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Thread started 06/23/17 3:30pm

soladeo1

Can anyone identify the instruments Prince uses in Erotic City???

For the life of me, I can't.
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Reply #1 posted 06/23/17 7:54pm

farnorth

Great question. Definitely guitar, bass, keyboards, drum machine. Beyond that?

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Reply #2 posted 06/23/17 7:56pm

AlgeriaTouchsh
reek

farnorth said:

Great question. Definitely guitar, bass, keyboards, drum machine. Beyond that?

very hard cheese through a flange

i wish i'd never kissed your lips, bearded lady
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Reply #3 posted 06/25/17 6:09pm

soladeo1

Some of the sounds are a total mystery, for real - the
zips and whistles.
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Reply #4 posted 06/26/17 3:58am

TheW00denLeg

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It´s all synth, the Linn and a guitar through a pitch shifter/harmonizer. The bass line is probably a moog (I guess George Clinton said that). The "zips" are toms of the Linn LM1 send through a flanger or phaser. The whistle also comes from a synth, I´d assume he used his Oberheims but you can get this kind of sound out of almost every synth. The "breath sound" before the snare is reversed reverb.

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Reply #5 posted 06/26/17 9:58am

Robbajobba

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TheW00denLeg said:

It´s all synth, the Linn and a guitar through a pitch shifter/harmonizer. The bass line is probably a moog (I guess George Clinton said that). The "zips" are toms of the Linn LM1 send through a flanger or phaser. The whistle also comes from a synth, I´d assume he used his Oberheims but you can get this kind of sound out of almost every synth. The "breath sound" before the snare is reversed reverb.

I thought I read somewhere (can't find where) that the high pitched chicken scratch guitar sound (eg here / "Hello") was actually played in a lower key and then the tape sped up?

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Reply #6 posted 06/26/17 10:37am

fen

avatar

Robbajobba said:

TheW00denLeg said:

It´s all synth, the Linn and a guitar through a pitch shifter/harmonizer. The bass line is probably a moog (I guess George Clinton said that). The "zips" are toms of the Linn LM1 send through a flanger or phaser. The whistle also comes from a synth, I´d assume he used his Oberheims but you can get this kind of sound out of almost every synth. The "breath sound" before the snare is reversed reverb.

I thought I read somewhere (can't find where) that the high pitched chicken scratch guitar sound (eg here / "Hello") was actually played in a lower key and then the tape sped up?

Yes, I've always assumed that he used the same technique on his guitar that he used for the Camille vocals (recording at different speeds). On a recent podcast, Susan said that he also used realtime pitch-shifting hardware (I forget the name of the unit). As others have said, there's lots of creative synth work going on. It's such an interesting track from a musical and technical perspective. In terms of studio wizardry and exploring modern hardware in interesting ways, I've always felt that it foreshadowed the experimental electronica that emerged from the UK in the 90s (Warp Records etc). Such a great track.

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Reply #7 posted 06/26/17 10:44am

fen

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Anyone familiar with synths will know this, but you can achieve those kind of deep, percussive zap sounds using an analogue synth with a high filter resonance and a short envelop modulating the cut-off.

[Edited 6/26/17 11:00am]

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Reply #8 posted 06/27/17 9:28pm

LittleProfesso
r

fen said:

Robbajobba said:

I thought I read somewhere (can't find where) that the high pitched chicken scratch guitar sound (eg here / "Hello") was actually played in a lower key and then the tape sped up?

Yes, I've always assumed that he used the same technique on his guitar that he used for the Camille vocals (recording at different speeds). On a recent podcast, Susan said that he also used realtime pitch-shifting hardware (I forget the name of the unit). As others have said, there's lots of creative synth work going on. It's such an interesting track from a musical and technical perspective. In terms of studio wizardry and exploring modern hardware in interesting ways, I've always felt that it foreshadowed the experimental electronica that emerged from the UK in the 90s (Warp Records etc). Such a great track.

I'm pretty off topic here, but I played the beginning of "Crystal Ball" for a graduate music class May 2016 and asked them what they had heard. A composition student thought it sounded like the French electronic composers associated with UParis and IRCAM. And experiemental scenes outside and inside academia certainly knew (know) what each other are doing - even if they sometimes don't like to acknowledge each other.

