Utopia – Hiroshima – synth solo
This week I revisit Utopia’s Ra album, from which I previously recorded the killer solo of Sunburst Finish. Though the record was not a huge commercial success, it remains one of my favorite if not my most favorite Utopia album.
Hiroshima has a monster keyboard solo, with back-and-forth interplay between keyboardist Roger Powell and guitarist Todd Rundgren. It’s devilishly fast and includes a number of synthesizer techniques not so easily attained on modern keyboards. (I think he is turning a knob on a voltage controlled oscilator (VCO) at multiple points and he’s definitely using a low frequency oscillator at a much higher frequency than normal (around 35 Hz) and with a square wave instead of the usual sine wave.) However, I have, in my opinion, faithfully reproduced both the notes and the sounds.
This is a solo I never thought I would be able to play… and now I can. With this solo I consider the killer solos project to be complete — although I have not done a complete year of solos, I have achieved everything else that I set out to achieve. There are no solos in the queue that I am eager to take on — I have played all the ones I had in mind when I started with the project and quite a few more… more than 30, in fact. The project is now impacting important collaborations, which is where I’m headed next, and so it is time to move on.
I may visit and blog from time to time, and I may even resume the project at some point, but I have no firm plans to do so at this time. (I will continue to read and respond to comments.) So here is the final killer solo… please enjoy synth virtuoso Roger Powell mostly on the left, and me mostly on the right, doubling the killer synthesizer solo from Utopia’s Hiroshima…
(Buy the original at iTunes, Amazon.)