In the late nineties and early noughties, I did a lot of sample-based music with a genius little Windows music program called Making Waves. I had no experience in sampling and basically knew nothing about writing music, but I was very much inspired by DJ Shadow, Four Tet, Max Tundra and all the Ninja Tune– and MoWax– stuff I had listened to in the nineties. Many of my compositions from those times were completely original pieces made with found sounds that I had sampled into my computer. In the time before laptops I carried my tabletop machine to the kitchen to sample the motor of our fridge or I took my portable minidisc-recorder with me and recorded all the different voices I heard during a walk in the nature. Recently I discovered a c-cassette filled with these original compositions. At first I didn’t recognize them as my own pieces of music, but then in one song there were some vocals and I recognized my own vocoded voice. I was amazed. Or more like completely blown away. I had done a cassette full of music that sounded – if not great then at least – interesting and inspiring.
More about those compositions later, but now for something else that was long forgotten. As my crate-digging-abilities weren’t yet on the same level as Josh Davis’, I sampled whatever I could get my hands on. I only had one guideline – sample only original stuff, not something that somebody else has already sampled. I went through piles of cassettes bought cheap from a second hand shop and cheap vinyl obscurities looking for that perfect drumbeat or bassline. I found a lot of religious speeches, self recorded childhood theatre on cassettes and some great drumloops, but one particular disco compilation had a – back then still unknown – early eighties italian song from Pino D’angio’ called Ma Quale Idea. This song was perfect for sampling. It had an infectious, very catching bassline a deadpan vocal performance about marmelade and those lovely lasery disco-toms. I was sure I had a hit on my hands when I was working on my track, but then MTV started to play a new dance song “Don’t Call Me Baby” from an australian group called Madison Avenue. They had sampled Ma Quale Idea before me and made it into a MTV-friendly dancepop track. I gave up.
Years later I came across a seven inch single in a swedish record shop. The cover was funny with a tough looking guy with curly hair smoking a cigarette in black and white and looking ominously and kind of pissed off at you. I had to buy it just for old times sakes. For a while I thought of the song as a personal curiosity not worth of public airing, but maybe 2 years back I decided to take it with me for a spin in the dj booth. Needless to say the song was an instant hit. Now looking at the video for the first time in my life I get the sense that smoking cigarettes was an integral part of mr. D’Angio’s image and perhaps also the secret ingredient behind his growly “I don’t give a fuck” -singing voice.
Tomi / Turku Synth
P.S. Here’s the Madison Avenue version, mine would’ve been a lot better. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4-PcMSxrUA
Hello my dearest synthpeople. I’ve missed you.
It’s been quiet here on our blog for well over a month now. It’s all because I got a real dayjob for a change. And not just any dayjob but one that is a measly 100 kilometres away so when I’m not working I’m either on my way there or on my way back home. Luckily my job as a graphic designer is situated in my old hometown of Rauma and that means that I can at least save some money and spend a couple of nights now and then at my parents’ house. The upside is that now I can maybe afford to buy some new synths now and then (without selling any of the old ones) and the downside is that we haven’t had a proper synth meeting since I started working.
A lot of things have happened synthwise in my life since april fool’s day. I bought an old dear friend (Yamaha QY70) back and have been utterly blown away by it’s quality and ease of use. I also bought some other interesting stuff in a second hand shop and that got me to listening to my old cassettedemos and finding a pile of songs I didn’t remember ever recording. More on those things later and some new synth-rarities from my 7″ shelves too, I promise, but for now I want to post this small documentary about, well, me. Three lovely journalism students had to shoot a 5 minute documentary on a subject of their liking, and of all things they picked my synth-enthusiasm. The documentary is completely in Finnish with no subtitles, but there will be a dvd with director’s commentary and multiple languages and camera-angles released for the christmas market 2011. The film is called “Hunting For The Perfect Synth” and it’s amazingly brief. The two Annas and Jonni shot 90 minutes of raw material which they edited into this 5 minute shortie.
Usually when you see yourself on screen you feel squeamish and uneasy, but for some reason this little movie didn’t make me look like the complete idiot that I am. So, please enjoy tonight’s movie and I’ll promise to try to find the time to write new synth stuff here more often. The worst part is over and now I feel quite relaxed in my new job. It’s going to be a good ride. (Did I mention that Rauma has probably the best second hand shops I know…)
Tomi / Turku Synthesizer Club
This I.D.I.O.T. technology sounds interesting… 😉
Matti / Turku Synth Club
As some of you might already know, I play in a lasermetal band called Nightsatan. In the beginning, our agenda was to play traditional doom metal only with electronic drums and old analog synths. Strictly no guitars allowed! Without a suitable vocalist we’ve slowly evolved towards a more sleek and even scarier b-movie-soundtrack inspired instrumental sound, but there’s still a hint of metal left in us, especially on many of the older songs. In the beginning I used a Boss Metalzone pedal to make my Polysix sound angrier. I even tried Digitech’s Death Metal pedal just for the cool name, but it offered basically more of the same familiar – a little bit thin – Metalzone sound.
