Korg WaveStation : hail cherubic goatee guy


Rumour has it that there is an underground cult based near Tokyo led by a cherubic man with a goatee. Its members posses an arcane skill – they can program a WaveStation. The rest of us wade through the patches aimlessly, trying to navigate this moaning and tinkling cathedral on wheels.


Fun fact: I once made a TV jingle by holding down one key on a WaveStation. That jingle went on to make me a considerable sum of money. Thank you cherubic goatee man.


Let’s face it, this is the tipping point where a device becomes unusable. You wade into the depths of this ocean and start drowning. I mean it makes the SY77 look user friendly for fuck’s sake. The trick is to start at the bottom and work upwards, only that way can you reach the surface alive. The other tip is to use KORG’s software version, as you can see what the hell you’re doing.


The most basic part of the WaveStation is a single wave. Many of these are labelled VS something or other, because they’re additive waves from the Prophet VS, which Yamaha owned at the same time it owned Korg. The WaveStation is like a Prophet VS that doesn’t break down if you try use it.


Take those waves and arrange them in a wave sequence. This is a list of waves that play one after the other to make something very like a transwave, but one you can rearrange to your heart’s desire. Given that transwaves are already pretty complex to use, I’d venture that the proportion of people that actually make their own wave sequences is the square root of fuck all. Lord knows I have never done it. These don’t have to cross fade, which great for embarrassing 90’s sample drum loops.


Put 1, 2 or 4 of these wave sequences together and you have a patch. That’s already pretty thick. But then you stack together multiple patches to get a performance, and that’s about the point where everyone rediscovers their love of analogue. Too damn complicated.


The vector synthesis is another layer on all this, to move between up to 4 sources over time. Lord knows it was hard enough already.


One liability of the software is it doesn’t seem to have a way to initialise a patch. So you have to make one by hand and duplicate it. But then just put two waves against each other and slowly sculpt a simple patch. It starts to make sense after few months, honest.


The WaveStation is cold. Brass Monkeys. In a world where everything has to be warm that can be seen as a liability, but if (heaven forbid) you’re keen on building contrasts then this is a wonderful way to get sounds that will spook up all that sonic BBQ you’re got cooking. I am very fond of it mixed with something like the AN1x, a mix of vicious and ethereal.

It was either this or a red car and I think I chose wisely.