The making of “Rhema”

Rhema was originally called “awaiting rhema “ and was completed , or so I thought , about 2 years ago

I started with a great little synth called the SQ9L which is an emulation of an Ensoniq SQ80

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Ensoniq were of course famous for making the first really commercially affordable sampler , the Ensoniq Mirage. This is a great little free synth that I’ve used on a few tracks now , and it is what you’ll hear at the very beginning of the track.

The next synth you’ll hear is the MDA JX10

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It plays part of the main synth lead which i’ve thickened up with some digital sparkle. I use this synth a lot and it’s a very simple go-to synth for me , that has none of the frills and distractions of much bigger and more expensive synths. I’ve come to love its oscillators and can coax some really nice little leads from it.

Next , the beats kick in. These are all programmed in , as the majority of my beats are. If I use loops , I’ll generally strip them apart to leave only the hits I need. This time , the beats were programmed in four SR202 drum machines . Each one used a different custom kit. I love the SR202 as it’s so robust , and the filters are great. It was given away as on the computer music magazine cover cd .

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Following this is the bassline.

After auditioning many patches , I stuck with this one on the catchily titled

HaHaHa CS33 v2 , which is actually a  lot better than it sounds , and has an interesting synthesis method called Phase Distortion , and is an adaptation of the Casio range of synths from the mid-80s , the CZ101 , CZ1000 , CZ5000

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The Piano at the end , is a soundfont file called ” pianissimo “. I don’t normally use soundfonts , but pianos are hard to come by , and when you want one that not only sounds great , but is free , the options are limited .

This one is a beauty , and sounds accurate and authentic I think.

As for the chord sound …….well , it’s the same sound that I used on my track ” Ballad for robots ” , at the very beginning , but i’ll leave that one synth as a mystery. Gotta keep some secrets to myself  =)

The entire track took somewhere between 20 and 40 hours , over the space of 5 years , on and off , with many revisions and deletions of parts along the way. Most of my tracks are made like this as I have many hundreds of tracks to work on , from simple patterns to half-finished blasts  , and stuff that i’ve left until my production skills catch up with my imagination.

The most challenging part was the bass : not because of the note composition ( which seems to come very naturally to me for some reason ) , but because of the mix. I originally had a Taurus bass synth playing long notes , but even after compressing and limiting the bass , it just didn’t have the tonal character to fit in the mix properly. I generally love the Taurus

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but it’s limited in that it only does one thing really , but it does that one thing well , most times. On this occasion , it didn’t quite fit anymore . I thought about what it might sound like if I did 1/16th notes instead of 1/4 , and i filled every note with a fairly pedestrian pattern before dropping little fills in as it looped over and over for about 30 minutes or so. The notes sounded good to my ears , but now I had the job of finding a new patch that would suit the existing mix without sounding like it was shoehorned in too much. After auditioning about 300 bass patches , I found what I needed on the CS33 , and tweaked it to suit. I sometimes find that if I can’t find a substitute analogue bass , I’ll have more luck finding something that will fit a mix if I look for a different type of synthesis , such as digital , wavetable , or something even more esoteric

Rhema is a greek word that means a spoken word , or an utterance. Logos is the written word , but Rhema has the connotation of breath of God , so it implies ” Revelation ” or something that is revealed , so for me , it was a meditative thing.

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