Phase 3: Keyboards
Next up was keyboards. Once more, this proved to be quite the speed run. The keyboard tracks for 10 songs were recorded in one day, making it quite an intense session. Over the years I have assembled a small collection of keyboards, most of which managed to feature in some way in the recorded tracks.
Perhaps the most prominent instrument in the album, is the Rhodes mk.II Stage 54, which is quickly becoming part of my signature sound. This was particularly exciting as it marks the instrument's debut, following restoration done by myself. The piano was restored mostly making use of Vintage Vibe as a supplier of materials. Whilst the Rhodes sound has always been one of my go-to sounds, I had only used samples. Although my Yamaha Motif XS rack has some of the best sampled Rhodes sounds on the market, the real thing just feels better. The mechanical response and the inherent flaws of the instrument just give it that much more character than the best sounding samples. Whilst the listener may not particularly notice the difference, it is more about the playing experience, which in turn alters the way the player performs.
Alongside the Rhodes, is a clonewheel; a Korg CX-3 which also features greatly in the songs, emulating the sound of a Hammond B3. A few other sounds including piano, clavinet and strings were achieved using my trusty aforementioned Yamaha Motif XS Rack, which I drive using an M-Audio Axiom controller.
Along with my passion for electric pianos and hammond organs, I am also quite the synth geek, which has in some ways contributed to the band being transported to more modern and electronic genres. Needless to say, synthesizers are quite prominent in a number of tracks. Both Kenny and I had a great time shaping the sounds for the album, making use of my prized Nord Lead 2, a Virtual Analog synth with a great interface and a fat warm sound. Alongside the raw sound of the Nord, partly due to its limited features, I also used my Novation Ultranova; a sophisticated VA synth which was used for more complex and automated sounds, such as pads and vocoders. At one point I also fondly reached out for his Alesis Micron for a very specific pad sound called Vocojam which makes use of Sample and Hold to automate the filter, achieving a very vocal-like sound.