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Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:18 pm
by Jonnypopisical
You may be right - I'll have too listen again.....

I'l post a link up when it's done - although it's not going to be a straight copy of the original (what's the point) but hopefully Bush fans will approve.

JP

Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:02 pm
by Peter Conz Connelly
desmond wrote: ... But I couldn't get anywhere near the tom sound - none of the toms or tom-like sample in the IIx set I have could get me in the ball park, evening with quite a bit of processing. Can' rule it out, of course, we never know what they did. They might just have tried the library toms, thought they were rubbish, and sampled their own toms and used those...

Funny you should say that 'cos on this Drumkit11 (or Drumkit13) preset on the Series III... the one I was convinced has a conection with RUTH... the Tom (from memory) sounds just like the one on RUTH. I've heard this sound on other tracks too, particularly stuff produced by Andy Richards who used a lot of III.

There was a IIL (between IIX and III) that looked like a IIx / III hybrid. I wonder if Bush somehow had access or contributed to Fairlight sound libraries before the actual III (and additional libraries, which you could subscribe to) came out.

I'll see if I can get access to them drums sounds... I really wish I'd recorded my libs before I sold my III. I started but it was taking forever, so ditched the idea. Arrrgggghhhhh!!!! I still know many Series III owners, so will see what I can do.

P

Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:36 pm
by desmond
Peter Conz Connelly wrote:Funny you should say that 'cos on this Drumkit11 (or Drumkit13) preset on the Series III... the one I was convinced has a conection with RUTH... the Tom (from memory) sounds just like the one on RUTH. I've heard this sound on other tracks too, particularly stuff produced by Andy Richards who used a lot of III.

How reliable is your memory..? :)

Peter Conz Connelly wrote:There was a IIL (between IIX and III) that looked like a IIx / III hybrid. I wonder if Bush somehow had access or contributed to Fairlight sound libraries before the actual III (and additional libraries, which you could subscribe to) came out.

Interesting... dunno. Certainly back in these days, the quality of the libraries was every bit as important as owning the hardware, and users certainly did contribute their own sounds (especially as back then, sampling was far simpler a process than todays multi-articulation multi-keyrange/velocity sample sessions...

Peter Conz Connelly wrote:I'll see if I can get access to them drums sounds... I really wish I'd recorded my libs before I sold my III. I started but it was taking forever, so ditched the idea. Arrrgggghhhhh!!!! I still know many Series III owners, so will see what I can do.

That would be cool! 8-)

Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:45 pm
by Peter Conz Connelly
I'm gonna dig out the album and have a good listen on my studio monitors ASAP. I could be eating my words here, so I have a plate and plenty of salt to hand. lol.

Will keep you up-to-date with the sounds... someone's already on the case ;)

P

Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:49 pm
by Peter Conz Connelly
... with regards to memory, often it's photographic. Other times, it's the pits. lol.

P

Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:54 am
by desmond
The main reason I have a hunch that it *wasn't* the Fairlight doing the drums is because I have a feeling I've seen in interviews references to Del programming the drum machine, and thinking they used a Linn drum. And having a quick look before I started to second guess myself, I just found this online from a Q magazine interview:

"For the most part, time has been kind to Hounds of Love. Only the clanking, robotic omnipresence of Palmer's Linn drum machine (the pulse of every over-produced record of its decade) dates the sound, its size tens trampling all over the insistent opener Running Up that Hill (A Deal with God)."


Hey, a music magazine review, doesn't particularly mean much for technical accuracy of course, but it's what my subconscious is telling me...

I still reckon it was a more conventional drum machine doing the drums, with the Fairlight put to more creative uses than just using it's limited resources to do what another piece of hardware could do equally well. And Linn's were still popular and fashionable and the sound of pop, to a certain extent...

Kate's own words, talking about Hounds of Love:

"This takes us into The Morning Fog. "Morning Fog" is the symbol of light and hope. It's the end of the side, and if you ever have any control over endings they should always, I feel, have some kind of light in there. This was originally written to a Linn drum machine.

