MATRIXSYNTH: "Ichika's Brand New Dress" - Akai MPC X, Korg Wavestate, Minilogue XD, Sequential Prophet REV2

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

"Ichika's Brand New Dress" - Akai MPC X, Korg Wavestate, Minilogue XD, Sequential Prophet REV2

video by Patrick Manderson

"'Ichika's Brand New Dress' - recorded live on February 27, 2021 using a MIDI sequencer, 3 mixers and room full of synthesizers.

The roots of "Ichika's" was composed on a Yamaha RS7000 sequencer and left unfinished for several years. The intricate timings and swing notes were too difficult to mix when overdubbing and editing on the RS7000 and was nearly abandoned altogether. Fast forward to December 2020 - I don't think I would have ever finished this without the Akai MPC X. It's essentially a sports car wrapped around a Rolls Royce. The 10" display is comfortable to use and the generous physicality of buttons, knobs, OLED displays make editing a breeze. Mixing straight notes, with triplets and swing was something nearly impossible to manage on the RS. The MPC not only made it easy, but I never felt constrained to try things out. Although I may never touch its sampler and built-in synths, the MIDI capabilities alone are amazing and worth the price - especially coming from the RS7000.

The breakout stars of this piece are the Korg Wavestate and the Sequential REV2 which due to its versatility played the bulk of parts [00:11​], [01:13​], [0:31​], [05:50​] both layered and split all throughout [02:27​], [02:56​], [04:32​]. Its generous modulation capabilities allowed nuance everywhere needed especially since the MPC X made editing so much easier. Velocity and the MOD wheel are used primarily to articulate notes; discrete use of specific CC modulations were also used. The digital distortion and filter modulations were synchronized with MIDI [04:52​].

The Wavestate's factory patches are so expertly designed although I found it difficult to fit them in initially. Luckily I know enough to adjust the envelopes to get a good fitting. Still the Wavestate remains a challenge for me to wrap my head around. Swirling strings [02:03​], [02:38​], [03:50​] and bell tones [02:29​].

Drums - I'm surprised how many drums are in this. The Roland TR8s was used to replace RS7000 analog kit used in the original 'Ichika's'. The MDX 1400 was used to compress the 808 kick. Two acoustic kits from the Yamaha Motif XS were tweaked to make use of its built-in VCM compressors - room reverb first, then the compression. Most of the acoustic kit performance was sequenced on the RS7000 and later tweaked on the MPC X. The crash choke was made by playing a regular crash using a second note at a lower velocity (greater than zero) at [05:14​]. The delicious sound of the Boss DR-660 [03:26​] was added to "Ichika's" recently as new sections using the Wavestate were created. The Alesis 3630 was used to tame the dynamics of the DR-660, especially the toms. Lastly, my custom "noise and sine" kit on the Korg Radias embellishes all through the piece.

The Korg EX-8000 had a minor role except for the amazing sweeping patch showered in its digital delay [03:27​], [03:48​]. I believe an original preset patch with minor tweaks on the envelopes.

Upbeat vox played by the Korg Radias near the beginning [00:12​] and at the end [05:25​], also modulated here [01:22​] and here [01:32​].

The original Minilogue wears its characterful filter again throughout "Ichika's", reusing patches from previous arrangements. Layered up, the Minilogue XD *high-def* embellishments filled in when needed.

The lightning acrobatics of the Novation Bass Station II and its ability to switch patches on a tick emphasized individual notes in a few places [01:27​], [03:36​]. Unfortunately my mixing isn't sufficient to put these subleties out front enough to hear.

Brassy swells [00:53​] and stringy melodies [02:06​] on the Prophet 6. Digital voice chatter here [02:30​] and here [03:18​], melodic emphasis on the main parts [00:11​] on the Korg MS 2000 - shining near the end with a chaotic sequence of LFO modulations [04:52​].

The Yamaha Tx81Z played a minor part filling in space when needed [01:00​], [05:17​].

Video from a Canon EOS SL3 was captured over a two day period while the audio was recorded after getting a satisfying take."

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