OMD, No Sequencers, Cheap Synthesizers & Souvenir (The Documentary)…Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

I was browsing and found this OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark) documentary from The Videodrome Discothèque Vault.

For me, like other bands from this era, OMD represents a place in time when musicality may have been an aspiration, but not a reality among many of these young musicians. These young artists began to look toward the new compact electronic instruments of the mid to late 1970’s as sound sources. The very compact synthesizers that companies like Korg, Roland, ARP & Moog were starting to produce. Despite a lack of musical chops, they were heavily armed with fresh new ideas and no preconceived notions of what music should or had to be. Sure, there was the The Beatles, Pink Floyd and others creating cutting edge music before them. Nonetheless, these musicians chose to use mostly synthesizers and drums generated by drum machines instead. Some of the early ideas for their musical sound were inspired by Krautrock bands like Kraftwerk. The very band they would mimic with one of their first singles, Electricity. I’m still not sure if Tony Wilson’s significant other was the one responsible for OMD becoming a Factory Records product, but really, does it matter? OMD would join Kraftwerk, the torchbearers for futurism and along with others, continue to inspire thousands upon thousands of us to create electronic music and beats.

My favorite parts of this documentary are when Andy McCluskey walks us through the synth parts of songs like Messages and Enola Gay. How they turned meager sounding synthesizers into finished hit songs is always worth review. The rehearsals before their 2007 reunion shows also added an element of nostalgia which I relish.

OMD also represent an imperfection coupled with an angularity which now, in retrospect, typifies a genre. Remember though, by the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, they were still going against the norm of accepted mainstream sound. The theme of imperfection OMD has discussed before, but it always seems to resonate with me. This is also probably one of the reasons why I keep going back to bands from this era. Especially, when you consider just how perfect we have gotten with musical production. Quantization and cutting/pasting making everything sound just perfect. Compare that to having to play a sixteenth note bassline for an hour to get it right.

Alright then, enjoy the video…

The Videodrome Discothèque Vault is pleased to present this Director’s Cut of the 2007 “Souvenir” documentary, which captures the band between their initial reunion and the creation of “History Of Modern”


Holy Ghost! Wait And See (Video) From Their Self Titled LP

From DFA Records, New York City duo Holy Ghost! are at it again with their latest video Wait And See from their self titled LP. A good friend of mine had this up on his Facebook wall and well, I thought I’d post it here. Holy Ghost! have been making some tasty electropop for quite sometime and this is a nice one too add to that already long list.

The video…They look weathered and beat down in this video, don’t they?! It seems like all that time on the road and in their native New York has caught up with them. Nonetheless, they look like stars. That Barista looks familiar doesn’t he now. Make of that what you will. There are some nice shots of their studio too. I think I saw a Roland SH-101 synthesizer and their modular. Check it out.

From the Holy Ghost! Self-Titled LP. Directed by Ben Fries. Produced by Dead Horse Films.

Holy Ghost! are Nick Millhiser & Alex Frankel

Synthesizer Candy: John Foxx,The Maths Talk Synthesizers @ The Roundhouse (Camden)

John Foxx, Benge & Steve D’ Agostino walk the fine folks at Future Music magazine through their live setup. The video interview takes place at The Roundhouse Camden, UK before one of their live shows.

Here is a list of what you can find in the video…

  • ARP Odyssey synthesizer
    Roland VP-330 Vocoder (used on The Garden)
    Simmons Electronic Drums
    Digitech Vocalist II
    Behringer Composer
    Roland Juno 60 synthesizer
    Moog Minimoog
    Korg 700s synthesizer
    Korg Mono/poly Synthesizer
    Roland Space Echo RE-201
    Yamaha CS1x (CS2x) virtual analog synthesizer
    Roland System 100m modular synthesizer
    Roland SH-2 synthesizer
    EDP Wasp Synthesizer
    MIDI keyboard controller modular
    Boss Delay
    Ampex 456 (Reel to Reel)
    David Smith Mopho Synthesizer
    Maestro Phase Shifter Pedals
    Spirit Line Mixer
    Analog Flanger
    Roland TR-808 drum machine
    Roland SPDX SDSV Electronic drum pads
    Korg Mono/Poly Synthesizer
    Roland SH-101 monophonic synthesizer

Alessandro Cortini Spends the Day With a Buchla Music Easel (Synthesizer)

Alessandro Cortini got to spend the day with a Buchla Music Easel. What a lucky guy! With this video we get to see the results of a patch he created that day. I still haven’t gotten my hands on a SuONOIO. device, a portable synthesizer inspired by SONOIO’s music and custom created by The Harvestman. So, thinking about that made me remember this. Cortini has been a big fan of the Buchla Modular systems like the 100, 200 and the 200e, and here continues to demonstrate his affinity.

