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John Foxx - Underpass

Posted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 2:36 pm
by Kanfuze
can someone explain me how to imitate the lead synth in this song???

thanks ;)

Re: John Foxx - Underpass

Posted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:39 pm
by Micke
I can't help you with the sound but I do know the lead synth was an ARP Odyssey.

I'm suspecting the lead line was tracked over itself (ie doubled) a couple of times and that's probably one of the reasons it sounds so rich.

Says Foxx: "I put the signal from the synth straight into an amp and play that into a room, then put microphones some disctance away from the amp's speaker to get a senseof space on the track, and record the synths from the mics instead of direct injecting them. That process helps beef up the synth sounds considerably. Sometimes I would layer several tracks of ARP Synth together, put those out through an amp and re-record those to get a meaty sound."

At Pathway there was a home-made reverb plate made out of tin foil with two contact mics, that was dead right for the synths. It responded perfectly with the ARP. That was the only reverb used on Metamatic, apart from the one ion my (Roland) space echo which is a fairly limited spring reverb that "pings" immediately you put any transient signal through it."

(source: HSR interview Oct 1984).

Re: John Foxx - Underpass

Posted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:26 pm
by Kanfuze
wow thanks man you really helpin me with the info. i forgot to think of the recording techniques in my experiment...
i am gonna still try to do it i got all the right equipment in my school. wish me luck :)

Re: John Foxx - Underpass

Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:03 am
by Micke
You're welcome :)

I realize now that you're referring to another sound than I had in mind (I thought you meant the main-riff). Anyway, It sounds like there's some phasing or flanging to that sound.

Btw, have you seen this;


Unfortunately it's difficult to make out the exact patch settings but maybe you could email the guy and ask
for a hi-resolution photo.

Re the melody riff on Underpass, anyone else noticed the similarity to the synth-riff on New Musik's song "Sanctuary"?


Metamatic was released in Jan 1980 about three months prior to New Musik's album, but according to Tony Mansfield,
when interviewed in Sounds 24/5/80: "Then John Foxx used the same riff as in 'Sanctuary' on 'Underpass'. It's on our old demos, honest!'
Be that as it may, I doubt Foxx could've heard Sanctuary before he wrote Underpass.

Re: John Foxx - Underpass

Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:49 am
by matia
foxx also was notorious for using pedals on synths. a good flanger and phaser go great for re-creating the mood of metamatic. one of my all time favorite records.

-matia

Re: John Foxx - Underpass

Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:41 pm
by Kanfuze
Micke wrote:You're welcome :)

I realize now that you're referring to another sound than I had in mind (I thought you meant the main-riff).
^^i was referring to the main-riff.. and the "New Musik" riff really sound a like :shock:
i am going to send mail to the guy,lets see if he is a nice one..

Re: John Foxx - Underpass

Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:30 pm
by Micke
Ahh I see...I thought you meant the 'secondary' riff that kicks in at 0:26 into the song:


Btw, the Odyssey used on Metamatic was a black & gold face mk II but I guess you knew that already.
That version initially came fitted with the 4035 "Moog filter" though later versions of the same synth had
the then-new 4075 ARP filter.

Re: John Foxx - Underpass

Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:25 pm
by Kanfuze
well since i dont have a ARP i am goin to use my yamaha cs-15 (i know i can't expect much but still its gonna be interesting)