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Can we talk about Herbie Hancock's Sextant album for a second? Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 19th March 2010
  #1
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Can we talk about Herbie Hancock's Sextant album for a second?

Hey,
I was wondering if anyone knows anything about this album?
The arpeggiated synth at the beginning of Raindance. Is that Gleeson's Arp or what? Also, Does anyone know what the percussion instrument that starts out the hidden shadows? It sounds like some sort of ****ed up animal call?
Brilliant album, btw. Herbie's best.
-thanks
Old 19th March 2010
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littledoodler View Post
Also, Does anyone know what the percussion instrument that starts out the hidden shadows? It sounds like some sort of ****ed up animal call?
Cuíca. Love this whole period of Hancock. Mwandishi through Man-Child.
Old 19th March 2010
  #3
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dub3000's Avatar
Totally killer album. Way underrated.
Old 20th March 2010
  #4
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Raindance is still the future of music! Unbelievably good.
Old 20th March 2010
  #5
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Man, that album kills! Analogue goodness and brain splatter jazz funk par excellence...

Herbie is the man. No doubt.

That recording still has an amazing freshness to it. Avant-Garde fo' sure. Could have been recorded today, yesterday or tomorrow.

With "jazz" music, I have notice that I respond more to the composers (Carla Bley, Wayne Shorter, etc.) rather than just musicians with chops (too many to mention) that just "blow" over changes.

Although I do dig good improv. Spontaneous composition!

Herbie is not just a jazz musician, he is a composer of the highest order.

Empyrean Isles, Headhunters, Rockit... all by the same person?

Herbie is the man.
Old 20th March 2010
  #6
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In '73 that probably would have been the ARP. I don't think they had the EMU for another couple of years.
Old 20th March 2010
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by initialsBB View Post
Love this whole period of Hancock. Mwandishi through Man-Child.
+1
I'll even add Sunlight on to that list, although I can understand how the vocoded vocals might not be everyone's cup of tea. But the compositions hold up surprisingly well as the next installment of that canon.
Old 20th March 2010
  #8
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I LOVE this freakin' album. Is there anything out there today that even approaches this level of analogue futuristic goodness? Required listening for that period of evolution from listening to rock and understanding jazz. One of my favorite albums to trip people out with and turn them on. Quintessential....
Old 20th March 2010
  #9
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I have Herbie's entire catalog from that era. I was fortunate enough to get to record in the Automatt in SF where Herbie, David Rubinson and Fred Catero made some of those great recordings. Herbie is a giant talent and a great human being.







Bryant - Hames Music
Old 20th March 2010
  #10
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robelmuzic's Avatar
 

in the note with the CD : Arp synthesizer (2600 and Soloist) for Gleeson.
Old 21st March 2010
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicpope View Post
In '73 that probably would have been the ARP. I don't think they had the EMU for another couple of years.
The arp 2600 has a sequencer module, does it not? And I did think it might be a quica, but I wasn't sure. It sounds like there is another drum playing along with it, or maybe I have never heard the quica played this way. Anyways, just enjoying this wondrous album. Love it.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littledoodler View Post
The arp 2600 has a sequencer module, does it not?
Not built in, no. But ARP did make an outboard sequencer that was often paired with their cv synths (2600, 2500, Odyssey, Axxe). Model # was either the 1601 or the 1613.
ARP Sequencer | Vintage Synth Explorer
Old 23rd March 2010
  #13
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Nobu

YouTube - Herbie Hancock : Nobu

Nobu, on the album 'Dedication' - I didn't know about this track until a record collector friend of mine put me onto it a while back. 1974, recorded live in Tokyo, only released in japan. More techno even than Raindance perhaps. Brilliant
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Old 23rd March 2010
  #14
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All hail Herbie... still number one on my list of people I'd like to spend a day with and learn how they think... I'd give my left nut to grow up his kid and have him teach me how he views the keys, composition, etc.

Love this period especially.

When venturing off the pop path, adding an instrumental turnaround, etc... I often ask myself: WWHD?
Old 23rd March 2010
  #15
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The chords he used to put under the 60's Miles Davis stuff would just floor me. I love Herbie. Yes, not only a incredible musician but a gift to the human species.

I saw Herbie And Wayne Shorter when they did their 1 + 1 tour through Colorado. thumbsup


steelyfan
Old 23rd March 2010
  #16
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Not trying to be a troll, but Sextant has nothing on Thrust! Thrust is such a phat album, and the Clark and Jackson combo is just mind blowing.

My 2 cents.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magus888 View Post
Not trying to be a troll, but Sextant has nothing on Thrust! Thrust is such a phat album, and the Clark and Jackson combo is just mind blowing.

