Yes' 90125 Keyboards

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Yes' 90125 Keyboards

Postby MrFrodo » Fri Sep 14, 2007 4:49 pm

In 1984, there was an article on the making of the Yes record, 90125 that talked about the return of Tony Kaye and the set-up he had, back then. In the studio, he used a Fairlight, Oberheim OB8 and Kawai grand piano. On the stage, he used a Yamaha DX7 to "simulate" a lot of te Fairlight sounds. What I'm interested in is how he was able to transfer the sounds from the Fairlight to the DX7.

This kind of goes back to other threads I've started about sound analysis/duplication.
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Postby JSRockit » Fri Sep 14, 2007 5:03 pm

No help here, but you have to envy someone who can hear a sound, then go emulate it on a FM synth... it just seems ridiculously hard to me. My DX100 is a preset synth to me, and my Monomachine's FM is for making bells and basslines... I've never made anything that sounds remotely like the DX7 patches.
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Postby Bitexion » Fri Sep 14, 2007 5:16 pm

I have a whole bunch of DX7 soundbanks in a series called FAIRLIGHT, which probably contain alot of those Yes sounds too.
They're usually multi-layered, like strings and an aaaaaah voice sound and things like that. Anything can be emulated on a DX7 if you know the procedures well enough.
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Postby Synthaholic » Fri Sep 14, 2007 6:09 pm

He used an original E-mu Emulator on the 9012Live tour as well, and probably on the album as well (those "orchestra hit" sounds in Owner Of A Lonely Heart). Also, I think the Obie was an OB-Xa, not an OB-8, but I could be mistaken (been years since I've seen the video). He used the DX7 heavily on the video, including for the organ part in "I've Seen All Good People", which I was surprised since he had an organ on stage as well.

As for porting Fairlight sounds over to the DX, I guess that depends on how the original Fairlight sounds were constructed. If they were created using some Fairlight form of FM, perhaps he was able to port the values over fairly readily, especially if he created the sounds originally, and knew what he built them out of.
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Postby synthetic88 » Fri Sep 14, 2007 6:24 pm

I remember reading that his live setup was a pair of KX-76s, triggering off-stage racks. There was a keyboard magazine article about live rigs in the late 80s that I might still have, though it was about the Big Generator tour.

I'm not sure that Tony Kaye was responsible for most of the synth tracks on 90125. I've spoken to Trevor Rabin, who told me that most of the album was him playing and singing in the studio with Trevor Horn after basic tracks with Alan White and Chris Squire. Horn's setup at the time was Fairlight and Jupiter 8, so that's what I've always assumed they used. Tony Kaye and Jon Anderson came in late in the project.
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Postby Synthaholic » Fri Sep 14, 2007 6:36 pm

Late 80s would likely be the Big Generator tour. I used to have a 9012Live video, and Tony's rig in the video consisted of a piano, OB-Xa and DX7 stacked, an E-mu Emulator, and an organ (probably a Hammond). There was also a Korg keyboard (possibly a Mono/Poly) that Jon played on a bit during the solo portion of City Of Love.
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Postby synthetic88 » Fri Sep 14, 2007 7:05 pm

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Postby Bitexion » Fri Sep 14, 2007 8:13 pm

I suppose most artists couldn't afford to take a Fairlight on tour.
Huge machine, delicate and VERY expensive. Most of the time they just rented it for studio work.
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Postby Micke » Sat Sep 15, 2007 12:06 am

Synthaholic wrote:Also, I think the Obie was an OB-Xa, not an OB-8, but I could be mistaken



Tony Kaye did use an OB-Xa during the first part of the tour however by the fall of 1984 he was using an OB-8 on stage.

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Postby tim gueguen » Sat Sep 15, 2007 8:07 pm

Bitexion wrote:I suppose most artists couldn't afford to take a Fairlight on tour.
Huge machine, delicate and VERY expensive. Most of the time they just rented it for studio work.


Geoff Downes was one who gigged with a Fairlight, starting with Yes's Drama tour. Mike Oldfield was another one who gigged with his CMI. And of course Nick Rhodes and Peter Gabriel.
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Postby Micke » Sun Sep 16, 2007 12:20 am

OMD, Thomas Dolby and Jarre also gigged with the Fairlight.
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Postby synthetic88 » Sun Sep 16, 2007 4:03 am

I listened to 90125 today, and the synth pads in "It Can Happen" and "Hearts" sure sound like Jupiter 8 to me. I think I remember reading that Tony Kaye didn't know c**p about synths at the time and only played the Hammond parts. In fact, that was the reason he was fired from Yes the first time: Rick Wakeman knew synths and Tony Kaye didn't. so they dropped him.
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Postby MrFrodo » Sun Sep 16, 2007 4:12 am

And yet, he managed to create some nice melodic sounds on "Starship Trooper" and "Yours is No Disgrace" from The Yes Album. Are we to believe that he had someone standing next to him in the studio, twiddling the knobs while he played those parts? :lol:
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Postby Bitexion » Sun Sep 16, 2007 3:47 pm

Doesn't take too much experimenting to get some nice sounds out of a synth, specially if you're using presets. But it's a long way from being a "preset user" to actually planning and programming your own sounds..Wakeman can do that in his sleep.
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Postby tim gueguen » Sun Sep 16, 2007 6:55 pm

Actually Kaye didn't like early synths or the Mellotron, while the other members of Yes wanted him to play them, so he left, although apparently there was also the fact that he didn;'t get along with Steve Howe. He did end up playing Mellotron with I believe it was Badger. One night he got so frustrated with it that he kicked it into the orchestra pit of a venue he was playing in. Supposedly when he rejoined Yes for 90125 the only synth he owned was an OBXa. How good and how much programming he did with it is another question.
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