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Topic: Mike's Synth Timeline< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
Korgscrew Offline




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Posted: Jan. 13 2014, 05:45

Quote (larstangmark @ Dec. 28 2013, 22:11)
I listened again to the whole part where there proposed sequencer pattern is played, and there is some sort of irregularity to the way the notes are played

There is! Which is one of the things had always led me to assume they weren't sequenced synths...

I've always assumed those were distorted guitars recorded at half speed, the impression of a kind of glissando being from some of the notes hammered on. I was going to do some more close listening at different speeds to try and find something to support that idea, but then I was leafing through Changeling and found the Ommadawn Part One track sheet!

It's a few seconds out (I suspect there might be a very tiny difference in speed between Mike's multitrack and the final released version...there's a geeky thing to try, compare the speed of different Ommadawn releases), but you can follow it along fairly easily. When we get to the part in question, we've got African drums, pan pipes, marimbas, synth strings, harmony voices, Clodagh's voice...and double speed guitars on tracks 3 and 4.

Mystery solved!
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Priabonia Offline




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Posted: Jan. 13 2014, 14:56

>>> Mystery solved!

<narrows eyes> Not so fast, my friend... :cool:

I am far from convinced the sequence is played on a double speed guitar...see here:

https://soundcloud.com/tubular....lf-tape

(filtered and unfiltered versions)

...where I have taken the section with the "gliss" and slowed it down tape style (i.e. both speed and pitch) to get back to what the original might have sounded like. Guitar? I don't think so. My gut feeling is that the "whoop" sound at 15'21" on the album and in the middle of each loop on my soundfiles (there are 3 loops of the same section) is some sort of artifact of the synth used...note it only happens when the key of the arpeggio changes?

The "double speed guitar" reference in the track sheet [see below] *may* (?) refer to the immediately preceding section...have a listen here:

https://soundcloud.com/tubular-net-reference/ommadawn-double-speed-gtr

BTW, I only have a Kindle/ebook version of Changeling, no pictures in mine, so I don't have an Ommadawn track sheet. is there an image online anywhere, or can some kind soul send me one?


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Korgscrew Offline




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Posted: Jan. 13 2014, 19:06

Quote (Priabonia @ Jan. 13 2014, 18:56)
Guitar? I don't think so.

I do :p

It's slightly stepped - he's sliding up two frets. The most sensible way to play that F# followed by the C# in that F#m pattern is to keep the third finger down on the 11th fret ready to ascend the arpeggio again, meaning when you want to rise up to the G#m pattern two frets up, there's the temptation to slide that first note up with it. You can hear him play one of his little grace notes on the way back down the pattern as well - rather than going straight through F# A C# D C# etc, he hits the D then pulls off, again leading to a little slightly stepped wobble.

As you can maybe tell from that, I've been having a go at it myself...I'll post an example once I've got the sound nailed a bit better, but the whole articulation of that part comes across as very guitar-like to me and that seems to be borne out in my own experiments here. There seem to be a lot of irregularities in it, both in articulation and in volume. The sound of it would seem to be in line with something like William Tell Overture, where he goes for a more softened attack (though I still hear a bit of a pick attack on there).

I'll try and get you some kind of copy of the track sheet tomorrow, there's really no mistaking it for any other part. It's a block across two tracks from 14:24 until 17:34, then again from 18:04 until 18:29, which corresponds pretty darned perfectly with the appearance and disappearance of the part in question. It's captioned as being "The finished tracksheet of part one Ommadawn" which does appear to be the case - I've not checked it through 100% with the album (there's another geeky project to try...) but I'm not seeing anything there to suggest it's for a different version of Ommadawn.

I can of course always try asking someone like Torsten who's worked alongside Mike on remixing that very bit of Ommadawn, but for me the evidence points very strongly towards the track sheet being correct.
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Priabonia Offline




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Posted: Jan. 14 2014, 07:17

Gosh this is getting splendidly geeky isn't it!!

I may well be guilty of hearing what I want to hear, and clearly if we can get the answer from the original masters and it turns out to be a guitar, then I hereby promise to write out "I am a cloth-eared nincompoop" 100 times in crayon...

...however, until then I am far from convinced.


>>> It's slightly stepped - he's sliding up two frets. The most sensible way to play that F# followed by the C# in that F#m pattern is to keep the third finger down on the 11th fret ready to ascend the arpeggio again, meaning when you want to rise up to the G#m pattern two frets up, there's the temptation to slide that first note up with it.