I wrote, on the Fairlight, an instrumental piece of music using the sample of an acoustic guitar. I then later wrote the song on top of this instrumental, building up the voices in layers. The piece I'd written on the Fairlight was transcribed by Dave Lawson for an acoustic guitar player, and I felt that really one of the best people to play this was John Williams, a superb classical guitarist who I had met on a couple of occasions before when I was working at Abbey Road. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to ask him if he'd like to play on a track. We added Del's fretless bass, Kevin on synth, and built up the backing vocals; then Pad layered up Appalachian fiddles and fujare. We kept the guide vocal as the master voice and mixed up the last track on the album."


So, they definitely had a Linn of some flavour in the studio... (a bit early for a 9000 too*).
So time to check out those Linndrum/LM1/2 samples again...

*Edit: No, Linn 9000 was produced in '84-'86 apparently, so it's not too early.

And then this was interesting:

"Palmer programmed the record’s skeletal pulse on a Lynn drum machine, and those tracks were often saved and used and overdubbed by drummers playing live to the static beat – this is really the groundwork for the unique sound on Hounds of Love. It’s Stuart Elliott who plays on the majestic, holy “Running up that Hill”, which opens the album and made the exceptionally British Kate Bush a star in the US. Elliott truly found her internal timings. “His drumming is the most emotional I know,” acknowledged the delighted artist. “He’s always interested in the songs and the lyrics and has a way of creating the right mood for a track."


My hunch was that the toms sound too good to be an early drum machine. Toms were notoriously bad on those things, getting realistic tom fills was almost impossible. The above paragraph seems to back this up.

Gut feeling: Linn kick and snare, real toms (or at least, real toms with Linn toms underneath). The timing is pretty loose for an early drum machine...

Some other snippets my google fu has turned up:

Opening song on the album Hounds Of Love. Originally titled A Deal With God, this song began when Kate asked Del to program a drum machine rhythm for her. She used the Fairlight to produce a droning sound over the rhythm, and from there the song practically wrote itself.



Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 9:24 am
by Zukan
Did she ever get to the top of the hill then........or still running?

Image

I'm in one of those 'shroom' moods today....Friday n' all that.

Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 11:03 am
by Peter Conz Connelly
Zukan wrote:Did she ever get to the top of the hill then........or still running?

Image

I'm in one of those 'shroom' moods today....Friday n' all that.

I love that Friday 'shroom mood :bouncy:

P

Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:50 am
by ramthelinefeed
Was reading this thread with interest.

I have to say that to me, the 'yelpy' sound Ms. Bush got to do that melody on "Running Up that Hill" always sounded to me like it was essentially the same Fairlight string (cello) sample that she'd already been using for years - for example is it not basically the same things as is on "Army Dreamers" on Never for Ever? (just processed and pimped more here)

Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:02 am
by Peter Conz Connelly
nathanscribe wrote: Can the Fairlight not apply pitch bend to a sample in the playing? Not a facetious question, I genuinely don't know. I've seen one in the flesh but not been lucky (?) enough to use it...

I would guess that's what she did, in all honesty. I play a lot with pitch bend to sweep notes.

P

Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:37 am
by desmond
feline1 wrote:I have to say that to me, the 'yelpy' sound Ms. Bush got to do that melody on "Running Up that Hill" always sounded to me like it was essentially the same Fairlight string (cello) sample that she'd already been using for years - for example is it not basically the same things as is on "Army Dreamers" on Never for Ever? (just processed and pimped more here)

The early albums were done on the first Fairlights into the UK, series 1's. A few years down the line, she got her own Fairlight II. Like many digital synths/keyboards of the mid 80's, the presets were used extensively, especially in the case of the Fairlights/Emulators - and it's not like the Fairlight library contained *thousands* of sounds.

