I have been playing with a Synclavier Regen for a little over two weeks now. I posted two quick bits of music using sounds I created on it over a period of about a week. Anyway, I am ready to give my first impressions of this impressive instrument.
I am going to divide this post into three main parts. The first will be a bit of history, the second a very quick description of the synth engine, and the last will be my impressions. At the bottom, perhaps a fourth section, I will put some recordings, starting with the first two I made, but others may be added later.
Oh, and here is one now, which will also be at the bottom. It is an atmospheric song. You can listen while you read the rest of the post.
Over the weekend I wrote and posted a new song (what’s new ;) ). I pretty much improvised a few lyrics in the middle section (more about it later), but I don’t think my singing is as cringe worthy as some I’ve posted… Anyway, without further ado:
The story for this is that I was playing with a few string synth sounds. Yes, I love string synth sounds and have “collected” quite a few. I had three new ones I wanted to test in a real world setting out of this world/spacey, Pink Floyd influenced soundscape. The first sound you hear, which is also the “stabs” in the center section, is an attempt to get real close to 1970’s String Synths. The second sound, I just called “Shimmers”, and you should hear those little shimmering tones through the long held chords. The third, which I have used in a recording once before, is a sound influenced by something I heard from an Oberheim OB-Xa. I use it here mostly to thicken the sound. OK, at one point I didn’t think it was thick enough, so I added a “big organ’s bass pedal” sound – I think you can hear the rumble at about 45 seconds in when it enters.
This is music from my “Contemporary Classical” period and…
Wait, stay! No, really, this is not boring!! (I hope…)
Years ago I composed 24 piano preludes, one in each major and minor key, as is usual with such things.
I used the preludes as a kind of music lab where I could experiment with different ideas and techniques. In some ways this created a wide variety of different pieces.
But I had another idea – From the beginning I tried to make the preludes interconnect. Think of it, a prelude is supposed to lead into to something, like a fugue (Bach’s Preludes and Fugues being the best example). So I decided to have a prelude introduce the next prelude in the series. Sometimes the new one would even start with the main motif of the last!
The Poly D is a minimoog clone. Sort of. It has a few tricks up its sleeve, like letting you play more than one note at a time.
The bit of music features some of those things that differentiate the Poly D from the real Mini. For instance, it has three different “polyphonic” (actually paraphonic, but they can’t call it a Para-D 😉😎) sounds and uses both of the on-board choruses. i also did some percussion sounds, which I have rarely done with this synth, just as part of the demo. It is a bit muddy, but I think you can hear at least a few of the sounds…
About three weeks ago I posted a new video. I hated my voice on it, so I decided to do an all instrumental version. Well, I’ve been thinking about it and decided to rerecord the vocals. The results are more in tune (good!), but I am not sure if my voice is better…. Of course, being in tune helps a lot ;)
Lyrics are on video and also original post. Tech details on original post except the added organ is the Rev 2.
OK, a little info about the changes.
I practiced it a little, which I didn’t do before. Part of it is memorizing the words. I still held the lyrics in my hand (you can hear them rustling in a few places…), but I didn’t have to concentrate on the words as much. I also practiced hitting the right notes. Sounds obvious, but if it is brand new, you are reading the words, etc., well… I played around with interpretation, but when I recorded I found that if I didn’t put 100% into singing in tune, I was just as bad as the original version.
I also added a vocal harmony line on the chorus. It isn’t perfect, but I like it :)
I also added an organ part to the chorus the second and third time through, and another organ part just the third time – that makes the chorus grow each time. To me it makes the entire song less static.
One problem is that I didn’t spend a lot of time on the levels and mix, so there are a few mix issues with that fuller third chorus :( (Technical part – to avoid bad distortion, compressor and limiter change volume, which causes “pumping” in the volume.) But I noticed after I posted the video, so… There are a few places where the vocal was over-recorded, so a little distortion there. Overall, though, I think it is much better. (Singing in tune helps 😉 )
Anyway, I do hope this is better than the original vocal version and even better than the instrumental version.
The other day I posted a video of an orchestrated Art Song/Lieder from the period when I was composing contemporary classical music. I actually did two posts on this before (see here for the one with the most details). Don’t let “classical”, “art song” or Trent’s awful voice drive you away – take listen:
One year I saw far more Black-eyed Susans (flowers) than ever – they were everywhere. Until I went Northern Maine for a week. When I returned, there were no more flowers. A little later, when hiking, I saw some remnants. I wrote this song based on that.
I recorded a new song the other day and put up a video. I think the animation I made for it is pretty cool – watch for the animation! Anyway, it is only two minutes long and I do not sing. Yea, no awful voice! So here it is, just a quick ditty:
I was playing around with my music gear on Friday. At one point I decided to try to recreate a bass sound similar to the Arp Odyssey bass sounds that I like on my Prophet Rev 2. Listen to the beginning of the video in my review of the Korg version of the Odyssey to hear what I am talking about. Anyway, I came up with a sound I like, then changed it ;) Playing with my new sound, I soon had a little bass line that I liked. I decided to record it so I could figure out something to play with it.
I mentioned in my coffee share that I wrote and recorded a new song last week. So, here it is!
Well, in just a minute. First, I did a vocal version and hate my voice so I did an instrumental version as well. I left the lyrics up in the instrumental version, so you can see what should have been said. So I will post both before going and farther:
Version with my voice (note – this is a newer version, slightly better, but…):
Hello and Welcome! Come on in and I’ll get you a large mug of super strong Dark Roast, a cuppa tea, some hot cocoa or other beverage. It will be a nice day out there, at least relatively speaking. The ground has a deep snow blanket that is getting a bit crunch on the surface and the thawing/freezing snow is causing ice patches, but still, a beautiful day is a beautiful day. Oh, where are we? Some of you may recognize the photo at the top as being from New Hampshire.
I didn’t post last weekend because i was in Ohio visiting family. My dad turns 90 at the end of the month so we had a surprise birthday party. Pretty much everyone (minus two spouses) was able to make it.
That is my father in the photo above. Here is my mom – the photo that got more likes on FaceBook than any other five combined ;)
I just posted a new video. Yeah, after several months of nothing I am doing a new one every two weeks or so… This one is in ways an extended synth solo, similar to For Her Heartbreak (see blog post here). Anyway, here is the video so you can listen while I talk about it:
Similar to the recent The New Year’s Song *, I was playing with the acoustic percussion instruments, my new cajon, tambourine and cabasa. I also put in an electronic drum sound from my Prophet Rev 2. Most of the sounds on this are the Rev 2 except those percussion instruments I mentioned and the solo. I used the minimoog clone, the Behringer Poly-D for the solo.
(*Note about This compared to The New Year’s Song – TNYS is a real song with what I think is a catchy melody. This is a quick jam.)
Two of the photos of Tiberius on my mixer (one also used at top of page) are new and he is on my new mixer while the photo at the end is over a year old and he is on my old mixer. He does look more like a kitten in that old photo! And he no longer wears a collar.