Slowly in my life, I’ve come to realize that every good idea (and also every good melody) is already old in it’s infancy. Somebody somewhere has had the same idea a long time ago and usually they’ve even gone through with it. Maybe some five years back me and a couple of my friends dreamt about building our own midi-controllers with a bit more edge than the normal ones. We were making plans and drawings for building additional parts to a normal run off the mill midi-controller to make it look more “evil” or “heavy-metal”. There was talk of adding “Flying V” -type wings to one end and hanging the new beautiful heavy-synths from our necks like traditional keytars.
Well. Once I was visiting a second hand recordstore in Uppsala Sweden, I came across this album by a swedish guy called J.C. Barreto made in 1981 which is like 25 years before we had the same idea. On the cover J.C. is posing with an unknown keytar, with added white Flying V -wings, dressed head to toe in white. Just amazing! The back cover lists grand piano, Prophet 5, Minimoog and digital Clavatar as Barreto’s instruments and as the instrument on the cover sure as hell isn’t any of the three first one’s, it has to be the digital Clavatar -with the gui-tar-like “tar” -ending. The rhythm’s are provided by Korg‘s legendary Rockmate Doncamatic.
At first listen I was terribly dissappointed with this album. When there’s a rare unknown synth on the album cover, the album title is Dr. Love and the vinyl itself is transparent red, you can’t help but get a little excited. Actually I got v-e-r-y e-x-c-i-t-e-d! But Dr. Love was a real turndown. There’s almost nothing to be heard of the SCI Prophet or The Minimoog here and the songs are all bland middle of the road funk-rock.
Then recently when I was going through my vinyls to sell some of them in a car boot sale, I had a second listen and realised that the title track is actually quite good. The whole album is heavily indebted to Stevie Wonder‘s late 70’s output, but there’s something completely disarming in this swedish guy with a cornrow-hairdo and a good style sense imitating the master. Dr. Love is definitely not the synthiest track ever featured in Turku Synth, but for the album cover alone it deserves it’s place in our blog. As it is also a very much scandinavian obscurity it’s probably not been seen or heard much outside of Sweden, let alone Europe.
Tomi / Turku Synth