Vince DiCola appreciation thread!

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
User avatar
Micke
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 2327
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2004 12:50 pm
Location: Sweden

Vince DiCola appreciation thread!

Post by Micke » Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:08 pm

Hi fellow VSE'ers and electronic music lovers!

There have been a few threads about Vince DiCola before here on VSE but I thought it was time we had an appreciation thread for
this excellent musician/composer.


I absolutely love his synth-driven soundtracks to "Rocky IV" (1985) and "Transformers" (1986).






I've been corresponding with Casey Young (Vince's synth-programmer) a lot lately and thought I'd share some insider info with you guys

Besides the synths listed by Vince earlier (see list below), Casey's E-mu Blue box 16-voice polyphonic synth (the only one ever made) was also used on these scores. And there were two Oberheim 8-voice synths (well, actually three counting the OB-X), one of which was a custom-built modular (see video below). The drum machine was a Linn 9000.

List of gear used on both Rocky IV and Transformers:
YAMAHA C7 grand piano
MOOG Modular
EMU Modular
OBERHEIM Modular
ROLAND Jupiter 8
YAMAHA DX-7
YAMAHA TX-816
OBERHEIM OB-X
MiniMoog
PPG Wave 2.3
EMU Emulator 1 & II
AKAI S-900 sampler
Moog vocoder

(gear list kindly provided by Vince Di Cola)

Says Vince: "My good friend Casey Young (sound designer for Yes and Michael Jackson, to name a few) helped out tremendously on both projects and the majority of gear we used belonged to him. Most of the sounds we used were created from scratch (no factory presets) using some combination of the above and would be very difficult to duplicate without the gear listed.
I played it live. In fact, I played about 99% of all the keyboard parts in real time for both scores. (We only used arpeggiation as an ambient 'color' for a few cues.)"

"I can tell you that it was pure ecstasy to play these magnificent instruments and have an opportunity to incorporate their awesome sound into my movie (and other) work. It must be mentioned, however, that having access to the gear itself is one thing (and actually less than half the battle)... It\'s the programmer/sound designer who makes a big difference, and Casey Young is excellent at what he does and has always had a great musical sensibility when it comes to creating the best (not to mention the most inspiring) starting point for a particular sound/part we\'re working on at any given time, and then following through with all the editing that\'s often required to get all parts to \'sit\' in the track just right. Casey was never one to rely heavily on synth presets, as so many synth programmers back in the day seemed to be and so many so-called "sound designers" are today - and maybe more so now than ever before. For better or worse, Casey taught me the value of \'tweaking\', and that\'s how I still approach all my programming/sound design work.)


"Obviously, synths played a much bigger and more central role in my Transformers score than they did on my Rocky IV material. Since I was forced to come up with so much music in a comparatively short amount of time for Transformers, Casey and his gear played a more more crucial role in that music. We had a blast, though, and I miss the days of reaching up and manipulating all those knobs, switches, faders, etc., and coming up with so many different sounds, each of which have their own character and charm."

"Casey Young quickly became a valued member of my \'team\', I learned a lot from him, and I still have a strong affinity for synthesizers in general - analog AND digital."


A few months before Casey worked with Vince on Rocky IV he'd done all the synth work on Michael Sembello's "Gravity" and you can see some of his synths (the E-mu modular, both oberheim 8-voice synths, jup-8, Emulator II etc.) in the video for that song:




Image
The E-mu Blue Box (grandaddy of the Audity). There were something like 6VCO's, 6VCA's, 6 transient generators, etc., per voice in the Blue Box!

Here's an excerpt from an email I received from Pat Gleeson (the original owner of the blue box) in which he describes this machine...

"The architecture was one that I brought to Emu (at the block diagram level), and they figured out how we'd implement it--using large "computer cards,"--I think they were something like 8" by 14," one per "voice," and a slot for each of 16 of them. I programmed it by putting the card out on an extender. The card had tiny switches you worked on with a miniature screw-driver--about the size of a dental instrument! Same for the rotary pots--they were about a half-centimeter across."

"Our original idea was to have a control function that would be as extensive as the voices--a control panel I could set up by the keyboard, probably with something like 20-30 pots and a similar number of switches. Something like the control available on the M-Audio keystation Pro keyboard. But the engineer I was working with (Ed Rudnick) came to the conclusion that we were pushing the technology to the edge of reliability already and that adding more wire runs and connectors was probably going to put it over the edge. So that was a little more limited than my original idea. "


Image
Casey Young with part of his Rocky IV setup, circa 1985. Note the Blue box below the 8-voice to the right.


Image
The Moog system 55. (recent photo).

Casey still owns many of these synths incl. the Moog, E-mu and Oberheim modulars.

Comments are welcomed!

cheers,
Mikael
Last edited by Micke on Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"The (Yamaha) CS-80 is a step ahead in keyboard control, and a generation behind in digital control" -- Dan Wyman, Jan 1979

User avatar
suitandtieguy
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 65
Joined: Sun Apr 09, 2006 8:56 am
Location: Chillicothe IL USA
Contact:

Re: Vince DiCola appreciation thread!

Post by suitandtieguy » Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:08 pm

the Transformers score was really memorable to me.

thanks for the post.
http://stgsoundlabs.com is where i sell things
http://suitandtieguy.com is my personal/music website
http://suitandtieguy.livejournal.com is my LJ, no blogistan for STG yo.

User avatar
Bitexion
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 4230
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2005 7:43 pm
Gear: Alesis Andromeda A6
Roland D-50
Creamware Minimax
Yamaha DX7s
Analogue Systems modular
Ensoniq SQ-80
Waldorf Blofeld
Location: Drammen, Norway

Re: Vince DiCola appreciation thread!

