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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

Postby giorgio » Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:15 pm

the lead sounds like a fairly simple synth sound to me, which could have been made with some of the "analog" samples on the fairlight, with the proper envelopes applied of course. I made a patch on my jupiter 6 along with an echo of course, and it pretty much nails the sound.

The envelopes are the key here. the proper pitch dip and VCA control really seems to make a difference, and this is the issue with the previous example. don't get me wrong it is decent, but with a little more finesse on the envelopes it really locks into place. I couldn't get the envelopes correct on my MPC1000 but the JP6 was much easier.

I can try to record/upload it tonight if anyone still cares about this thread.
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby desmond » Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:05 pm

giorgio wrote:the lead sounds like a fairly simple synth sound to me, which could have been made with some of the "analog" samples on the fairlight, with the proper envelopes applied of course. I made a patch on my jupiter 6 along with an echo of course, and it pretty much nails the sound.

I disagree, for all the reasons I posted above. But I'm happy to be proven wrong. :)

giorgio wrote:I can try to record/upload it tonight if anyone still cares about this thread.

Sure - go for it!
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby Tony Raven » Thu Apr 21, 2011 2:51 am

This question has been bothering me all damned week. I remember how totally floored I was when I first heard the tune twenty-some years ago (yeah, late to the dance as usual).

All's I really know about the Fairlight is from Kate Bush & Peter Gabriel, so I can't comment properly in that regard.

That signature "trumpet" sound is interesting. My memory had it down as a sped-up low brass sound, but on relistening that isn't quite right. At a couple of points it seems to evolve from a (for lack of better term) synth-brass sound to more like a strings pad. I'd have to dig up the CD & put the phones on to get deeper into it, but it's definitely two tones at least, so it could be e-brass for the main body with the e-string at the top.

The "ahhs" that run through as a ground remind me very much of some of the sounds from Shriekback's Oil & Gold, where I'm fair certain they used a Fairlight, DX-1, & JP-8 -- far above my remit to sort all that out. Though I'm guessing that a well-done interleaving of samples, synthetic voices, & actual singersmight be difficult to differentiate with just a helpless little stereo track.

Nothing final from here, but it makes me want to try emulating it, not to mention renewing my appreciation of Kate Bush (she's a month older than me, fwiw).
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby desmond » Thu Apr 21, 2011 6:15 am

Did you read through this thread? The question has been categorically answered for me. All of the pieces make sense. Try it out for yourself.
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:42 am

Desmond, you are spot on. Well done sir! I played around with the "Infinity" setting on my Lexicon LXP-15II, and it does a similar thing except that the tone gets duller as it goes on. So I guess you could do the Quantec thing with any reverb?

What amazes me is that, dry, this pitch mod Fairlight cello sounds unusable. Goes to show what a creative lady she is.

Another slight problem is depending on which Fairlight library you have, there are two sounds called "Cello 2".

feline1 wrote:always sounded to me like it was essentially the same Fairlight string (cello) sample that she'd already been using for years

Well spotted sir. Actually it's a different cello sample, but the Fairlight II makes then all sound kinda similar. As Paul Wiffen once described it "a nasal honk". :) The one on "Army Dreamers" is called "Quartet" IIRC.
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby desmond » Thu Apr 21, 2011 11:21 am

Tomás Mulcahy wrote:Desmond, you are spot on. Well done sir!


:angel:

Tomás Mulcahy wrote:I played around with the "Infinity" setting on my Lexicon LXP-15II, and it does a similar thing except that the tone gets duller as it goes on. So I guess you could do the Quantec thing with any reverb?


Yeah, or you could always sample and loop the reverb tail. That reverb pad is a wonderful sound imo...

Tomás Mulcahy wrote:What amazes me is that, dry, this pitch mod Fairlight cello sounds unusable. Goes to show what a creative lady she is.


*Absolutely* +1 on this. I'm not sure I could do anything that sounded good on a Fairlight II, and yet she made amazing use of it, really digging into it's strengths and it's quirks to find her voice. People imo these days do not do nearly enough "voice finding" with modern instruments, it's too easy to use everybody else's...

Tomás Mulcahy wrote:Another slight problem is depending on which Fairlight library you have, there are two sounds called "Cello 2".