Anyway, all that to comment on P's versatility and mastery in all that exploration .... I'll get back to my red wine, now.

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Reply #9 posted 06/27/17 9:58pm

JudasLChrist

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Oberheim Ob-xa or OB-8
Linn LM-1 Drum Machine
Perhaps a moog for the bassline
Boss Flange pedal
Honer Telecaster
Various guitar and vocal parts are recorded with tape slowed down or sped up.

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Reply #10 posted 06/28/17 12:09am

TheW00denLeg

avatar

Robbajobba said:

TheW00denLeg said:

It´s all synth, the Linn and a guitar through a pitch shifter/harmonizer. The bass line is probably a moog (I guess George Clinton said that). The "zips" are toms of the Linn LM1 send through a flanger or phaser. The whistle also comes from a synth, I´d assume he used his Oberheims but you can get this kind of sound out of almost every synth. The "breath sound" before the snare is reversed reverb.

I thought I read somewhere (can't find where) that the high pitched chicken scratch guitar sound (eg here / "Hello") was actually played in a lower key and then the tape sped up?

That´s possible, but I don´t think he used this technique for guitar since there were effect units doing the job (Eventide H910 and alike). He used octavers since 1999, live and in studio. Also the "metallic" sound of the guitar in EC sounds like artifacts coming from such a unit. That´s why he didn´t use it for vocals and adapted the old tape technique for that.

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Reply #11 posted 06/28/17 3:51am

JudasLChrist

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TheW00denLeg said:

Robbajobba said:

I thought I read somewhere (can't find where) that the high pitched chicken scratch guitar sound (eg here / "Hello") was actually played in a lower key and then the tape sped up?

That´s possible, but I don´t think he used this technique for guitar since there were effect units doing the job (Eventide H910 and alike). He used octavers since 1999, live and in studio. Also the "metallic" sound of the guitar in EC sounds like artifacts coming from such a unit. That´s why he didn´t use it for vocals and adapted the old tape technique for that.


The guitar is not an eventide or any other outboard effect. He merely recorded the guitar parts with the tape slowed down. The Boss octave pedal you are referring to wouldn't make that sound. The opening solo on When Doves Cry has the octave effect, for example.

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Reply #12 posted 06/28/17 5:22am

jdcxc

LittleProfessor said:



fen said:




Robbajobba said:





I thought I read somewhere (can't find where) that the high pitched chicken scratch guitar sound (eg here / "Hello") was actually played in a lower key and then the tape sped up?



Yes, I've always assumed that he used the same technique on his guitar that he used for the Camille vocals (recording at different speeds). On a recent podcast, Susan said that he also used realtime pitch-shifting hardware (I forget the name of the unit). As others have said, there's lots of creative synth work going on. It's such an interesting track from a musical and technical perspective. In terms of studio wizardry and exploring modern hardware in interesting ways, I've always felt that it foreshadowed the experimental electronica that emerged from the UK in the 90s (Warp Records etc). Such a great track.



I'm pretty off topic here, but I played the beginning of "Crystal Ball" for a graduate music class May 2016 and asked them what they had heard. A composition student thought it sounded like the French electronic composers associated with UParis and IRCAM. And experiemental scenes outside and inside academia certainly knew (know) what each other are doing - even if they sometimes don't like to acknowledge each other.



Anyway, all that to comment on P's versatility and mastery in all that exploration .... I'll get back to my red wine, now.



Very cool. I'm sure we would all love to hear about your academic Prince explorations in detail.
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Reply #13 posted 06/28/17 4:08pm

fen

avatar

LittleProfessor said:

fen said:

Yes, I've always assumed that he used the same technique on his guitar that he used for the Camille vocals (recording at different speeds). On a recent podcast, Susan said that he also used realtime pitch-shifting hardware (I forget the name of the unit). As others have said, there's lots of creative synth work going on. It's such an interesting track from a musical and technical perspective. In terms of studio wizardry and exploring modern hardware in interesting ways, I've always felt that it foreshadowed the experimental electronica that emerged from the UK in the 90s (Warp Records etc). Such a great track.

