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Piano In My Head (Julian Dep Remix)

"True. But a man who can afford to be humourous at all in such circumstances is a terrible fellow. I wonder what he did with the body between the murder and depositing it chez Thipps. Then there are more questions. How did he get it there? And why? Was it brought in at the door, as Sugg of our heart suggests? or through the window, as we think, on the not veryadequate testimony of a smudge on the window-sill? Had the murderer accomplices? Is little Thipps really in it, or the girl? It don't do to put the notion out of court merely because Sugg inclines to it. Even idiots occasionally speak the truth accidentally. If not, why was Thipps selected for such an abominable practical joke? Has anybody got a grudge against Thipps? Who are the people in the other flats? We must find out that. Does Thipps play the piano at midnight over their heads or damage the reputation of the staircase by bringing home dubiously respectable ladies? Are there unsuccessful architects thirsting for his blood? Damn it all, Parker, there must be a motive somewhere. Can't have a crime without a motive, you know."

Piano in My Head (Julian Dep Remix)

On the modern side of things some of the choices basically made themselves: my trusty D50, Korg M1R, Yamaha DX and TX. Less obviously, I've got great mileage out of a Roland U110 which, though infuriatingly fiddly to operate, always seems to come up with the perfect sound when I need, for example, an extra texture to a voice patch, a great little trumpet, or the body of an acoustic guitar.Although piano parts were inevitably more Rick's department, there were times when I too needed some steam joanna. Roland's P330 came along just in time, offering a perfectly wide enough range of straight ahead piano sounds, along with some fine electric pianos and harpsichords etc, though I tend to add a touch of DX wire-strung piano to my acoustic piano patches, just to give them extra lift and edge.Much of the early Yes material in the ABWH set - classic rock, as the Americans call it - was recorded before the taming of synthesizers; when setups comprised heaving, telephone exchange-like modular beasts from Moog and ARP, and the unpredictable tape-based Mellotron. The most noticeable pieces of keyboard work from this period were solos - fairly obviously the responsibility of the Wakeman department. But overdubs there were: mainly swirly, stringy, synth washes. I'd never consider touring without my long-serving Juno 60, which although not used a great deal, did provide some neat filter opening and closing growls and whirls during the 'moody' middle section of Close To The Edge.Partly to use on such material and partly because programmer Matt Clifford had used it to great effect when constructing guitar solo sounds on the album, I got hold of an instrument I'd previously been quite scathing about in the music press, namely an Oberheim Matrix 1000. I still think - at its original price at any rate - that you don't get much in the way of facilities with the Matrix 1000: no multitimbralism, no onboard programmability. But it's horses for courses.Grudgingly, I had to admit that the Oberheim gave me access to sounds and moods unavailable elsewhere. Except, perhaps, on the Cheetah MS6. The Cheetah analogue module offers both the above-mentioned features, and is certainly cheaper. At my instigation, both Rick Wakeman and Tony Levin used Cheetah MS6s. In fact, due to the nature of their duties (monophonic lead or bass lines, at which the Cheetah excels) I think they ended up using the MS6 more than I did!My whole system was glued together by a single Roland A50 mother keyboard. No Sycologic, no MX8, no sequencer. None were necessary. Each instrument was, of course, set to a permanent and dedicated MIDI channel (U110 simply set to receive on channel 16, even though a multi-channeled sound might lie at the end of it). Patches were simply built up instrument by instrument, sound by sound, and finally chained together in set order.Such is the nature of ABWH's music, and certainly the expansive inclination of Jon Anderson, that I don't think a single 'sound' was produced by one instrument alone. Choir sounds would generally comprise a mix of smooth wash vocal sounds, some characteristically timbral voices from the Casio sampler, some high, almost string-like sounds from the Roland D50, and maybe some heavy breathing from the Korg M1R. All four layers (the maximum on the A50, and a limit I was only occasionally hampered by) would be under control of their own MIDI volume pedal, so that I could mix and let the sound evolve as I was playing.Although the A50 masterminded the system, it was not the sole controller. There were times when either a patch change couldn't be implemented in time, or I'd run out of zones, when I needed to have some control over the rack from another keyboard. My genius keyboard tech Chris Macleod, who not only designed my system but physically built it as well, came up with the simple answer of using Anatek Pocket Merge boxes. These allowed me, on occasion, to trigger the rack from not only my D50 but also my ancient Juno 60! In almost a year's work, spanning three continents and about 100 shows, we suffered no problems in this department. Not a bad advert, really.