Surely if this was being played half speed he would be somewhere down near the 4th fret?? Also, (as I am sure you know but others may not) a slide on a guitar is actually a very quick step in semitones, not a true "glide" (which is what I can hear on the arpeggio).


>>> You can hear him play one of his little grace notes on the way back down the pattern as well - rather than going straight through F# A C# D C# etc, he hits the D then pulls off, again leading to a little slightly stepped wobble.

Where is this bit?


>>> the whole articulation of that part comes across as very guitar-like to me

Whereas for me quite the opposite, sounds just like a sequenced synth to me (but then see above re cloth ears...).


>>> I'll try and get you some kind of copy of the track sheet tomorrow, there's really no mistaking it for any other part. It's a block across two tracks from 14:24 until 17:34, then again from 18:04 until 18:29, which corresponds pretty darned perfectly with the appearance and disappearance of the part in question.

Thanks, appreciated, and I agree that is fairly strong evidence.


>>> I can of course always try asking someone like Torsten who's worked alongside Mike on remixing that very bit of Ommadawn,

That would be ideal, maybe even get him to send us a copy of the audio file!!


BTW I can't get the formatting to work on this post, am I missing something here?!


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Priabonia Offline




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Posted: Jan. 14 2014, 12:29

...actually scratch the bit about the guitar frets...I was too lazy to pick up my guitar to check, but now I did, I realise that the "half speed" version would have been played* at/around the 11th fret, to be at the pitch on the album....I think (cloth ear caveat applies).


* assuming it was played on a guitar of course!


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Ommagest Offline




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Posted: Jan. 17 2014, 17:29

Just to pitch in uninvited! ....I reckon that the sound is the ARP 2600 or a double speed reed organ sound [as per the Blue Peter theme]  mixed with the SG Junior with the volume/tone rolled off. It's an extension of the guitar line that starts at 13:55. Occasionally the parts are doubled up to increase tension.

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Thea Cochrane Offline




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Posted: Jan. 22 2014, 20:04

I think at some point around the early 2000s the Roland VG-8 may have turned into a VG-88. Also he'd have needed something like the GR-30 to make the saxophone sound - neither the VG-8 or VG-88 turn guitar into MIDI output.

Also I'm not sure that Mike kept on using the Roland D-550 for as long as is implied. The JV-1080 /2080 had a lot of the basic sounds from the D-550.

There was definitely an Akai S6000 sampler around the studio from around The Millennium Bell (possibly just after) through to Tres Lunas. I think by Light + Shade all the samplers were probably computer based, although he was using a lot of the same sounds (converted from Akai format probably - some of them had been around since TSODE).
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sEIGu Offline




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Posted: May 18 2016, 05:57

[quote=Craig Evans,Dec. 22 2013, 18:46][/quote]
Quote

-1984 Discovery
.... Fairlight CMI Series II...

(i'm quite sure, they were IIx)

Few years ago, those two Fairlight CMI IIx from the Discovery-Tour were sold. Sadly, they were in very (VERY VERY) bad condition and not working any more. :/


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manintherain Offline




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Posted: July 25 2018, 09:34

Quote (Korgscrew @ Dec. 27 2013, 18:26)
I certainly see no evidence for him having used the Fairlight CMI before Five Miles Out - I think Mike's claim of having had one since 1979 (a claim he made a long time after 1979, it should be noted...) is probably not accurate. There's a claim on Wikipedia that the first commercial album to use the CMI was Kate Bush's 1980 album Never for Ever, but that's not attributed, so it's difficult to assess that claim. Certainly people who were involved with selling them in the UK never quote Mike among the earliest adopters of it...so I think we need to take that claim with a pinch of salt. It's not listed amongst the instruments on the sleeve of QE2 (you'd think if he was willing to list 'claptrap' he'd have been willing to list the Fairlight) and I can't say I hear it anywhere on that album either, so I'd say we really need to stick with saying it was first used on Five Miles Out (which there's a good amount of supporting evidence for) unless we've got some really good proof to the contrary.

Mike was certainly one of the first customers in the UK.

