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When did the Synth Era end?


Justus_2112
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Signals had more keyboards than previous albums but to me the real shift happened when they parted ways with Terry Brown on Grace and went full-on in that direction. The end point is HYF — Presto and Roll the Bones still had keyboards on them but they weren't the focus anymore. Those three mid-80s albums are what I think of when I think about that era. Signals has more in common with Moving Pictures than it does with the three albums that followed it.

 

You know, a lot of Rush fans claim that Presto was the album where "the guitar came back", I would more say that it was the album where the bass came back. The only Song that Geddy still played a main keyboard part (meaning no bass guitar, just synth bass) on was Show Don't Tell, every other song, the keyboard was just an accent and was sampled live.

You sure about that?

 

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Signals had more keyboards than previous albums but to me the real shift happened when they parted ways with Terry Brown on Grace and went full-on in that direction. The end point is HYF — Presto and Roll the Bones still had keyboards on them but they weren't the focus anymore. Those three mid-80s albums are what I think of when I think about that era. Signals has more in common with Moving Pictures than it does with the three albums that followed it.

 

You know, a lot of Rush fans claim that Presto was the album where "the guitar came back", I would more say that it was the album where the bass came back. The only Song that Geddy still played a main keyboard part (meaning no bass guitar, just synth bass) on was Show Don't Tell, every other song, the keyboard was just an accent and was sampled live.

You sure about that?

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99P7uxHDpEc

 

Ahh! My eyes! Where's Geddy's shirt??

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Signals has more in common with Moving Pictures than it does with the three albums that followed it.

 

Signals doesn't have one hard rock song. Moving Pictures has Limelight and Red Barchetta. YYZ has also a totally different sound than any Signals track.

Signals songs The Weapon, Subdivisions, Countdown and Chemistry are very synthy, MP doesn't have that synthy songs.

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Signals had more keyboards than previous albums but to me the real shift happened when they parted ways with Terry Brown on Grace and went full-on in that direction. The end point is HYF — Presto and Roll the Bones still had keyboards on them but they weren't the focus anymore. Those three mid-80s albums are what I think of when I think about that era. Signals has more in common with Moving Pictures than it does with the three albums that followed it.

 

You know, a lot of Rush fans claim that Presto was the album where "the guitar came back", I would more say that it was the album where the bass came back. The only Song that Geddy still played a main keyboard part (meaning no bass guitar, just synth bass) on was Show Don't Tell, every other song, the keyboard was just an accent and was sampled live.

You sure about that?

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99P7uxHDpEc

 

I don't really count Scars because that's clearly a slap bass that's being played on the album version.

 

No clue why he didn't just play the bass part though.

Edited by fraroc
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The synth era ended in 2015 with the R40 tour.

 

That was my thought... Rush syth era ended as it all did on August 1, 2015

 

http://i190.photobucket.com/albums/z33/bfwgjma/Rush%202015%20The%20Fabulous%20Forum%20Aug%201/IMG_0181_zpsjo0rh4kc.jpg

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Signals had more keyboards than previous albums but to me the real shift happened when they parted ways with Terry Brown on Grace and went full-on in that direction. The end point is HYF — Presto and Roll the Bones still had keyboards on them but they weren't the focus anymore. Those three mid-80s albums are what I think of when I think about that era. Signals has more in common with Moving Pictures than it does with the three albums that followed it.

 

You know, a lot of Rush fans claim that Presto was the album where "the guitar came back", I would more say that it was the album where the bass came back. The only Song that Geddy still played a main keyboard part (meaning no bass guitar, just synth bass) on was Show Don't Tell, every other song, the keyboard was just an accent and was sampled live.

You sure about that?

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99P7uxHDpEc

 

I don't really count Scars because that's clearly a slap bass that's being played on the album version.

 

No clue why he didn't just play the bass part though.

Because it wasn't recorded with bass. Clearly.

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presto_(album)

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Signals had more keyboards than previous albums but to me the real shift happened when they parted ways with Terry Brown on Grace and went full-on in that direction. The end point is HYF — Presto and Roll the Bones still had keyboards on them but they weren't the focus anymore. Those three mid-80s albums are what I think of when I think about that era. Signals has more in common with Moving Pictures than it does with the three albums that followed it.

 

You know, a lot of Rush fans claim that Presto was the album where "the guitar came back", I would more say that it was the album where the bass came back. The only Song that Geddy still played a main keyboard part (meaning no bass guitar, just synth bass) on was Show Don't Tell, every other song, the keyboard was just an accent and was sampled live.

You sure about that?

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99P7uxHDpEc

 

I don't really count Scars because that's clearly a slap bass that's being played on the album version.

 

No clue why he didn't just play the bass part though.

Because it wasn't recorded with bass. Clearly.

 

https://en.m.wikiped...i/Presto_(album)

 

Really?

