“Don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted …”

Yes, welcome to the wild studio of Legowelt, the eclectic Dutch musician. Future Music Magazine didn’t just do a video tour. They did an hour-long video tour, where the artist waxes poetic on every detail with loving attention. It’s a beautiful nerdfest. I know we’re theoretically not supposed to be fetishizing gear, but there’s some real care for these tools. And… there’s a Commodore 64 studio and some real rarities.

For signs Legowelt is One of Us, here’s his bio:

Born: a long time ago when Star Wars used to be good

School: Bovine University North Dakota

Previous Jobs: Amiga programmer, RPG Dungeon Master

Current Jobs: Music Producer, Ufologist, CEO of Pacific Micro International Software™

Hobbies: Synthesizers, Programming text adventures for the Commodore 64

And Legowelt also picked up some of the gear on the cheap, which is, really, the point of the game of used gear (or supposed to be). A Roland JV2080 was a bargain-bin buy, and becomes the name of the new record.

And let’s talk about that new record. It’s varied and dreamy, featuring a rhapsodic lushness that’s missing from a lot of popular productions getting played. Those tools went to make sounds that deviate from the norm. (He has a similar adeptness live.) If Legowelt’s studio is a candy store, he isn’t shy about sprinkling us with candy from it, or taking us on dark, trippy tunnel boat freak-outs. (Yes, we’re still talking Willy Wonka – and it absolutely fits this record.) There’s not a shade of irony; this is a man who loves the sounds he’s making. And it’s all out now, accompanied by a text that explains still more of the techniques behind it.

Entitled ‘Crystal Code 2080’, it will come on Crème Organization and has been preceded by a sampler EP that featured one track from it.
The ‘2080’ part of the album title is taken from the Roland JV2080, a legendary digital synthesizer from the nineties that was used a lot in the making of the album. Bought second-hand in Tokyo for a couple of hundred dollars, it lends the record a very dewy eyed soul, whilst the ‘Crystal’ part of the title stands for the self-made ‘DIY germanium crystal compressor’ Legowelt used throughout the writing process.
The album itself features ten new tracks of pure Legowelt music mainly recorded in The Hague in the past year, but also on the road during tours of LA, the Californian desert, Tokyo (which spawned ‘Crystal Cult 2080’) and Tejada Gran Canaria (where ‘The Future of Myself’ was written.) Where his last album The Paranormal Soul was an organic trip into misty forests, this one seems more concerned with medieval spirits; it’s deeper, darker and the whole thing is tied together by a more coherent sense of ancient alchemy.
Given the use of a DIY germanium crystal compressor during production, it’s no wonder everything feels warm, fuzzy and mystic in a way that draws your attention in like that fabled philosopher’s stone… glare too long and you might just turn to stone. Right from the opening track the mood is so encapsulating you are drawn right into Danny Wolfers’ mysterious electronic world. From there various different tempos are explored and plenty of famed synthesiser work comes to the fore, wrapping grooves in trippy themes, impish spirits and plenty of organic lushness.
Crystal Cult 2080 is sure to prove another lucid and distinctive chapter in the ever-captivating story that is the musical career of Legowelt.

Track List:

A1 – Experiential Awakening
A2 – Ancient Rites Demoni Mundi
B1 – Excalibur R8MK2
B2 – Psychotic Endurance
B3 – How I Live
C1 – The Future Of Myself
C2 – Fundamental Superstition
C3 – Crystal Cult 2080
D1 – When The Spring Comes Again
D2 – Cyberspace Is Still Happenin’ for Real
Lighthouses & Fried Fish Disks (CD/Digital Only)
A Distant Meadow in Your Soul (CD/Digital Only)

Cassette version (C90, 150 copies hand numbered)
A – Crystal Cult 2080
B – Crystal Cult 2080 Continuous Mix by DJ TLR with bonus tracks & outtakes

In fact, it seems the man has been shopping at his local Tandy dealer / Radio Shack:

tandytrogsmall

More like this on his site, which is definitely the only artist page in recent memory that made me laugh. But I am a hipster from the Star Wars was good era, so it might just be me.

http://www.legowelt.com/

There’s a great mix for Resident Advisor, also up recently, including improvs on that new MG1:

Tracklist /
Radioshack MG1 Moog improvisation
Mokra – Manipulation Musik
1991 – High Tension Low Life
Farah – Pieced Apart
Legowelt – Ancient Rites Demoni Mundi
Huerco S – Skug Commune
This Is Not America Disco Mix
Halu Mergia – Ambasel
Liz Tores – In The City
Cliff Lothar – To The Sea
Beat Detectives – Second Haitan Divorce
Laszlo Dancehall – Fatty Que
K-Alexi – Groove U
Osunlade – Dionne
Legowelt – Puzzles of Life
Aux 88 Techno Mix of Sharivari
Fanon Flowers – Winter in Kalamazoo
Andy Vaz – Over Here
Stakker Humanoid – Positive Electron
Delroy Edwards – Love Goes On & On
French Fries – Machine
Florian Kupfer – Reach Another System
Pal Joey – I Sing
Drexciya – Living On The Edge
Kassem Mosse – Workshop untitled
The Abstract Eye – Grandfather Fire
Radioshack MG1 Moog improvisation
Xosar – Cybertronika

RA.409 Legowelt

And more upcoming music:

  • a

    the downside is that anything that was cheap will go up because of the video.

    • tosque

      The days when you could find a vintage synth at a Goodwill or garage sale for dirt cheap are pretty much over. Blame ebay and the interwebz in general and not a YouTube video tour of Legowelt’s studio.

    • EricM

      If you’re really lucky, it can still happen. I know some one who found a

      Roland HS-60 for $50 at a pop-up flea market in a park recently.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      No? Whatever Legowelt does, all the kids follow! ;)

      What @disqus_zLsBDJ0uTK:disqus said… there are still some finds out there.

    • tosque

      LOL, I’m guilty of this myself since I purchased a TR-707 soon after seeing him raving about it on his personal blog.

  • EricM

    Saw this recently…made me want to get a Poly 61.

    • poopoo

      Yeah me too. It sounded good didn’t it

  • JJ Black

    This was so inspiring. I love everything about the guy… how he bought a FM synth as a teenager because he wanted to make acid sounds and failed. How he feels about the looks of his gear (colors, lights) as much as he does the sound. How he just seems delightfully disconnected from everything but what he wants to focus on.

    Also, man, some of these synths I’ve never heard of, and now totally want. Especially that Boardsy sounding synth near the end.

  • Justin Reed

    amazing tour! i was really hoping/expecting he woul;d get into some of his lofi/circuit bent boards…alas it was all AAA gear for the most part with a couple exceptions.

  • http://www.wemakesound.co.uk/ wms

    Yeah he is a bit of a ledge. I would have thought however, the takeout from this interview is find your own sweet spot and explore it. Don’t replicate someone elses. The fact that he squeezes max potential from each bit of gear cheap, rare or otherwise (a roland jv 2080? pretty common I’d have thought), and imposes limitations to produce results – it’s a valid and economical method. How many of us really get under the skin of the kit we own to find out what it can do?

    • tosque

      Bingo! You hit the nail right on the head. I mean, OctaMED?

  • qup

    I agree that the take away is “find your _own_ voice”. That’s why I steer clear of expensive vintage noslagia. :)