My 2 cents.
These are different albums altogether though. I don't think they compare well. Thrust is straight out the gate groove, and Sextant is more of an exploration of sound.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #18
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+1!
Dig Julian Priester on trombone Bennie Maupin on sax!!!
FWIW -I had the honor of recording at Different Fur studios in SF before it closed shop... I could feel the vibe even then.
Old 24th March 2010
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peacenik View Post
+1!
Dig Julian Priester on trombone Bennie Maupin on sax!!!
FWIW -I had the honor of recording at Different Fur studios in SF before it closed shop... I could feel the vibe even then.
Follow the link in my signature and tell me we're closed again. :-)

What project was it you worked on here? If you're in the area let me know if you want to stop by.
Old 24th March 2010
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littledoodler View Post
These are different albums altogether though. I don't think they compare well. Thrust is straight out the gate groove, and Sextant is more of an exploration of sound.
I wasn't trying to compare the two. I just like one more than the other.
Old 24th March 2010
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
Not built in, no. But ARP did make an outboard sequencer that was often paired with their cv synths
It sounds like the S&H on the 2600.
Great synth. Love Pat Gleeson.
Another Sunlight fan here too. Cheesy vocals aside, some fantastic compositions.

YouTube - ARP 2600: Sample and Hold
Old 24th March 2010
  #22
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Mr. Hands
Old 25th March 2010
  #23
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littledoodler's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by initialsBB View Post
Cuíca. Love this whole period of Hancock. Mwandishi through Man-Child.
Still having trouble believing that's a cuica. I don't think it is because of the other percussion going along with it. Maybe he layered that around the cuica.
Old 25th March 2010
  #24
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do yourself a favor and listen to "Butterfly" from Thrust.. so awesome
Old 25th March 2010
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littledoodler View Post
Still having trouble believing that's a cuica. I don't think it is because of the other percussion going along with it. Maybe he layered that around the cuica.
There is a lot of subtle stuff going on percussion-wise. Really amazing how one of the greatest jazz minds of all time teamed up with world class musicians, cutting edge technology, solid engineering, etc... Sprinkle in liberal doses of flavor from a creative Ethnomusicologist (cuica et all)... and it really is a magical mixture.
Old 25th March 2010
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littledoodler View Post
Still having trouble believing that's a cuica. I don't think it is because of the other percussion going along with it. Maybe he layered that around the cuica.
Yeah, it sounds just like a cuica and some other drums to me. I haven't dug out the record though, just listened to a short clip online. But whatever it is it's got to be a similar principle. Maybe it's just fingers rubbed on the drum head.
Old 25th March 2010
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littledoodler View Post
Still having trouble believing that's a cuica. I don't think it is because of the other percussion going along with it. Maybe he layered that around the cuica.
Sounds like a single stroke on a cuica. Not much use of the instrument if it is but I'm sure it's just the effect that was intended.
Old 25th March 2010
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CallMeAl View Post
There is a lot of subtle stuff going on percussion-wise. Really amazing how one of the greatest jazz minds of all time teamed up with world class musicians, cutting edge technology, solid engineering, etc... Sprinkle in liberal doses of flavor from a creative Ethnomusicologist (cuica et all)... and it really is a magical mixture.
No doubt. The mix is really good for everything, especially the percussion. It sounds completely live, no layers, but I assume they layered some percussion in there. I need to pick up that cuica again, such an expressive instrument.
Old 2nd October 2014
  #29
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Hi, guys--

Have been reading a 2010 thread (this one) with various guesses re the device that opens Herbie Hancock's "Raindance," the opening tune on the Sextant album. Thanks, first of all, for the several kind comments about my performance on the track and generally with that band.

Yes, I did play Arp 2600 as well an an Arp String Ensemble and an Arp Pro Soloist on that track. But what you're hearing--the random sequence that runs through the entire track and that plays alone for the first 10 seconds or so--isn't played by anyone. And, no, it's not a Quica! Jim Cooper, a West Coast audio engineer and designer, approached me a few weeks before we went into the studio to record the album and showed me a device he'd come up with that he called The Random Resonator. It was basically a clever realization of a sample and hold circuit and the related analog circuits you'd expect--VCA, VC envelope generator,random voltage generator for pitch, white noise generator, VCF, VC clock, etc.--in a little cream-colored box about 4 inches square and 3 inches high. The face panel allowed you to adjust clock speed, degree of filter resonance, filter cut-off, range of randomness, and, as I remember, control over filter and amplifier envelopes. There may have been control knob that allowed you to apply the random voltage to the degree of resonance, but I'm not sure any longer--it's been more than 40 years!

