Synthesized - 23 & 24 June 2018
Latest News: Keep the evening free! Once the museum has closed we'll move the exotic machines into the main hall, turn up the volume and get a chance to really see these machines in action. Evening event is included in the day ticket price.
Synthesized celebrates the computer and synthesiser - and how the two technologies grew up together.
The two technologies have crossed paths many times since the CSIRAC mainframe played the "Colonel Bogey March” in 1951. The mighty Fairlight CMI, the PPG and the humble Dragon 32 both share the same processor - as do the Moog Source, Prophet-5 and the ZX Spectrum.
By 1990, the Atari ST found its way into almost every recording studio. Technologies from the flagship Yamaha DX7 and Roland D-50 found their way into almost every PC sound card of the 1990s. Today, modern computers can emulate almost any classic synthesiser with near perfect accuracy.
This year, Synthesized will bring you some of the landmark machines from the last 30 years that have shaped and transformed how music is made. The Fairlight, PPG and the Greengate DS:4 introduced us to a new way of making music with digital sampling.
Without computers we wouldn’t have FM, wavetable, additive and phase distortion synthesis - or even be able to save the sounds on our analog synthesiser.
As ever, we’ll have the our collection of synthesiser out for everyone to play on - bring your own headphones! We’ll also have demonstrations of the iconic synthesisers and computer music systems of the 80s and 90s, plus some examples of the very latest technologies too. Keep checking back to see what’s happening!
Rob Puricelli, Fairlight Enthusiast & Restorer and Music Technology Blogger
Rob (of failedmuso.com and UK representative of Fairlight CMI restoration experts, Horizontal Productions) will be coming to talk about his restoration of a Fairlight CMI and tell us about the history of this iconic machine that featured on almost every hit of the 80s! We also hope Rob will bring a Fairlight to demonstrate to us.
John Molloy, Colin Holgate and the Greengate DS:4
Martin Ley (of Twilight Passion) and Colin Holgate (co-founder of Greengate) will be bringing a Greengate DS:4, probably the only working example in the world. Greengate built this budget British Fairlight, based around an Apple IIe, from 1982 to 1987. It was used by bands such as Mainframe, The JAMs (aka The KLF), New Order and even appears on "I want your sex" by George Michael. We hope we'll be joined by John Molloy of 80s band Mainframe, who were closely involved in its development, to demonstrate it to us.
Barney Rosenthal and the PPG Wave 2.2 with Waveterm A
Barney will be bringing Germany's answer to the Fairlight - the PPG. The Wave 2.2 is a powerful digital/analogue synthesiser, and the Waveterm computer adds sampling and sequencing. Like the Fairlight, its users read like a who's who of 80s electronic musicians - Gary Numan, Tears for Fears, Ultravox, Depeche Mode and Tangerine Dream, to name but a few.
Come and take a look at the awesome Atmegatron Synth - a mini 8-bit synth based around an Arduino! They'll also be bringing along some fantastic retro gear including a Mac Plus running Trax, Fostex R8 8-track, Emu Drumulator, Sequential Pro One, Yamaha DX7 IIFD, Roland Juno 60, Ensoniq ESQ1. Soulsby will be at the event on Saturday and Sunday.
Ian Taylor and his Modular Synths
Just to show it's not all digital, sampling and computers this year, Ian will be bringing his Digisound Modular, a Roland 100M, a Eurorack (or two!) and his Jupiter 8.