Analogue. We all love it. We can’t all afford it*.
We have to rely on lovely people, such as the chaps at u-he, to make beautiful and breath-taking softsynth emulations of those classic synths we all crave. In this instance Sequential Circuits’ absolute old skool beasts: the Pro-One and the Prophet 5.
For Substrata, I’ve returned to their emulation of the Pro-One, RePro-1. So, we’re firmly in monosynth territory. Now, this can provide obvious limitations. No delicious polyphony for you! But some of us like to see limitations as opportunities. And some of us just really dig monosynths.
Substrata was actually born during the huge RePro-1 programming sessions I did in late 2018 (as were the previous Firebird and Renaissance, plus other as yet unreleased RePro noises). Initially I viewed it as a starting point to a Firebird 2. But, I detected a rougher, darker vibe to the sounds I had at that point, which coincided with me really digging the work of Tyler Bates.
His work on the John Wick films has a gloriously throwback vibe (for me at least) to those great action movie soundtracks of the early 2000s that match up great orchestration with screaming guitars and thundering rock drums. But, underneath and alongside all that are some lovely thick, gritty and atmospheric analogue synth sounds – particularly highlighted on his scores for Atomic Blonde and Watchmen.
And as Substrata deviated in that direction, I was also reminded of (and influenced by) the electronic, bigbeat, almost cyberpunk music of the 2000s by the likes of the Chemical Brothers, Lunatic Calm and Rennie Pilgrem. Big, noisy and brash electronica that did the rounds on film trailers and driving games for a good, long while. I’m a man who loves a breakbeat! So, you’ll find a couple of rip-roaring acid lines in there too.
Substrata was initially supposed to be released last December. However, events got in the way. Firstly, Mr Hans Zimmer called me up to work on No Time to Die, and that filled my schedule for the best part of three months. Then… well… coronavirus slowed things down and I focused on redoing Humankind.
But it’s here now AND there are 25 bonus patches, both brand new and remixed versions of original Substrata patches, which I created whilst working on my demo tracks. Enjoy!
*Well… until Behringer started going crazeh!