Time Tunnel (a musical journey from 1968-2019) by tapewolf

Time Tunnel (a musical journey from 1968-2019)

Time Tunnel (a musical journey from 1968-2019)

tapewolf

30 June 2019 at 16:09:02 MDT

EDIT: Re-uploaded with the intro fixed

This is a medley of songs from different time periods, from 1968 to 2019, covering a variety of styles. It was a massive project of the kind where you only find out if it worked once the entire thing is completed. It consists of 8 pieces of interconnected music, which have been razor-edited together on tape.

The intro starts with the sound 'Time Tunnel' from the Korg N1. After that we have a riff on the OB-6 which recurs throughout the piece. Then I run wild with the sound effects library on the Korg N1.

The 1968 section was done using actual 1968 recording techniques, of laying down 4 backing tracks, mixing those down to stereo, then copying the backing tracks to a stereo pair on another 4-track tape, before overdubbing bass and vocals.
This restriction resulted in very weird stereo panning, e.g. with drums on the left and bass on the right (Hello, SF Sorrow!). All the echo was done on tape, and the reverb was done using a (1980s) spring reverb.
Ironically, the 1968 song was inspired by 'Incense and Peppermints' which was recorded using a custom 10-track machine invented by the studio owner.

1973 was easier, since 2" 16 track was the norm at that point. I ended up using about 12 tracks. The sample-and-hold bit is a shout-out to Karn Evil 9 by Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and the organ part is obviously inspired by Focus.
All the echo was done using a Watkins Copicat, which may actual date from that period. The reverb was done using a modified Strymon BlueSky, which is digital but does the best plate reverb emulation I've ever heard.

For 1983 the norm was 24 tracks on 2" tape, which is exactly what I have, albeit using a machine from the near future of 1987. I used the OB-6 a lot, the DX7 piano was done using a Korg Triton. While I could doubtless get a rackmounted DX7 engine, my relationship with the DX7 is more a case of "You killed my friends, prepare to die!" since it killed the subtractive synthesis market almost singlehandedly. I still think the DX7 sounds shit, but it is part of the era so it had to stay. The minimoog echo was done using a bucket-brigade delay, which was starting to supplant tape echos. Digital delay was also available in the 80s (at tremendous cost), so I used that for the vocals.
I cheated a little with the drums, using the Korg M1 since it has a nice 80s-sounding gated drumkit. Adding chorus to the bass guitar via a BBD chorus definitely improved the 80s vibe.

The quick 1991 dance piece was done almost entirely on the Korg M1 and draws heavily from Purple Motion's music on the famous 'Second Reality' demo from 1993. The M1 'Universe' sound segues fairly well into the 1996 death metal number.

The 1996 song is very heavily inspired by Bal Sagoth's "As the Vortex Illumines the Crystalline Walls of Kor-Avul-Thaa" from their 1996 album "Starfire burning upon the ice-veiled throne of Ultima Thule".
Bal Sagoth used the Roland XP50 extensively, with the Orchestral expansion card, and the M1 choir can also be heard throughout the album. I have both an M1R and a Roland JV1010 with the orchestral expansion card, so that was easy.
Less easy were the narration and vocals. I'm pretty sure they slowed Byron down for his narration, so I did the same trick. The death metal vocals were rather more intelligible than I had counted on, which meant I then had to write some lyrics instead of just screaming impressive-sounding nonsense.
I ducked the choir during the main song since it was starting to sound a little crowded on headphones. On speakers, it sounds a little sparse, so I may leave them in on the final version.

2003 was a bit of a pain to come up with ideas for, but I played around with the Korg Triton presets and found a nice one called "The Horizon" which is part of the Trance Attack expansion board and used that as inspiration.
The Triton does nearly everything here, with some additional stuff added from the Korg N1R and a bass sound from the Roland MVS-1. I was tempted to record this piece using a DAW, but ended up using tape anyhow.
The vocals were processed with autotune and a little bit of DAW editing before being bounced back to tape. The mix has had bus compression applied so that it has the annoying pumping sound found in songs from that era, but not so much
that it actually hurt my ears like the 2004 cover of 'Somebody to love'.

I nearly skipped 2013 since the song itself is from the 2010s, but I decided at the laste minute to splice in a section from "The Murder Game". I am not sure that worked well (the end is a bit abrupt) so it may vanish from the album version, or I may need to remix that section from the 1" master.

Then we have the intro reprised, with a Waldorf Blofeld lead, before I finish up by doing the sound effects thing and mirroring the start by finishing with Time Tunnel.

Equipment used

TASCAM TSR-8 1/2" 8-track recorder
Otari MX80 2" 24-track recorder
Studer A807

Synthesizers (in order of appearance)
Korg N1R
Waldorf microWave
DSI OB-6
Roland JV1010
Alesis DM10
Moog Voyager
Hammond SK1
GEM RP-x
Hammond XM-1
Manikin Memotron
Cheetah MS6
Korg M1
Waldorf Streichfett
Korg Triton Rack
Roland MVS-1
Roland JV1010 with Orchestral board
Waldorf Blofeld

Time
Travelling through time
Travelling through time
Travelling through time

1968
Love in the air and it feels so great
Groovy is the word
Live how you are and just ignore the herd

1973
And things are cool
If you have got the bread you need to pay for fuel

1983 goes by
Home computers multiply

Time
Travelling through time
Travelling through time
Travelling through time

And Lo, bearing axes and swords, the followers of Byron did descend into the stifling halls of the Academy
The year is 1996, the gods of metal smile upon thee
By XP50 and M1, the stage is set for victory
And thus did they emerge from those sacred halls, bearing songs in their arms, and victory in their hearts

2003 2003 2003

Time
Travelling through time
Travelling through time
Travelling through time

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