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Japan "Burning Bridges"- what synths?

Posted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:57 pm
by WhinyLittleRunt
What synths are used in this song? Anyone know?

Re: Japan "Burning Bridges"- what synths?

Posted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:11 pm
by Joey
Japan used these synths a lot:

Roland system 100m
OBx
Prophet 5
Minimoog

and one or two other pieces I might be forgetting.

My guess is its prophet 5 and obx. Maybe 100m. The minimoog was used in their earlier stuff, but prophet 5 and obx were kind of the main synths on gentlemen take polaroids.

Re: Japan "Burning Bridges"- what synths?

Posted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:27 pm
by Micke
First some corrections; it was a Micromoog that was used on their early stuff, not Minimoog. Moreover, Barbieri
used a Roland 700 "Laboratory system"--it was his first synth but wasn't used until their second album-- not a system 100M.

Here's a synth breakdown for "Burning Bridges":

a) spacey intro sounds = System 700 (Barbieri)
b) bass drone and helicopter sounds = Prophet 5 (Sylvain)
c) big chords and haunting lead line = Prophet 5 (Sylvain)

The P5 used on the album was a Rev 2 but it wasn't owned by the band. Afaik, it was either Ryuichi Sakamoto's instrument
(he played all the P5 parts on "Taking Islands") or it was hired in for the recording sessions. David Sylvain later bought a Rev 3 which made its debut on 1981's "Tin Drum".

The other synths used on the Polaroids album included an Oberheim OB-X, Micromoog and Polymoog.

cheers,
Micke

Re: Japan "Burning Bridges"- what synths?

Posted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:39 pm
by Joey
there is a minimoog in the video for adolescent sex I believe. or one of the live videos from that era.

but yeah I was mistaken about the 100m

Re: Japan "Burning Bridges"- what synths?

Posted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:03 pm
by WhinyLittleRunt
Micke to the rescue once again :)

Thanks - I had a suspicion it was a P5 but with some patches you just can't tell...

Re: Japan "Burning Bridges"- what synths?

Posted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:23 pm
by Micke
Joey wrote:there is a minimoog in the video for adolescent sex I believe. or one of the live videos from that era.

but yeah I was mistaken about the 100m
Yes there's a Minimoog in that video but they never used one in the studio.

On their first three albums they used the Micromoog, Lab system 700 (debuting on "Obscure Alternatives"), Oberheim mini-sequencer (used with the 700), Arp/solina string ensemble, Wurlitzer 200 ep, Mellotron (used on some of the Quiet Life album), Polymoog and ARP 2600 (on some of the "Obscure Alternatives" album).
Moreover, a Moog modular was used for the bassline on the Moroder produced single "Life In Tokyo". The bass part was played manually with delay repeats by Moroder's assistant/programmer, either Dan Wyman or Harold Faltermeyer.

The effects Barbieri used on the synths for the early albums were a Roland Space echo, MXR phaser, MXR flanger, Roland SBF 325 stereo Flanger / Chorus.

My source for all of the above info is Richard Barbieri.

Re: Japan "Burning Bridges"- what synths?

Posted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:44 am
by burnsjed
Micke,
So did Sylvian play all the synth parts apart from the intro on Burning Bridges?
Had always presumed Barbieri had played most of them.
Always sounded like the Prophet 5 and OBx, great info btw!

Re: Japan "Burning Bridges"- what synths?

Posted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 2:54 pm
by Micke
Yes, David Sylvain appears to have played most of the synth parts on Burning Bridges. From what I understand
there is no OB-X on that song. In fact, with the exception of Taking Island where all the synth parts
were played by Sakamoto, Sylvain played all the P5 parts on "Polaroids". The same goes for "Tin Drum" except
for a few P5 parts in Cantonese Boy and Canton which were done by Barbieri and Steve Jansen.
Not only did Sylvain play most P5 parts, he programmed the sounds too (at least on "Tin Drum", listen to the awesome
"R2-D2" sounds on Ghosts for example*).
He was/is an amazing synth-programmer according to Barbieri and should get much more credit for "Tin Drum".

Re: Japan "Burning Bridges"- what synths?

Posted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:01 pm
by burnsjed
Thanks again, listening to Japan back then was the reason I purchase a Prophet 10 at the time, just didn't realise how much of the synth work Sylvian did, presumed he came along with the chords and vocals etc, and the rest of them added their own magic.
Remember an interview from MK before they split saying that DS was not a great song writer, though I believe the band scorned the interviewer at the time as MK was clearly not in the right frame of mind at the time regarding his relationship with DS, and his bitterness was there for everyone to see.
Shame things went soo bad when they regrouped for RTC, that could have been a very interesting project, and I get the sense that DS regrets it didn't run longer, not that he regrets why it didn't run longer, or not at least openly!

Actually found the interview if you haven't read it before from ZigZag magazine, MK does not come across very well in it at all unfortunately.

Re: Japan "Burning Bridges"- what synths?

Posted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 5:35 pm
by Micke
You're welcome :)

Richard Barbieri actually had a P10 for a while which he used live (you can hear it on the "Oil On Canvas" live album) but it heated up so badly that he soon switched to a normal 3.3 rev.

That interview sounds interesting so if you could scan it and post somewhere I'd appreciate it.

cheers,
Micke

Re: Japan "Burning Bridges"- what synths?

Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:51 am
by burnsjed
pmd, it's to long to be on here and some what off topic!
As I said Japan were apparently furious with the interviewer as she had got MK at a vulnerable moment, and it is clear he had massive issues at the time with DS.

I don't recall ever having heating issues with my P10, it had just been serviced when I purchased it, so maybe that was why, it was pretty clear how many sounds were used by Japan, as the sounds were pretty distinctive, use to love that keyboard, never felt the same love for my DX7, though it was an absolute monster to move around, the flight case was outrageously large, though it had a set of wheels on it!

Re: Japan "Burning Bridges"- what synths?

Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:10 pm
by colmon
actually sakamoto only played on the single mix of "taking islands in africa". not the album version

Re: Japan "Burning Bridges"- what synths?

Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:31 pm
by Micke
burnsjed wrote:
I don't recall ever having heating issues with my P10, it had just been serviced when I purchased it, so maybe that was why, it was pretty clear how many sounds were used by Japan, as the sounds were pretty distinctive, use to love that keyboard, never felt the same love for my DX7, though it was an absolute monster to move around, the flight case was outrageously large, though it had a set of wheels on it!
The dual-manual P10 isn't known for having heating issues so I guess Barbieri had bad luck
with his synth. The single manual P10 did suffer from major overheating though.

Re: Japan "Burning Bridges"- what synths?

Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:58 pm
by Micke
colmon wrote:actually sakamoto only played on the single mix of "taking islands in africa". not the album version
I recently asked Richard Barbieri about it and was told that Sakamoto played all the P5 parts on the album version.

Re: Japan "Burning Bridges"- what synths?

Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 11:18 pm
by iProg
Wow. Thanks for lots of cool info. Richard is one of my favorite synth players and Gentlemen and Tin Drum are great albums....Gotta take a listen to them now!