.

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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

Improvisation #90 for Prophet 12 and Poly Evolver Keyboard

Unfortunately, no, I didn’t buy a Prophet 12! This is a recording I stumbled across from last summer when I borrowed a P12 for a month.

The Prophet 12 first provides a choir-like patch. After almost three minutes, the Poly Evolver Keyboard replaces it with a string sound, and the Prophet 12 comes in with a sawtooth solo patch using the two sets of outputs panned for a rich stereo effect.

Two comments. First, I wasn’t at all satisfied with the P12’s ability to produce a synthesized choir. This was the best I could extract from it. The PEK’s choir patch, which I’ve used in many other recordings on this channel, is far superior to it. Second, however – as if to make up for it – the P12’s sawtooth solo patch was the best I’ve ever heard from a DSI synthesizer. I admit to being shocked that such loveliness could come from digital oscillators. I loved it and only wish I had been able to buy the instrument before it was discontinued. Such is life.

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Instrumentation:
DSI Prophet 12
DSI Poly Evolver Keyboard
DSI Poly Evolver Rack

Bass:
DSI Evolver Desktop
Hammond XPK 200L Pedalboard

External Effects:
Lexicon MX300

Performed and mixed live and recorded directly to a Tascam CD-RW900 Mk II.

Improvisation #89 for Poly Evolver Keyboard

Since my last recording, I’ve made a few changes. I sold one Prophet ’08 Keyboard, the Evolver Desktop, and the Nanoverb 2. From now on, instead of the Evolver, a Prophet ’08 Module will be the sound source for the Hammond pedal board.

I recently bought a Tascam DR-100 MKIII portable digital recorder, which has a substantially better audio quality than the Tascam CD-RW900 Mk II I had been using for the last several years. The new unit is intuitive enough so that even I have been able to use it with little difficulty!  Still, I’m sure I’ll become more proficient with it over time.  This piece is my first posted experiment with it.

My previous recording arrangement left much to be desired. I was especially dissatisfied with the boominess created when soft deep dark tones were used, especially with square waveforms. This simple and slow improvisation was meant merely to test such tones. I believe the new Tascam is a definite improvement, and it opens up the all-important opportunity to reach the audio quality required for serious sites where music is posted and sold.

Last of all, I’ve changed the channel name from “Sacred Synthesis” to “The Musical Synthesizer,” to match the blog.  The old name carried some unwanted associations I wasn’t aware of when I first chose it.

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Instrumentation:
DSI Poly Evolver Keyboard
DSI Poly Evolver Rack

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

Mystery

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!

The piece is all Prophet ’08, from top to bottom.

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

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

Effects:
Lexicon MX300

Performed live and recorded directly to a Tascam CD-RW900 Mk II.

ALL MUSIC PROPERTY OF SACRED SYNTHESIS 2018

Macabre

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.

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Instrumentation:
Sequential/DSI Poly Evolver Keyboard
Sequential/DSI Poly Evolver Rack
Sequential/DSI Prophet ’08 Keyboard (2)
Sequential/DSI Prophet ’08 Module

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

Effects:
Lexicon MX300 for reverb

Performed live and recorded directly to a Tascam CD-RW900 Mk II.

ALL MUSIC PROPERTY OF SACRED SYNTHESIS 2018

Melancholy II

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.

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Instrumentation:
Sequential/DSI Poly Evolver Keyboard
Sequential/DSI Poly Evolver Rack
Sequential/DSI Prophet ’08 Keyboard (2)
Sequential/DSI Prophet ’08 Module

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

Effects:
Lexicon MX300 for reverb

Performed live and recorded directly to a Tascam CD-RW900 Mk II.

ALL MUSIC PROPERTY OF SACRED SYNTHESIS 2018

Improvisation #87 for Prophet ’08

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!

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

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

Effects:
Lexicon MX300 for reverb

Performed live and recorded directly to a Tascam CD-RW900 Mk II.

ALL MUSIC PROPERTY OF SACRED SYNTHESIS 2018

Improvisation #86 for Poly Evolver Keyboard

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.

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Instrumentation:
Sequential/DSI Poly Evolver Keyboard
Sequential/DSI Poly Evolver Rack

Effects:
Lexicon MX300 for reverb

Performed live and recorded directly to a Tascam CD-RW900 Mk II.

ALL MUSIC PROPERTY OF SACRED SYNTHESIS 2018

Improvisation #85 for Poly Evolver Keyboard and Prophet ’08

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.

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Instrumentation:
Sequential/DSI Poly Evolver Keyboard
Sequential/DSI Poly Evolver Rack
Sequential/DSI Prophet ’08 Keyboard (2)
Sequential/DSI Prophet ’08 Module

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

Effects:
Lexicon MX300 for reverb

Performed live and recorded directly to a Tascam CD-RW900 Mk II.

ALL MUSIC PROPERTY OF SACRED SYNTHESIS 2018

Improvisation #84 for Poly Evolver Keyboard and Prophet ’08

This improvisation uses a choir patch from the Poly Evolver Keyboard for both melodic and harmonic applications. It’s an opportunity to hear how well the patch serves for single lines, rather than only the typical immense triads.

The Prophet ’08’s accompany the PEK or play solo, using either a reed organ patch or a bi-timbral patch having a dark flute chorus on one layer and a mixture of swirling shrill tones on the other. The latter layer is processed with an abundance of reverb to soften its shrillness, and to make it sound more dreamy. This is one of the obvious advantages of using the Output B jacks – the layers can be differently panned and processed. In addition, the volume of the mixture layer is altered at the mixer while I play, so that the Layer B increases in volume as the piece progresses.

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

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

Effects:
Lexicon MX300 for reverb

Performed live and recorded directly to a Tascam CD-RW900 Mk II.

ALL MUSIC PROPERTY OF SACRED SYNTHESIS 2018