O Jerusalem

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often would I have gathered your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Behold, your house is left to you desolate. For I say to you, you shall by no means see Me from now until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!‘ ”
Matthew 23:37-39.

Here is my write up about ‘O Jerusalem’ as posted on the REAPER forum:

Well, here is the second track (actually track one in the album playlist) from my new “Hidden Gems | Instrumental Journeys” album and my first new track recorded with a combination of my new u-he purchase (DIVA VSTi synth), various other software and some of my vintage analog (and digital) hardware. It is also the first track I have recorded using my new RME Fireface UFX which I am absolutely impressed with (the converters, preamps and drivers are fantastic).
This is another 70s style Berlin Electronic piece with plenty of analog sequencing. It is a very dynamic piece which starts off quietly with a gentle pulsing sequence and a solitary grand piano (Native Instruments New York Grand), combined with some SY77 pad sweeps through Valhalla Shimmer, builds to a loud climax with a guitar solo and drops again to a spacious piano for the finale.

The pulsing sequence is a combination of my Roland SH09 (for bass), System 100 (for sequenced layers which come in progressively) and Juno 6 (percussive filter FX) all fed through individual Arts Acoustic Big Rock phasers and bussed to a Variety of Sound NastyDLA MKII.
The sequencing is a combination of multiple instances of BlueARP V2 triggering my Frostwave Quad MIDI – CV converter (basically four MIDI – CV converters with gate, pitch and velocity CV over four MIDI channels in one 1RU 19“ box) and then into my Roland System 700 sequencer and the various hardware synths. The System 700 sequencer controls the VCF cutoff of the Juno 6 and the SH09. BlueARP takes care of note assignment, gate and velocity (via the Frostwave converter).

At the 4:15 mark, a drum loop courtesy of Superwave Tiny Pops (very nice Korg Minipops emulation) begins which is fed through another Big Rock phaser (I love this thing!!). There is no traditional panning on the loop. The pan effect is created by 180 degree stereo phase shifting from the Big Rock.
Also beginning at this point is some squelchy System 100 filter and oscillator HF FX (2xVCO and 2xVCF used in series configuration here) which pan left to right via a stock REAPER delay (the ReaPlugs are great). Again, no traditional panning is used. I was aiming for something along the lines of the EMS FX Jean Michel Jarre used on Oxygene 2. All tweaking is done live with my fingers on the knobs. There’s no other control of the System 100 going on here.

At 4:35, DIVA makes her entrance with a very authentic sounding Moog lead emulation. Even though DIVA can do many things, my primary reason for the purchase was for Moog and Korg sounds and the many hybrid possibilities. I have the Roland bases covered pretty well with hardware (System 100, SH09, JX-3P/PG200 with Inque MIDI mod, Juno 6, Juno 106 and System 700 sequencer). I played DIVA via my SY77 and used the first mod wheel for traditional modulation control and the second mod wheel for filter cutoff.

At 6:43, my Roland JX-3P joins DIVA on lead duties. Once again, I played the JX from my SY77. I did this because the Inque MIDI mod which I fitted recently gives the JX velocity sensitivity and the ability to use the PG200 and MIDI at the same time. The JX-3P is placed very wide in the stereo field (using the stock Roland chorus with iZotope Ozone 5 imager to spread it even wider) and sits well with DIVA which is panned in the middle with a ping pong delay from NastyDLA MKII which I absolutely love.
Once again, I have made use of the two mod wheels on my SY77 to control the JX. Mod 1 controls oscillator sync (listen for the distinctive metal cross modulation on this track as I change it via the mod wheel) and mod 2 controls filter cutoff. I also tweaked the PG200 in real time as I played.
The JX-3P is actually a hugely underrated synth, especially with the PG200 and Inque mod. It is basically a polyphonic, velocity sensitive, analog, 2 DCO synth with the same filtering as the JP8. The stock filters are not set for self oscillating capability from the factory but a quick tweak of some trimpots inside the synth soon changes that!

Listen for the big Moog style lead drop from DIVA at 9:30. THAT is why I purchased DIVA! One word….FAT!!
Also at this point, I really open up space in the midrange spectrum of the sequence parts in preparation for what is to come…..

At 9:53, I added a lead guitar solo. The guitar is my trusty Fender Strat copy which I’ve had for nearly thirty years. It was one of the better copies made in the mid 80s. The lead sound is this guitar plugged into a VOX lead Amplug and into the RME Fireface. Delay for the lead guitar is once again the stock REAPER delay. Reverb is Valhalla Shimmer.
DIVA and my JX keep going through the guitar solo but with a couple of ReaComps sidechained from the guitar to keep them sitting nicely in the mix.

At 12:05, the guitar begins to move to the distance via some automation of direct/reverb levels to make way for the piano which re-enters for the outro.

At 12:33, DIVA leaves the stage and the sequencers begin their shift away from the intensity of the track climax to the open and contemplative space of the piano. I really like the NI New York grand, especially with the string resonance and pedal sounds tweaked for more authenticity. I have played real $100,000 Steinways before and this library actually comes very close to the feeling of playing one in person. NI have done a great job with this one.
I added some Valhalla Room to the piano for a more spacious feel. If you haven’t already got a copy, go and lay down $50 bucks with Sean. He’s done a top job with these ‘verbs and I use them on almost everything these days.

By 13:45, things have wound down to a spacious ambience and I switch the JX-3P over to pad duties which fade up by 13:50.
At this point, you can really hear the texture of the System 100 on the HF FX too. I had a lot of fun tweaking the knobs for those sounds!!

If you have a system capable of reproducing frequencies down to 5Hz (yes, FIVE Hz), I have deliberately NOT bandwidth limited this track and there are subsonics that low (stick a Voxengo SPAN across this track in high res mode and have a look for yourselves). The top end goes right up to about 22KHz too and the RME converters really shine here. There’s no need for recording at 96KHz in my opinion when 44.1KHz can sound really nice. I’d rather have the extra CPU resources for a more creative mix. Most of the plugins I use that benefit from the usage of 96KHz have adjustable oversampling anyway so those benefits can be had at 44.1KHz without the CPU overhead of running the whole mix at that rate.
Also, if you have a good surround sound system, try running this track through either Dolby Pro Logic II or DTS Neo:6. I have included plenty of surround phase information in this track for such decoding. I ran the mix through both of these decoders and through two channels and aimed for a mix that sounds exciting on any of these setups.
I might even get inspired and do a discreet DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 mix of this album once it is complete too. I love surround mixes!!

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