The Random Resonator wasn't expensive, but at the time members of Herbie's band made $300/wk, so I asked Herbie to buy it, which he did. We took it into the studio, set it up to Herbie and David Rubinson's satisfaction (David was our producer), and Fred Catero, our great engineer, then recorded about 5 or 10 minutes of it onto 1/4" tape. From that we selected a particularly juicy sequence that was probably a minute long, and we looped that and recorded it onto about 15 minutes of an otherwise blank 2" 24 track. The band then played live over that. A couple of days later we took the 24 track over to my studio, Different Fur, where Herbie overdubbed handclaps and, I believe, some additional Rhodes. The same day, whether before or after Herbie's od's I don't remember, I recorded probably 4 more tracks of Arp 2600--the first od begins as a pleasant quirky gong-like sound at 11 seconds in. I followed this with what I suppose would be called synth solo od/s--although the whole synth mass, in my mind, should be heard as developments of the Random Resonator. As someone on the thread mentioned, it all seems to be a single synth track. It's not, but that's the effect I wanted. The delicious reverb, by the way, was not part of the device, but what Fred added when he mixed.

End of mystery. I'm writing this in 2014. I've recently tried locating Jim Cooper--apparently only two of these wonderful devices were ever sold, which is quite weird when you think there have been hundreds of sample thefts of the opening 11 seconds of this track--rappers and techno guys love it. Yet no one apparently ever bought the device that made it. Anyway, Jim Cooper has disappeared, at least from the Internet.

Last edited by drpgleeson; 2nd October 2014 at 08:26 PM.. Reason: one last typo
Old 2nd October 2014
  #30
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drezz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drpgleeson View Post
Hi, guys--

Have been reading a 2010 thread (this one) with various guesses re the device that opens Herbie Hancock's "Raindance," the opening tune on the Sextant album. Thanks, first of all, for the several kind comments about my performance on the track and generally with that band.

Yes, I did play Arp 2600 as well an an Arp String Ensemble and an Arp Pro Soloist on that track. But what you're hearing--the random sequence that runs through the entire track and that plays alone for the first 10 seconds or so--isn't played by anyone. And, no, it's not a Quica! Jim Cooper, a West Coast audio engineer and designer, approached me a few weeks before we went into the studio to record the album and showed me a device he'd come up with that he called The Random Resonator. It was basically a clever realization of a sample and hold circuit and the related analog circuits you'd expect--VCA, VC envelope generator,random voltage generator for pitch, white noise generator, VCF, VC clock, etc.--in a little cream-colored box about 4 inches square and 3 inches high. The face panel allowed you to adjust clock speed, degree of filter resonance, filter cut-off, range of randomness, and, as I remember, control over filter and amplifier envelopes. There may have been control knob that allowed you to apply the random voltage to the degree of resonance, but I'm not sure any longer--it's been more than 40 years!

Wow! Great post man! Thanks for that...............Really wonderful to hear your recollections. I like many, totally love that album, very forward thinking, experimental and just a great record. So glad this thread has been revived............! Kudos

The Random Resonator wasn't expensive, but at the time members of Herbie's band made $300/wk, so I asked Herbie to buy it, which he did. We took it into the studio, set it up to Herbie and David Rubinson's satisfaction (David was our producer), and Fred Catero, our great engineer, then recorded about 5 or 10 minutes of it onto 1/4" tape. From that we selected a particularly juicy sequence that was probably a minute long, and we looped that and recorded it onto about 15 minutes of an otherwise blank 2" 24 track. The band then played live over that. A couple of days later we took the 24 track over to my studio, Different Fur, where Herbie overdubbed handclaps and, I believe, some additional Rhodes. The same day, whether before or after Herbie's od's I don't remember, I recorded probably 4 more tracks of Arp 2600--the first od begins as a pleasant quirky gong-like sound at 11 seconds in. I followed this with what I suppose would be called synth solo od/s--although the whole synth mass, in my mind, should be heard as developments of the Random Resonator. As someone on the thread mentioned, it all seems to be a single synth track. It's not, but that's the effect I wanted. The delicious reverb, by the way, was not part of the device, but what Fred added when he mixed.

End of mystery. I'm writing this in 2014. I've recently tried locating Jim Cooper--apparently only two of these wonderful devices were ever sold, which is quite weird when you think there have been hundreds of sample thefts of the opening 11 seconds of this track--rappers and techno guys love it. Yet no one apparently ever bought the device that made it. Anyway, Jim Cooper has disappeared, at least from the Internet.
Wow, Thanks for the recollections man! Wonderful to hear those! It is such a great record, very forward thinking, experimental and out there. The playing as all Herbie's records from that phase, is just great, and such a wide range of unusual textures. The random resonator sounds pretty far out, surprising that more were not made.........

Kudos!
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