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William Orbit's work on Madonna's Ray of Light album
Old 17th March 2017
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
William Orbit's work on Madonna's Ray of Light album

I'm not much of a Madonna fan in general, but I love that album - primarily for the sound/s that William Orbit brought to it. I heard it again recently, after years, and it still sounds fantastic.

Anyone else into this?
Old 17th March 2017
  #2
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Rufuss Sewell's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RunnyKine View Post
I'm not much of a Madonna fan in general, but I love that album - primarily for the sound/s that William Orbit brought to it. I heard it again recently, after years, and it still sounds fantastic.

Anyone else into this?
Definitely one of my faves.

Lots of squelchy MS-20. Lots of Juno 106 with the filter res up and triplet delay. I also love the delay on the snare fills.
Old 17th March 2017
  #3
Pip
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Pip's Avatar
Classic album, I'd add the great guitar and the All saints pure shores rumour. Another Orbit classic built in the same mould.
Old 17th March 2017
  #4
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Serpentine's Avatar
I'm also not a huge Madonna Fan but love Ray of Light.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Pip View Post
the All saints pure shores rumour.

Do you mean a rumour that he produced and co-wrote it? It's fact
Old 17th March 2017
  #5
Pip
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Pip's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Serpentine View Post
I'm also not a huge Madonna Fan but love Ray of Light.





Do you mean a rumour that he produced and co-wrote it? It's fact
Nope the rumour that Madge wanted pure shores for her album and he refused stating is was for all saints - she is then meant to have stated well you won't be working with me again.
Madge was very estute with mr Orbit, Ray of light would have sounded nothing like it did - Orbit was all over it, writing, playing. producing - fab.
Old 17th March 2017
  #6
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Serpentine's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pip View Post
Nope the rumour that Madge wanted pure shores for her album and he refused stating is was for all saints - she is then meant to have stated well you won't be working with me again.
Madge was very estute with mr Orbit, Ray of light would have sounded nothing like it did - Orbit was all over it, writing, playing. producing - fab.
Right! I didnt know that. I was wondering why she never did any more with him, a shame because it was a great vibe.
Old 17th March 2017
  #7
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manalishi's Avatar
It's a great album, and he really updated Madge's sound and appeal.

Are there any articles or info on the gear/techniques he used? That album and Pieces in a Modern Style sound so good.
Old 17th March 2017
  #8
Gear Head
Marius de Vries did the song Little star. Also great I think!
Old 17th March 2017
  #9
Gear Addict
 
Acidizer's Avatar
is this why ray of light has a 303 line in it?

if you look at madonna's vogue, that's basically a straight up house record. she also commissioned a few above & beyond remixes (before they turned crap) so she has always seen the value in dance music i think.
Old 17th March 2017
  #10
Gear Nut
 

Secrets Of The Mix Engineers: Mark Endert |

Quote:
In addition, I have an extensive sample library in Logic’s ESX sampler, as well as an Akai S6000. William Orbit made Ray Of Light on two Akai S3200s, and he convinced me that bass and drums are much better coming from an Akai than any other sampler, and I believe he is right.
https://web.archive.org/web/20150608...illyorbit.html

Quote:
I've got an Akai S3200, and these days I load everything into that and run the whole mix through the stereo outputs and into a couple of valve compressors. I compress it heavily and use everything onboard the S3200. It runs very well and maintains the phase coherence, improving the impact of the sound. I still use my old Trident 80B desk. I love it!
[...]
I like the Novation BassStation, though. I bought one for about £200 -- it's excellent. I use a lot of valve equipment these days -- amps, limiters, compressors. The Drawmer 1960 is really revolutionary to my sound. I've got three now, and if I could really afford it I'd have a whole rack of them! They're deep and they make everything sound like an old record. You read about these Pultecs and Fairchilds, but they're around £3000 a pop. The 1960 is only £800 or so and you can stick it across the output of the Akai and the sound is just amazing.

As far as keyboards are concerned, I still love the Roland JD800 and Juno 106. In my time I've had Jupiter 8s, Prophet 5s and SH101s. Some have gone by the wayside, but I still think the Yamaha DX7 is an excellent synth. It's been rehabilitated now. When it first came out, it was striking in its difference and cut through everything. It then became unpopular, simply because its sound was overdone. Now it's a great synth once again. If you can find a DX7 with a full MIDI spec, then grab it.
If you like Mr Orbit's unique sound signature, don't ditch the Strange Cargo series LP.

Last edited by Poumtschak; 17th March 2017 at 05:09 PM..
Old 17th March 2017
  #11
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Licudi's Avatar
I had a brief involvement with Orbit when I lent him a Digi Atom for his MC-4B. In those days, Guerrilla was in a tiny outhouse in Little Venice and most of the synths were by Roland including a fairly large System 100M.

IIRC, Orbit's solitary sampler was an Infernal Machine, but by Ray of Light he had switched to a rack of S1000s like most UK producers. I seem to remember Madonna put a ceiling on his earnings from that CD, which meant he got a lot of cash, but not rich (PSB did a similar lockout on Bobby Orlando).
Old 17th March 2017
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
basehead617's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Licudi View Post
I had a brief involvement with Orbit when I lent him a Digi Atom for his MC-4B. In those days, Guerrilla was in a tiny outhouse in Little Venice and most of the synths were by Roland including a fairly large System 100M.
Wow, cool!