I'm pretty off topic here, but I played the beginning of "Crystal Ball" for a graduate music class May 2016 and asked them what they had heard. A composition student thought it sounded like the French electronic composers associated with UParis and IRCAM. And experiemental scenes outside and inside academia certainly knew (know) what each other are doing - even if they sometimes don't like to acknowledge each other.

Anyway, all that to comment on P's versatility and mastery in all that exploration .... I'll get back to my red wine, now.

I practice in this area (working with Max/MSP, since you mention IRCAM). As my first musical love, it was Prince's work that gave me my initial taste of experimental music. It didn't take long to establish a musical education from my interest in Prince and associated artists. For example: Prince > Miles Davis > Karlheinz Stockhausen > Luciano Berio. Music always has this rhizomatic quality, but the broad references in Prince's work are particularly rich.

[Edited 6/28/17 17:29pm]

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Reply #14 posted 06/28/17 5:44pm

GaryMF

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Why do none of the official EC versions of the synth vamp at the end that you can hear in rehearsal versions and on Sheila's version on Romance 1600 Live? That part is so funky!

rainbow
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Reply #15 posted 06/29/17 12:34am

TheW00denLeg

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JudasLChrist said:

TheW00denLeg said:

That´s possible, but I don´t think he used this technique for guitar since there were effect units doing the job (Eventide H910 and alike). He used octavers since 1999, live and in studio. Also the "metallic" sound of the guitar in EC sounds like artifacts coming from such a unit. That´s why he didn´t use it for vocals and adapted the old tape technique for that.


The guitar is not an eventide or any other outboard effect. He merely recorded the guitar parts with the tape slowed down. The Boss octave pedal you are referring to wouldn't make that sound. The opening solo on When Doves Cry has the octave effect, for example.

I know, it wasn´t even polyphonic. It just showed he used HW units for this kind of stuff.

Do you have a source that he used slower tape with guitar? To me it´d seem like an useless effort.

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Reply #16 posted 06/29/17 5:56am

fen

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TheW00denLeg said:

JudasLChrist said:


The guitar is not an eventide or any other outboard effect. He merely recorded the guitar parts with the tape slowed down. The Boss octave pedal you are referring to wouldn't make that sound. The opening solo on When Doves Cry has the octave effect, for example.

I know, it wasn´t even polyphonic. It just showed he used HW units for this kind of stuff.

Do you have a source that he used slower tape with guitar? To me it´d seem like an useless effort.

Assuming that these units implement Fast Fourier Transform (FFT), this technique represents an estimation and re-synthesis of the signal and doesn't perfectly preserve all of the spectral content of the original. This changes the tone and timbre of the sound slightly (smearing etc), so there are definitely benefits to doing it the hard way. With something like guitar, where tone and percussive accuracy would be important to Prince, I can see why he'd opt for the tape method. Listening to stuff like “Hello”, the guitar doesn't sound digitally manipulated to me, but I might be wrong. smile

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Reply #17 posted 06/30/17 12:53am

JudasLChrist

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fen said:

TheW00denLeg said:

I know, it wasn´t even polyphonic. It just showed he used HW units for this kind of stuff.

Do you have a source that he used slower tape with guitar? To me it´d seem like an useless effort.

Assuming that these units implement Fast Fourier Transform (FFT), this technique represents an estimation and re-synthesis of the signal and doesn't perfectly preserve all of the spectral content of the original. This changes the tone and timbre of the sound slightly (smearing etc), so there are definitely benefits to doing it the hard way. With something like guitar, where tone and percussive accuracy would be important to Prince, I can see why he'd opt for the tape method. Listening to stuff like “Hello”, the guitar doesn't sound digitally manipulated to me, but I might be wrong. smile


You are not wrong. My source is my ears, and I guess my 30 years of recording experience. You can tell jusy by listening that his vibrato is sped up. I've also replicated the sound myself by recording guitar with the tape slowed down, and I've put various Prince songs in my DAW and listened to them slowed down so I abould hear the parts' original recording.

Actually. Susan Rogers talked about changing the tape speed to record parts in an interview recently, too.

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Reply #18 posted 06/30/17 2:45am

Adorecream

I was going to say the one eyed skinflute and one eyed piccolo. lol

Got some kind of love for you, and I don't even know your name
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Reply #19 posted 06/30/17 4:29am

jjam

Adorecream said:

I was going to say the one eyed skinflute and one eyed piccolo. lol

How rude. Take this seriously.

