Joined: Aug. 2005
||Posted: Oct. 08 2013, 09:28
|Quote (Craig Evans @ Oct. 07 2013, 13:46)|
|What is your favorite Mike Oldfield synthesizer?|
My favorite Oldfield synthesizer is the Sequential Circuits Prophet 5. The Prophet 5 was a classic analog polyphonic synth which played a big keyboard role on Incantations, Platinum, QE2, Five Miles Out, Crises and even Discovery and The Killing Fields with lots of cool sounds. For example near the end of Incantations Part 3 the Prophet provided Synth horn sounds and in Part 4 it provided a Synth choir and a little later a oboe/violin sound just before "Ode To Cynthia". Throughout the whole of the Platinum, QE2 and Five Miles Out albums the Prophet was used as a string synthesizer with otherworldly sounds also used. A synthesized French horn sound from the Prophet was also used in "Wonderful Land". Throughout all of the Crises title track and all of the Discovery album the Prophet was instead used for more airy sounds with airy sounds also being used in "Evacuation", "Capture" and "Execution" from The Killing Fields. The Prophet 5 was also probably used for the flute sounds in "Mount Teide" and "Good News".
For Mike Oldfield's live work the Prophet 5 was also a major part of Tim Cross's keyboard rack from 1979 through 1982 as well as Graeme Pleeth's keyboard rack in 1983 and Mickey Simmonds's Keyboard rack in 1984.
The Prophet 5 was also used for string and airy sounds on a lot of Oldfield's singles ranging from "Guilty" in 1979 to "Pictures In The Dark" from 1985.
Interesting thread! My favourite synth is the Polymoog synthesiser (Moog 203A) and as it has been used by M.O. a lot it's also my favourite Oldfield synth.
Craig, I absolutely don't want to spoil your enthusiasm about the use of the Prophet 5 and I also don't want to play the smart-ass of course but there are some points in your post I've got to comment. First of all I'm very sure that the Prophet 5 was not used that often on M.O.'s albums and not at all on Incantations; as far as I know the first M.O. album which featured the Prophet was Platinum. I'll have to watch the Exposed DVD again which was recorded 5 months after Incantations came out so the synth setup should be similar. As far as I remember the synth/keys setup didn't include a Prophet - I definitely remember a Yamaha CP70 electric grand, Farfisa Professional Duo organ, Polymoog synthesiser, Roland SH-2000 and ARP 2600 with EMS Universal Sequencer. The latter pair apparently was used only for the sequencing on "Guilty" while Tim Cross played the arpeggios on "Incantations part 1" by hand on the SH-2000 - the only possible way actually as the SH-2000 doesn't have sequencer inputs...
The main polyphonic synths on Incantations were the Polymoog (a good example is the start of part 3) and the Solina String-Ensemble which is also prominently featured. I own them both and know them inside-out, so I can safely confirm this. The monophonic lead lines are most likely from the Roland SH-2000, some others from the ARP 2600. I'm going to listen to Incantations again and write down some timings where these instruments can be "spotted"...
|Throughout the whole of the Platinum, QE2 and Five Miles Out albums the Prophet was used as a string synthesizer with otherworldly sounds also used. |
No, the string synthesiser sounds on M.O.'s albums actually came from two string synthesisers - first the Solina String-Ensemble and from 1980 mainly the Roland Vocoder Plus (VP-330) which is not just a vocoder but also has polyphonic strings and synthesised choir sounds. Wikipedia even claims the "Roland Strings" on Crises are the Roland RS-202 but they are definitely not - the sound of the RS-202 is totally different from the strings on Crises which are actually VP-330.
The Prophet is surely one of the main synths on QE2 (along with the SH-2000, Polymoog and some Yamaha CS-80 maybe), on Five Miles Out many "synth" parts are Fairlight already and on Crises it was only used on the title track according to the gear list but it's unclear where - the horn stabs that start around 3:45 could be the Prophet but most synth parts are actually the Oberheim OB-Xa which had become M.O.'s main 'workhorse synth' by then - see the recently published Crises track sheet). The 1983 live setup on the "Crises at Wembley" DVD is Fairlight, Oberheim OB-Xa and Roland VP-330 - no Prophet unless it's hidden somewhere...
It also seems to be not present on Discovery - the inner sleeve of the LP has a picture of M.O.'s "synth corner" which shows the Oberheim system (OB-Xa, DMX drum machine, DSX sequencer), Fairlight, Roland VP-330 and, strangely, a Fender Rhodes piano. I haven't listened to The Killing Fields for a long time but I seem to remember that apart from orchestra, choir and guitars practically everything on that album is Fairlight. Could you give me the timings where you think the Prophet appears in the tracks you mentioned?
Sorry that this has become such a long post - when it comes to synths, I just can't stop writing! Oh, and I absolutely didn't want to devalue the Prophet, it's one of the greatest synths ever actually!