Whether Cortini is performing as Modwheelmood, Sonoio, with Trent Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails or on his own, he can be counted for producing some truly unique synthesizer goodness. For more information Alessandro Cortini, please go here.

From Vimeo
I was lucky enough to have been offered to spend a few hours with a lovely 208 +221 combination. Here’s what i came up with.

Alessandro Cortini with Buchla 200e Modular System

Daedelus Talks FXpansion, Monome, Recording & Synthesizers (part 1 & 2)

Saw these quite a while ago and wanted to share them with you now since I recently saw his video for Scaling Snowdon (Slow Climb Version). You can find that here. If I remember correctly, this was recorded around 2009. Check it out…

International artist Daedelus takes some time out from touring to join FXpansion. In this interview Daedelus shares his views on music today and gives us a top tip on how he uses BFD2.

Scaling Snowdon Video (Slow Climb Version) by Daedelus

Daedelus has been on a Victorian kick for a few years now and somehow I think it still works out well for him. Check out this video with his 2 Monome open source controllers. For more information on the Monome click here.

For his Room 205 episode, Daedelus wanted to re-imagine our space as a Victorian-era séance. So, with a bit of help from director Michael Reich and set designer Tamarra Younis, that’s exactly what he did.

Get SuperNATURAL with a Roland Jupiter 80 Synthesizer

A good friend of mine forwarded me a link for this with some of his comments. Aside from the name and some of the aesthetic elements of the original Roland Jupiter 8 synthesizer, I don’t see many similarities. Still, this looks like one super powerful synthesizer with lots of flexibility and sound capability. This feature filled synthesizer offers up some of the elements that we have come to know and love about Roland synthesizers over the past couple of decades. While other companies like Korg are going back to the more analog domain and making us all giddy with joy, it is encouraging to see Roland doing things a little different. I probably wont be rushing out to buy one of these. To be honest, right now all I wish is that I could find someone to fix my Roland Jupiter 8. It’s really sad that I can’t find someone locally that understands my beast.

I can see the Roland Jupiter 80 in the studios of many producers in the studio looking for a synth with a wide range of sound capability. I’m sure we’ll being seeing this on many a prime-time live bands too, just like the Roland Fantom.

From Roland U.S.
JUPITER-80: Synthesizer

Metamorphosis of Sound

One of the most revered prefixes in the history of synthesis returns. Welcome the arrival of the JUPITER-80—a live-performance powerhouse that pays homage to its legendary namesake with road-proven hardware and massive sound, yet blasts into the future with advanced SuperNATURAL® technology. The JUPITER-80’s expressive, organic approach to synthesis makes a new world of sound design possible with multilayered SuperNATURAL textures under the control of a full-color touchscreen and creative hands-on controllers. Experience the metamorphosis of a legend with the all-new JUPITER-80!

-Powerful integrated SuperNATURAL synthesis engines designed for legendary vintage synth sounds to realistic organic acoustic sounds and more
-Single Tone is equivalent to the performance of powerful single synthesizer—stack four of these to create a mind-blowing “Live Set”
-Tone Blender tweaks multiple parameters of tones in realtime for complex, emotive sonic movement during performance
-Fast, friendly operation with intuitive front panel and color touchscreen optimized for live performance
-76-note semi-weighted synth keyboard, and 256 polyphonic voices (varies according to sound-generator load)
-USB-memory Song Player/Recorder for backing tracks or quick idea capture
-Easy integration with computers via built-in USB-MIDI/Audio interface

Past, Present, and Future Sound

The JUPITER-80 nods to its past with lethal, multi-layered SuperNATURAL synthesizer tones so fat you’ll need a knife to cut through it, but that’s only the beginning of what this powerhouse synth will do. Gigging musicians will love the stockpile of essential sounds onboard, including Roland’s famous SuperNATURAL Piano, strings, brass, and much more. The JUPITER-80 puts a fast-access user interface under your fingers—a dream for live performance. Its heavyweight design, complete with metal side panels, recalls the legendary JUPITER but with a modern twist.

Powerful Live Sets Featuring Four-Tone Structure and Registrations

JUPITER-80’s sound engine handles four x tones with dedicated DSP per tone as a basic unit “Live Set” for manual performance. Layering of Upper and Lower Live Sets, plus a specialized “SOLO” part, means the incredibly massive nine-tone-stack sound. Customized complex settings can be saved as Registrations, and easily recalled during live performance.