Do you have any idea what gear W.O. and the boys used on this Guerilla record/remix? It's the 2nd release on the label.. one of my favorite tracks..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NE-xiv5BdK4
Old 17th March 2017
  #13
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Love the sound and feel of that album too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by manalishi View Post
It's a great album, and he really updated Madge's sound and appeal.

Are there any articles or info on the gear/techniques he used? That album and Pieces in a Modern Style sound so good.
Keyboard interview going over how it went and what was used.
Old 17th March 2017
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
Vectorman's Avatar
 

Love the heck out of that album. Wasn't really a Madonna fan prior to that, although she had released a few tracks I had liked, mostly the more unusual or introspective stuff like "Bedtime Story" or "Bad Girl." RoL was the first time I heard new singles on the radio and went, "Oh gosh...that's sublime. I have to get that album." In hindsight, RoL had a lot to do with my eventual desire to wander away from progressive rock into something a little more electronic and contemporary (although it was sort of a delayed reaction that didn't happen for a few years after).

Btw, Madonna did work with William Orbit more after RoL. She did that remake of "American Pie" with him as well as "Beautiful Stranger" from the Austin Powers soundtrack. And he worked on two or three songs from Music, her next album after RoL. They also collaborated again for several tracks on her MDNA album a few years ago, though unfortunately the magic they captured together on RoL wasn't really in evidence there.
Old 17th March 2017
  #15
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I owned a Juno-106 at the time that album came out and it was pretty neat to hear that gritty filter all over the radio.
Old 17th March 2017
  #16
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Rob Ocelot's Avatar
Orbit talks about using the MS-20 and Juno 106 individually but I think he got a lot of mileage running the 106 through the MS-20 -- using the MS HPF with the resonance cranked to futher boost the bottom end of the Juno DCO sound (with certain frequencIes already boosted from the high resonance of the Juno LPF). Makes for a *monstrous* and gritty low end that would be more difficult to get with just EQ.

Definitely give his Strange Cargo stuff a listen. It's fantastic.

Last edited by Rob Ocelot; 17th March 2017 at 05:15 PM..
Old 17th March 2017
  #17
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roland4387's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acidizer View Post
is this why ray of light has a 303 line in it?
It does?
Old 17th March 2017
  #18
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He was way ahead of the game I think, a guitar and electronics alchemist with fantastic taste.
Old 17th March 2017
  #19
Pip
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Old 18th March 2017
  #20
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Montauk Point, Water From A Vine Leaf, and his old remix of Somerville's You Make Me Feel are my favorites of his older work, plus Time To Get Wize with Tone Loc on the mic.
Old 18th March 2017
  #21
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Quantum7's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Serpentine View Post
I'm also not a huge Madonna Fan but love Ray of Light.
Exactly!
Old 18th March 2017
  #22
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by RunnyKine View Post
I'm not much of a Madonna fan in general, but I love that album - primarily for the sound/s that William Orbit brought to it. I heard it again recently, after years, and it still sounds fantastic.

Anyone else into this?
Yeah I agree some very well done tracks on that album.
Old 18th March 2017
  #23
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Old 18th March 2017
  #24
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I'm not a Madonna fan...but..... I love the synth bass on 'Into the Groove'.

And some of those JellyBean club mixes. Actually most of the 80's stuff is synthtacular.

Nice warm house vibes on 'Vogue'.

'Like a Prayer' is a great pop single.

And 'Ray of light'.

Actually I really liked that Stuart Price produced album as well...'Confessions...'.


Actually, dayum, I'm a Madonna fan ! Outed !
Old 18th March 2017
  #25
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Rufuss Sewell's Avatar
Oh Father... (my favorite)

Bedtime Story...

Sanctuary...

Deeper and Deeper...

Live To Tell...

Crazy For You...

Rain...

All of Ray Of Light...

Madonna rules.
Old 18th March 2017
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rufuss Sewell View Post
Oh Father... (my favorite)

Bedtime Story...

Sanctuary...

Deeper and Deeper...

Live To Tell...

Crazy For You...

Rain...

All of Ray Of Light...

Madonna rules.
....
Yeah ... gawd many nore...Live to Tell is a great 80's time capsule. Great 'widescreen' style.
Old 18th March 2017
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
basehead617's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rufuss Sewell View Post
Oh Father... (my favorite)

Bedtime Story...

Sanctuary...

Deeper and Deeper...

Live To Tell...

Crazy For You...

Rain...

All of Ray Of Light...

Madonna rules.
Yep all those and more.. she chose pretty cutting edge producers for a long time.. People listen to stuff now and think it's dated and cheesy but that's only hindsight.
Old 18th March 2017
  #28
If you go through the back issues of keyboard magazine I remember there being a great article on Orbitz work with Madonna.
Old 19th March 2017
  #29
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Aziak's Avatar
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William Orbit's work on Madonna's Ray of Light album-william-orbit-studio.png  
Old 19th March 2017
  #30
Gear Nut
 

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