Posts tagged prophet
Future Islands Synth Sounds

Future Islands’ sound is built on layers of synthesizers, driving basslines and electronic drum beats. The Baltimore based synthpop band have released five full-length albums, traversing from the punk-like Wave Like Home, the lo-fi loops of In Evening Air, the super-polished Singles, and their latest album, 2017’s The Far Field. Throughout all their albums, the core sound has remained the same. Although they’ve been through several drummers, the combination of punchy basslines, lush synth layers and frontman Sam Herring’s vocal is instantly recognisable.

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James Blake - Timeless Synths

This is a follow-up to my James Blake Synth Sounds article, in which I briefly looked at some classic James Blake sounds that he gets from his Prophet 08 synth. In this tutorial, I'll take a deep-dive on another James Blake song, Timeless from his 2016 album The Colour in Anything. After the song's release, Blake shared another version of the song featuring a verse by rapper Vince Staples. Kanye West was originally set to appear on the song, but the collaboration didn’t come together.

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James Blake Synth Sounds

James Blake is a British musician, whose distinct style incorporates Electronica, R&B, Soul and Dubstep, whilst combining acoustic and electronic elements to accompany his soulful voice. He has released three albums and collaborated with Beyoncé, Bon Iver, Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean and Jay-Z. His sound palette relies on intimate pianos, glitchy vocals and thick synthesizers, mostly from his Dave Smith Instruments Prophet 08. Blake has used the Prophet 08 as the main synth for his entire career, and its recognizable sound appears on all of his albums too. I'll dive into songs from each of his albums, deconstruct the synth patches and put them back together in the software synth Arturia Prophet V, a software emulation of an older Prophet synth.

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Childish Gambino - Sober Synths

In 2014, Childish Gambino released the EP Kauai. Named after the Hawaiian island, Kauai joins the mixtape STN MTN as part of a dual concept album intended to be a follow-up to 2013's because the internet. The EP sees Gambino, stage-name of Donald Glover, reunited with long-term collaborator Ludwig Göransson, a multi-instrumentalist as well as a producer. Göransson plays guitar as well as keyboards, and owns an enviable collection of music equipment. Kauai produced one single, Sober, that contains all my favourite instrumental elements; smooth Fender Rhodes, growling synth bass, chorused Roland Juno chords and a great drum beat to underpin it all.

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Francis and the Lights - See Her Out

Francis and the Lights is the musical project of Francis Farewell Starlite (that's actually his legal name). Debut album Farewell, Starlite! was released in 2016 and features guest appearances by Kanye West and Bon Iver. The album opener See Her Out (That's Just Life) is built around a crunchy synth-line, layered vocals and a minimalist arrangement. If you haven't heard it then check out the music video.

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HOMESHAKE Synth Sounds

HOMESHAKE, aka Peter Sagar, is a solo musician from Montreal known for RnB influenced indie-pop with a lo-fi, home-recorded aesthetic. Formerly Mac DeMarco's live guitarist, Sagar uses cheap synthesizers and drum machines to accompany his guitar playing and soft vocal delivery; his newest album, 2017's Fresh Air, expands upon his sound by incorporating adult-orientated rock into his palette. I'll dive into his sound, analysing the equipment Sagar uses to craft his sound and the way that Sagar likes to choose and program his tracks.

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Stranger Synths | Eight Fifteen

This past Friday, Netflix released the much awaited second season of its hit series Stranger Things, and season 1 composers Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein of the Austin-based synthwave band S U R V I V E returned for the second season with another excellent offering of 80's influenced synth music. The duo tend to favour vintage hardware synths and gravitate towards warm, lush analog sounds and emotional arrangements. Episode One of the new season, 'MADMAX', ends with a scene of Hopper and Eleven eating dinner accompanied by an uplifting synth piece called Eight Fifteen, which I'll break apart in this article.

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Tears for Fears Synth Sounds

Tears for Fears' 1985 album Songs from the Big Chair is full of timeless synth-laden pop hits, combining stark poetry with slick production, the album's biggest hit was a last-minute addition titled Everybody Wants to Rule the World. Initially titled with Run instead of Rule, the song went on to blitz charts everywhere and has remained a classic of the 80s synth era. The duo, consisting of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, were primarily songwriters, and the albums tight production was a result of utilising new at-the-time technology as well the duo's perfectionism. Everybody Wants to Rule the World was one of the simpler tracks off the album, made up of mostly MIDI programmed tracks, with the only organic elements being guitar and vocals.

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Stranger Synths | New Order - Elegia

I'm going to start the series off by looking at the song that plays during fake Will's funeral, Elegia by New Order. A dark instrumental featuring eerie sounding synths and guitars, the song was written in memory of Ian Curtis, lead singer of the band's former incarnation, Joy Division. The song was originally recorded in 1985 for the album Low-Life, and a 17 minute version was also released in 2002. Although not part of the original soundtrack composed by Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon from Survive, the lush and eerie synths of Elegia sound right at home in Stranger Things. Many people will also know the song from the Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain trailer; here's my remake using some of the synths I'll cover:

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Beach House Keyboard Sounds

Beach House are a quintessential dream-pop band, they hail from Baltimore and a big part of their sound is their layering of keyboards, mostly vintage organs and string synths. The duo don't seem too fussy about the gear they use, instead relying on old, cheap organs for their beats. A Pitchfork article described their practice space: "Old tour set pieces and at least 20 vintage organs—they call them “grandma organs”—line one half of the large room." They don't talk about gear much in interviews and there are no pictures of the band recording, so it's tough to figure out exactly which keyboards these "grandma organs" are. Although organs are a big part of the Beach House sound, another huge factor that I won't cover as much is their muted drum beats and guitarist Alex Scally's work, which is mostly a clean Fender Strat played with a slide through a lot of reverb. Instead I'll focus on their synth heavy songs to work out what makes that element of their sound so unique.

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Tame Impala Synth Sounds | Part Three

Welcome back to more Tame Impala synths. In this part I'll mostly tackle the synths sounds found on 'Lonerism'. I've already looked at 'Mind Mischief' and 'Feels Like We Only Go Backwards' in previous parts, so if you haven't already then check them out. I'll also look at the elusive Roland JV-1080 that was used to create the track 'Gossip' off of the latest album 'Currents'.

“And messing with sounds is easily my biggest hobby, so that makes it pretty fun… not having to think artistically and just being the guy with the hands on the knobs and switches.”

 

- Kevin Parker

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Tame Impala Synth Sounds | Part Two

Welcome back to another episode of Tame Impala Synth Sounds; Part 1 was mainly about the Roland Juno-106 patches on 'Currents' and how to recreate them using the original hardware or using software. In this article I'm going to look at some of the different sounds used and how to recreate them. As I go through I'll mention the original hardware, the software alternative I use, and then the free software alternatives.

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