Many apologies as this is a VERY long overdue blog post with many things to tell you. Well, many things synth to tell you about.
First off, I’ve been harping on & on about the upcoming I Speak Machine show at the wonderful Purcell Room in the Southbank Centre, and for what I feel is a fucking fantastic reason. I am simultaneously unraveling and also very excited as this is the first time we’ll be showing our sci-fi short The Silence in the UK, and it is also the debut of 2 new shorts, “Gagglebox” and “There’s Someone in the House Next Door”.
For this show, Dave Spiers & Chris Macleod from the magnificent G Force Software have kindly offered to let me use 5 gorgeous machines from their astounding collection for this gig – all vintage beauties (like me, ahem)! I am honored and excited to have their support for this show – they too announced their lovely support on their website, have a look.
SO. My lovely bandmates will include the ARP 2600, ARP Odyssey, Roland SH101, OSCar & of course my favorite-ever synth, the Sequential Circuits Pro One. Oh, and Ableton with 2 pedals on my voice, the Moogerfooger 104Z (kindly lent to me by London audio engineer & music tech journalist, Mike Hillier) & an EHX V256 Vocoder (which I actually bought for a change).
Honestly it’ll feel a little odd playing a gig without my Voyager, but who can resist these beauties!? I admit I’m pretty nervous about it as well (well, let’s use the term “borderline unraveling to the point of a zen-like calm so that perhaps I’ll cancel out my paranoia/panic and just get on with it”)…as anyone that has used vintage gear onstage can attest to. I assure you, it’s mostly excitement.
So, with a little over 2 weeks to go until the show, I’ve been lovingly wrangling these “ladies” into submission in my brother in law’s barn/ loft in Wales. Despite the beautiful, crisp cool Welsh breezes outside, the loft gets quite stuffy & hot, as I stand in a ring of synths that ring & hum with warmth. For hours on end. But my setup feels uncertain and exciting in equal measures, and I rehearse like a robot till everything is running backwards & forwards in my blood – till it feels like 2nd nature.
Here’s the setup in the rehearsal spot, lovingly nicknamed “The Screeching Barn” (because you can hear the Barn Owl screeching nearby):
I’m semi-quickly learning the tweaks and sweetnesses of these instruments as well…I’ve gravitated towards the OSCar for my bass sounds as it seems the most stable tuning-wise and is almost as nasty as the Pro One. The Pro One is more like my guitar player (well, maybe baritone guitar drenched in frightening effects) as I don’t think it’s stable enough to stay in tune for solid bass lines against my backing tracks & samples in Ableton (yep, I have a “backing band”). The ARPs provide frightening noises and atmospheric pads & the Sh 101 gets to sing the top lines…my “soprano backing singer that’s taken too much acid”, if you will.
I also may pop back out at the end and do a duet with just the ARP 2600, but we’ll see. Depends on how my confidence holds up & if you want me to! I’ll try. If I do, it’ll sound a little like this….but the song remains a surprise!
Keep your eyes here for more updates whenever i can!!