The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
TALK TALK - It's My Life
Old 3 weeks ago
  #1
TALK TALK - It's My Life

In my humble opinion, this song is a bit of a master-class in Synth layering and texturing. And a good tune to boot.

I've been chipping away at this for a couple of years, if for no other reason than to teach myself Synthesis.

For a good while I always thought the "Chime-y" pads in the Chorus were probably a DX7, but scooting around the Web, would indicate they were played on a Roland Jupiter 8.

So if anyone knows the Jupiter 8 "recipe" for those sounds, please don't be afraid to share.

I've been having a stab with my Hydrasynth... as ever, a "close but no cigar" result.

It sounds like there's two layers, one +2 Octaves over Middle C, with a definite bell/chime top end, and the second (+1 Octave over Middle C), with a rounder, but still chimy attack, that bleeds into a vocally pad. Best I can describe it.

On the HS I did this:-

OSC1, TriSaw, + 24ST
OSC2, TriSaw, +12ST, -3 cents

Filter = LPF Ladder 24dB, 100% Track
Cutoff set to "Just above Vanishing Point" - 41.0 or "11 O'clock". Res = 0.0

Filter Env - Atk 0ms, Dec 0ms, Sustain 128, Release 2.30 Sec, RelCurve Exp(47). Full Amount (64.0)

Amp Env - Atk 0ms, Dec 144ms, Sustain 80.5, Release 2.43 Sec, Curves default.

Mutant 1 - Wavestack Dep 27.4, Dry/Wet 100%
Mutant 3 - Wavestack Dep 30.8, Dry/Wet 100%

(Wavestack is 5 voice Unison, Depth (out of 128) is Detune. )

Default Chorus 1 - drop Depth
Default Reverb Hall - 20% Wet

Any tips on improving welcome.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 
mu:zines's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
It's definitely Jupiter 8 - there are three layers in that part (in the pre-chorus), a smooth pad sound that continues from the verse, with the chorus hook adding a more organ-ey synth pad sound, and a more typical higher bright JP8-style synth part to give more attack and high end.

The chorus is just that organ-ey synth part, with another synth brass-ey synth part added for thickness (and doubled by a real organ part).
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2ToneStrat ➡️
Any tips on improving welcome.
Easier if you post your sound here.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
@ Mutantt - I'm not the most proficient KB player. I've tried to make it so you can play both layers at once (Layer1 = Osc1, Layer2 = Osc2)
Attached Files

It's my life chorus mp3.mp3 (377.2 KB, 100 views)

Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
Lives for gear
 
mu:zines's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
It's interesting to note that most of the Jupiter-8 parts are in layered mode - so two layered patches with 4-note polyphony. This gives a thicker sound and more timbral variation, and was a bit of a super power for an analog polysynth back in the day...
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2ToneStrat ➡️
@ Mutantt - I'm not the most proficient KB player.
Don't worry about that, we are talking about the sound now.
I often just download a MIDI file if i want to replicate a sound in a song i don't know well.

BTW Google found some multitracks, might reveal the original sound better.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 
CasimirsBlake's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Have to agree with this post. But has anyone told OP about the Talk Talk records that followed...?

Seriously. Spirit Of Eden gives me such massive goosebumps it's physically difficult to listen to. What an amazing record and band. RIP Mark Hollis.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CasimirsBlake ➡️
Have to agree with this post. But has anyone told OP about the Talk Talk records that followed...?

Seriously. Spirit Of Eden gives me such massive goosebumps it's physically difficult to listen to. What an amazing record and band. RIP Mark Hollis.
Amazing group, When Colour of Spring was released in 86 it sounded so out of place with the pop music of the day, but in a good way

I'd also recommend Mark Hollis's solo album

Talk Talk also used a Roland RS09 (I brought one because of them ) I don't know if they were still using it around 84 when It's my life was released ?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
Gear Head
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2ToneStrat ➡️
In my humble opinion, this song is a bit of a master-class in Synth layering and texturing. And a good tune to boot.

I've been chipping away at this for a couple of years, if for no other reason than to teach myself Synthesis.

For a good while I always thought the "Chime-y" pads in the Chorus were probably a DX7, but scooting around the Web, would indicate they were played on a Roland Jupiter 8.

So if anyone knows the Jupiter 8 "recipe" for those sounds, please don't be afraid to share.

I've been having a stab with my Hydrasynth... as ever, a "close but no cigar" result.

It sounds like there's two layers, one +2 Octaves over Middle C, with a definite bell/chime top end, and the second (+1 Octave over Middle C), with a rounder, but still chimy attack, that bleeds into a vocally pad. Best I can describe it.

On the HS I did this:-

OSC1, TriSaw, + 24ST
OSC2, TriSaw, +12ST, -3 cents

Filter = LPF Ladder 24dB, 100% Track
Cutoff set to "Just above Vanishing Point" - 41.0 or "11 O'clock". Res = 0.0

Filter Env - Atk 0ms, Dec 0ms, Sustain 128, Release 2.30 Sec, RelCurve Exp(47). Full Amount (64.0)

Amp Env - Atk 0ms, Dec 144ms, Sustain 80.5, Release 2.43 Sec, Curves default.

