My “quick and dirty” challenge for tonight came from a thread over on Gearslutz. The original poster asked if anyone had done any Blade Runner tributes or “in the style of” pieces. I thought that sounded like fun, so I whipped this up.
Probably the most interesting part of this was actually playing some chord changes that Vangelis used. Ever since I got the CS-80, I’ve been trying my best to not imitate him when playing it; that’s a huge challenge since the sound of that synth is so inextricably linked to some of his major works. The Horn I and II presets, in particular, are pretty much tied to him at the hip.
This time, I was actively playing things as closely as I could without just straight out lifting entire bits. I’ve listened to the Blade Runner soundtrack hundreds of times and know it extremely well, but I’ve never tried to play anything but the main melody line from the opening titles. Working out the chord progressions and voicings, the electric piano pointillism… it was illuminating in many ways.
It was also somewhat disheartening. There’s nothing like emulating a master to shine a harsh light on your own weaknesses. Still, I had a lot of fun with this. I might go back and add some atmospherics and noise, as well as tighten up a few loose transitions that are bugging me. Part of the magic of the CS-80 is that you play more than just the keys. You have to treat pretty much every controller as part of the performance, and there’s no MIDI to fall back on to fix little mistakes. I probably spent twice as much time getting the lead part worked out and recorded as I did on every other thing you hear.
But that’s all part of why Vangelis was (and continues to be) such an inspiration to me.
- Kurzweil K2600XS (electric piano)
- Spectrasonics Omnisphere (VP-330 strings)
- Yamaha CS-80 (bass and lead line)
- Valhalla DSP Vintage Reverb & Übermod (strings and bass)
- Eventide H3000 (lead line reverb)