Synthesizer paired with acoustic instrument

Hi all,

I am looking for some inspirations and I am really interested to hear compositions where synthesizer is used in more “classical” (non rock, jazz, pop, etc.) setting when it is participating on equal rights with other acoustic instruments. I would love if it were original compositions (stuff like Switched on Bach is great but I think that such music sometimes might not be using synthesizer as an instrument on its own but rather emulating acoustic instruments) and it would be great when it would be interacting with other acoustic instruments rather than using orchestra full of synthesizers.

Lately I had a great privilage to improvise with clarinet player using my half modular synths (Stream Firmanty/Giżycki - Przebudzenie by Michał Giżycki | Listen online for free on SoundCloud) and also playing with Poznań Improvisers Orchestra(Poznańska Orkiestra Improwizowana - 360 VR - YouTube) so I would love to explore topic further.

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love love love Clarinets & synths. Notably Darkroom (who includes Os from Expert Sleepers!) https://darkroomtheband.bandcamp.com and of course the recent incarnation of Pere Ubu who have a clarinet player along side some mad synthesis as well as more rock instrumentation.

Listening to your soundcloud track now. Like it!

Cello and synths is another classic pairing - Julia Kent is good listening https://music.juliakent.com/album/asperities and of course Klaus Schulze - transfer https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trancefer (amongst others)

I’m sure there are loads more - those are ones that come to mind right now though

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many ambient musicians combine acoustic (percussion, flutes, strings) with synthesizers (including modular and sample based).
Steve Roach and Robert Rich are very good as examples. If I remember right that Robert share his vision how acoustic instruments make synthesizer music more alive and organic

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Found myself listening to this, ambient sounds with different acoustic instruments intertwined. I know he uses buchla, some ciat lonbarde stuff and guitar, bass, piano etc. Great stuff!

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There are some superb interviews with Robert Rich on Youtube - I’ve not got links and I’m sure you can search as well as me - but I would recommend anyone that makes electronic music searching them out.

I was a flute player when I was younger - long since lost track of where my flute is in various house moves. Have been considering buying one again!

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(thoughts while listening to the OPs clarinet and synth piece (which I am really enjoying))

The whole electro-acoustic improvising scene is worth investigating too -AMM, of who I am a massive fan, could be seen as a centre to explore from. Eddie Prévosts books have been big sources of insight for me too - “No Sound is Innocent” in particular https://matchlessrecordings.com/book/no-sound-innocent

(edit: The David Sylvian album Manafon is also interesting in this regard and you could do worse than following up everyone who he collaborates with on it https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manafon_(album) and watching the film that accompanied the original release Amplified Gesture https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0e60eKflPfo )

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RedBull Session with Robert Rich is a very good one.

I’m big fan of Rich era of massive using flutes. Very good for mediation or preparing for sleep.

about flutes - I bought a Xiao flute some years ago and couldn’t have any progress with it. Wood instruments are very hard for me.

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Thanks for all recommendations. Right now darkroom is playing and it is really nice.
I think that electro-acoustic improvisation is describing best what I had in mind so I will dig further into works of AMM.
Currently there is a lot of great stuff happening in improvised music where I live but most of the time people forget to record sessions (sound/video) so there is not a lot of material left for other people to listen. But this is probably the case with most of improvised music.

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“aivi & surasshu” are a piano/chiptune duo i found out about recently. They have an album called “The Black Box”, and they score Steven Universe.

Claire Fitch does lovely cello & synth ambient.

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Manafon is brilliant! Dark and emotionally wrenching like all of Sylvian’s recent work. His aesthetics are highly advanced…

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Sorry for mixing things up. I would love to hear composed stuff where everything is written beforehand but I am also open to hear electroacoustic improvisation where synthesizer plays with acoustic instruments. But if it is improvised I would still like to hear maybe some overarching history in it. I know that it is very subjective but I would like to hear more of “lets improvise a song/history/impression together” and less of “lets play solos in turns over A minor” (of course there is nothing wrong with that). Sorry if I explained something wrong but english is not my first language.

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So I think you will like Eddie Prévosts writing - there is a massive depth behind all that work - it very much isn’t do a solo in a key - intent is very important there.

