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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 BJG145 » Sun Jul 25, 2010 9:11 pm

(It's possible that it's a synth which has been sampled and played on the Fairlight, since she used to do this.)

For demos, I'd use the Yamaha CS80 because what happens on it seems quite nice, and it was just a matter of setting the same sounds on the Fairlight. The bell sound on "Sat In Your Lap" was originally done on the CS80 and we thought at the time that it was a good sound, but when we did it on the Fairlight it was much better.

http://gaffa.org/reaching/i83_es.html
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby desmond » Sun Jul 25, 2010 9:26 pm

No, it's the Fairlight factory string samples.
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby Neil C » Sun Jul 25, 2010 9:28 pm

Axonaut wrote:
I don't want to spoil the fun, but you could ask Del Palmer, who did some of the synth programming for that album, AFAIK.

On the credits it gives him as:
'Drum Programming [Linn]'

and also bass and one of the engineers.
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby desmond » Sun Jul 25, 2010 9:41 pm

He definitely did the drum parts, because in interviews she said she asked Del to knock up a drum pattern, he came up with that, and it set her off to write the song.

Whether they were the Fairlight as well, or a different drum machine, I'm not sure. If it's 1984/5, then perhaps it could be a Linn Drum or Yamaha RX11, something like that... but don't know for sure. The drums are heavily FX'ed for sure.

Edit: And interestingly enough, I get a closest match to the drone pad *not* by sustaining the closest string sample, but actually by playing the short cello sound that plays the main riff with a long reverb and hearing the after reverb drone, leading me to think that the sustaining pad is actually a sample of the cello sample played through a long reverb, then looped - so it's the sustaining loop of the reverberent tail that makes up the drone, rather than the source string sample sustaining.

Either that or they put the reverb on a freeze or infinite setting or something - but given that's it's more 12-bit grungy and noisy than my nice clean reverbs, it was probably resampled into the Fairlight.
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby desmond » Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:30 am

Ok, here's some examples.

Disclaimer: I'm not trying to get this 100% identical - I'm trying to do a proof of concept that will attempt to show basically how it was put together. There will be sonic differences, and if I put in lots of effort I could get them much closer - that's not the point of the exercise.

Let's start with the droney pad that goes through the song and provides a haunting kinda backdrop - most clearly heard at the beginning and end of the song:

- Kate original pad

It was mentioned earlier that someone thought it might be the Arr1 Fairlight sample with reverb - let's give that a try:-

- C+D# with Arr1 & reverb

Nope - clearly this doesn't have anything close to the character. In my book, not the same sound.

So, I took that sound from the Kate track, and looped it and bunged into into a sampler so I could easily listen:

- Looped sample of pad

Just love that sound, it's got an interesting honky character in the mids which is beautiful. Note how noisy and grainy it is though.

Ok, as I was playing through the factory Fairlight samples, I'd already decided that Cello2 was the most likely sound candidate, and while routing mistakenly sent it through a long reverb - and instantly got that honky character I like so much. This is the dry sample, and then the same thing going through a big reverb.

- Cello and reverb

Yes, it's all too clean and top endy, but that was the clue I was looking for. The pad was actually the frozen reverb sound from the cello, rather than the cello itself.

And it's the only Fairlight sample that gives this quirky mid character in the reverb tail - it's quite distinctive.

So, I quickly sampled just the reverb, compressed, mono-ised it and added a bitcrusher (the original pad in the record is quite noisy if you listen to it, like the reverb is low quality or descending into noise). The bitcrusher here (set to 8-bit) does not give the same character, and the reverb decays too quickly, but I just did it to grunge up the reverb and make it more lofi to compare, to see if we are on the right track:

- Grunged reverb tail

So let's listen to the original and the quick faked copy:

- Compare to original

Like I say, it's not identical (I don't have a Fairlight, don't know how that part was generated, the reverb used, the mix settings etc) - but it's convinced me enough with that nice character that the lovely backing pad sound comes from this kind of process - a frozen reverb sample of that Cello2 sample, the same sample used for the riff.

Speaking of the riff, being the "money" sound we are talking about, let's have a crack at that.

- Original riff

The Cello2 sample is the most likely candidate, and it already has a slight pitch scooped attack characteristic of string instruments like the violin - however, on the record there is more pitch scoop. This was imo most likely played/sequenced with pitch bend. For the purposes of this, I added a small envelope routed to pitch on the sample to pronounce the pitch scoop so I wouldn't have to keep playing the pitch bend.