Post by Bitexion » Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:12 pm

You got the touch!!!! You got the poweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer!

The Rocky IV soundtrack was one of my fave cassettes when I was a kid. Specially the Training Montage song.

masstronaut
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 756
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 10:26 pm

Re: Vince DiCola appreciation thread!

Post by masstronaut » Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:17 am

Those pics are blowing my mind a bit. Seriously, when you think you've seen it all. Brilliant stuff Micke.

Virgule
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 356
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2009 8:46 pm

Re: Vince DiCola appreciation thread!

Post by Virgule » Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:51 pm

This pretty forgotten but iconic 80s song he did With Frank Stallone for Staying Alive is what led him to be chosen for work on Rocky IV. His playing style is evident throughout and in the solos.


User avatar
iProg
Expert Member
Expert Member
Posts: 1019
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 1:28 pm
Real name: Carl
Gear: Prophet-5, Prophet VS, Pro-One, Moog Prodigy, ARP Axxe, Korg PolySix, Roland D-50
Band: ArtWithHeart
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Contact:

Re: Vince DiCola appreciation thread!

Post by iProg » Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:19 am

Haha, coincidentally I listened to that very soundtrack 30 minutes ago. Great synth work! ;)

zoomtheline
No Longer Registered

Re: Vince DiCola appreciation thread!

Post by zoomtheline » Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:49 am

suitandtieguy wrote:the Transformers score was really memorable to me.

thanks for the post.
Ditto

User avatar
tekkentool
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 3218
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 10:51 am
Real name: Steve
Gear: Lasers (ส้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้ ωส้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้)
Band: none currently
Location: Sydney, australia.(I moved)

Re: Vince DiCola appreciation thread!

Post by tekkentool » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:07 pm

suitandtieguy wrote:the Transformers score was really memorable to me.

thanks for the post.
I was about to skin you then I remembered we weren't talking about Jablonsky

I thought his score for "battleship" was some next level pounding.

User avatar
Micke
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 2327
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2004 12:50 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Vince DiCola appreciation thread!

Post by Micke » Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:31 pm

Thanks for the comments guys :)

I just added the Moog vocoder to the gear list I posted above. According to Casey it was used on both scores.
"The (Yamaha) CS-80 is a step ahead in keyboard control, and a generation behind in digital control" -- Dan Wyman, Jan 1979

Virgule
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 356
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2009 8:46 pm

Re: Vince DiCola appreciation thread!

Post by Virgule » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:52 pm

I found out a number of years ago this Gameboy Advance game had a near identical Autobot/Decepticon Battle as its Menu song.


Aaron2
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 720
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 5:18 am
Real name: Aaron
Gear: Pioneer: Toraiz SP-16
Elektron: AK, AR, MnM, MD, OT
DSI: Evolver, MEK, P08, Pro2
Korg: Arp Odyssey
Waldorf: Blofeld Keyboard
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Vince DiCola appreciation thread!

Post by Aaron2 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:11 am

Thanks for broadening my musical horizons a little bit. I'd never heard of Vince DiCola before now, although obviously I'd heard his work in these films.

The interesting thing is, nowadays, you don't need a whole room full of modular s**t to make these sounds. There are guys right here in this forum recording music of this quality in their bedrooms! :lol: Times have really changed.

But again, thanks. I'll be on the lookout for more of DiCola's work. :)

User avatar
CS_TBL
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 1677
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 3:47 pm
Gear: All "In-The-Box"
Mainly FM8
Location: NL
Contact:

Re: Vince DiCola appreciation thread!

Post by CS_TBL » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:19 pm

Aaron2 wrote:There are guys right here in this forum recording music of this quality in their bedrooms!
..or with only one synth.. ^_^
"You know I love you, CS, but this is bullshit." (Automatic Gainsay)
s: VSL/FM8/EWQL/LASS h: DX7/FS1r/VL70/SY77/SN2r/JD800/JD990/XV88/Emu6400/Poly61/Amek35:12:2/genelec1030 r: Violin/AltoSax/TinWhistle c: i7-4770/RAM32GB/SSD
FM8 vids

User avatar
Micke
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 2327
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2004 12:50 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Vince DiCola appreciation thread!

Post by Micke » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:32 pm

Here are a few more goodies from DiCola's synth-driven score to the Transformers: the movie (1986).
Most of these filmtracks are afaik only available on a rare 2-CD compilation that was released back in 1997:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Til_All_Are_One



"The (Yamaha) CS-80 is a step ahead in keyboard control, and a generation behind in digital control" -- Dan Wyman, Jan 1979

Virgule
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 356
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2009 8:46 pm

Re: Vince DiCola appreciation thread!

Post by Virgule » Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:42 am

There's another 2 disc set called Protoform Sessions, with outtakes and demos. Both compilations include a great unused piece called Legacy.



User avatar
Micke
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 2327
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2004 12:50 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Vince DiCola appreciation thread!

Post by Micke » Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:48 pm

Yeah, "Legacy" was DiCola's audition piece for the project. The rest of that album features early demos and alternate versions plus audio
commentary by Vince.

I have the other 2CD-set plus the 20th anniversary disc from 2007 but I'm still looking for this one.

Here's info on all the Tranformers: the movie CD releases:
http://tfwiki.net/wiki/The_Transformers ... Soundtrack
"The (Yamaha) CS-80 is a step ahead in keyboard control, and a generation behind in digital control" -- Dan Wyman, Jan 1979

Post Reply