Itamar Gov-Ari is a keyboardist, songwriter, singer, and producer based in Brooklyn, New York. As the son of world-renowned choreographer Shmulik Gov-Ari, he was exposed to the arts from birth. He plays in the progressive soul outfit Vinegar Mother, plays, co-writes and produces with Jak Lizard, performs regularly with Joanna Teters, and has toured with renown jazz guitarist Rotem Sivan on several occasions. Itamar has also been seen performing with Lolo Zouaï, Dani Murcia, and Caleb Hawley.
Itamar’s productions have charted top 10 in Japan with the Jak Lizard song “Cauliflower,” which he co-produced with Brasstracks. His music has also been played on Israeli radio stations Galgalatz, 88FM, and Reshet Gimmel. Itamar has had the pleasure of playing across the USA, Canada, Europe, Panama, and Israel. He has shared bills with a diverse list of artists, including Blue Oyster Cult, Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Black Pumas, Oz Noy, The Front Bottoms, and more.
We chatted with Itamar on how he uses the Prophet Rev2 in his music:
What made you choose the Rev2?
Growing up, a lot of artists that I was inspired by used Sequential gear, namely the Prophet ’08. I was mesmerized by the variety of sounds I heard from the ’08, from just a saw-wave pad sounding massive to complex arps and evolving modulated pads. When the Rev2 was announced and it was a no brainer for me. I love the flexibility of modulation, MIDI capability, and raw tone of the instrument.
How are you using it?
I use my Rev2 in the studio and on stage. It’s really perfect for any situation as it provides anything that I need from bread-and-butter synth sounds, to more complex sound design. In a live setting it compliments a stage piano or workstation really well, adding its own character and depth. I love using it for modulated pads, leads, and ambient textures as well as using the sequencer in as a modulation source. I also use it to control any VST or instrument that might provide me any piano, Rhodes, or organ sound that I’d need while playing sounds off the Rev2 on its own or at the same time as the external instrument.
It has been coming to every production and writing session with me as well. Using it as a MIDI USB controller and being able to seamlessly switch to audio when I want to track it is something that works really well for my workflow and prevents me from having to patch cables to other boards when an idea strikes.
What’s one of your favorite things about it?
Definitely the flexibility. Between the 16 voices, 2 layers, effects, 4 LFOs, and aux envelope (per layer) there isn’t a conceivable sound that I can’t achieve. Aside from that, the knob-per-function layout is amazing. Everything is laid out in front of me in a way that makes sense with a number of options in the Misc menu that are still very easily accessible.
What does it give you that other synths might not?
The combination of warm analog tone and the flexibility of 16 voices, bi-timbrality, and the Mod Matrix. There aren’t many synths out there that will sound as warm as the REV2 and enable pushing creative boundaries of subtractive synthesis. It also has great MIDI implementation, which is really important to me. I have a really easy time configuring MIDI patch changes. I could change a patch on another keyboard and it will send a CC message to my REV2, which lets me focus on playing instead of scrolling through patches.
Any interesting tricks or techniques you’d like to share?
There are a couple I love. When making a mono sound (especially for bass), controlling the amount of voices used for the unison in the misc menu will change the character of the sound and fatten it up. After doing that, using the voice detune option in the Misc menu in conjunction with the Slop knob and a detune on the oscillators (you could also use the LFO or the envelope on those) and the Chorus effect makes a really huge sounding bass patch with a varied amount of detune.
When playing the Rev2 in conjunction with a piano or Rhodes sound from another keyboard, going MIDI in from the other board will let you play both boards at once from the outputting board. You can use the Rev2 as a pad under the “acoustic” instrument and play with the cutoff or other parameters during various sections of the song. I’ve always loved tracking the Rev2 as a support pad under pianos in the studio and this trick lets me do that live while still maintaining the normal part I’d play without having to split hands on two boards. Having a different patch stored to Layer B and using a split with multi-mode adds another sound to your setup, and since you’re essentially using a different MIDI channel for layer B, it won’t be triggered in the same way as layer A from the master board. Having 8 voices per layer makes voice stealing a very rare occurrence here as well.
This last one is a little obvious but it’s something I’ve realized over the years. I’m a huge fan of aftertouch. I think it’s super expressive and use it on almost all of my patches. When using aftertouch I find it helpful to set the amount to be 15%-25% higher than I actually want for the sound. This is because the spectrum of the aftertouch on the Rev2 keyboard is sensitive and can be a lot more expressive than an on or off message. Setting the amount higher lets the pressure applied be a lower amount and still reach the same result, leaving extra space to really push into the sound to drive it further, be it on the cutoff frequency, an LFO rate, or any of the other parameters on the Mod Matrix.
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