MATRIXSYNTH: Utopia Theme Sequence

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Utopia Theme Sequence

video upload by boxoftextures

"When I was a kid growing up in New York City in the early 1970s I would listen to WNEW-FM all the time, but especially from 10pm to 2am when Allison Steele, the Night Bird, was on the air. WNEW was a progressive rock station, not really the same meaning as today's term 'prog rock,' but more that the DJs played what they wanted with no playlists. And one night in 1974 Allison Steele played a song from a new band I'd never heard of before, Todd Rundgren's Utopia. I was 14, and I was instantly hooked. The song was over 14 minutes long, and was from a live show. I was heavily into keyboards and they had three keyboard players, one with a giant modular. The bass and drums were incredibly tight. And on top of that was Todd Rundgren, abandoning his pop stylings and going full on prog. And then, after being entranced through the first half of the tune, they all stopped, and the sequencer started up. That was it for me. Instant favorite, and started me down the path to synthesizers. Where I still am today.

So that sequence has pretty much always been in my head, and in a way influenced my entire life. It was life-changing for me. And so here it is, recreated. A 'simple' six-note sequence, but super fast, and constantly shifting. Six notes, but that section of the song is in 4/4. Except that the main lines are on the ones but the answering lines start on the 3 before the one beat. So you have six against four, and your four is being interrupted by the answering refrain. You're constantly off balance, but then again things are also constantly being resolved. And then they all pause, back at the sequence, and he rips into the most amazing guitar solo I've ever heard. The whole thing is genius. Todd Rundgren, perhaps at his peak.

Featuring Multiphonics CV-1 from Applied Acoustics Systems

Video captured with CleanShot X
Audio recorded with QuickTime Player
Voiceover recorded in Sound Studio using an AudioTechnica BHPS1 Broadcast Headset
Audio routing done with Loopback

Edited in DaVinci Resolve 17 on a MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

Twitter: @selgart

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