Vangelis at work with an incredible set up.

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Re: Vangelis at work with an incredible set up.

Post by madtheory » Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:16 pm

O wow, you use the Zyklus? knolan on here as one as well. I often wonder why it hasn't been implemented with Max/MSP yet. I wonder the same about the OB Cyclone. Thanks for the link I'll check it out.

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Re: Vangelis at work with an incredible set up.

Post by pflosi » Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:34 pm

Yeah, it controls all my hardware synths that have midi. I ditched using the piano roll for external synths when implementing an Innerclock Sync Gen to sync everything - I need a hardware midi sequencer (clocked from the Innerclock) for tight operation... I got it for a very good price, so that was a no-brainer.

There are some emulation projects, check this for example: http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic ... 1&t=280406

Cheers

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Re: Vangelis at work with an incredible set up.

Post by madtheory » Fri Sep 30, 2016 4:23 pm

Thanks, just got that. Have you any music online?

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Re: Vangelis at work with an incredible set up.

Post by pflosi » Fri Sep 30, 2016 5:01 pm

Sure, the SC link is in my signature or here if you block that :thumbright: Not sure whether there are much apparent uses of the Zyklus on there, though... Well, basically the newer (released) studio stuff is using it.

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Re: Vangelis at work with an incredible set up.

Post by knolan » Sat Oct 01, 2016 1:52 am

pflosi wrote:
madtheory wrote:
pflosi wrote:AFAIK, that custom midi setup was made by Alyseum.
Yes that guy did the Zyklus as well- that is why Vangelis hired him. I might be wrong, but he was also involved in the OB Cyclone?
I was a bit confused about all this as well myself, but basically it was Bill Marshall who did the Zyklus MPS1 (amazing machine, it's my main midi sequencer) and the one-off Direct Box for Vangelis. The midi controller here was apparently designed by Vangelis himself and executed by Alyseum (HW) and Philippe Cailleau (SW) - who don't have anything to do with Zyklus, AFAIK. It's basically a complex midi routing system (I'm guessing the hieroglyphs he's using are symbols for different timbres).

Check here (and please excuse my confusion in that thread): https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewt ... 17#1402817

Cheers
I'm pretty sure that the ZYKLUS was the inspiration for the Direct system, however much the Direct system has advanced beyond ZYLKUS to the current day. As you surely know the ZYLKUS has two significant feature sets: 1) as a realtime performance multiple polyphonic sequencer system (where you can 'play' up to 12 independent polyphonic sequences zoned across a keyboard and "one off" trigger-able from the keyboard, each polyphonically, (up to a total of 48 notes polyphonically) - so truly a real time performance sequencing system) and 2) as a complex MIDI setup control centre (a bit dated these days but in the 80's enabling unprecedented MIDI configurability of a multi-keyboard setup). So it was this latter feature set that Vangelis used in his keyboard rig for his Direct album (he also used the ZYKLUS realtime sequencing capabilities on both Direct and The City) - so the evolution of the Direct system we see today began with the Zyklus MIDI configuration capabilities

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Re: Vangelis at work with an incredible set up.

Post by madtheory » Sat Oct 01, 2016 9:45 am

Ah, now that's interesting. Some conjecture if I may... I guess the MIDI control became interesting to him when sample based instruments got cheaper. I doubt even he would've contemplated using 12 or more Emulator IIs at once! :) Based on what I've read about the Zyklus, and the (mostly fairly dodgy) demos, I do hear Vangelis using some of that kind of sequencing ability on "Direct", a development of the way he used step sequencers in the seventies. But clearly he subsequently moved away from that way of doing things.

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Re: Vangelis at work with an incredible set up.

Post by knolan » Mon Oct 03, 2016 12:58 am

I had a few chats with Bill Marshall over email once I bought my ZYKLUS about 10 years ago - and if memory serves correctly from those chats - he indicated that the MIDI control /configurability available from the ZYKLUS enabled much of what Vangelis did with MIDI equipment at the time (late '80s - early '90s)

As just one (of many) examples - if you listen to the sequence underpinning "The Motion of the Stars" on the Direct Album (first track), you hear the sequence change from one synth program to another through the piece - likely triggered by program changes transmitted by the ZYKLUS along with the actual note data. While that may seem straight forward today, remember, this was before the era of DAWs and plugins, so to have a sequencing device with such radical sequencing capabilities (still unmatched to this day by the way, see explanation below) along with a sophisticated MIDI configuration capability and 4 physical MIDI output ports to link to may synthesizers at once - and with those MIDI configurations saveable as presets in the ZYKLUS memory banks - it enabled Vangelis to create performance control templates that would configure the synthesizer setup for given pieces, or in real time as he performed through a give piece, freeing his hands up from having to change programs, modify MIDI controllers and so forth.

It liberated MIDI setups and preset synths from a performance stand point otherwise not achievable at the time. Take a look at all of those MIDI synths in the Direct Album photo - they are all linked to the ZYKLUS. So all of this provided the impetus to improve upon, in his subsequent Direct system.

