November 22, 2013

Björk - Bukolla 1977

I heard this song once in the late 90's and thought it was incredible. I still think so! And I'm so glad to have it back in my life.

November 19, 2013

Cascading Slopes - The Horns of Archenland

My band, Cascading Slopes, first album, Towards a Quaker View of Synthesizers, was released today by Plastiq Musiq. Here is a music video for The Horns of Archenland directed by Nathan Schroeder (The September Equation).

November 18, 2013

5¼" floppy disks

Available December 1st from Plastiq Musiq.

Available 1988 from the Walt Disney Company.

November 14, 2013

I've always thought the Jupiter-6 was weird

I'm not trying to rain on anyone's parade, I'm sure some beautiful music has been made with the Jupiter-6, but just aesthetically, it doesn't really match anything Roland was doing at that time. Weird color scheme, weird buttons and knobs. And I played with one for the first time today and was pretty underwhelmed. The filter does that thing a Juno-106 does where you can hear it stepping through all those notches on the way down. And being made out of plastic instead of metal doesn't help either. I guess I've gotten pretty picky with equipment in my old age. Have any of you had a good experience with a Jupiter-6?

November 8, 2013

Reunited with Old Friends

I lent my Juno-6 to a friend a few years ago, and I just got it back a couple days ago (I also caught up with the friend I lent it to, so, reuniting with old friends that way too!). The Juno-6 was technically my first "synthesizer" I ever owned. I did have the RS-09 before the Juno-6, but that's not really a traditional synthesizer with that standard Oscillator, Filter, LFO, Envelop Generator set up. And to a twelve year old, an RS-09 is hardly a synthesizer, I didn't come to fully appreciate the true beauty of the Roland RS-09 until much later in life. But back to the subject at hand! I plugged in the Juno-6 last night for the first time in about four or five years. I was instantly transported to the basement of my parent's old house in Salem Ohio. I used to have a little room in the basement where I kept all my music equipment. The room was right under the porch of the house and all the walls were made out of rock and I called it "The Synthe Cave".  Sort of like how Batman had The Bat Cave. It was like that only for a lame little kid playing with synthesizers. 

The Juno 6 really is a great instrument. I love the way it's laid out, very intuitive!  And the arpeggiator is great. I think it's a really good keyboard for writing songs on because it's polyphonic and it has that arpeggiator, you can turn that thing on and crank up the release and have these really lush, full chords going. 

One thing that struck me as odd though, since I've been using so much vintage Roland gear for so long, is that there is no range selector for the oscillator. There is a transpose switch by the pitch bend wheel that can change the octave three ways, and the keyboard is so long that I guess you really don't need a range selector for the oscillator. It's just so standard on most synthesizers that it almost makes the oscillator seem a little naked or something. 

I also got this little guy back from the repair shop yesterday. The filter has never worked since I got it so I finally got that fixed. Now it is it's own unit. Fully formed. I like it so much more than I thought I did now that it's whole. It's like a little modular SH-09. Roland really did a good job making these things. Even when they went modular they still thought very practically, very musically! Both LFOs have delays built into them, and the output of the LFOs can be attenuated by half, which is so much more sensible of a signal to be applying to anything, let's be real! I think I'm about to have a real musical adventure with this mini System 100m!

It's funny, when I started this blog I thought the System 100m was the holy grail of synthesizers (as you can see from the top banner and background). I never thought I would own one. And here I am! I guess the lesson is to always follow your dreams. But on a side note, I'll also say, these are all just things and appreciating them for what they are is fine but people are infinitely more important! It's nice when things (common interests) bring people together. For example, I've met so many great people and had so many wonderful interactions through this blog. 

I have more to tell you about the repairs but I'll save that for a later post. WINK!