Mutant 1 - Wavestack Dep 27.4, Dry/Wet 100%
Mutant 3 - Wavestack Dep 30.8, Dry/Wet 100%

(Wavestack is 5 voice Unison, Depth (out of 128) is Detune. )

Default Chorus 1 - drop Depth
Default Reverb Hall - 20% Wet

Any tips on improving welcome.
Soz Boz

<link deleted by moderator -we're sorry but we can't allow that: there's possible copyright issues with those files.>

Last edited by oxoloxo; 3 weeks ago at 10:50 AM.. Reason: -ILLEGALITY
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by oxoloxo ➡️
You will love this then, the original multitracks of this very song:
You may want to take down that link and let him find it on the web.
Kinda against the rules here.

Even if you already paid the artist and all involved in producing the song, downloading it is morally OK'ish, but still legally gray area IMO.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
Gear Head
Agree with above posts. Much to like about Hollis and Talk Talk. Not so bothered about the earlier stuff personally, but it's in no sense bad. But from Colour of Spring onwards. Yep.

Love happiness is easy. Life's what you make it close to perfect example of how effective the simplest of hooks can be.

Agree Spirit of Eden is really, really good.

Also really admire how they pissed off their label, effectively walking away from commercial success to focus on doing exactly what they wanted, how they wanted it. Settling for enough fame / lots of money, rather than endlessly chasing more.

And as for Hollis' solo LP. A criminally underated gem. So very fresh. Sounds part improvised, perhaps it was? And really not the kind of thing I normally listen to, but it really got under my skin. Love it.

Finally, perhaps not in keeping with the general thrust of this site, but also impressed by how he walked away from the business entirely to be a good dad, not on the road.

RIP.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Keep in mind that the Jupiter-8 was used in the record, but also an Oberheim (if OB-X, OB-Xa or OB-8 I haven't discovered, so far).

From this 1984 article:

"What did you use on the album?

"There's an Oberheim OBX, my JP8 and some PPG... these are all colours and stuff but the bulk of it from my end was JP8." Pete Evans, the other keyboardist is using yet another JP8, a Korg Poly-61 and a Yamaha CP80. "

However, in this 2013 Facebook AMA Curnow refers to the Oberheim synth as "OBMx" (which wasn't around in 1984) - so maybe there was a typo and the hyphen ended up as "M".

"8: of my favorite sounds were the main synth line on It's My Life, the shriek sound similar to an elephant on Such A Shame, and the lead synth on It's You. What keyboards/technique did you use to get those sounds?

Not entirely sure what the main synth line on It's My Life is, but the main organ / pad sound on it was probably Tim, on an Oberheim OBMx, but most the others were me on a Roland Jupiter 8, except one we called Tugboat (the 2 note deep blown sound on the verses, that was Tim again on OBMx)
The The Elephant was using one oscillator that rose and dropped in pitch, while being cross modulated by another oscillator which makes the pitches of oscillator one sound as harmonic distortion on the sound of oscillator 2. That's basically it, anyway.
Again, I'm not really sure what you refer to as the "lead synth" on It's You. The organ / pad synth from the bridge is a similar OBMx combination to It's My Life I think, from TIm. The 5ths lead synth after the first chorus and under verse 2 is as derivative of one of the JP8 sounds I used to use distorted for the guitar parts, a kind of bell sound but without the distortion. I think it features on The Last Time too, or another derivative of it. The solo was done on a similar sound to the main chorus line in Such A Shame, more cross modulating oscillators but without the pitch changing so drastically, just used to give a distortion to a more controlled pitched sound. Underneath that is another of the bell like sounds I used for guitar parts, this time distorted through a guitar amp and then sent to a PA rig and recorded in the room like that."

So, while the seagulls and the elephant sounds were done by Curnow on the Jupiter-8, the main synth that you're looking for was done by Tim Friese-Green on an Oberheim OB (OB-X ? OB-Xa? OB-8?)

Like someone already posted, the multi-tracks are available on the net, so the best way is to load the track in a DAW, and solo each synth part to see how to reproduce it best...

Like Ian Curnow said, there are several synth parts in the multi-tracks (I have the multitracks open in Cubase right now, and I'm counting at least eight parts of keyboards), so it's hard to pinpoint the question "what are the synths in It's My Life?".
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
Lives for gear
 
WozNYC's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Still completely badass.

Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
Gear Nut
 
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
Huh...so someone finally covered that Gwen Stefani song...cool




























Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by WozNYC ➡️
Still completely badass.

Definitely badass. Thanks for posting.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Breaks Dude's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by WozNYC ➡️
Still completely badass.

Wow forgot about this song. I remember this being very odd back then. It has aged well, and sounds very contemporary even now. It has an unsettling quality about it, too. I miss when experimental stuff like this made it to radio. The music going on back then was incredible, there was just so much of it.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
Lives for gear
 
And don't forget they not only produced some incredible albums they also played one of the best live performances I've ever seen

100% live, no excuses for needing playback, no lip syncing or auto tune, just a bunch of very talented musicians

Old 3 weeks ago
  #19
Gear Addict
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Great song. I never get too caught up in these sorts of discussions because 1) everybody was doing layered multitracked synths and 2) nearly every synth on the market in ‘84 sounded incredible.

