Duran Duran were the poster children of the ’80s with a string of MTV-era hits that still rock the clubs today. Nick Rhodes’ mix of swirling atmospherics and percolating arpeggios went a long way toward establishing the band’s hitmaking sound. Let’s make the signature arpeggio of “Hungry Like The Wolf,” originally played on a Roland Jupiter-8 and recreated here using Arturia’s Jupiter-8V soft synth. Almost any virtual analog synth will work, as long as it has an arpeggiator with a “random” note order setting.
Step 1. We’ll use two oscillators, both set to square waves. Oscillators should be tuned in unison with the fine-tune knob at about one o’ clock — enough so a bit of chorusing happens.
Step 2. The Source Mix knob should be smack in the middle for an equal blend of each oscillator.
Step 3. The highpass filter (HPF) isn’t used, so turn its slider off. Cutoff is mostly closed down, because we’ll use the filter envelope to control the frequency. Set the cutoff to 322Hz, and cutoff envelope mod amount to .667 (just over halfway). Make sure the switch next to the mod slider is set to ENV1; this lets ENV1 modulate the cutoff frequency while ENV2 affects amplitude. Set the resonance at zero, and add a little key follow to brighten higher notes.
Step 4. Now set ENV1 as shown: A = zero, D = 234ms, S = zero, and R = 1,324ms.
Step 5. ENV2 shapes the amplitude of the sound. A = zero, D = 4,761ms, S = zero, and R = 2,556ms. These may seem like long times for such a quick sound, but the sound actually does ring for a bit, though the release phase is muted by the rapid filter envelope.
Step 6. Now for the fun part. Set the arpeggiator to random mode (RND) and the range to two octaves. Lock up the timing by setting your host’s tempo around 127 bpm, and set the arpeggio rate to sixteenth-notes. Set the neighboring sync switch to external — this locks the arpeggiator to your host’s MIDI clock. Add a little reverb, hold down some E and D major triads, and you’ll be off and running!
Online Extras - Audio Examples and Sound Programming Notes!
Here are some notes on my Duran Duran "Hungry Like The Wolf" patch, created with Arturia's Jupiter-8V virtual analog synth.
hungry_osc1_2.mp3 - This is both oscillators set to square waves with the filter wide open, and should help you set the amount of oscillator detune ("fine tune" on Jupiter-8V) properly.
hungry_filt_env.mp3 - This is the same sound with the filter cutoff, envelope amount and envelope settings in place.
hungry_filt_amp_env.mp3 - Same as above, but now the amp envelope settings (i.e. ENV2) are set (in the above example, ENV2 sustain is full up).
hungry_arp_full.mp3 - The entire patch with the arpeggiator on. To accurately play "Hungry Like The Wolf", be conscious of octaves and chord inversions; Nick Rhodes is mainly playing simple root-note triads. There's very little voice-leading going on.
E | D
C | G | F | Bb | C | G | F | D
ms_duran_hungry.j8e is the patch for Arturia's Jupiter-8V and should work swell on Mac or PC. To load it, just click the IMPORT button on the front panel above the keyboard; it will appear in the list of presets. Download it by going to the "Hungry Like the Wolf" directory at my mirror site - CLICK HERE.
Mitchell Sigman/Keyboard Magazine