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USENET posting about synths used by The Church Print E-mail
Monday, 01 June 1998

Interesting posting from USENET from 1998 in reply to a question as to what synths The Church used on their albums.

>Does anyone know what synths Steve Kilbey has used with The Church? I am a
>huge fan and a keyboardist in a band that might do a couple covers of their
>older material

I'm very pleased to hear it. The Church are my all-time favourite band, and
I'll never be able to understand why their career stalled after 'Starfish'.
Anyhow, I'll tell you what I know. The synth used on 'O.S.A.H.' and 'The
Blurred Crusade' was the Roland VP-330. Not one of Roland's more
commercially successful offerings, it combined string and choir presets with
a vocoder. (The only other artist I ever heard using one was Vince Clarke,
back in the days of Yaz[oo].) You know the intro to 'Is This Where You
Live'? Well, that's the 330 choir. The easiest way to get hold of the sound
is via Roland's M-VS1 'Vintage Synth' module / JV expansion card, which
features samples of the preset. You can also hear the 'choir' on 'Field of
You'd be surprised, though, by how many Church melody lines, which you
assume must have been played on synths, were actually produced by
heavily-effected guitar. The 'Columbus' riff is one example.
The choir and bagpipe sounds on 'Under The Milky Way' were generated by a
Synclavier. I figure that the rapid, arpeggiated tinkles in that song, as
well as the icy 'female voice' in the 'Hotel Womb' intro, were Synclavier
patches as well.
The pads used in songs like 'A New Season' and 'Feel' are too generic for me
to guess about their origins, but you might be interested to know that I
managed to program a very accurate replica of the 'Aura' patch on my Yamaha
Are you familiar with either of the Hex albums? They date from the turn of
the decade, contain some of Kilbey's finest work, and are very
keyboard-oriented. Hex was a collaboration by Steve with an extremely
talented American singer/guitarist named Donette Thayer, and she mentioned
in an interview that they used an Ensoniq synth - unfortunately, I've
forgotten the model. Oh well.


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