When a drop becomes a string : REVERB, Part 1

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 “synthĂ©tiseurs”, 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!