Thanks to hhhneil for the inspiration; a name which acknowledges the flea market in the history of electronic music.
If you are serious about ideas such as ‘legendary’ and ‘vintage’, if you are impressed by the antique, concerned with overt quality – you do not understand fleacore. If you distinguish between the earlier and later filter of the MS20, if the weighted action of a 102 key controller is important to you – you do not understand fleacore. If you think MOOG is ever the answer – you do not understand fleacore.
The history of electronic music is fleacore. When people now buy a TB303 for $1200, they are spending $40 for the box and $1160 to emulate the man that once went into a pawn shop to buy the $40 box that no one wanted.
That’s how art works. No one bought a Van Gogh from Van Gogh.
Fleacore is the joy of limitation. The misuse of an intention that is best forgotten. Fleacore is hilariously thwarting the engineering designs of a decade; disco, acid house, nu jack swing, hip hop. It is the decade that taste forget – forever.
Fleacore is an insignificant box, preferably without keys. Better still, it runs on batteries. It is never bespoke, never modular, never impressive. It is a cheap, plastic, wobbly, flawed, inscrutable array of LEDs and bezels. It is a piece of crap.
No one wants fleacore, except fleacore.
Fleacore is the badly written Roland manual, leading to useful mistakes.
Fleacore is not smug and ironic. It is making do and muddling through. It is doing the best under strained circumstances, like darning a pair of socks. Fleacore is humble.
You have heard fleacore and you admire it. You have heard it in the works of artists before anyone said a kind word to them. The press would have you think that ‘youth’ has something to do with it – but while there are still youths, they now think they are worth something. Youth has nothing to do with darning socks.
Spend very little on an implausible box. Confronted by its garish sullen face, you shake your head and sigh at the stupidity of it. You try to find something here and there, and on the verge of giving up, a miracle takes place. Then you ‘get it’.
The End to Things.
For 10 months I plotted and planned the few items I would sorely like to have, and come the end of teaching I set about it. What no one told me was (and surely some of you could have) the idea is not cleanly exhausted. Meaning that every purchase inspired another line of thought which required another purchase to complete it. Big feedback problem!
Eventually I did this – chose a piece of fleacore that was not going to happen. I mean, lots of luck buddy you ain’t ever gonna find that, not in a bazillion years. And this worked, although for entirely the wrong reason. This is the story.
Around the turn of the century, Yamaha did an odd thing – my two favourite elements right there. They took a variety of synthesis techniques and miniaturised the circuits onto cards. The PLG-DX is a DX7, the PLG-AN is a Prophet 5 and so on. The idea was that you would buy their expensive devices of the period, and plug these cards into them to add extra noise creating sources. Sounds like a great idea, the reality must have been more like Atari’s inventory of unsold ET carts, because the card idea gets dropped pretty quickly.
These cards now cost more than synthesisers actually built around the cards, which means people rip them out of fully working keyboards! This makes the whole thing batshit crazy, and I thought OK – let’s make finding fleacore built around these cards the next challenge. The AN200 is not hopelessly difficult, it shows up every now and then. But the DX200 is really hopeless, as people rip the DX7 out as soon as look at them. It could delay a year or more.
Fate is very clever lady, and saw what I was up to. An AN200 turned up straight away for $400. That’s enough for me to shake my head and feel wise and mature. A second one appeared a few days later for $200. Level One Complete, dammit. But the DX200, no way, I am in Australia. One showed up in the USA for a stupid price and $100 postage and sold that day, which gave me a sense of calm and peace, that the quest had finally come to an end.
Another immediately showed up in Seattle, near Sevcom HQ. For a reasonable price. An angel sat on my shoulder and a devil on the other. The angel said this was planned to be quixotic, unrequited, to slow down this moral decline, to give time to consider one’s place in nature and the pursuit of balance. The devil says, fuck man, I already PayPal’d.
I am not this guy. But ain’t nothing stopping me now…