However, there are quite a few string sounds in the Fairlight library (twenty or so in all I think) and she certainly made use of them - those kinds of strings were popularly used at that time (look at the Emulator II's Arco and Marcato strings - West End Girls etc - they were used everywhere too) as you could get a more real string sound and get away from string machine/analog strings/DX7 weedy strings thing - so it's not surprising you'd use them if you had access to them...

So whether it was only that patch she liked and used I can't say, but she certainly got a lot of use out of the Fairlight library...

Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 1:59 pm
by arkieboy
I think I read at the time that the essential element of the voxy pad sound was with a Quantec room simulator - AFAIR it had a 'frozen reverb' setting where you could play something into it and it would endlessly play the reverb of the sound back to you. Fit's with Desmond's observations well... a frozen, grainy reverb tail of Fairlight Arr1

Splendid programming BTW!

Steve

Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:22 pm
by desmond
arkieboy wrote:a frozen, grainy reverb tail of Fairlight Arr1

Not Arr1 on the pad - Cello2 from my observations, as it's the only sound that gives that character.

Interesting on the Quantec, thanks. Another piece of the puzzle that would seem to fit nicely...

Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:24 am
by Iain_TC
BJG145 wrote:...only other offerings I've spotted so far apart from Nostalgia are Cult Sampler and this offering from Pro-Rec. I'm kind of surprised there aren't more.


I use this in Reason and it's really very good: Power FX CMI Legacy (it's well worth also downloading the Supremacy ReFill which adds extra patches and some sounds from non-Fairlight synths).

I'd like to back up the theory that the drone was something from the Fairlight through a Quantec Room Simulator with the reverb time set to infinite. I reckon quite a few drones and textures on Peter Gabriel albums were done that way too.

Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:13 pm
by nathanscribe
Desmond, if you read this, how much pitch bend did you apply to the sample for the melody part? I spent a while last night on my humble W-30 trying to get this thing in the ballpark and didn't meet with much success. My Cello2 sounds like Army Dreamers, not Running... :?

Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:23 pm
by desmond
nathanscribe wrote:Desmond, if you read this, how much pitch bend did you apply to the sample for the melody part?

Like I say, I think the original was probably played with real pitch bend, but when I was playing with it, I used an envelope to give a scooping pitch attack. This is a key constituent to the melody part.

How much did I use? Numbers doesn't really help as different instruments have different envelopes, but basically, I used as much as was necessary for the sound to feel like it was getting in in the ballpark... Pitch envelopes you are primarily concerned with the envelope depth (ie, how much pitch the envelope will bend over -typically for this you are looking at somewhere between 1 and 2 semitones I guess) and the attack and decay times to get the length of the bend right.

Can the W30 route an envelope to pitch?

Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:13 pm
by nathanscribe
desmond wrote:somewhere between 1 and 2 semitones I guess [...] and the attack and decay times to get the length of the bend right.

Can the W30 route an envelope to pitch?

Not as far as I'm aware, but it can 'peak' a synced LFO to pitch mod... which means you get an initial sweep a bit like the 'glide' on some old analogues. It follows the LFO wave (which is retriggered from zero at note-on) till the wave hits the top (or bottom, if you set it negative) and stays there. I don't believe there's an offset built into the LFO level. So what I'd probably have to do is use that LFO peak feature for, say, a couple of semitones of bend, and offest the played pitch by the same - or drop the pitch of the sample tone by that amount.

I suppose the other route is to add a pitch envelope in Logic.

I'll give it a go later.

Must be mad. :)

Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:56 pm
by desmond
Hmm, probably won't give a decent result doing it that way...

The W30 is pretty limited anyway, so yeah, give it a go in software where we're all used to having virtually limitless resources these days...

Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:05 pm
by Fibes
Desmond, you really should get your own section in the magazine. Instead of the engineers/producers/artists explaining to us how they came up with these other worldly sounds, we'd have you explaining how to reverse-engineer them. :)

One excellent and enlightening thread.

Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 11:20 pm
by Peter Conz Connelly
Fibes wrote:One excellent and enlightening thread.

+1