So the realtime-performance-sequencer aspect of ZYKLUS, as astounding as it still is, was only part of the picture, with the realtime MIDI configuration capability - or indeed just having the ability to save an entire keyboard ring "MIDI setup" as a ZYKLUS program, were equally if not more important to Vangelis, and lead to his current Direct system.

As far as the ZYKLUS sequencer is concerned - have a listen to the last piece on the Direct Album - Intergalactic Radio Station - you hear a lot of sequences changing in real time - essentially the sequence is being performed in real time - and this is only possible with the ZYKLUS. You can hear similar sequence performing on the piece Nerve Centre from the album "The City"

Let me give an example of how the ZYKLUS realtime performance sequencer can work: If you program the notes C3 - G3 - C4 - G4 as one sequence - and then press any note on a connected MIDI controller keyboard - for example the note C2 - then you trigger that entered 4 note sequence and you hear the sequence played as C2 - G2 - C3 - G3. In other words - you do not have a traditional sequencer "Start" button - rather, the pressed note triggers/starts the sequence, and plays it from the note(s) you press (and so it also transposes in realtime). You can trigger it in any one of a number of ways from that key ( as a once off play through, repeated, repeated forward and backward, ....).

Also - if you play two notes on the keyboard, say for example C and E, then you'll hear that sequence in 3rds. Play C and F and you'll hear it in 4ths. Play any key - and you'll hear the sequence starting from that note. Play one key and then another key - and the sequence will trigger on each key with both sequences maintaining the timing differnece between the time between the triggering of their original trigger note (so imagine the realtime percussion possibilities if triggering percussion samples). And you can trigger up to 48 notes simultaneously and hear that sequence triggered in realtime starting from those 48 notes. Individual sequences can be thousands of notes long.

Further - you can have up to 12 such different polyphonic sequences triggered at any time across different zones from a keyboard and each individually routable to different MIDI channels and MIDI ports - so it provides extraordinary real time sequence performance possibilities on multi keyboard / multitimbral setups connected to the ZYKLUS.

Although I have no confirmed evidence to back this up, I suspect that the actual realtime sequencer aspects of the ZYKLUS are implemented in Vangelis' current Direct system too (in images of his system you can see a large sequencer module with the letters of the diatonic scale on it) and I suspect it may even go further than Zyklus in offering true transposition and not just parallel transposition. As said, I'm only guessing, but examination of that module suggests such capability.

A conversation with someone who worked with Vangelis a few years back about Vangelis' use of ZYKLUS was very interesting, and although I do not remember the particulars explained to me, they indicated that Vangelis used ZYKLUS to create intriguing and rich "Pad" sounds via ZYKLUS by triggering a particular synthesiser with the equivalent of 800bpm, creating a kind of Chorus effect (please don't ask me to explain it because I didn't understand the process as it was explained to me, but it was explained in good faith) - and indeed I believe the "Pad" sound on the first track on The City (Dawn) is such an example

While I own my ZYKLUS for some years now, I'm actually quite inexperienced with it, but hope eventually to integrate it into a new project studio setup where it will be physically linked between my master keyboard and Logic Pro X (for input) - so that anything I play from my master keyboard can be recorded by the ZYKLUS to create ZYKLUS sequences - and then to route the ZYKLUS out to the dozen or more synths in the setup, but via Logic Pro MIDI tracks so that when "performing" the ZYKLUS pre-recorded sequences in real time from my master keyboard, Logic will capture every note emanating from the ZYKLUS as complex realtime sequence performances, subsequently MIDI editable from within Logic ( or assigned to different synths / plugins, for example). I haven't' figured out the MIDI routing however - my understanding of Logic's "environment" is sketchy and rusty - so I'll have to sit down and plan this in earnest when the time comes. One intriguing possibly will be to combine realtime performance of sequences from ZYKLUS with Korg / Stephen Kay's Karma Generated Effects ( or vice versa) where surely wild sequence performances will result (perhaps too wild :-) ).



Overall, ZYKLUS, properly harnessed, is still hugely relevant and I'd love someone to program it in software; but I suspect Bill Marshall would still need to be paid for licensing. I know Bill Marshall talked to Ableton about them buying his technology from him and implementing it in Ableton, but they seem not to have taken up the offer. It surely could be implemented in MAX (perhaps even within Ableton because of how they are connected). Alas only 40 ZYKLUS modules were only ever made, so it's not a commonly available device, despite it's extraordinary spec (even to this day).

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Re: Vangelis at work with an incredible set up.

Post by pflosi » Mon Oct 03, 2016 9:02 am

Poly-playing pre-programmed sequences is so much fun! Hard to actually integrate into songs, but a ton of fun :headbang:

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Re: Vangelis at work with an incredible set up.

