Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

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RE: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Post by Thoracius »

I gave it a shot recreating this sound on my microKORG XL.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2c97a76NEI" target="phpbbpopup

I feel like I got pretty close, considering most of the character of the original comes from the weird pitch-shifting artifacts of the digital sample, which is hard to emulate with subtractive synthesis.
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Post by desmond »

Not bad, if it’s just subtractive synthesis being used... :thumbup:
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Post by Scramble »

If I was playing in a Kate Bush cover band I'd be pretty happy with that.
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Post by ken long »

So glad to see this epic thread revived! :angel:
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Post by desmond »

There's a new blog post on the sounds of Running Up That Hill, which seems to come to the same conclusions as we came to in this thread:

https://reverbmachine.com/blog/kate-bush-synth-sounds
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Post by desmond »

Some additional info, which backs up most of my earlier findings (and confirms the Quantec frozen reverb) and is worth posting here. :thumbup:

From an interview with Kate Bush, International Musician, Oct 1985:

RUNNING UP THAT TRACK
(The making of the single)

Running Up That Hill all started off on the Fairlight. I just found this sound that I thought was a brilliant sound for the riff, and I knew I wanted a military drone-like atmosphere that would surround it all. I asked Del to set a Linn pattern—I sung him the part—and he got that together, and we set that to play the pattern round and round and I worked out the vocal that would go over the top. The lyrics for the first verse came straight away. I stuck it down like that with the voice, Fairlight and drum machine on my home eight track.

"Then we started work on the drone. We froze a three or four note chord from the Fairlight into the Quantec. Already it was quite there, so the next stage we transferred the eight track to the 24 track and we kept the original Fairlight; I added new Fairlight playing the same part because the problem was the sample was actually very noisy. It was called a harp, but it wasn't one. Eventually, although the Linn pattern was used for a long time, we actually ended up putting it down again over more tracks.

"Then we got Stuart (Elliott, drummer) in, and because the Linn pattern was so full in itself it was just a matter of him sticking a snare down. The original Linn pattern had a snare down, but it's not very good and needed bolstering up. We needed something at the end so he put down some very dramatic fills that were a combination of three different sounds, including something on the Fairlight.

"Then I put the backing vocals down, which apart from the weird ones at the end were done at demo stage, but we re-did them. Paddy (Bush, brother) came in and put down some balalaika on the choruses to give them sort of push, Del put some bass down that was very much in there with the toms to emphasise that rhythmic feel, then it just needed something at the end. I put some freak-out voices over it all and all it needed was a guitar to finally build it."

She also mentions in a few other places in the piece about adding real drums over the top of the Linn, including ethnic drums and other things.
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Post by wdsteele »

Ive been reading a few other archive peices tbanks to the mu:zine site and it really struck me just how creative Fairlight users had to be .
Also interesting how they all seemed to express some level of frustration around the technological limitations , something I doubt is much of a concern now a days .
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Post by desmond »

wdsteele wrote:Ive been reading a few other archive pieces thanks to the mu:zine site and it really struck me just how creative Fairlight users had to be .

Indeed! I'm amazed anyone ever got it to sound good, especially the first one!

wdsteele wrote:Also interesting how they all seemed to express some level of frustration around the technological limitations , something I doubt is much of a concern now a days .

If you used one of them, you'd realise how frustrating and limiting it really is - though at the time, it was a marvel because it let you do formerly impossible things! :thumbup:
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Post by Tomás Mulcahy »

desmond wrote:There's a new blog post on the sounds of Running Up That Hill, which seems to come to the same conclusions as we came to in this thread:

https://reverbmachine.com/blog/kate-bush-synth-sounds

Brilliant info, especially about the drum pattern. I struggle with those, he seems to have nailed the feel here. The clipping on the cello sound seems to have thrown the timbre off IMO.

I don't think he's right about the Fairlight sound on Army Dreamers, it sounds more like Cello 2 again, layered with something windy. It's hard to tell really because, as you say that's the thing with the Fairlight it's so limited. After a while everything sounds like the same "nasal honk" as Wiff once described it :lol:
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Post by nathanscribe »

Tomás Mulcahy wrote:
desmond wrote:There's a new blog post on the sounds of Running Up That Hill, which seems to come to the same conclusions as we came to in this thread:

https://reverbmachine.com/blog/kate-bush-synth-sounds

Brilliant info, especially about the drum pattern.

It's good but his drums are way off. The original uses the low tom, with an occasional hit to the left only, and the kick/snare are on 1+3 and 2+4 respectively. The tom does all the filling in.
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Post by Tomás Mulcahy »

I was trying to be nice :bouncy: . He's done it all on the kick, but has the right idea about the "aheadness"IMO. Reminds me that I must see if I can nail the portamtento with the CMIV. Kontakt did not.
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Re: Kate Bush - Running up that Hill - main synth sound

Post by DunningUpThatHill »

The blog post is mostly drivel, the part about the drum timing is certainly no exception. The drums aren't "off-grid" at all. My guess is that the blogger has been analyzing the first 2 bars (as those are the closest you can get to a clean drum loop, disregarding the ever present drone of course) in isolation, not realizing they're wildly non-representative.

See, if you add a steady drum pattern that runs in perfect sync with the original, they line up all the way except for the first two bars. When the LinnDrum on the original kicks in, it's very late (approx. 1/48), skids in like a drunk on rollerskates, and over the first bar and a half it speeds up then slows down before settling into the grid. The first bar is all out of whack, on the 2nd bar it's a matter of milliseconds off. To complicate things, Stuart E is trying to play acoustic snare over the Linn, so his first hit is about as off as the sync, but much like the Linn he course-corrects quickly.

So what's going on here? Well, tape sync was no exact science in the early 80's, and most devices needed a lead-in of one or two silent bars. But Del hadn't composed a full song here, there was just a single pattern that probably started playing immediately, so what you hear on the first two bars is the LinnDrum struggling to home in on the correct tempo. Ergo, if you isolate that first bar and trim it so that the first bass drum hit aligns with the downbeat, and then look at this bar thinking it's representative of the entire song, everything will be off-grid and the snare will be miles ahead.
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