(also thought of another acoustic/synth combination for you - church organ and moog! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeHaO1bF8Ng - this is improv and I really don’t know much about his intention but too good to miss :wink: )

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someone who wasn’t exactly synth/acoustic but certainly worked in this space as a composer was Ákos Rózmann

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And I think that a lot of interesting thing can be found in this gray area :wink: I currently love improvising around topic. There is this cyclical event where bands of musicians are created by lottery and then they are given topic and have around 15-30 minutes to improvise. And one of the nicest improvisation was where before playing we talked about our topic, decided what it means to us, imagined 4 parts, described loosely their feeling and what role in history about topic they would play and only after that started to improvise.
But of course somebody could say that this was too much preplanned thing to call it improvisation. Nonetheless thanks input in this topic I will have a lot of to listen, read and think about.

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I FEEL a mILLion filaments!!

…and the heat of trees…

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Magnus Granberg has some interesting compositional work documented on the Another Timbre label… ist gefallen in den schnee might be my favorite. Several subsequent releases of his seem to touch on a similar template (improvisation within composed structures), and they don’t seem quite as successful

Toshimaru Nakamura plays ‘no input’ mixer feedback in this piece, along with several other people (Skogen (?) who play acoustic instruments, including unorthodox percussion objects like wine glasses, prepared piano, etc… it’s about an hour long, and apart from a small, stagnant instance (no longer than several minutes) midway thru, it’s largely successful, and well-affecting. It’s calming, engaging. The prepared piano sounds beautiful, and Nakamura’s contribution, while mostly atonal feedback / sounds, reminds me of what drew me to modular synthesis in the first place–piercing, raw, even percussive noise that’s a bit hard to control - basically shaping feedback sounds, which can be very pleasing if you’re into that (self-patching, feedback, industrial sounds, etc.) … the piece is based on an melody from an older piece of music (a folk song?) which i’m not familiar with. It’s one of my favorite albums on the AT label - highly recommended.

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another one on the AT label called ‘Horsky Park’, which features two players - Tiziana Bertoncini (violin) and Thomas Lehn (synthesizer) … it contains some of the most striking (and satisfying) synthesizer sounds I’ve ever heard. The interplay is excellent–not forced, developing naturally. Largely improvised from what I understand, there’s more information on the YT page, as well as the Another Timbre site. This is a ‘Top five’ AT realease as well.

^this youtube excerpt doesn’t represent Thomas Lehn’s synthesizer playing / contribution very well… he takes a little while to heat up, but when he does, it’s absolutely stunning – wild, vibrant sound-shapes that compliment the violin in beautiful ways… caterwauling, smearing and punctuating interjections, bristling with electricity, it’s very thick -sounding and pronounced.

https://soundcloud.com/tbc2015m/47-tiziana-bertoncini-thomas-lehn
^this is the second half of the album, it’s from a different day, diff session. The recording quality is less direct, more room sound… and Lehn’s gestures are less pronounced, more chameleon-like. His synthesizer really sounds good, though

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This album has been in my rotation a lot recently. Really nice work with dual sax, synths, live percussion, drum machines, & vocals. Largely improvised but there’s a good amount of variation in how it’s approached in each piece.

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Ecotone really slays. probably one of my favorite albums not made by Autechre. It’s immaculately recorded, and the sound assembly is excellent. Really well done. It’s Martin Brandlmayr (drums, percussion) and eRikm (“cdj” & electronics)

The first track isn’t really representative of the rest of the CD–as it progresses, the music becomes more fragmented, spare, lurching, stuttering etc. It’s beautiful. It’s sort of one, continuous piece (the whole of it) - reminds me of Ae somehow. Brandlmayr is a member of Radian - their recent album On Dark Silent Off is good stuff, kinda post-rock-y. I believe somebody already posted it in another thread. Favorite Radian album since tg11 (highly recommended)

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I will need a lot of time to listen carefully to all recomendations in this topic but I gave Tiziana Bertoncini and Thomas Lehn duo a quick listen and it is really nice. I will definitely need to dig in AT label catalogue. I like that they change dynamic a lot and employ silence in music. I think that few seconds of silence can really nicely emphasis the sound that was before.

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