Ah, didn't know about this. I only used the Fairlight samples I had available to me, including stuff I'd found around the net - I've never had any real Fairlight time. Anyway, it was enough to solve the problem for me which had bugged me ever since a young synth-loving kid heard that song and fell in love with it...

Tomás Mulcahy wrote:
feline1 wrote:always sounded to me like it was essentially the same Fairlight string (cello) sample that she'd already been using for years

Well spotted sir. Actually it's a different cello sample, but the Fairlight II makes then all sound kinda similar. As Paul Wiffen once described it "a nasal honk". :) The one on "Army Dreamers" is called "Quartet" IIRC.


Once you dig through the Fairlight library you do a lot of "Aha!" and "Ooh, *that* was what it was.." and "Oh, I thought that record was something really creative but it's just someone elses sample"... etc :)

It's one of the joys of getting access to these sounds, I think, if you're at all synth nerds like us... :headbang:
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:45 pm

desmond wrote:Once you dig through the Fairlight library you do a lot of "Aha!" and "Ooh, *that* was what it was.." and "Oh, I thought that record was something really creative but it's just someone elses sample"... etc :)

It's one of the joys of getting access to these sounds, I think, if you're at all synth nerds like us... :headbang:

This is true, it is fun to discover these things. I don't own a Fairlight, did you try the Fairlight iPhone app? It's interesting how some of the sounds are looped.

I have the IIx library from several sources, including disk images from an acquaintance who owns a few Fairlights. I've also got the series 3 library, and almost everything that was commercially for the Emulator II, as well as the complete EIIIx library I had when I owned and Emu ESI4000, and the Yamaha TX16W. Almost all imported into Kontakt. EMXP makes soundfonts of EII images, so they go into Kontakt with minimal pain. There is no such utility for the series 3, so I've not imported all of them. They're actually not that great, it was basically a posh ROMpler IMO. Whereas the IIx has this great sound like nothing else. It's worth trawling through the WAVs with that one.

Next little project is to import the box of Ensoniq Mirage disks I have. :)
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby desmond » Thu Apr 21, 2011 1:00 pm

Some of the early Roland stuff is interesting too. The EII library is great, so much recognisable stuff in there, including the sounds which were crucial to the fabulous score in my all-time number 1 film - was wonderful to discover that stuff.

What I'd really love to play with is the Synclavier library though...
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:42 am

desmond wrote:
The toms again I couldn't get near, at least with a quick play and my Linn9000 EXS/Ultrabeat kit ;)
I've done the drums, exactly, using Linn 9000 samples. These ones that are taken directly from the EPROM. Not much processing at all really, just some major detuning of the tom. Of course my blog has decided that it can't write new directories, so the upload of evidence will be later today.
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby desmond » Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:09 am

Tomás Mulcahy wrote:I've done the drums, exactly, using Linn 9000 samples. These ones that are taken directly from the EPROM. Not much processing at all really, just some major detuning of the tom. Of course my blog has decided that it can't write new directories, so the upload of evidence will be later today.

Cool. I have a Linn9000 sample kit to hand (with one tom) but although I played with it, I couldn't get it close to the record. Given that the kick and snare are clearly drum machiney, and that we know she used a Linn (at least when writing) and that we know a drummer came and recorded drums on it, it leads me to surmise that the toms would have originally been a Linn pattern but we probably replaced or at least overdubbed with real drumming on the record. There's at least two parts, with a third coming in in the middle8 and some big tom fills as well, so I think it's most likely a combination of the Linn pattern and real overdubs.

I'd be interested to hear how close you got...
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Fri Apr 22, 2011 3:37 pm

Yes, I used the factory kit, only one tom. While I was at it, I investigated two other songs as well. See my blog post here.

The reverb for the drone in RUTH is just the AIR reverb in PT set to infinite, with some chorus and an LPF rather than a bit crusher. It's close. I chose not to add the ground loop noise that's on the original. ;)

Not sure about the chords. I went with G# sans 3rd, A#, Cm. Fiddled with the sound a lot, but it sounds too "high".

The pitch envelope on the lead sound is not quite right. I used a linear envelope of 160ms set it at a fifth; a seventh or an octave didn't work.
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby desmond » Fri Apr 22, 2011 4:04 pm

Yeah, the Linn9000 tom is a better match than the Fairlight kit. I loaded up my K8drums test project from a while ago and stuck in the Linn9000 tom nice and low and it does sound better, but I still wasn't happy with it when I compare it to the record. I'd basically explored all the usual candidates before and wasn't entirely happy.

