SoundOkapi is a Danish composer, organist and improviser in the field of contemporary music. He has mainly written music for pipe organ, choir, and various chamber music ensembles. He improvises performs experimental and ambient music using a Prophet XL synthesizer. SoundOkapi has released 3 albums with electronic music, two of them under his real name Flemming Chr. Hansen, but the latest “Drones from the Evenfall of Mankind” under his new artist name SoundOkapi.
We chatted with Flemming on how he uses the Prophet XL in his music:
What made you choose the Prophet XL?
I thoroughly investigated various top-quality synths, looking through tons of videos and user reviews, and ended up choosing the Prophet XL. The samples and their quality convinced me that this instrument was the right one for my purpose.
Actually, what really won me over was the video from Anderton’s with Gerry Basserman, in which you can really experience the musical qualities of the instrument by its impact on Gerry. Check out his body language!
How are you using it?
I am an improviser in the field of ambient music and meditative music on the border between contemporary classical music and free jazz. I play the Prophet XL for solo concerts, where the audience is invited to lie down on the floor on their own yoga mats, or in churches where people can lie on the church benches. I also have a duo called Breakable with singer and vocal artist Helle Thun. Most of the time I play the piano or the pipe organ with her, but after having bought the synth, we also play gigs with that, creating vast soundscapes with ambient synth pads combined with nordic folksongs, etc.
What is one of your favorite things about it?
First and foremost: the great sample library and the possibility of extending it with your own samples. I also like the complexity of the patches, and that you can create sounds with rather unpredictable developments over time. The huge mod possibilities let you create effects that you didn’t even know you were looking for. The effects section is nice as well, as is the overall build of the instrument — very solid and reliable.
What does it give you that other synths might not?
The combination of samples and digital oscillators is a fantastic thing, and not found in any other synth of this quality, my knowledge. It gives you the power to create sounds that use a combination of both technologies for very rich and interesting textures. That is for me the hallmark of the Prophet XL.
Any interesting tricks or techniques you would like to share?
I like to make what I call “sculpture sounds” by looping samples with a clear attack, including the whole sample in the loop including the attack. I play chords and change them gradually. Because the individual samples, both on different instruments and on different notes, are different lengths, a kind of mobile shifting and turning in the air emerges. The sound continues to change over time as the notes repeat in different tempos. I find that these patches have a very soothing effect when well made.
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