Please listen to this Vangelis “Blade Runner” quiet track :
I used to be a composer (a long time ago), and I remember this “Blade Runner” mood : Your track is ready on your Macintosh. It’s the night. You’re alone, quiet. You have a cigarette and you just “hit the spacebar”.
Your pack of “synthétiseurs”, samplers, keyboards and effects is twinkling blinking here and there in your room. And Macintosh plays your music, that’s cool!
“Reverberation, is the persistence of sound after a sound is produced”, says Wikipedia. The page has the good idea to present a simple synth sound with different levels of “reverb”.
You can guess that you have different parameters. The percentage of reverb (you maybe need to keep a part of flat sound) and the length of it. You can guess that a “many seconds” reverb gives you the impression you’re in a cave, or a cathedral.
For my Blade Runner moods I played with 12 seconds reverb, which could never be reached in reality.
In “Against the Sky”, Brian Eno uses the reverb like a character, a ghost of the already reverbed piano. At the end of the track, a quiet golden snake is reverb-floating in the background…
Robert Rich & Steve Roach are like “too much reverb is cool”. Their percs are already like in a cathedral, and they have this pleasure to draw veils of sounds. Yep, New Age music. OK, I let you slowdance a bit…
YouTube their names to check what reverb is 🙂
Soil Festivities (Vangelis again) begins with thunder… in reverb. So it’s like you’re sheltered near the entrance of a cave. The whole piece is like a game of sounds (no music seems to really being built here), of creatures evolving in the reverb. Around 6 minutes, listen to the contrast between all notes and the “no reverb” next-to-your-ears bass. He played the same game with choir in the album “Mask”.
I’ll write another article about reverb in pop. Depeche Mode‘s Violator as a perfect example…
Have fun. Have a great 4Th of July!