MATRIXSYNTH: Improvisation LXXIII for DSI Prophet '08 and Poly Evolver

Monday, November 21, 2016

Improvisation LXXIII for DSI Prophet '08 and Poly Evolver

Published on Nov 21, 2016 Sacred Synthesis

"This improvisation makes use of a soft metallic digital pad on the Poly Evolver, a string pad on one Prophet '08, and a flute-like solo patch on another Prophet '08.

The digital pad is either mellow or shrill, based on the position of the filter cut off frequency, which is controlled by the modulation wheel. Its extreme upper range has much aliasing.

The Prophet '08 string pad uses a 2-pole filter setting with a high resonance level,, and its filter is similarly controlled by the modulation wheel. This creates a somewhat tinny sound when the filter is opened wide. That's okay; these pieces are only musical experiments. Live and learn! Also, as always, the filter is very slowly modulated by an LFO. This creates a slight crescendo whenever a note or chord is sustained and gives the pad a slight heaving/breathing quality.

The flute sound seems simple enough, but it is deceptively elaborate. It consists of a narrow pulse and a square. The pulse width of each wave form is very slightly and slowly modulated. In addition, an LFO slowly modulates between one oscillator and the other. This means there is a subtle chorus effect from the PWM, a changing of timbre as the narrow pulse changes to a square and then back again, a faint beating of oscillators when the two briefly meet in the middle, plus a delayed vibrato which is either maintained by a smooth connected playing technique or retriggered (and thus, delayed) by a broken disconnected playing technique. its filter, too, is controlled by the modulation wheel. Of course, these effects are detectible only when a long note is heard, and that's fine, because they're meant to be musical nuances that don't overly attract attention to themselves.

Last but not least, the bass patch is changed according to the dynamics of the music. This is not always so easy to achieve, since it requires a free hand during a section that is also not using the pedalboard.

One further note. Since I'm playing with both hands and feet, I rarely have a limb free for making dynamic changes with a pedal. As a result, I program dynamic changes into the sounds themselves. One only has to sustain a note or chord in order to open up the volume and timbre. In this piece, I often do this after holding a note on the upper Prophet '08, which has the flute-like patch. This is always at the end of a phrase and in preparation for a change of keyboards. As I sustain the note with one finger, I simultaneously reach down with my thumb and press a note on the lower Prophet '08. The effect is that the flute sound slowly merges with the string sound, which then slowly opens up by means of its LFO, completely overtaking the flute sound. It sounds like I've got a tasteful sound engineer, or have done some carefully mixing after the recording. Nope! It's all automatic.

DSI Prophet '08 Keyboard (2)
DSI Prophet '08 Module
DSI Poly Evolver Keyboard
DSI Poly Evolver Rack
DSI Evolver Desktop
Hammond XPK 200L Pedalboard

Lexicon MX300 for reverb
Alesis Nanoverb 2 for delay

Performed and recorded live and directly to CD


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