A Grotesque Over-Indulgence in Flatulent Analog Synthesizer Wankery

When it comes to vintage (pre-digital) keyboards, there are a few legends: the Hammond organ, the Rhodes electric piano, the Mellotron, and of course, the Minimoog.

I don’t own any of those actual instruments, of course (although an old friend of mine has over the years possessed a large number of them, and used them on some recordings we did back in college), but I have been extremely impressed with the generic replications of these timeless (OK, hopelessly dated, but eternally retro-cool) trademark sounds that Apple has provided with GarageBand. (OK, there’s no Mellotron in GarageBand, but as I’ve learned and demonstrated, a dead-accurate add-on is available.)

Most of the recordings I’ve made since I started using GarageBand (in early 2007) have been brimming with these sounds, most notably the electric piano, and only slightly less notably the organ. Although I’ve been obsessing over the Mellotron lately, my favorite keyboard sound to employ for solo parts is the “Analog Mono” synth, which is fairly similar in tone and timbre to the venerable Minimoog.

I’m currently at work on a “top secret” collaborative music project. (OK, I don’t know for sure how “top secret” it is, but since I’m not in charge of it, I’m keeping mum until I’m told it’s OK to blab.) So far I haven’t nailed what I’m looking for for that project, but along the way I did produce this… interesting track. Recorded entirely today (July 29, 2008, which of course is yesterday now), it’s a fairly static, spacey/electronic jam, 7 1/2 minutes long, with some nice big reverb-y drums and of course an interminable, excessively excessive (yes, that’s possible, and if you doubt it, just give this track a listen) quasi-Minimoog solo. Probably not most people’s cup of tea, but I actually find it kind of cool to have on as background noise.

This track is unlikely to ever be released, at least in anything near its current form, so I provide it here as a curiosity. It was mainly an experiment: an effort to try out various “distressed” electronic sounds, to play around with recording a drum track straight through (instead of perfecting a few 4-measure loops), and of course, going totally batshit crazy with the synth solo, in a number of ways: experimenting with the octave and pitch transposition buttons on my 2-octave portable MIDI keyboard controller, trying out some adjustments to the synth tone, and finally (after about 15 years of improvising solos) dabbling in the realm of scale substitution. Music theory FTW! (I was going to say “Yay, music theory!” but I already used “yay” in a post within the past few hours and I just can’t bring myself to do it again. Plus, this was an opportunity to once again demonstrate my 1337 skillz.)

Now that I’ve proven why this blog is called “Blather,” here’s the freakin’ song.