Cool Thomas Dolby interview from 1987 (EM)

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synthetic88
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Cool Thomas Dolby interview from 1987 (EM)

Post by synthetic88 » Fri Sep 28, 2007 12:25 am

http://emusician.com/em_spotlight/dolby ... ght_oct07/

He talks about the Fairlight, PPG prototypes, synths used on "Science," all kinds of geeky stuff.
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Post by PPG_HOSHII! » Fri Sep 28, 2007 5:49 am

Thats cool, I didn't know he worked on Howard The Duck.
I need to see that movie again.

:lol:

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Post by crystalmsc » Fri Sep 28, 2007 6:51 am

nice article, I enjoy the TD on sampling article too. thanks.
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Post by oberheim » Fri Sep 28, 2007 1:04 pm

PPG_HOSHII! wrote:Thats cool, I didn't know he worked on Howard The Duck.
I need to see that movie again.

:lol:
Check out the bar fight scene. That's TD as the bartender, 8)
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Post by ronP » Fri Sep 28, 2007 3:32 pm

.


Great to read him discussing the early PPG prototype; I've always loved the unique sounds he coaxed from that computer.

His one-man show last year (and new one, currently with a jazz horn section) is amazing. The rig he has assembled is synthgasmic, and his performance is wonderfully warm and musical. The cat is, quite simply, an inventive genius.

:)


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Post by Absence » Fri Sep 28, 2007 11:16 pm

Thank you for the link. I enjoyed both Dolby articles.

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Post by Blue Monster 65 » Sat Sep 29, 2007 3:32 am

Yeah, Howard the Duck damn near sunk his career, from what I remember. I don't know why the reaction to everything related to that film was soooo negative, (it's not completely horrible) but I do remember reading just completely scathing reviews of the film where they even singled out Dolby's soundtrack to complain about. Just a strange situation - I'm glad to read that people have a different reaction all these years later.

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Post by ColorForm2113 » Sat Sep 29, 2007 4:38 am

LOL howard the duck used to be one of my favorite movies as a kid! i havent seen it in sooo long

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Post by gallant steve » Tue Dec 04, 2007 9:05 pm

he's kind of engaging, Dolby, isn't he ? Not yer average musician, not your average electronic musician either, somehow...

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Post by elsongs » Wed Dec 05, 2007 12:07 am

Blue Monster 65 wrote:Yeah, Howard the Duck damn near sunk his career, from what I remember. I don't know why the reaction to everything related to that film was soooo negative, (it's not completely horrible) but I do remember reading just completely scathing reviews of the film where they even singled out Dolby's soundtrack to complain about. Just a strange situation - I'm glad to read that people have a different reaction all these years later.

Woof! - Scott
See, they need to remake Howard the Duck, this time with Howard done in CGI...THEN it'll be a hit :)

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Post by Blue Monster 65 » Wed Dec 05, 2007 4:01 am

You know that idea is more than likely on someone's desk right now ...

Yours, Elsongs? :lol:

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Post by Solderman » Wed Dec 05, 2007 5:41 pm

What caught my eye was his comment that "..Science" was done with just a Jupiter 4 and a Micromoog. There must have been a remix for the album then, because the version I remember has string samples and something like Simmons drums in it, not to mention some guitar work, with it running through a modulated delay near the end.
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Post by Micke » Wed Dec 05, 2007 8:19 pm

Solderman wrote:What caught my eye was his comment that "..Science" was done with just a Jupiter 4 and a Micromoog. There must have been a remix for the album then, because the version I remember has string samples and something like Simmons drums in it, not to mention some guitar work, with it running through a modulated delay near the end.
I think he meant to say those were the main synths featured. I know for certain that Dolby additionally used a Moog Source, PPG 340/380 wave computer, Simmons drum modules and, I think, an Arp/Solina string ensemble in the making of that album.

Here's a very detailed description on how "Science" was recorded:

"A Moog Source synth played by Dolby's bass guitarist, Matthew Seligman, was used for the prominent bass lines (on "Science" and "One of our submarines"). Instead of going direct, however, Friese-Greene fattened up the synthesized sounds by feeding them out to Seligman's miked bass amp in the studio.

The Source was also used for some top-line parts, but the majority of the keyboard parts were played on a Roland JP-4. The ominous-sounding strings were also created on the JP-4, using four tracks two octaves apart, stereo left and right. The horns in the chorus were from the Roland, but the Source was used again for a piccolo trumpet line which, Dolby believes, "subliminally gives it some air, instead of everything being so tight in the same register. In the same way you could use a piccolo or a trumpet in a brass section in unison, but a couple of octaves up."

The sample-and-hold feature on the Moog was responsible for the tinkling bell sounds at the beginning of the song, and the Source also made the descending "phone" part after the chorus. This was achieved, Dolby says, "by putting the resonance all the way up on the filter and turning off the oscillators, so when you play, all you hear is the resonance of the filters. If you double that up, you can tune it to intervals, but it doesn't really play in a precise tonality across the keyboard."

" I also had an early PPG 340/380 called Henry. It put out PLUS and MINUS voltages based on sequences, and I used it to trigger Simmons electronic drum modules, in the days prior to the first drum machines (this played the drums in She Blinded Me With Science)."

"The PPG drum module allowed the user to tune the playback sample rate, and on "Science" the snare drum was detuned three or four octaves to give it that "cracky" sound. The kick and snare are Simmons, and the cowbell playing on the offbeats was generated from the PPG. The tom-toms are from the Simmons module fed through the bass amp. The output of an Eventide Harmonizer was used for the strange rising and falling pitch at the end of the song. "Tim Friese-Greene hopped on my rig and programmed a rim shot that he wanted to use as a sound source for a part," Dolby says. "And he probably had to pre-delay it a fair amount, because the Harmonizer added quite a lot of delay."
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Post by Solderman » Wed Dec 05, 2007 9:00 pm

Massively insightful, thanks Micke. So this single is really a case of copious amounts of multitracking. Never would have guessed the JP4 did the strings, but I guess all samples have to come from somewhere, hence my incorrect guess.
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