I see the Divine Comedy have a written a silly song listing out a whole load of synthesizer names:
The Divine Comedy - The Synthesiser Service Centre Super Summer Sale - YouTube
Not entirely sure what to make of it. My main thoughts are:
All synths namechecked are on the Synth Poster except for some of the post-90’s workstations like the Korg Triton (cos they’re kinda boring)
Musically it’s a bit of one-shot novelty song. All the silly kind of sounds that people used to think that the word ‘synthesizer’ represented and thus feels a bit dated. Perhaps that was the idea. Dunno. I don’t think it’s going on any of my Spotify playlists…
If you’re in the Telegraph Hill area of south east London tomorrow evening, pack up your modular synth and bring it to SynthJam - an evening of jamming on Synths..! I’ll be there to jam, hope you can make it too!
Peter, the organiser says “Grab your modular, drum machine or synth, plug in and jam! Be part of an evening dedicated to live improvised electronic music (of sorts) Places will be limited so message me if you want to be part of the performance. I'm keen to bring as many different electronic textures to the group as possible including acoustic instruments manipulated through pedals or laptops. Spectators are most welcome and we'll hopefully have time for some hands-on audience participation. Message me if you have any questions, Lets Jam!”
This is a must listen - Jean-Michel Jarre demonstrates how to create his classic ‘Oxygene pad sound’ by setting up an Eminent 310 string machine sound from scratch and then strapping triple-chorus and a StoneBridge phaser across it – instant Oxygene!
This is from the Planet Jarre podcast, hosted by Matt Berry.: https://planetjarre.podigee.io/8-neue-episode
All the episodes are vital listening to any fan of electronic music, but this one is the best!
Here’s the quartet of Synth Legends I published on Instagram recently:
Synth Legend of the week: Torakusu Yamaha established his eponymous company in 1887 as a piano and reed organ manufacturer. He originally copied a reed organ he repaired in a local church before moving into piano manufacturer and toured the USA to learn techniques in the early 20th century. My first real synth was a Yamaha B200 from 1989 - a nice 4-operator FM machine.
Synth Legend of the week: Dave Smith founded Sequential Circuits in 1974, designed the Prophet 5 in 1977 (the world’s first microprocessor based synth), and is known as the ‘Father of MIDI’, thanks to his role in the development of the MIDI spec in 1981. The Prophet 600 was also the first commercial synth to sport MIDI ports. Not only that, he designed the first software synth for a PC, and designed the Korg Wavestation whilst working for Korg R&D in the 80's. In 2015 he reclaimed the ‘Sequential Circuits’ name from Yamaha, after releasing several successful ‘Dave Smith Instruments’. Not bad going, eh?
Synth legend of the week: Koichi Kawai was a neighbour of Torakusu Yamaha, and was his apprentice in early 20th century. He founded the Kawai Musical Instrument Research Laboratory in 1927. And I still have my Kawai K4 from 1989 - still a good synth.
Synth Legend of the week: Akai was founded by Masukichi Akai (pictured) and his son, Saburo Akai in 1929. Akai also means 'red' in Japanese, hence their logo colour. Akai helped revolutionise modern music in the late 80’s with the S900, S950 and ultimately the S1000 samplers. Hip-hop, rave, jungle all have a lot to thank this guy for!
Dr Who Theme Remix (BBC D&E Conference Version) - YouTube
I composed and performed a version of the Dr Who theme for the Design & Engineering department of the BBC at their end of year conference in Dec 2018, at the BBC Radio Theatre, Broadcasting House, London. Helping with the performance were Jim Simmons (keys) and Des Griffiths (bass).
Good fun to compose and perform.
Should note - for avoidance of any doubt - that I’m more than happy for the producers of Dr Who to approach me regarding the 2020 series of the programme. The door is always open, lads! ;-)
Salient synth related info is that the lead and bass were done by the Arturia Arp 2600 and the synth stabs are the Arturia Oberheim SEM. All lovely kit!
SynthFestUK was a blast! Held in Sheffield, UK in October 2018, our stand was up near the entrance of the upper level. Had a great view of the Novation stand and Erica Synth opposite, and was sandwiched between KMR Audio and Tubbutec.
This was how the stand was looking after set-up on Friday:
Synth Evolution stand at #SynthFestUK 2018
Picture doesn’t include the iPad I had with the SynthSounds.net website on so visitors could check out all the vintage synth sounds on that site.
The day was a great success - many happy visitors leaving the show with Synth Evolution posters, mugs and t-shirts. Would definitely love to do it again. The best thing was meeting people and ‘talking synth’ for eight hours! Tiring, but fun. Was great to find out about people’s set-ups and synths. And how far some people had come - Germany, Sweden, Belgium for some.
I walked past Will Gregory (Goldfrapp, WG’s Moog Orchestra) and Martyn Ware (Human League, Heaven 17). (Did I ever mention that I’ve supported the Human League with my band Cassette Eletrik in 2007? Probably.) It was also great meeting writers and editors of Sound on Sound and Electronic Sound, both magazines I’ve been a fan and reader (and occasional writter) for years.
The only thing I’d do differently next time is to bring a buddy to share shift duty on the stand. I literally only had 10 mins break all day and didn’t actually get to see any of the synths or talks. HIGHLY FRUSTRATING!!! :-)
I hope you’ve all got your tickets to #synthfest2018? Synth Evolution are very proud to be hosting a stand with our posters, mugs and t-shirts. (Plus an interactive version of the SynthSounds website)
Not only that, but we’re launching a new poster - ‘Syntheseizer’s Greatest Hits’ which features all the most important and influential synthesizers of the last 80 years (yes, 80 - can you guess the earliest?' ;-) 10% discount to the first correct answer! email@example.com)