- Saint Pablo Juno 00:00
An additional synth layer is introduced midway through song; it sounds like a plucked string but has a distinct synth-tone to it, likely recorded from one of co-producer Mike Dean’s Moog synths. There are tons of Moog software emulations, and to create the patch just use a single square wave oscillator with the filter being modulated by the envelope. Set the cutoff frequency to 2 and the amount of contour to 3, then the envelope with no attack or sustain and the decay just below 600 to get a good pluck setting. Lastly process the track with some nice reverb; listen to the results in Arturia Mini V:
- Saint Pablo Pluck 00:00
- Saint Pablo Beat 00:00
The synth breakdown that occurs at 3:53 was recorded and performed by Mike Dean, the song’s co-producer and a collaborator with Kanye since Graduation. One of hip-hops most prolific producers, Dean is also a talented keyboard player and guitarist, responsible for the huge synth-basses of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy as well as the guitar solo in Devil In A New Dress. Dean is a fan of Moog synths, and the following video of Dean jamming on six Moog Mother 32’s at Moog’s factory perfectly illustrates his style.
The above video should give you a good idea of Dean’s lead keyboard style, he likes flashy runs but has a good sense of melodic direction, it’s this kind of playing that appears in Saint Pablo, and I’d personally guess that the lead lines were improvised in a couple of takes. The lead sound itself is super simple and is a classic Moog lead patch consisting of detuned sawtooth oscillators with the filter and envelopes open. The synth is in legato mode and glide is turned up to the halfway mark to create the smooth sliding effect between notes.
- Saint Pablo Lead Dry 00:00
There is then some really heavy delay on the signal to create an almost psychedelic effect. The delay is set to repeat the material a beat later, so sync your delay with your DAW. At first this creates a call-and-response effect, but towards the end of the passage the phrases get layered, creating an interesting swirling effect.
- Saint Pablo Lead w/Delay 00:00
Thanks for reading! Hopefully you’ve gotten some insight into Kanye West and Mike Dean’s production methods and creative approach. Check the download link to download the synth patches from the article.