I then routed it through a slap back echo effect from Logic's tape delay, and rolled of the top end (a little too much). I also gave it a little plate reverb to thicken it up. Again, the sound quality is not identical due to the processes involved, and the original is thicker and probably EQ's and compressed and is coming from the Fairlight & tape, but the basic sound is there imo. (I also added the low part from the same sound which again isn't quite right - the original is slower/longer) but it helps illustrate it).

It also sounds a little weird when isolated without all the other stuff going on, but even the original would.

- New riff

While the examples are by no means perfect, playing around with this stuff, together with the other evidence from interviews etc left me in little doubt that this was the source of the Running Up that Hill keyboard parts. Fairlight, Cello2, some FX and some inspiration were the main ingredients here.

For me, I'm convinced.
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby fatbenelton » Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:45 am

Irrefutable evidence m'lud - I withdraw my MKS70/JX comment! Spot on!
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby Jonnypopisical » Mon Jul 26, 2010 9:10 am

Wow! Seems I've really opened up a can of worms here - Many thanks Desmond for all your work on this - and yes I think you have certainly cracked it as a concept! In due course I'll be trying to get this sound too so I'll let you know how I get on - my version of the song will be quite different but I'd really like to use some of the original sounds to give it 'that' flavor.

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

Postby Richie Royale » Mon Jul 26, 2010 9:19 am

Two thumbs up to Desmond. I'll have a listen later.

I had a quick listen to the original on You Tube and found quite a few interviews with Kate, which are worth a look for any fans.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syDT1MHmvOI Discussing Babooshka
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmTyflX_uV4 On Rapido, later in her career
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSQ6ispjgnU With Paul Gambaccini
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOo916s2jTI On Delia Smith!
http://www.vidoemo.com/yvideo.php?i=V0hwUEF2cWuRpYTl3T1U&kate-bush-very-early-interview-1978= From 1978

There's loads out there!

---------------------------

As a separate point, the "Yeh yeh yo" part, do you think it is a sampled part or was it done live? My guess is it is sampled (original not from a file).
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby BJG145 » Mon Jul 26, 2010 9:26 am

Ha, good work Desmond!
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby desmond » Mon Jul 26, 2010 9:26 am

Richie Royale wrote:As a separate point, the "Yeh yeh yo" part, do you think it is a sampled part or was it done live? My guess is it is sampled (original not from a file).


Kate is known for interesting vocal treatments, particularly in arrangement, the performance (she has a wide range of "voices") and FX treatments. I don't think she's ever given away many secrets and is largely fairly evasive about studio techniques (not because she wants to hold on to secrets, but I think generally the process is not something she wants to put "out there". We get the results to enjoy, she keeps the creative process private - which is fair enough.)

So she's certainly no stranger to do multiple vocal parts, and I'm pretty sure that all the vocals on RUTH at least were going to tape. The Fairlight was still too grungy in those days to make good sounding vocal parts - that probably had to wait for the mark three.

So my vote would almost certainly be tape, not sampled.
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby Richie Royale » Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:46 am

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

Postby Kwaidan » Mon Jul 26, 2010 12:05 pm

I'd also like to add that J.J. Jeczalik (Art of Noise) also worked with Kate Bush during the 80's, as well as other artists.

It was well known that J.J. was a sought after Fairlight Programmer during that time.
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby The Elf » Mon Jul 26, 2010 12:26 pm

That sounds like a very close emulation, Desmond. Nicely done!

Do I take it you have a collection of the original Fairlight library then? Hmmm... We should talk!!! ;)
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby desmond » Mon Jul 26, 2010 12:45 pm

Fairlight samples have been around in various forms for a while. I'll let Steve join in and mention Zero-G's Nostalgia, and other people have put up their samples on the internets over the years, and for other discontinued samplers like Emulator II etc - I've mostly just grabbed them as they come along for curiosity (and for situations like this thread :) but I won't put up links because of questionable copyright.

If you want a legit collection of Fairlight sounds for Kontakt and other samplers, Zero-G are doing the Nostalgia samples (which includes the Fairlight stuff and a bunch of other stuff, authored by our very own Hollowsun) for about $100, which sounds like a good deal, especially if you don't wnt to do all that tedious mapping and looping stuff ;)

http://www.zero-g.name/dlg/cart/index.php?action=desc&pn=250&c=31&page=
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Postby The Elf » Mon Jul 26, 2010 1:03 pm

Yep, I do have a few Fairlight goodies from down the years, but a definitive library would be interesting (though not necessarily very useful, to be truthful).

Once you've spent a week sampling, looping, mapping and legato-izing an ARP Pro-Soloist your home-spun sampling days are over! Never again! :crazy:
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