Definitely the pink oboe and someone's strumming their banjo too.

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Reply #20 posted 06/30/17 5:01am

zaza3121

JudasLChrist said:

fen said:

Assuming that these units implement Fast Fourier Transform (FFT), this technique represents an estimation and re-synthesis of the signal and doesn't perfectly preserve all of the spectral content of the original. This changes the tone and timbre of the sound slightly (smearing etc), so there are definitely benefits to doing it the hard way. With something like guitar, where tone and percussive accuracy would be important to Prince, I can see why he'd opt for the tape method. Listening to stuff like “Hello”, the guitar doesn't sound digitally manipulated to me, but I might be wrong. smile


You are not wrong. My source is my ears, and I guess my 30 years of recording experience. You can tell jusy by listening that his vibrato is sped up. I've also replicated the sound myself by recording guitar with the tape slowed down, and I've put various Prince songs in my DAW and listened to them slowed down so I abould hear the parts' original recording.

Actually. Susan Rogers talked about changing the tape speed to record parts in an interview recently, too.

+1

I've put various Camille songs into Reaper as well and the most of them were recorded two semitones slower. There's a big difference when slowing down the tape vs using some kind of pitch shifter.

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Reply #21 posted 06/30/17 6:07am

fen

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JudasLChrist said:

fen said:

Assuming that these units implement Fast Fourier Transform (FFT), this technique represents an estimation and re-synthesis of the signal and doesn't perfectly preserve all of the spectral content of the original. This changes the tone and timbre of the sound slightly (smearing etc), so there are definitely benefits to doing it the hard way. With something like guitar, where tone and percussive accuracy would be important to Prince, I can see why he'd opt for the tape method. Listening to stuff like “Hello”, the guitar doesn't sound digitally manipulated to me, but I might be wrong. smile


You are not wrong. My source is my ears, and I guess my 30 years of recording experience. You can tell jusy by listening that his vibrato is sped up. I've also replicated the sound myself by recording guitar with the tape slowed down, and I've put various Prince songs in my DAW and listened to them slowed down so I abould hear the parts' original recording.

Actually. Susan Rogers talked about changing the tape speed to record parts in an interview recently, too.

Yes, but to be fair she has also named specific pitch-shifting hardware that he used on occasion (probably an Eventide), which is likely to be the reason for the confusion. It's just a matter of determining where he used each method. As I said, the guitars on EC and Hello just sound too clean to me to have been processed by real-time hardware. In my experience, latency is always an issue with FFT processing as well (even with today's processing power), which would be a problem considering how tight Prince's playing is. Here are a couple of video demos of the old harmonizers – cool effects, but not all that tight or pristine sounding:

[Edited 6/30/17 6:35am]

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Reply #22 posted 06/30/17 1:25pm

JudasLChrist

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fen said:

JudasLChrist said:


You are not wrong. My source is my ears, and I guess my 30 years of recording experience. You can tell jusy by listening that his vibrato is sped up. I've also replicated the sound myself by recording guitar with the tape slowed down, and I've put various Prince songs in my DAW and listened to them slowed down so I abould hear the parts' original recording.

Actually. Susan Rogers talked about changing the tape speed to record parts in an interview recently, too.

Yes, but to be fair she has also named specific pitch-shifting hardware that he used on occasion (probably an Eventide), which is likely to be the reason for the confusion. It's just a matter of determining where he used each method. As I said, the guitars on EC and Hello just sound too clean to me to have been processed by real-time hardware. In my experience, latency is always an issue with FFT processing as well (even with today's processing power), which would be a problem considering how tight Prince's playing is. Here are a couple of video demos of the old harmonizers – cool effects, but not all that tight or pristine sounding:

[Edited 6/30/17 6:35am]


There's no confusion if you listen to it.

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Reply #23 posted 06/30/17 3:01pm

scorp84

I think he actually used the LinnDrum on this one, rather than the LM-1, but I could be wrong. They could've been used together. The tone of the claps and snare aren't the same between the two machines.

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Forums > Prince: Music and More > Can anyone identify the instruments Prince uses in Erotic City???