Post by desmond » Mon Oct 03, 2016 11:13 am

knolan wrote:Let me give an example of how the ZYKLUS realtime performance sequencer can work: If you program the notes C3 - G3 - C4 - G4 as one sequence - and then press any note on a connected MIDI controller keyboard - for example the note C2 - then you trigger that entered 4 note sequence and you hear the sequence played as C2 - G2 - C3 - G3. In other words - you do not have a traditional sequencer "Start" button - rather, the pressed note triggers/starts the sequence, and plays it from the note(s) you press (and so it also transposes in realtime). You can trigger it in any one of a number of ways from that key ( as a once off play through, repeated, repeated forward and backward, ....).
Sounds a lot like Logic's "touch tracks" feature...

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Re: Vangelis at work with an incredible set up.

Post by Bitexion » Mon Oct 03, 2016 3:54 pm

I find it amusing that everyone desires all those 70s/80s megasynths with no MIDI control and stuff..but the musicians who actually used them back in the 70s and 80s moved on to digital, VAs and samplers as fast as they could, and modern analogues, while we argue what is best of the Prophet 5 v3.3 or 3.2 :ugeek:

Btw, I randomly looked on ebay today and found a "musonics" minimoog model d for $13,999. What the h**l is that?

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Re: Vangelis at work with an incredible set up.

Post by ppg_wavecomputer » Mon Oct 03, 2016 7:04 pm

Bitexion wrote:I find it amusing that everyone desires all those 70s/80s megasynths with no MIDI control and stuff..but the musicians who actually used them back in the 70s and 80s moved on to digital, VAs and samplers as fast as they could, and modern analogues, while we argue what is best of the Prophet 5 v3.3 or 3.2 :ugeek:

Btw, I randomly looked on ebay today and found a "musonics" minimoog model d for $13,999. What the h**l is that?
It's not about their prehistoric user interface or their lack of MIDI, it's primarily the sound, I believe.

That's why so many people hack a Kenton MIDI into a CS80 or the likes.

Moving away from what you had to use because there were no other options available seems a logical thing to do -- every major league keyboard player of that era did that (and lost his or her trademark sound almost in an instant). They mostly don't have any fond memories of those unwieldy devices, unlike those who were listening to the final results of the eternal struggle with drifting oscillators or lack of polyphony or whatever.

I never understood why Edgar Froese abandoned using the PPG Wave 2 -- until I got one.

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Re: Vangelis at work with an incredible set up.

Post by commodorejohn » Mon Oct 03, 2016 7:56 pm

^ Nailed it.
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Re: Vangelis at work with an incredible set up.

Post by griffin avid » Mon Oct 03, 2016 8:54 pm

I never understood why Edgar Froese abandoned using the PPG Wave 2 -- until I got one.

But...but your screen name is....

Well, I know this is beating a super dead horse, but do you thing manufactures abandon technology for the same reasons and would rather make do with certain tech..?

Or as some have said, it's always about being on the cutting edge of new technology and not about the R&D + building being easier or cheaper.
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Re: Vangelis at work with an incredible set up.

Post by knolan » Mon Oct 03, 2016 9:24 pm

desmond wrote:
knolan wrote:Let me give an example of how the ZYKLUS realtime performance sequencer can work: If you program the notes C3 - G3 - C4 - G4 as one sequence - and then press any note on a connected MIDI controller keyboard - for example the note C2 - then you trigger that entered 4 note sequence and you hear the sequence played as C2 - G2 - C3 - G3. In other words - you do not have a traditional sequencer "Start" button - rather, the pressed note triggers/starts the sequence, and plays it from the note(s) you press (and so it also transposes in realtime). You can trigger it in any one of a number of ways from that key ( as a once off play through, repeated, repeated forward and backward, ....).
Sounds a lot like Logic's "touch tracks" feature...
Indeed, there are similarities. But the ZYKLUS has twelve very distinctively different trigger modes for sequence performance, some for managing various running sequence in a variety or ways. Furthermore, once sequences are recorded, Performance of those sequences can also be recorded into a "Performance" - a kind of sequence of sequences! Indeed even MIDI Control Sequences can be recorded into a "Performance". So - the possibilities are essentially endless. It's very sophisticated.

Though I haven't engaged it yet in any deep way, and am only familiar with Touch Tracks through the documentation, I believe the ZYKLUS provides substantively more, and more intriguing performance possibilities in a robust hardware package. No doubt anyone with sufficient understanding of the Logic Environment could emulate the ZYKLUS for sure; but I believe there would be a lot of work involved.

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Re: Vangelis at work with an incredible set up.

Post by desmond » Mon Oct 03, 2016 10:15 pm

Yeah, I'm not saying touch tracks is a direct replacement of the Zyklus, or offers all of the complexities or functionality, just it's doing a broadly similar thing - and complexity and features aren't necessarily god things - often simplicity and accessibility can result in a better experience.

You can do quite a lot with touch tracks, and it's a pretty overlooked feature in Logic despite it being there since Logic 2.0. But obviously the Zyklus is it's own thing and as fas as I understand can get pretty deep, should someone want to delve into it that much. As I recall there was some efforts about making/porting a software version of this at some point, but I'm not sure what came of it...

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