For a start, Rick likes the look and feel of a physically large rig. Due to the technical demands of the parts he plays (I've not heard anyone, and that includes your Chick Coreas and Joe Zawinuls, play as fast, as accurately) he just doesn't have time to fiddle about with too much patch changing. He's just got to lunge at a keyboard and know that it's going to trigger a certain set of sounds.So that's what he did. The Roland A80 mother keyboard was configured to trigger a Roland U110, P330, and Akai S1000 on most of the piano-based sounds, and the A50 set up to control a Roland D550, Yamaha TX802, and Kawai K1r for general purpose synth sounds. Nestling on top of a customised Hammond C3 organ (which only lasted half the tour, sadly) sat a Yamaha V50, which controlled the Cheetah MS6 module, and a MIDI retrofitted MiniMoog. Beside that was a Korg M1, triggering an Oberheim Matrix 1000. Some instruments were used almost in isolation: an Ensoniq VFX, and a D50, although the latter was MIDI'd to a tiny Yamaha EMT10 module that I know Rick swears by, not only for adding extra attack to sounds but also for occasional orchestral parts like trumpet.Ultimately, the rig was under the guidance of a Sycologic M16 MIDI routing matrix, stepped through manually by Rick's excellent guitar-playing keyboard man, Stuart Sawney.Whereas I had contented myself with a mere eight footpedals - four MIDI/zone volume, patch up/down, overall volumes - at Rick's feet lay what became known as 'Marconi's living room': a real bumper crop of MIDI and analogue volume, sustain, patch, you-name-it pedals; about 30 all told. If you see Rick appear to dance from time to time, he's actually thundering about on his pedals. Great stuff.The classic Wakeman 'look' is, of course, arms spread out, playing two keyboards. Whereas many of today's keyboardists find it difficult enough to play in real time using one hand, classically trained Rick finds it hard not to play with both hands - often with frighteningly independent parts. "I find it difficult to play a right hand part without the left," he says. "Sometimes, if that's what's needed. I'll turn the volume off on another keyboard and keep on playing. I've never been madly keen on splitting sounds across a single keyboard either. Frankly, I prefer to play on another keyboard."Rick used the ABWH tour to completely revamp and reappraise his keyboard system. Although his much-loved Hammond C3 made the first leg of the tour, it kind of bit the dust by the time we hit Europe. From then on, the only old timer in Rick's rig was the MiniMoog he'd owned in the Seventies! And while we're on the subject, thanks to one Pete Forest for agreeing to sell said MiniMoog when he'd only bought it from my good friend and keyboard ace Don Snow the week before.After the MiniMoog era, Rick did become associated with - some would say helped considerably to get on the map - a modern, Japanese synthesizer company: Korg. During the late Seventies and early Eighties, Rick was seen almost exclusively with Korg equipment. Though the days of such single-mindedness are over, Korg president and founder Mr Kato greeted Rick like a long lost brother when we were invited over to the company HQ in downtown Tokyo during the recent Japanese tour. It was interesting, too, to see the assembled bevvy of engineers and marketing bods hang on Rick's every word when we were given a sneak preview of the (thoroughly excellent) Korg Wavestation. Rick's status in Japan seems undiminished fron the heady Yes days of the Seventies. There again the Japanese, unlike the rest of the world, continue to set great store by technical expertise and dexterity - a curious irony from the land that has either invented or popularised so much 'non real-time' equipment.Speaking of which, the Wakeman line on sequencers is this: "I use sequencers in the studio, because they really allow me to go for a performance. In the old days you'd be playing a solo and it would be going well, and then you'd get to within 15 bars of the end and feel you'd have to play safe to preserve the take. Now I can play with total confidence that anything I don't like can be edited afterwards. Sequencers enable me to play without fear in the studio, and that's great."But too many bands rely on them entirely. Not only do they use them as safety nets, but now they've got the tightrope only inches from the ground!"Sequencers have enabled technicians and producers to play and produce music. There's nothing wrong with that in itself, but it has tended to prevent regular musicians from getting near the studio. Sequencers may have helped the elder statesman but I worry that they may have hurt the younger player." 041b061a72


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