 

I find that rather odd, because it sounds just like slap bass.

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Signals had more keyboards than previous albums but to me the real shift happened when they parted ways with Terry Brown on Grace and went full-on in that direction. The end point is HYF — Presto and Roll the Bones still had keyboards on them but they weren't the focus anymore. Those three mid-80s albums are what I think of when I think about that era. Signals has more in common with Moving Pictures than it does with the three albums that followed it.

 

You know, a lot of Rush fans claim that Presto was the album where "the guitar came back", I would more say that it was the album where the bass came back. The only Song that Geddy still played a main keyboard part (meaning no bass guitar, just synth bass) on was Show Don't Tell, every other song, the keyboard was just an accent and was sampled live.

You sure about that?

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99P7uxHDpEc

 

I don't really count Scars because that's clearly a slap bass that's being played on the album version.

 

No clue why he didn't just play the bass part though.

Because it wasn't recorded with bass. Clearly.

 

https://en.m.wikiped...i/Presto_(album)

 

Really?

 

I find that rather odd, because it sounds just like slap bass.

Them synths are clever little devices.
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It ended with Counterparts, where the synths were severely minimized compared to previous releases. Power Windows and Hold Your Fire were the apex of the synth period, while Presto and Roll The Bones were transitional albums. Edited by mattroland76
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It ended with Counterparts, where the synths were severely minimized compared to previous releases. Power Windows and Hold Your Fire were the apex of the synth period, while Presto and Roll The Bones were transitional albums.

Agreed.

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It ended too soon.

 

It did indeed. I'm totally onboard with Rush continually updating their sound, but synthesizers should always have a place-not too overpowering, but not too minimal either (Grace Under Pressure had a good balance between the guitars and synths).

Edited by mattroland76
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Signals was the record with the best synths. The keys were just SO well integrated across that entire album.

Apparently Trent Reznor was captivated by the recording too.

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I think its also important to define what we mean by "Synth Era," as Rush began using synthesizers as far back as 2112. Consider Hemispheres, Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures-3 albums that rank very highly for most Rush fans, including ones that loath the albums after MP. Every single track on each of those albums incorporates synth-and yet you never hear any complaints about this!!! Signals and Grace Under Pressure do indeed increase the presence of the synthesizer to next level, but both still have a very strong guitar based foundation to most of the songs. These were transitional albums INTO the "synth period." The apex of this new period is represented by Power Windows and Hold Your Fire, albums where for the first time the guitar provides more of a complimentary/textural role (and of course solos) to the rest of the instrumentation. Presto and Role the Bones are transitional albums OUT of the synth period-they represent a return to more of the balance you had on Signals and Grace Under Pressure. Its with Counterparts that a new era begins, where synthesizers are massively reduced (and on Vapor Trails entirely eliminated!) to providing a mostly minimal textural role for the songs, arguably on a level that is even more limited than the albums that preceded Signals. Anyway, I obviously have a bit to say about this lol. My theory is that many (not all) of the fans who bemoan the "synth period" are actually not objecting to the presence of the synths, but the TYPE of synthesizers that are being used (the digital synths of the mid to late 80s, which have a sound that is very different from the older analog synths of the 70s/early 80s).
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I think its also important to define what we mean by "Synth Era," as Rush began using synthesizers as far back as 2112. Consider Hemispheres, Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures-3 albums that rank very highly for most Rush fans, including ones that loath the albums after MP. Every single track on each of those albums incorporates synth-and yet you never hear any complaints about this!!! Signals and Grace Under Pressure do indeed increase the presence of the synthesizer to next level, but both still have a very strong guitar based foundation to most of the songs. These were transitional albums INTO the "synth period." The apex of this new period is represented by Power Windows and Hold Your Fire, albums where for the first time the guitar provides more of a complimentary/textural role (and of course solos) to the rest of the instrumentation. Presto and Role the Bones are transitional albums OUT of the synth period-they represent a return to more of the balance you had on Signals and Grace Under Pressure. Its with Counterparts that a new era begins, where synthesizers are massively reduced (and on Vapor Trails entirely eliminated!) to providing a mostly minimal textural role for the songs, arguably on a level that is even more limited than the albums that preceded Signals. Anyway, I obviously have a bit to say about this lol. My theory is that many (not all) of the fans who bemoan the "synth period" are actually not objecting to the presence of the synths, but the TYPE of synthesizers that are being used (the digital synths of the mid to late 80s, which have a sound that is very different from the older analog synths of the 70s/early 80s).

Correct. I love the Moog sound from the 70s (as do most) but abhor whatever godawful sequencer Ged used on Power Windows in the 80s.

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The synths started in the 70s, but I think the sound most refer to as the "synth era" started with Moving Pictures (Vital Signs, Camera Eye) and ended on Hold Your Fire. I love the "synth era" of Rush.
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