Then I got myself a Korg MS-20 and suddenly I didn’t seem to need a distortion pedal anymore. Two oscillators worth of monophonic oomph and very good filters that screamed when I told them to scream seemed sufficient to make that evil buzzing sound that some of our old songs needed. I got rid of my Metalzone and Death Metal pedals and bought an Electro Harmonix Little Big Muff instead. It’s fuzz-sound wasn’t exactly metal, but then again, neither was our music anymore. I’ve been happy with this setup until yesterday.
Yesterday I made some trades with an old friend of mine and got myself a Devi Ever built double fuzzpedal called Hymn Strangle/Synth Mangler and oh my what an evil little pedal this is. Two adjacent fuzzes in one box, controlled by a joystick in the middle. Both fuzzes also feature two switches, one for hiss and one for chaos. And believe me, when you turn the hiss on, it truly hisses. With all the four hiss and chaos switches turned in the on position you can barely hear the original synth sound from behind the massive mountains of distortion this pedal creates. This sound is truly evil and unlike a guitarist I can control the joystick realtime with my other hand while playing a bassline on my synth, making the distortion evolve and live the whole time. Perfect.
I really can’t wait to get to try this live. The ultra slow Satan From Hell is going to sound a lot more demonical than ever before.
Tomi / Turku Synth Club
I’d never go as far as shaving myself and painting myself silver for my music, but these frenchmen – The Rockets – from late seventies did just that and a lot more. Their music sounds a lot more synthy than the band looks playing live. They are best known for this brilliantly weird vocoderized cover version of Canned Heat‘s red-neck-truck-driving classic On The Road Again, but many of their own compositions deserve just as much attention and praise. Ingenious stuff that just can’t be matched by today’s pop’s short attention span. Although a french group by the name Stardust tried to emulate The Rockets’ success in the late 90’s by shaving their heads and painting themselves silver for the video of their filterhouse-hit Music Sounds Better With You.
Tomi / Turku Synth Club
New MIDI Arpeggiator plugin
While I do most of my serious (lol) sequencing in Numerology or Logic on my Mac, song-sketching type of sequencing on the Roland Fantom G and the more automated and crazy glitchy stuff in FL Studio or Reaktor on my PC, and they all have great MIDI arpeggiators available, there are times when a dedicated VST MIDI arpeggiator comes in handy.
I have been following the development of this awesome new VST Arpeggiator Kirnu for a good while and just wanted to tell everyone reading this about it now being available!
Check it out and show some love to the developer Arto Vaarala!
- Easy realtime tweaking
- User friendly pattern view
- MIDI learn for every major control
- Two independent CC controls with ‘teach’ functionality
- Numerous of different scales
- Hold mode
Check out the videos
Yeah, it is free. Now I just wish it would also be available as AU!
Download here: http://www.artovaarala.com/
Jesse Juup / Turun Syntetisaattoriseura / Turku Synth Club
Italian-born Giorgio Moroder is without a doubt one of the biggest inspirations for the birth of modern electronic music. His famous computerized basslines in his Donna Summer -productions drive me crazy for not being able to come up with anything as simple yet groundbreaking myself. Lately I’ve teached myself how to use my Akai MPC 2000XL and it’s step sequencing to reproduce Moroder’s famous basslines, but it’s just not the same. As usually with synth-related things, it’s always that certain synth that you supposedly need to create a well known sound. In this case it’s Korg’s Mono/Poly which is rumoured to be Giorgio Moroder’s favourite synth. Four oscillators of monophonic or polyphonic loveliness that’s not been surpassed since it’s invention in 1981.
If I only had a Mono/Poly, I could sound like Moroder…I really really need a Mono/Poly…
Tomi Tuominen / Turun Syntetisaattoriseura / Turku Synth Club
As music videos featuring synthesizers go, this must rank in the top ten ever!?! Spanish band Vocoder (what a great name!) show off their Roland SH-101, Roland TB-303(used as a drum machine for some reason?) and what seems to be a Korg Poly-800 in a department store, Roland TR-606 is featured in a short cameo-role
Great song and even better video.
Can you name the synths I missed?
Tomi / Turun Syntetisaattoriseura / Turku Synth Club