This is the fifth part in a small series of blog posts I’ll make about the real-world differences between orchestral mockups (or synth orchestras) versus real orchestras. As a composer who is fortunate to work regularly with live orchestras, I’ll try to help show the difference from a decent demo recording, to a mixed and mastered finished recording.
For this example, I’ve chosen an exciting track from my album “Resonance Theory” called “Takedown”. It’s a no-holds-barred action trailer piece, with extreme amounts of energy, rises and synth work. Still, a huge role for orchestra and very demanding on the players. This is one section I knew no samples could never play…as they don’t exist!
My rules for this piece were to compose, arrange, and produce music in real-time (edited for length, but no overdubbing) using only the three instruments discussed. The track starts with a sequence I programmed into the Moog Sub 37. Next an arpeggio is introduced from the Elektron Analog Four (A4). Soon afterward we hear the high hats from the DSI Tempest and a long sustained melodic chord progression also from the A4. Finally the rest of the percussion is supplied by the Tempest along with a bass line. From there on out it’s a matter arranging the existing parts (muting and un-muting) with a little real-time knob tweaking.
What makes this piece different for me was sending the output of the Tempest into the A4’s external inputs. This allows for processing external signals through the reverb and delay built into the A4. So when performing a roll on the Tempest, for example, I can turn up the reverb or delay on the A4 external input to add some additional character to the sound. This is going to be really nice for upcoming performances. Since the A4 has two inputs I may just run sends into each then apply reverb to one and the delay (perhaps with a touch or chorus) to the other. This would give me a reverb and delay send for everything plugged into the mixer. Expect to hear more experiments exploiting these and other techniques in upcoming posts.
This is the fourth part in a small series of blog posts I’ll make about the real-world differences between orchestral mockups (or synth orchestras) versus real orchestras. As a composer who is fortunate to work regularly with live orchestras, I’ll try to help show the difference from a decent demo recording, to a mixed and mastered finished recording. For this example, I’ve chosen an exciting track from my album “Resonance Theory” called “Speed”. The sixteen-strong cello & bass section hated me after this, and you’ll see why!
Moog Music has just posted a beautifully produced new video exploring the modulation and sequencing functionality of the Moog Sub 37. Last weekend I did some exploration of my own into modulating the self oscillating filter while driving it through the feedback circuit. Here’s a snippet from the sounds that happened during that experiment. All the sound is from the self oscillating filter. I used exactly none of the three oscillators (OSC1, OSC2, Sub OSC) on the instrument. It’s also running through the Memory Man Delay.
WARNING: The following track contains extremely high and low frequencies. Please start with low volume levels.
You may have noticed that my contributions to ACB have been sparse as of late, so I really appreciate Tom Player’s fascinating articles comparing electronic orchestration to the real thing. I have been busy teaching interactive media at two institutions and just finished an artist residency at Metropolitan State University working with students in the Experimental Music and Intermedia Arts program headed by professor David Means (I’ll be sharing more about that later).
In addition to teaching and other academics I have performing regularly and maintaining a studio practice when my schedule allows. Recently this involved the addition of two new instruments: the Moog Sub 37 and the Elektron Analog Four (A4). The Sub 37 arrived back in September and the A4 in November.
This weekend I had a couple of hours to interface these new additions with my DSI Tempest analog drum machine. These three instruments seem to complement each other really well. The Tempest is gritty and a little unpredictable, the Sub 37 is instantly gratifying and expressive, while the A4 is precise, clean, and technical. Here’s an excerpt from one of my experiments last weekend.