This week I thought I’d start of with something a little different. An artist that goes by the name Latinsizer of Mil Records (Latinsizer on MySpace). I first discovered Latinsizer via a number of great synth videos on YouTube posted by pepemogt. I personally like nearly all synth videos I see because regardless of the music being played, it gives me a chance to hear what the synth sounds like as well as a peak at its interface, however these videos stood out. They not only showcased a particular aspect of each piece of gear extremely well, but musically they were all interesting – some in ways not typically associated with a given synth. I particularly liked the following video for the Future Retro Revolution. Note the vids are not full tracks, they are just short demos of what the gear can sound like.
jamming with the Futureretro Revolution SE
“303 style sound and sequencer, acid sound very similar to the original Tb-303. http://www.myspace.com/fussible” More videos here.
I read the description, checked out the rest of the videos and started posting each video on Matrixsynth as they went up during this week. Pepemogt, or rather Pepe contacted me and we began to chat a little. Pepe lives in Tijuana, Mexico and is part of an independent electronic music label based in Tijuana, named Mil Records. Do check them out.
So where the heck does Mexican Wrestling come in? I really liked the album covers for Latinsizer. The source? A local artist in Tijuana that mainly paints signs for Mexican wrestling. “”when i released my first latinsizer album, for the art cover i was try to do something diferent with the art, so i found a guy that his way of living is painting signs for mexican wrestling, and puting them on streets, in your trips to tijuana maybe you have seen this, anyway, i took some synths and drum machines and went to his workshop and ask him to paint them, and also the credits of the record and basically all the art” Pretty cool… Unfortunately, I didn’t get the name of the artist in time for this post. I will update the post if I get it. If you happen to know, feel free to comment. : ) UPDATE: I heard back from Pepe on the artist. Here is what he had to say: “about the guy who painted the synths, his name is “loo is” is what he call himself, when i finally finished the CD and LP12″ i went back to his workshop to give him a copy of the records to “loo is” but the workshop wasnt there anymore, and no one there knew were he moved?? so i lost contact with him, i hope i kew where he is so he can see his art ended on the records cover and give him the copies…”
Next we have a couple of gorgeous display mods by Mark.
“Here’s my Prophet VS keyboard, which I have just retrofitted with a vacuum fluorescent display by Noritake. Because the VFD is thicker than the stock LCD by almost 3/8″, the lengths of all the standoffs between the front panel, the front panel PCB, and the switch PCBs have to be increased. The pots and LED display have to be stood off as well. Other important details: a blue filter for the VFD, a neutral density filter for the alpha numeric LED display, double stick tape to secure the filters, extra long pins to connect the switch PCBs at their new mounting height. The most time consuming part was selecting and ordering all these parts, installation was done in a couple of evenings.
I’m not generally a fan of putting blue LEDs in old synths, but the Prophet VS did come from the factory with a blue backlit LCD, and has blue front panel graphics, so what the heck. The trick to installing blue LEDs is choosing the right resistor value. If you just do the math and install the recommended value, they can be almost blindingly bright. Right now they are at a very comfortable brightness, though I may change the resistors one more time to match the LED brightness a little more closely to the VFD.
I hope you like it!” Indeed. Gorgeous work. You can see more shots here.
Sequential Circuits Studio 440
“This is one of my two Sequential Studio 440s, one of my favorite instruments in my studio. Like a lot of older instruments, the backlit LCDs in both of my 440s went dark long ago, and there’s nothing sadder than trying to navigate a menu in a dark room with no backlight. Recently I found that a company called Noritake that sells VFDs that are almost drop-in replacements for some LCDs. I say almost drop-in because the mounting depth is a little deeper. In the case of the 440, I had to trim down the existing studs and install longer standoffs for mounting. Mounting these into an instrument with more depth restriction might not be possible. These vacuum fluorescent displays are just beautiful. There’s something about having a bright, crisp display that makes the instrument seem much easier to use, it’s like the brain assimilates the information effortlessly when the text is so clear and bright. I decided to retrofit both of my 440s and they worked out great.” Also very nice. You can see more shots here.
Modded EMS Synthi A
Next we have a gorgeous modded EMS Synthi A via Johan. “This is a Mk I EMS Synthi A from 1971, the first version of the EMS popular briefcase model. About a year later came the Mk II, also known as Synthi AKS. Mk I is rarer due to its short production run. According to Robin Wood at EMS about 300 were made. Electronically it’s identical to the first version of the VCS3 which was produced between 1968 and 1972. Mk II intruduced a number of modifications:
* The PSU was redesigned, Mk I PSU is too weak to power a KS (the blue/black touch keyboard of the AKS) DK1 and DK2 can be used though.
* The output amplification, reverb driver and ring modulator circuits was redesigned.
* The patch matrix was reconfigured, Mk I has two individual outputs per oscillator Mk II has only for each of osc 1 and osc 2 only osc 3 has two outputs. In my opinion the Mk I configuration is much more useful.
* Some switches were added for AKS compatability.
* Prestopatch socket was added. With some work it can be added to a Mk I as well.
I think all Mk I Synthis and VCS3 came with the beautiful “Morning Mist” coloured front panel. Later on, most of them had uncoloured metal finish.
I have owned this synth for three years. When I bought it from a guy in Berlin I was told that this particular unit was originally owned by Manuel Goettsching of Ash Ra Temple and used by him as well as by Klaus Schulze, but i have not been able to confirm this so i can’t be sure.
Together with Magnus Danielsson I have restored it internally. All electrolytic capacitors and all but two potentiometers have been replaced. Some failing transistors has been replaced with “new old stock” transistors of the same kind that was used by EMS during the 70′s. Many trim potentiometers has been replaced for greater precision. The PSU has been re-organized. One of the transistors there produces a lot of heat. This one has been moved from the circuit board and mounted to a larger metal area inside. Many Mk I Synthis and VCS3 has been ruined due to this transistor being mounted on the board, it has the potential of burning off the traces of the circuit board.
I have made two small modifications:
1. The panel switch for the built in voltmeter has been replaced with a three way switch so that it can be turned off when routing signals that way.
2. Voltage control for the waveshape of Oscillator 2 has been added via one of the microphone inputs (route out via meter and in via mic 1 with a patch cord).
Both are fully reversable in case one would prefer it to be original.” This Synthi is up for auction. You can find hi-res images here.
The One and Only… Donny Osmond!
Finally, I leave you with something to get your groove on for the weekend. Donny does synth.
Donny & Marie Show guest Desy Arnaz Jr.
Crazy Horses – The Osmonds
Have a great weekend all!
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