Future Times / Rejoice

Future Times / Rejoice is indeed a very special song for me. This was the song that introduced me to the Yes from the 70’s. My good friend Pedro was already a big fan and he wanted me to listen to the classic stuff, as I was getting very interested in Yes after he lent me a VHS cassette of 9012 Live, that I was already very fond of.

However, when I placed the needle on the LP and the first intro of Future Times came in, I was struck by this dramatic sound of a Rickenbacker bass, processed with effects, allied to Chris Squire’s note choices, and how it interacted with the band’s arrangement and colourful lyrics. I was overwhelmed with all this music and I had the feeling that I couldn’t absorb all that information at once. I felt an immense power, a superior level of musicianship that fascinated me. It was this song that triggered my will to discover everything I could about Yes’ works, not to mention the specific impact on my relationship with the bass guitar.The credited “harmonized Rickenbacker bass” was a mystery to me, and also served to investigate all things technical of Chris’ playing. I would only make suppositions, invent theories of what could be the reason for that “harmonized” sound. I was sure of only one thing – I adored it.

Many years later, with access to internet, I have found the answer. Chris, running his bass in stereo, would route each pickup output to different effects. In this song, the treble pickup goes to the Mutron III envelope filter pedal. The other one goes to an Eventide harmonizer unit, which has a slight pitch-shifting setting which adds a chorus like effect. Although the exact settings and routing I am not sure of, I have tried to reconstruct an effect setting that would be close enough. The other issue is that, because Chris sound is so prominent in the mix. it’s very hard to add a copy-like performance on top of that because the original can’t be removed. I tried to play as close as I could. The characteristics of the Mutron, being an effect that reacts to dynamics, are very difficult to reproduce because not only the effects settings must be close enough to Chris’, but also the dynamics with which I play each note should be alike. Of course these are many variables that are virtually impossible to reproduce accurately. Also I wouldn’t want to be too worried that I would not feel natural just playing and enjoying the song.

This is a song that really has a special meaning to me and that I wanted to play for a long time. I felt that, six years upon Chris’ passing, the time had come – “six the tears that separate”.

Published by Miguel Falcão

Musician

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