Tone Blender

You will love the deep possibilities of the stackable SuperNATURAL architecture and unique features such as Tone Blender, which tweaks values of multiple parameters simultaneously and lets you “Capture” any new combination and save it as a Live Set. Create complex, emotional textures that respond, react, and evolve like nothing you’ve heard before. Tone Blender can also dramatically enhance your live-performance capabilities by letting you assign its multiple parameters to controllers such as the D Beam.

For more information on the Roland Jupiter 80 click here.

Korg Monotribe (Analog Ribbon Station) Synthesizer

Analog Synth + Analog Rhythm + Step Sequencer = Analog Electribe. The monotribe Analog Ribbon Station – bringing responsive realtime control to analog groove-making.

Monotribe highlights:

-The powerful sound of true analog synthesis
-3-part analog drums, using discrete analog circuitry
-Popular Electribe-style sequencing.
-Active Step and Flux features for realtime dynamic loop manipulation
-Advanced multi-function ribbon keyboard; Chromatic, Continuous, & Wide modes
-Auto-tuning provides stable pitch for accurate chromatic playability
-Selectable oscillator waveform, noise generator, and versatile LFO
-Uses the same VCF (filter) circuit as the classic MS-10/MS-20
-Sync In & Out jacks allows synchronized integration with multiple units
-Battery operation, built-in speaker and compact size deliver on-the-go groove-making

In a world seemingly ruled by digital, Korg created an analog sensation with the palm-sized monotron Analogue Ribbon Synthesizer. Korg has once again raised the analog banner with the amazing monotribe Analog Ribbon Station; a new form of synthesizer that packs an amazing array of features and technology into its compact body. Korg’s monotribe shares the monotron’s analog DNA, yet quickly delves deeper into the rich, organic, and often chaotic world of analog synthesis. In addition to analog synthesis, monotribe brings together intuitive ease of use and a three-part discrete analog rhythm section, plus the proven appeal of Electribe-style sequencing. Complete with a built-in speaker and battery power, monotribe is self-contained and highly portable.

Operating Temperature:
0 – +40°C (non-condensing conditions)

Ribbon keyboard

Sound Generator:
Analog synthesis VCO: Waveshape (Saw, Triangle, Square); Octave Range (64, 32, 16, 8, 4, 2); Noise Generator (Amount); Key Range (Wide, Narrow, Key)
VCF: 12 dB/Oct Low Pass Filter; Cutoff (Frequency); Peak (Resonance)
VCA: Gain knob: EG Select (Decay, Gate, Attack)
LFO: Rate (Speed); Intensity (Depth); Target Switch (VCO, VCF, VCO+VCF); Mode Switch (Fast, Slow, 1-Shot); Shape (Saw, Triangle, Square)

3 parts, discrete analog

8 steps

Audio In: 3.5mm / ?” stereo mini-phone jack
Output: 6.3mm / ¼” stereo phone jack (unbalanced)
Headphones: 3.5mm / ?” stereo mini-phone jack
Sync In Jack: 3.5mm / ?” stereo mini-phone jack
Maximum input level: 20V
Sync Out Jack: 3.5mm / ?” stereo mini-phone jack
Output level: 5V

Power Supply:
AA/LR6 alkaline battery (x6)
AA nickel-metal hydride battery (x6)
Optional AC adapter (DC: 9V)

Battery Life:
Approximately 14 hours (when using alkaline batteries)

Dimensions (W x D x H):
207 x 145 x 70mm/8.15 x 5.71 x 2.76 inches

735g / 1.62 lbs. (without batteries)

Included items:
AA alkaline batteries for verifying operation;
Owner’s Manual

* Specifications and appearance are subject to change without notice for improvement.

Korg to Unveil the Monotribe (Analogue Ribbon Station) Synthesizer

The teasers have been popping up on my Korg iElectribe & iMS-20 splash page for a few days now. However, the leak is starting to spread across the web. The note says April 6th, but already the news is spreading like wildfire and we thought we’d let you in! Looks like we have an analogue little beast with what looks like a step sequencer and a similar ribbon style keypad to the Korg Monotron. Also looks you will be able to create some type of noise, analog bass drums, snares, hi-hats and of course the legendary Korg MS-20 resonant filter. Doesn’t look like we’re talking about an Electribe, but rather something completely analog. Nice! We’ll tell you more about the specifications once we learn more about the Korg Monotribe (Analogue Ribbon Station).

This news came in to us courtesy of Chris Carter

There are no features on just yet either. Stay tuned.