Working out of a small cluttered studio, Silence_Castor is the alias of musician Nate Hicks. He uses it as a creative outlet and a musical experiment. He utilizes old-school recording techniques, analog synthesizers, and a generous amount of reverb and delay to create music ranging from space themed ambient electronica to funk inspired lofi hip hop. His influences and inspirations include Lorn, Rival Consoles, Radiohead, and Nine Inch Nails.
We chatted with Nathan on how he’s been using the Prophet Rev2 in his music:
What made you choose the Rev2?
I’ve always been a huge fan of Radiohead and I know Thom Yorke has always sworn by his Prophets. The sounds and lush warmth he’s always been able to create with them is what initially piqued my interest. As I got more into electronic music, I kept noticing Prophets and Oberheims popping up here and there in many of my favorite musician’s setups, including Lorn, Clark, and Tycho. By the time I took the plunge and purchased my first synthesizer, I knew that I would own a Prophet sooner or later. Starting from a Minilogue, I saved up money and eventually bought my Prophet Rev2. I had done a load of research into which 16 voice analog synth I wanted and it was quite tricky, because at the time, Korg had just come out with the Prologue. Although it had some bells and whistles the Prophet didn’t, it lacked in the sound quality and customer dedication that the Prophet had.
How are you using it?
I often use my Prophet to noodle on and brush up on my piano chops, but most of the time, I’m building patches and then running MIDI into it from the Elektron Digitakt or Octatrack. It is my main chord, lead, and even sometimes bass. I will often write 3-4 MIDI sequences on separate tracks on the Elektrons and then slowly bring each part in. This results in incredible builds and utilizing the CC controls on the sequencers, I can even add to the build by opening the filter, or swelling the Prophet’s reverb. Another fun experiment I’ve been trying lately is stacking the Prophet’s 2 Oscillators into an A and B patch, while it sends MIDI out to the Mother 32, DFAM (both oscillators feeding straight out), and my two OSC modules (one analog, one digital). This makes for an insanely fat multi timbre sound that can be modulated into oblivion.
What is one of your favorite things about it?
It’s so hard to choose my one favorite thing about the Prophet. In my mind, there is a venn diagram with at least 50 circles around it with all the different things I wanted in a synth., and the Prophet is at the center. If I absolutely had to choose something though, it’d probably be the onboard effects. Every one of them from the Delays, to the Ring Mod, sound fantastic. I particularly like the Distortion, and how it can be used in conjunction with Noise and the Filter Cutoff to make some real nasty sounds. A close second would be just how good it sounds straight out of the box. Seriously one of the few pieces of gear I have that records with little to no noise, and sounds bulletproof without any EQing/alteration.
What does it give you that other synths might not?
The Prophet gives me 16 voice polyphony on incredibly precise digitally controlled analog oscillators. That means I can use this synth for almost any sounds my mind could think up. This also means I get to enjoy the warmth and brilliance of the sounds of synths past! I have always loved the music of the 70s and 80s and you can really get back to some of that nostalgia and beauty with the Prophet. Things like being able to stack a patch, have the 2 pieces be in different tempos, or time divisions, and even split the keyboard between two sounds really separate this dynamo from other synths.
Any interesting tricks or techniques you would like to share?
I’ll reference one of my previous answers and recommend finding your favorite arpeggio patch, be it your own or a factory patch. Stack it with a B sound and have them both arpeggiate at the same tempo. Now make sure they both have different Clock Divisions and add Clk Sync’d Stereo Delay to the cleaner of the two. Be sure to add a little Noise to add some texture!
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