While Vangelis is best known for epic soundtracks for films such as Blade Runner and Chariots Of Fire, he also created a few hit singles alongside collaborator Jon Anderson, with I’ll Find My Way Home being one of those.
Scoring high chart positions around the world, the drums (opens in new tab) have an irregular feel, with densely-layered synths building as it unfolds.
Unfortunately, the origins of the shimmery bell sound aren’t totally clear; neither Jon nor Vangelis have ever allowed much information into the public domain, and then there's the fact that the Top of the Pops performance of this song was mimed on guitar and piano. However, we do know that Vangelis was a disciple of the Yamaha (opens in new tab) CS-80, so it may well have been created using that.
We're going to make our recreation using ThornCM, though there are plenty of other synths that could do the job, too.
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Step 1: Open ThornCM (opens in new tab), and choose a square waveform for Osc 1. This has lots of harmonics; an ideal starting point. Turn on Osc 2 and select the Viola waveform for a naturally shiny, shrill tone that works with the square wave. Apply a tiny amount of detuning to both oscs for thickness.
Step 2: Enable ThornCM’s Declick mode for a smoother attack, more like an analogue synth patch. Set the filter to Clean LP and bring Cutoff down to around 2kHz, smoothing high frequencies. Increase Filter Key Tracking to 80%, so the filter opens out as the notes go higher in pitch.
Step 3: Turn down the Master Volume to 20%, then add reverb. Turn on the reverb effect, then assign LFO1 to the Mix amount. Set the LFO Speed to a slow 8/1, then right-click the Reverb Mix to set Modulation to 60%. This increases the mix as the notes play, making the last note ring out.