"Peter Vogel went looking for clients and distributors, travelling around the world with a CMI. In the summer of 1979, he met Peter Gabriel, who was recording his third album in his studio. Vogel showed a demo of the CMI to Gabriel, Stephen Paine (a close relation of Gabriel), Hugh Padham and Steve Lillywhite. Quite impressed by the possibilities of the machine, Peter Gabriel used the CMI during the whole week of Peter Vogel's stay. Peter Gabriel eventually bought a CMI, and created Syco Systems with Stephen Paine. It was the first company to import and distribute Fairlight In Europe. John-Paul Jones was the second buyer (he wanted to replace his Mellotron !;), followed by Richard Burgess (Landscape), Kate Bush, Geoff Downes, Trevor Horn, Alan Parsons, Rick Wright, Thomas Dolby, Stewart Copland, J.J. Jeczalik (Art of Noise), Mike Oldfield... In the USA, the CMI was successful too : it was used by Stevie Wonder (first customer), Herbie Hancock, Jan Hammer, Joni Mitchell... In Austria, Hubert Bognermayr (Eela Craig), in France, Jean-Michel Jarre, Indochine, Daniel Balavoine, Louis Chédid... were among the CMI users."

Source: http://egrefin.free.fr/eng/fairlight/fairhist.php


Edited by manintherain on July 25 2018, 09:35
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ElevatedCosmonaut2 Offline




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Posted: Nov. 07 2020, 21:07

Hello! Im new here, certainly hope this place isnt dead. Ive grown fascinated with the synths that Mike uses, and I wanna know more about them. If you can, can you please provide me with the synths used on Hergest ridge part 1 and 2, the timestamps for them, and other information about them? I want to use them in my own music, as I want to blend the unique instrumentation with my own influences. Please and thank you! :)
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nightspore Offline




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Posted: Nov. 08 2020, 18:47

Quote (ElevatedCosmonaut2 @ Nov. 07 2020, 21:07)
Hello! Im new here, certainly hope this place isnt dead.

It's OK, all the avatars are gone now  :laugh:

As to the synths, surprised that MO apparently never used a VCS3, given that Pink Floyd gave such prominence to it.
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Craig Evans Offline




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Posted: Nov. 23 2020, 16:37

Quote (ElevatedCosmonaut2 @ Nov. 07 2020, 21:07)
Hello! Im new here, certainly hope this place isnt dead. Ive grown fascinated with the synths that Mike uses, and I wanna know more about them. If you can, can you please provide me with the synths used on Hergest ridge part 1 and 2, the timestamps for them, and other information about them? I want to use them in my own music, as I want to blend the unique instrumentation with my own influences. Please and thank you! :)

Hi and welcome to tubular.net  

Interestingly eventhough there are a lot of synth-like pads and leads on Hergest Ridge, Mike O didn't use any actual synths on this album.  For Hergest Ridge's synthetic sounds Mike used 3 electronic organs; a Lowrey Festival Organ, Farfisa Professional Duo Organ and a Gemini Organ.  Mike even used his Gibson SG Junior through his complex guitar rig and overdubbed at least 60 times and double spedup to create the synthesizer-like thunderstorm effect in the grand climax.


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"(Insert "The Thunderstorm" here)"
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First_Excursion Offline




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Posted: Nov. 25 2020, 06:03

Thank you that's very interesting. What rich and warm timbres he produced with that combination of organs.
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nightspore Offline




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Posted: Nov. 25 2020, 17:41

"Synth" sounds like "sins" with a lisp. What can Mr O have been up to???  :laugh:
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Craig Evans Offline




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Posted: Nov. 26 2020, 02:01

Quote (First_Excursion @ Nov. 25 2020, 06:03)
Thank you that's very interesting. What rich and warm timbres he produced with that combination of organs.

Your welcome.  Indeed, there are many rich and warm timbres from the organs in Hergest Ridge.  Part 1 is bookended with at least two organs.  Judging by the strong gliding effect, the Lowrey Festival Organ is the one providing the Penny Whistle sounds.  The Lowrey Festival is renowned for its strong Hawaiian Glide effect whilst either the Farfisa or Gemini is the one providing the warm ethereal background string sounds.  This is remarkable since this was before Mike acquired his Arp Solina and Roland VP-330 string synths which became his goto string machines in the late 70s and 80s respectively.  In addition to the voices of the choir, Sally Oldfield and Clodagh Simonds, there are also ethereal choirs provided by an organ (most likely the Lowrey Festival), behind the oboe in the middle of part 1 and a more longing one in the quiet bit of part 2 in between the Spanish Tune and the ominous build-up to the Thunderstorm.  The Lowrey also provides its own oboe sound as the lead in this quiet bit.  The Part 1 synthetic choirs are more prominent in the 1976 Boxed mix than the 1974 and 2010 mixes.  A Farfisa flute opens Part 2 and later plays a sad bridge tune between the Thunderstorm and the Spanish Tune reprise.


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Ommagest Offline




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Posted: Nov. 26 2020, 14:29

Very interesting, often wondered which organ went where (ooo er missus). Thanks for the info Craig.

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