Someone over at the Korg Kronos forum was looking for the synth sounds used on this tune, so I went on over to YouTube to have a listen and it brought me right back to early 80’s and the sound of Long Islands WLIR. Synth pop heaven. Great song, great track!
I googled around to see if I could find out what instruments where used and could not find much, but I did run across a web page that mentioned that Talk Talk had a pair of Roland Jupiter 8’s and used them on the “It’s My Life” album. Also, while searching around YouTube I found a cool live video that has the keyboard player using several Roland Synths, including a JP8. The JP8 was very popular at the time and lot’s of guys had them in their rig.
In the original track there are three sounds used in the song. So I’ve created three new programs for Kronos. They are set up to load into USER-G program bank.
1- Synth “Lead” for verses
2- Mello Pad for verses
3- Bright Synth for end of verses and chorus
Since parts 1 & 2 play together at times I’ve created a split combi which includes both programs. I’ve also created a second combi to use during the part 3 end of verse and chorus. It’s essentially the same as the program, only set up in combi mode. This way you can easily switch from one combi to the next when going from verse to chorus and back. The combis load into the USER-D bank.
There is a bridge in the song that has what sounds like a Soprano Sax sound on it, but I did not program anything for that. Hopefully you have a sax player to do that part, or you can just improvise something with a lead sound on Kronos. The live versions feature the percussion instead.
Parts one and two were created using the Kronos HD-1 ROM samples. They are close to the original, but I added a couple of things to help them cut through the mix. I could not find anything in the HD-1 engine that would sound as awesome as that bright synth sound on the chorus, so I sampled my old Roland MKS80 – which is a close cousin to the JP8. Nothing like the real thing! I already had a patch that I had programmed with this tune in mind and with a bit of tweaking I think I got it pretty close to the original. After importing into Kronos, I just added some reverb and a chorus on SW1 along with a couple of other effects to the Kronos controls.
Also included is a .KSC file that includes the new samples and an additional folder that has the raw wav samples, so you can set them up in another hardware or software sampler if you like.
I did not bother to do any KARMA programming since the sounds are meant to be used while playing a live gig. I’d be interested in how the sounds hold up during a live performance. It’s cool to see a couple of Talk Talk’s live performance of this tune, where you have two keyboard players doing all the synth parts in addition to using a Yamaha Electric Grand and Organ. The E-Grand and Organ sounds certainly add a lot to the band on a live gig, so I’m wondering how these sounds hold up compared to using the organ and piano sounds. The best approach seems to be how they set things up live at the Montreux gig, with two keyboard players. One doing the piano and organ and the other doing the synth stuff.
Anyway, it was lot’s of fun putting everything together. Hope you can use them on your next gig!
Download folder contains the following files:
1- IML folder – contains Kronos KSF files for Chorus
2- IML Chorus Wav Files – If you want to set them up with another hardware or software sampler
3- IML_UserBank.KSC – To stream the samples from disk
4- IML.KSC – If you want to load into the chorus samples into your sample RAM
5- IML.PCG – Contains 3 programs and 2 combis. Programs load into USER-G bank. Combis load into USER-D bank.