MATRIXSYNTH: Matrixbrute/Mellow Jazz

Friday, September 21, 2018

Matrixbrute/Mellow Jazz

Published on Sep 21, 2018 Kris Lennox

"Jazz on a monophonic synth. Certainly different! Three-part recording. Top video = melody, bottom L = bass, bottom R = chords (three-note paraphony). Jazz chords can be relatively complex: given the sparse availability of notes on the MB, creative solutions need to be found. For example, the F#m7b5: this is a four-note chord, and the MB can play three notes max. The solution (or rather, 'a' solution) is playing F# (i.e. the root) in the bass, and the rest of the chord (i.e. C-E-A) on the paraphonic patch. Sharing the chord voicing works well.

On a technical level: you'll probably notice when I'm playing the chords I'm quickly arpeggiating from low-high. It can't be heard on the recording as the arpeggiation is fast, but the function is to have consistent VCO assignation to each note. What I mean is: in paraphonic mode, the first note played is assigned to VCO1, the second to VCO2 etc. With this piece I was looking for consistency of tone; arpeggiating guarantees the lowest note will always be VCO1 etc.

When playing chords, what feels like all notes played simultaneously isn't so in reality.

I'm adding subtle vibrato on the melody line. I assigned the pitch wheel range as a semitone, and the vibrato is slight pitch wheel dives/returns. Very similar to using the tremolo arm on a guitar.

I'm curious if anyone knows the piece I'm playing? I'm keeping the arrangement very, very bare to illustrate the MB at its most exposed. I think it works well. Holding back in the recording was tricky! Resisting the temptation to showboat/add fills etc and only playing a tune at its most exposed is a good challenge in itself.

I have a list of works to record on MB ( grows by the day!). Some classical, some jazz, and some original. The jazz ones will be more involved than this recording (I'm thinking maybe some Coltrane solos). The MB would, I feel, work well as a solo instrument for a jazz gig. It is something I'd be interested in performing live i.e. jazz on the MB, with the MB playing the lead lines. Very different.

What I feel this video illustrates is the softer side of the MB. This synth - and its musical possibilities - is limited only by our imagination. What a machine.

Soundcloud link here -"

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