That said, I always wondered about those two notes a whole step apart in the verses. That to me is THE synth hook from this song, so stark and iconic with only two notes. It does a sort of call and response with that other bendy synth playing the same phrase a fourth up. I had always guessed some kind of Prophet or OB but it looks like that’s never been definitively settled.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #20
Gear Addict
 
DEVO1982's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by WozNYC ➡️
Still completely badass.

I loved this record even though at the time it was a departure from their previous records.
I remember reading an article about them saying that there were no synthesizers on this record only to have them admit that there actually were later on…I remember that there was beginning to be a synth backlash around 1985-86 so maybe they were trying to distance themselves from any bad press or reviews. Great songs, great band and a huge bummer that Holis is now gone.

Last edited by DEVO1982; 3 weeks ago at 03:10 AM.. Reason: Gramering
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by locust_tree ➡️
always wondered about those two notes a whole step apart in the verses. That to me is THE synth hook from this song, so stark and iconic with only two notes. It does a sort of call and response with that other bendy synth playing the same phrase a fourth up. I had always guessed some kind of Prophet or OB but it looks like that’s never been definitively settled.
"One we called Tugboat (the 2 note deep blown sound on the verses, that was Tim again on OBMx)"

Well, the "tugboat" sound is easy to make, seems like it's just a couple of saws + noise generator active. We know that Ian Curnow said it was the OB-X (there are some contrasting views that it was the OB-Xa, but I guess we'll never know). I don't have an OB-X, but I have an OB-Xa here in the studio. You can pretty much get the tugboat sound on the OB-Xa:

Old 3 weeks ago
  #22
Regards TalkTalk/Hollis "other albums".... it's not lost on Me.

I first started learning these songs on guitar, many moons ago. I remember trying to nail that Guitar part on "Life's What You Make It", and long story short, ended up in email conversation with David Rhodes... the actual Guitarist who played it, who by then was with Peter Gabriel. David Rhodes it should be said is phenomenal... unsung hero (and a nice guy too). It's all about the music IMO.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #23
Gear Nut
Just love everything they ever produced.

It seemed with every subsequent release they got closer to perfection.

There's never likely to be another band like them either because as already mentioned they gave up chasing the money & fame and concentrated on their art.

When you multiply this with their awesome talent it's no surprise their music contained so much depth and beauty.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #24
Gear Maniac
Another of their songs that I love.

Emotive sounds, beautifully arranged for a great song. And that voice.

Old 3 weeks ago
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I made another sound research vid. This one is for "Such A Shame", not It's My Life. Personally, "Such A Shame" is my favorite of their songs and a key theme of my teenage years. This is for the elephant sound that Curnow tells us he programmed on the Jupiter-8. Very hard to get as when you mess with x-mod, a millimeter move makes a big difference (not to mention the other parameters). First attempt.

Old 3 weeks ago
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Subverter's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Highly recommend Phill Brown's book 'Are We Still Rolling?' for the chapters on recording Talk Talk.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #27
Gear Addict
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Varaldo ➡️
"One we called Tugboat (the 2 note deep blown sound on the verses, that was Tim again on OBMx)"

Well, the "tugboat" sound is easy to make, seems like it's just a couple of saws + noise generator active. We know that Ian Curnow said it was the OB-X (there are some contrasting views that it was the OB-Xa, but I guess we'll never know). I don't have an OB-X, but I have an OB-Xa here in the studio. You can pretty much get the tugboat sound on the OB-Xa:

Funny, I was going to reply “Wow, Paolo absolutely nailed the sound in that video” and then read a little further and realized I was responding to the man himself. Spot on recreation! That’s more than enough to convince me that the original synth was some kind of OB. Great job, been a big fan of your channel since the early days!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #28
Gear Nut
 
spraytanvirus's Avatar
 
This looks to be another geezer thread for the > 50 crowd.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by spraytanvirus ➡️
This looks to be another geezer thread for the > 50 crowd.
The Under 12's Room is down the corridor to the left. They have cake.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Varaldo ➡️
"One we called Tugboat (the 2 note deep blown sound on the verses, that was Tim again on OBMx)"

Well, the "tugboat" sound is easy to make, seems like it's just a couple of saws + noise generator active. We know that Ian Curnow said it was the OB-X (there are some contrasting views that it was the OB-Xa, but I guess we'll never know). I don't have an OB-X, but I have an OB-Xa here in the studio. You can pretty much get the tugboat sound on the OB-Xa:

I hate to be a pain, but how do you get that modulated "blown" sound on the Noise, without it also affecting the Saws?
📝 Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 64 views: 18242
Avatar for Don Solaris
Don Solaris 25th September 2015
replies: 43197 views: 3434808
Avatar for tempsperdu
tempsperdu 2 minutes ago
replies: 10046 views: 985212
Avatar for Leighty
Leighty 2 weeks ago
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearspace Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…

Forum Jump
Forum Jump