March 16, 2009

Roland SH-101 (1981)

Released 1981, the SH-101 monosynth looks like a 1-voice Juno 6. But unlike most of Roland's previous instruments, which were chunky affairs designed for use on tabletops and stands, was constructed from high-density plastic, with the result that it was extremely light. Some players derided this, equating its weight to its sound, but this was foolish.
The SH-101 sounds excellent, and there was a good reason for its construction. It was designed for posing. With the optional MGS1 modulation grip - a stubby handle that provided LFO and pitch-bend controls - became the de facto standard sling-on synth for the electro-pop crowd, and remains one of Roland's enduring successes. The 1981's SH-101was an instant classic, and is still popular today.

The SH-101 is very cool, especially for techno, drum&bass and Acid. It's a monophonic bass synthesizer. Its sound lies somewhere between the Roland TB-303 and a Juno bass sound. It has a lot of simple but cool features. You can control the VCF, pitch, LFO or all from the pitch bender. It has a white noise generator, arpeggiator with up, down and up/down patterns and a simple real-time sequencer. The LFO offers random, sine, square or noise waveforms. And normal or auto portamento effects give you that elastic bass sound. There are external clock inputs for the sequencer and arpeggiator, CV/GATE inputs and outputs and a CV hold pedal.
There is no patch memory storage and although it has no MIDI there are upgrades available for it from many analog service companies that will allow you to incorporate it into any MIDI studio environment. It can also be controlled by MIDI using a CV/MIDI converter. It's great for bass sounds or bubbly analog effects. They come in three different flavors - grey, blue or red and there was a ultra-rare white version too.

March 10, 2009

March 04, 2009

Jean-Jacques Perrey

Jean-Jacques Perrey (born 1929) is a French electronic music producer and is an early pioneer in the genre. He is best known within the sphere of popular music as a member of the influential duo Perrey & Kingsley.

He was studying medicine in Paris when he met George Jenny, inventor of the Ondioline. Quitting medical school, Perrey travelled through Europe demonstrating this keyboard ancestor of the modern synthesizer. At the age of 30, Perrey relocated to New York, sponsored by Caroll Bratman, who built him an experimental laboratory and recording studio. Here he invented "a new process for generating rhythms with sequences and loops", utilising the environmental sounds of "musique concrète." With scissors, splicing tape, and tape recorders, he spent weeks piecing together a uniquely comique take on the future. Befriending Robert Moog, he became one of the first Moog synth musicians, creating "far out electronic entertainment".

In 1965 Perrey met Gershon Kingsley, a former colleague of John Cage. Together, using Ondioline and Perrey's loops, they created two albums for Vanguard Records — The In Sound From Way Out (1966) and Kaleidoscopic Vibrations (1967). Perrey and Kingsley collaborated on sound design for radio and television advertising. Perrey returned to France, composing for television, scoring for ballet and continuing medical research into therapeutic sounds for insomniacs.