Partly because it's so stiff rattling away in 16ths on that single sample - then record sounds to me more organic than that and while it's rigid, it doesn't appear to be quite so stiff. Like I say, it could be the Linn9000 tom with tom overdubs on top to make it sing a bit more.

This is basically what I have:

K8drums

(I did this quickly without referencing the record, and these toms are dry - a big of bigness reverb would help thicken them up some more, no doubt.)
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby desmond » Fri Apr 22, 2011 4:15 pm

Tomás Mulcahy wrote:Not sure about the chords. I went with G# sans 3rd, A#, Cm. Fiddled with the sound a lot, but it sounds too "high".

Match it to the record - it's just two notes, I think C and D# from memory...

Tomás Mulcahy wrote:The pitch envelope on the lead sound is not quite right. I used a linear envelope of 160ms set it at a fifth; a seventh or an octave didn't work.

Yep - it's the attack that's really hard to nail - especially on a conventional synth. Anyway - for me, I wasn't necessarily trying to replicate it *exactly*, just unlock the mystery to what it was. As I said earlier, if I was trying really hard I could get it closer - you just need to tweak until it "feels" as well as sounds in the ballpark...
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Fri Apr 22, 2011 4:30 pm

Ah, I meant the chord progression, not the notes for the drone.

Nice reverb on your drums, the snare is great, although I think there's a bit too much on the tom which attenuates its pitch unlike the original IMO. You're also missing the stick, and I reckon there's a 16th rest on the tom on the third beat in every odd bar. Listen to the 12" version, it shows there's an occasional echo on the tom also.

I reckon it's the straight Linn tom throughout, apart from the fill in the middle. I spent a short time adjusting velocities in the pattern, it made a big difference to the groove, which made it clear to me that this was done carefully in the original. There's also different compression, eq and reverb algorithms on the individual sounds.

If you come up with better settings for the pitch envelope, let me know.
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby Tony Raven » Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:05 pm

Well, okay then, I've reread it all. But are those just raw library sounds? I was hoping for more info on the filtering/settings involved, or perhaps I've overlooked that too.
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:07 pm

Tony Raven wrote:Well, okay then, I've reread it all. But are those just raw library sounds? I was hoping for more info on the filtering/settings involved, or perhaps I've overlooked that too.
I've described the pitch envelope, and a touch of LPF does the trick. It's all there.
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby nathanscribe » Mon Apr 25, 2011 2:47 pm

Maybe I'm hearing the pitch of the tail of the kick instead, but it almost sounds like the toms on 1 and 3 are a fraction of a tone lower. I'd also suggest that maybe you've got a bit too much pitch sweep on there Tomás, though otherwise you've done a good job.
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:37 pm

nathanscribe wrote:Maybe I'm hearing the pitch of the tail of the kick instead, but it almost sounds like the toms on 1 and 3 are a fraction of a tone lower.
Cool, I'll give that a go. Although I've got much more interested in doing a version of Oldfield's "Étude". Another example of a bunch of sounds that most of us would say "nah, that'll never work", but it so does.
nathanscribe wrote:I'd also suggest that maybe you've got a bit too much pitch sweep on there Tomás, though otherwise you've done a good job.
Ya it's not right, so what's the pitch interval, what's the attack time, and what shape is the curve? It's not simple! I can have any value for all three in Kontakt, but is there anyone with a Fairlight who can tell us what that machine is limited to?
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby Rob Collins » Tue Apr 26, 2011 9:32 am

I'm a bit late to this thread but.....

I'm 99.9% sure that the main synth sound the original poster was asking about is a Roland Jupiter 8.

Also a very similar sound was used by Thomas Dolby (again on a Jupiter 8) on the track I love you Goodbye.
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby desmond » Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:23 am

Rob Collins wrote:I'm 99.9% sure that the main synth sound the original poster was asking about is a Roland Jupiter 8.

Even thought Kate didn't use or own one?

Rob Collins wrote:Also a very similar sound was used by Thomas Dolby (again on a Jupiter 8) on the track I love you Goodbye.

Love that track. Very different sound.
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