Stacked Polysynths Part 2

Here’s the second in a series of stacked polyphonic synthesizer experiments. Once again I used the Roland D-50 and the Roland MKS-80. The percussive sound that fades in and out was made by by the D-50, and the evolving synth texture came from the Super Jupiter while manipulating parameters with the Bitstream 3X. My goal is to eventually have control over D-50 with the BS3X as well.

Stacked Polys Part 2

14 thoughts on “Stacked Polysynths Part 2

  1. This is very Tangerine Dream, but with the glassiness of the D50 rather than a dry growl of a huge modular. Personally I go out of my way to get rid of that glassiness and try to make it as ugly as I can. That’s me and my filthy aesthetic, though.

  2. I’m down with the filthy aesthetic. Combining 80s analog and digital synthesis may seem to be an odd paring by today’s trends, but certainly not unheard of. Would you agree?

  3. I would definitely agree — weird juxtapositions are one of my favorite things in life.

    Incidentally, I’m in the throes of writing a paper on the D50’s interface and how it could have been improved, (pretending that the PG-1000 programmer never existed.

  4. Seriously? I would be interested in reading that paper. And, most likely, agreeing with your premises. If I only had a PG-1000… I will make the bs3x assume the role.

  5. I’ll email you a copy after I turn it in tomorrow.
    The only thing I’ve ever owned that was more difficult to program was a Roland S-330 sampler. It’s virtually impossible without a dedicated CRT and even then it…it made me mad.
    Actually anything from that era was more about out-of-the-box playability than programming ease. The revolt came in the mid-nineties with the JD-800 and the later JP-8000. The JP-8000 makes me drool.

  6. Yep.

    “By the early 90s, sampling overshadowed synthesis. Many chose, and still choose, to use samplers to play analog and acoustic sounds rather than lug the instruments themselves. These are often choices of convenience rather than an aesthetic decision. I became, as many of us did, frustrated by these “slabs”; featureless keyboards with hundreds of presets, but only programmable through a two inch wide LCD and minimal set of cold buttons.”

    That. That was by far, the predominant trend at the time — especially with the glut of sample-playback “synthesizers”, of which the D-50 was at least half-part of with its PCM portion. For me, synthesizers have never been about emulation. I like sounds that don’t sound like I should be lugging around a real instrument. I like sounds that sound like a fairy’s dark side or some unexplainable smell in your bedroom at 3AM.

    Perhaps ironically, the other “synthesizer” I spent hours programming was a Korg M1. As you know, it was a trendy sample playback machine, but with enough internal tomfoolery to completely destroy any notion of what the original sound was and turn it into something very different. But again, to program it out of its presets was a nightmare. I can send you samples of some of the sounds that my partner and I came up with back in ’92 or so.

    I appreciate simplicity, but revel in complexity as long as the complexity is in the resultant sounds and not in the programming. :D

  7. Please do post links to your sounds in the comments. I’d love to hear them. I’m also in the camp of sounds-that-you-have-never-heard, but often juxtaposed with familiar yet still distinct elements. Something tonal paired with something atonal or an accidentally discovered glitch.

  8. Hmmm…do I need a WordPress account to upload snippets or should I put a sample track together and upload it to Soundcloud and post the link?

  9. Alrighty then, let’s give this a whirl. I am aware that the sound quality of some of these is absolutely atrocious.

    These are excerpts, approximately 1:00 in length or so.

    In This Land of Rain Early Sample Platter by In This Land of Rain

    1) Song: This Other — 12/23/92.
    The harsh opening is a trumpet ROM sample in the M1 run through its internal chorus if I recall. I didn’t write this particular patch or play it. The quieter section is D-50 with my vox.
    2) Song: Alighieri’s Summer — ’90? ’91?
    All D-50. Didn’t write the patch or play it but sang elsewhere in the song. This was our earliest ‘definitive’ songs.
    3) Song: Thief Circus — ’92? ’93?
    All M1 — One of my prouder patch writing moments. Song composed and played by then partner, Rich Howard.
    4) Song: Acrylic — 12/23/92
    D-50 playing the melody, M1 providing the “hot air balloon” sounds. I wrote the D-50 patch and played it. One of the few of ‘my’ songs that made it to demo stage.
    5) Song: Rue — ’93
    Section with vox is D-50 recorded horribly — this is a very dynamic patch that I wrote and played. The tail end is Ensoniq EPS 16+ with me playing a sample from Genesis’ Fountain of Salmacis.

    My more recent stuff and some older material can be found at:

    Can you say “shameless self-promotion” on someone else’s blog? Sure you can.

  10. Hey Tony. Thanks for sharing! I modified your comment to include the soundcloud embed code so I could listen and read simultaneously. Sounds cool. Nice, dark and ominous stuff. Reminds me of a band or two I was in during the mid ’90s. ;)

  11. Ya, I’m just barely starting to learn coding.

    I’d be interested in hearing a “band or two” you were in. :)

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