MATRIXSYNTH: 6 reason for making Italo Disco Old School | Breakdown & Tutorial (sort of) included

Monday, May 17, 2021

6 reason for making Italo Disco Old School | Breakdown & Tutorial (sort of) included

video by Espen Kraft

"I'm currently working on my 4th version of 'Midnight Drive' and I wanted this one to have strong elements of 'Italo Disco'. Not necessarily octave bass and vocals this time, but a more walking bass feel with a basic drum groove and poly brass.

And my 6 reasons for doing this version in an Italo Disco style, is these 6 pieces of classic gear, much used in Italo Disco back in the day:

E-MU Drumulator - a very much used drum machine in Italo Disco
Roland Juno-106 for bass - sequenced from the Yamaha QX1
Crumar BIT01 - classic Italian synth with great brass sounds
Roland Alpha Juno 2 - Bells
Roland Jupiter-8 - phasy pads
Emax II - samples saxophone (ideally I would use the E-MU Emulator II, but it is sick at the moment)

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The QX1 is programmed with two different banks (patterns), one playing the intro/vers-part and one playing the chorus-part. These two patterns alternate in repeat-mode.
I've chained these two parts together in "chain-mode" inside the QX1.
The QX1 is setup for MIDI sync, necessary to be able to add overdubs in time. The 8th MIDI out of the QX1 goes to the Sequential TOM drum machine, set to receive external clock. This is necessary as the Drumulator has no MIDI in. The TOM outputs a clock signal which is fed into the clock input of the Drumulator. When this is set to external sync, the Drumulator is now clocking perfectly to the DAW, through the QX1 and TOM. Somewhat complicated, but it works!

I use Valhalla VintageVerb for the reverbs here, but all the sounds has gone through various stages of processing like compressors, limiters, EQ and outboards.

The finished commercial song will be somewhat enhanced and produced more, but I'm aiming for a simple raw finished sound, not TOO glossy. Once finished I will release it here.

In the thumbnail image I'm holding a copy of the vinyl single "I want you" by Gary Low, one of my favorite Italo Disco artists and this single is a big part of my inspiration for doing this track I'm working on. Even if it's really not very similar."

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