Here in the year of our lord 2013 it’s raining 80s synthesisers. Yes yes I know that the boutique manufacturers have been on the rise for years – but I pay no attention to stuff that costs as much as a small car by the time it hits Australia. I’m sure a Prophet 12 is lovely, along with Porsches and Faberge Eggs, things that exist off in a parallel universe. I am cheap, I have always been cheap and the vast majority of everything I have ever owned was bought in hock shops. Mostly MS20′s.
The majors have joined what the boutiques have started. Bless KORG and all who sail in her for coming up with cheap replicas of the trash I used to use in 1982, and I mean hot damn, REPLICAS – although they have missed out on the Casiotone, something that Casio will no doubt rectify in 2014 with the VLtone 3000. Look at my 1982 studio – there you would have found a SH1, 303, 808, the Casiotone and … something that for a moment questions the whole retro thing. A tape recorder. Because implicit in all this gear is recording it, rewinding, overdubbing, punching in … you know? These devices were designed to go with a tape recorder and without it they make no sense. What we have here is the knife – missing is the fork.
You can’t have all this analogue gadgetry and feed it into Pro Tools. How rude!
I am a reasonable man so how about this compromise:
And it stays on the right side of ‘my fingers don’t fit on that’ – where I win by having world’s smallest fingers.
The KORG Avakados (or whatever they are kalled) don’t sound very interesting. But I detect a faint hint of whoopsy daisy in there – there might be ways to cause trouble. When I bought my 303 (for $400 in 1982 money) I was horribly disappointed just how shit it sounded, because up to that point everything Roland had been versatile and subtle. The fartbox had the expressive range of a jaws harp and it took too much trouble to get something decent out of it - only in retrospect do I realise I should have shown it creative disrespect. I have a lot of creative disrespect these days.
Seriously – look at it. It’s like the emperor Dalek with the new toys as little Daleks around it. They will re-issue it (Wish I could have afforded it when it came out).
KORG are always a source of good times, but I’m sorry Novation is fast becoming my sonic Walmart. That Bass Station 2 looks just the stinky cheese for my next retail therapy. For a start it looks like yet another Novation thing where all kinds of unexpected stuff ups are possible – even CDM figured that out. On my MiniNova I have found you can make the wavetable LFOs fast enough to modulate the oscillators to create horrible EMS AKS style frenzies. Novation gear is like the old playground where you could brain yourself falling off a rocket.
There’s probably still somebody out there butthurt about how I was mean to the MS20 – how can I then say I like the Bass Station? Because I want to find all the cracks in something new, not tick off all the ones I already know from 1983.
Runners up. Waldorf has new thing actually called a Rocket, it doesn’t seem much fun to climb, being what psychiatrists call ‘overdetermined’. There’s a Nord something or other that looks like other Nord something or others. We’re already drifting out of my junk shop aesthetic.
Roland? What ever happened to Roland?