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Dusting off the 80’s synths

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Actually I never dust off my old hardware synthesizers, there’s something about an old electronic thing like that with dust on it that is appealing… It isn’t so good for the hardware thought, the dust gets in the pots and sliders and you get all kind of crackles and noise when you turn the knobs and use it.

What I mean is I am working on a new 80’s inspired pop album for artist Heather Dore. She’s a real sweetie, she even wrote a blog entry about me without even knowing how much I love being appreciated.
The interesting thing about Heather coming along and requesting I rejuvenate her music career by helping her create her favorite kind of music is that I have spent the last decade telling myself “the 80’s are over, things have to sound modern now, 21st century” (which is interesting as a producer in a way, because the production values and attention to detail on a record in the 80’s have never been equalled).
And now that I have finally almost mastered that, I have to go back to my roots that I love and forget discipline from using dated sounds for Heather’s 80’s inspired music. But we will be combining modern elements too, so stay tuned for that, it will be very interesting.

Anyway, it is cool to fire up this old hardware for her music because I have really been into virtual instruments lately in the computer because they save so much time. They aren’t better, they just save time and money. But the old synths have all kinds of crackles and buzzes and stuff that keeps things interesting (and technically challenging from the spoiled computer use). Today one old synth, the Roland MKS-50 that I used (which is a keyless Alpha Juno) started outputting this weird low frequency feedback drone noise which would come and go by itself when I wasn’t using it. Not surprising when using a device that is creating sound using real current generated oscillations. That’s the beauty of old analog hardware, it’s alive.
Now I just have to get these old beasts to behave long enough to capture their essence.

Dusty Old Synthesizer
ahhhh, dusty old synths…